Tag Archives: Her storyline

Olga, Tatiana, and Marie-a.k.a. OTMA

OTMA’S Last Poetry Project Introduction

The Romanov execution occurred July 17, 1918 in the basement of the building, the Ipatiev House. The family spent their last months at the house which was also known as the “House of Special Purpose.” When studying about the events at the house, you get a sort of preview of how the family members would act in their final moments.  The family’s reactions varied. The two elder sisters, Olga and Tatiana, held on to each other. The middle sister, Marie, put up a good fight and Anastasia went unnoticed at first before she was killed. (Yes, each member of the family was murdered.)

The Romanov’s last days and the house’s atmosphere included a variety of boredoms, friendliness, and tensions.  It’s an incredible story where everyone seems to have their own agenda, strengths, and flaws. What is exactly was going through their heads? Part of my exploring includes writing poetry from the viewpoint of the sisters—Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia—also known officially as OTMA during their lives. My humble “hypothetical’ project has been depressing, fun, and fulfilling. I’ve written multiple poems from the viewpoint of each sister and hope to do more.

And don’t worry—note every poem will be posted.

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Review of Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen

Thanks to Sarah-Beth Watkins’ Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen, we finally get a solid biography of the Portuguese princess turned queen of England.

As the title suggests, this biography mainly concentrates on Catherine’s years as queen consort to Charles II. However, Watkins does nicely provide a rare glimpse of Catherine’s life before her marriage and after the death of Charles II.

Catherine book

Whether it was the beginning, middle, or ending of Catherine’s story, a reoccurring theme is the difficulties of being a princess and a queen. Through good storytelling, this biography gives information about what real life is like for royal women. They constantly get judged publicly, have obligations to follow, and have to pick and choose their battles carefully. Watkins gives the valuable insight: “A princess, and often a queen, must do as she was told.”

A common hardship being married to a king is often his affairs. Catherine goes down in English history as a tragic queen who had to deal with a husband who womanized a lot. Far too often, though, I read books and blogs that describe Catherine being “desperately in love” with her unfaithful husband. Watkins doesn’t jump to that conclusion. Instead, she gives us stories in which show the tension and tenderness between Catherine and Charles. We also get more details of what Catherine did away from the royal court and Charles.

Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen is a valuable read. The more you get to know this queen, the more you agree with the observation of Minette, Charles II’s sister, about Catherine: “It is impossible not to love her.”

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Link:
Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen

Grownup Elizabeth 2

Elizabeth Arline

I see the sweetest girl at church
Sitting in the front pew
So should I continue
This painful search?

Elizabeth Arline
I try to learn as I pray
But with my amen, you get away
Like you did at age nineteen.

I wish you could show
The start of your short life
To the last months you were a wife
I know there’s more to know.

I can still hear that lullaby
You sang as you left this earth
Just days after child birth
When carried to the sky.

Elizabeth Arline
I don’t know if you’re pleased
I don’t know if you’re at peace
It’s probably somewhere in between.

As for me, I’m not serene
You stay in my mind
And tell me to search and find
As our stories intertwine.

I will find your story
I promise I will
Sweet and lovely Elizabeth Arline.

 

(Picture from FamilySearch.com)

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Princess Lamballe: Dealing With Moral and Political Clashes

Early morning on  inauguration day. I  was browsing Facebook and came across some fantastic links about peace and coming together. Other people posted how they hate, hate everything about the new leadership. I think it’s understandable. It’s hard to know exactly what to do. How do we support our government without compromising our own beliefs?

Then a name came to mind.

Lamballe.

Princess Marie Louise of Savoy, also known as the “princess de Lamballe”, was a cousin-in-law and good friend to Marie-Antoinette. (For this post I will refer to princesse de Lamballe as Princess Lamballe.)

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Princess Lamballe was an intellectual, open to new ideas, but was opinionated and a staunch Bourbon royal family supporter. She even went to England in hopes of gathering supporters for the French royal family. She went back to France and was in the Queen’s service till she was separated from the royal family.

