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Author: Subject: Correspondence between Heads of State
Rusalka
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[*] posted on 9/17/2004 at 00:59