Princess Lamballe was brought to trial September 3, 1792 where she was asked to make a promise to liberty and denounce the King, Queen, and Monarchy.

This is a what-would-you-do moment. What could you do—would you disown yourself, people you love, your own belief system or give in to something you don’t believe in? What would keep peace?

I suspect Princess Lamballe had a feeling a moment like this would come.

She agreed to make an oath to Liberty and Equality but would not denounce the King, Queen, and monarchy. Her trial ended with the words, “emmenez madame,” which means, “take madame away.” She was then taken out to the street where she was tortured and murdered. When I found out about this particular murder in history, I was of course horrified. Just replace some nouns dropped in her trial, and you see how relevant her trial is to today.

I hope there won’t be violence no matter how much we disagree. I pray for peace and that I can act peacefully. I’ll still fight for what I believe in. I admit I’m still unsure how. That’s why I see Princess Lamballe, who lived in the eighteenth century, as a new kind of hero. I’m beginning to recognize these kinds of heroes more. They have such diverse beliefs than the new leadership yet show respect to the government and try to be unified. It’s fortunate we have such great examples living in these times because it’s tough. It’s easier said than done.

Sources and Further Readings:
“Elders Oaks, Holland counsel young adults regarding political divisions and life’s changes.” Deseret News. Accessed January 21, 2017
“The Death of the Princesse de Lamballe”  MadameGuillotine.org. Accessed January 21, 2017.
“Princess Marie Louise of Savoy”  Wikipedia. org. Accessed January 21, 2016

Images:
Portrait of the Princess of Lamballe by Anton Hickel, 1788.
Portrait of Madame de Lamballe by Louis-Edouard Rioult .

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The Princess, the King, and the Tyrant

It’s strange to start out with the moral at the beginning of the story, but that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you. No, Maximilien Robespierre will tell you:

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Maximilien Robespierre was a well-spoken leader who led with terror.

 

“Citizens, take warning; you are being fooled by false notions.”

Those words are taken from an address to justify the execution of Louis XVI.

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King Louis XVI of France wanted peace.

It also sums up what others would feel toward Robespierre as time went on. Basically, it leads to the question: What is truth?

Maximilien Robespierre had pushed for Louis XVI’s execution but wasn’t for Princess Elisabeth’s, the King’s sister.

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Princess Elisabeth of France. The King’s youngest sibling.

Yet, she was executed May 10, 1794. And a couple months later, Robespierre would be executed.

The lives of the Princess, the King, and the Tyrant were connected way before the French Revolution.

Losses

An important place to start is the year of 1764. It was important to both the Robespierre and the Bourbon families.

In May, Maximilien Robespierre turned six, and the royal Bourbons welcomed a baby princess.

In July, Robespierre’s mother gave birth—to a stillborn son. She died soon after. Robespierre’s sister recalled in her memoirs this death changed him. He lost his childhood. In addition to that, his father left the family. The man who was supposed to be one of the most important  role models in a young boy’s life distanced himself from his children. I consider this to be Robespierre’s first major rejection.

The Bourbon children lost their parents to death within three years of Princess Elisabeth’s birth.

Successes

Despite losing parents young, Louis, Elisabeth, and Robespierre were all very intelligent and accomplished individuals. Just to mention some examples: Louis excelled in languages; Elisabeth in mathematics; Robespierre in rhetoric. All three wanted to be models of virtue. The Bourbon children took a religious approach while Robespierre leaned on secular philosophies.

Elisabeth carried a certain charm from her earliest days. Despite being a wild child, Elisabeth grew up to be lovely and known for her piety and wit. There were three proposed marriages, but in the end, she and her brother, now King, agreed that she would stay with the family.

Sometime early in Louis’ reign, he and his wife stopped by the school Robespierre attended. In fact, Robespierre was handpicked to give a speech in Latin at the special ceremony for the King and Queen. It turned out to be a dismal day. It was rainy, the monarchs were running late, and when they did arrive, they stayed in their carriage for the speech and ceremony. They left promptly after the ceremony. Robespierre had just been rejected by high society.

Life’s not fair! Right, Robespierre?

But Robespierre was a bright student and would eventually move up his way into politics after completing school. He started on a small scale during the king’s early reign. Louis and Marie-Antoinette had more of a positive image then.

To someone like Robespierre, it probably seemed as if the King had everything. Besides not agreeing with the King’s politics, I think there were other things that Robespierre  would find bothersome about the King. Louis XVI had obtained power through family deaths. He had a beautiful family, and he had a live sibling born in 1764. The King got a free pass while Robespierre slaved away to get to the top.

Annoying Sister

Elisabeth annoyed her sister-in-law at times. She could surprise her brother. But there was never any doubt that these individuals cared for one another, and that the King and Queen would be eternally grateful to Elisabeth for staying with the family to the very end.

Elisabeth felt she was following God’s plan for her. She was heaven sent in the eyes of Louis and his family.

She was certainly a type of nuisance for Robespierre. If only she had escaped like some of her other family members, he wouldn’t have been caught in a desperate situation.  He fought for her at her trial. But he lost. He just wanted her to be exiled, not guillotined.

People marveled at her poise during her trial and execution.

She had just turned thirty the week before she was executed in May 1794.

Fooled by False Notions

More and more people considered themselves “fooled by false notions.” The new government had stressed equality and virtue— so why were so many being punished and put to death?

Robespierre and his comrades became distrustful of one another. They too felt they had been fooled. They weren’t as loyal as they professed they would be. He had helped to reform this new society, and now he and former allies were betraying each other. This was  Robespierre’s third and final rejection.

Robespierre was executed in July 1794. Had his stillborn brother lived, he would have turned thirty a few weeks before—the same age as Elisabeth, who had met her death in her birthday month of May for being loyal to family. An eerie coincidence.

While I don’t accept that Robespierre is scapegoat of history, I do feel sorry for him. He had all these ambitions and felt that to fulfill them, he needed to take away life. In the end, the curse he set on so many rebounded on him.

 

Sources:

Maxwell-Scott Mary Moniac. Madame Elizabeth de France, 1764-1794.

Robespierre, Charlotte. Charlotte Robespierre’s Memoirs: Part 1.By   http://revolution-fr.livejournal.com/2370.html  accessed August 16, 2016.

Ten Brink, Jan. Robespierre and the Red Terror. 1899.

Trail and Execution (French): de Beauchesne, Alicide-Hyacint

Images:
Princess Elisabeth of France by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (Public domain in U.S.) 1782

Portrait of Louis XVI by Antoine-Francois Callet. 1788 (Public Domain in U.S.)

Portrait of Maximilien Robespierre. 1790 (Public Domain in U.S.)

 

 

 

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Review of Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy by Elena Maria Vidal left me a lot to think about. 

Elena Maria Vidal is a fantastic writer and researcher. She paints a realistic portrait of Marie-Antoinette with facts to back all of it up. It’s very exciting. This book is spiritual, adventurous, and sweet.

I was especially surprised to learn about two specific pieces of unique artwork. It was fun to find out that Louis XVI kept a certain, flirty picture of Marie-Antoinette on his desk in which she’s dressed like a goddess holding a vase with his profile on it. The other one was a tearjerker sketch of Marie-Antoinette entering heaven to her welcoming husband and her two children who died before her.

One of the most memorable scenes comes from a memoir of a servant who witnessed Louis XVI coming into Marie-Antoinette’s room. While he’s being comforted by his wife, she commands the servant to leave.

From other examples, it’s obvious he suffered from depression, but with all the exterior events and past memories, who could blame him? And shouldn’t Marie-Antoinette get the most dedicated wife award? She stuck with him despite the multiple times he wanted her and their children to go to safety.

The spouses gave each other strength and were concerned parents. After their deaths, their daughter was provided for thanks to Louis’ emergency fund and Marie-Antoinette’s diamonds that had been sneaked out of France.

Thank you, Ms. Vidal, for providing so much information that makes me want to learn more!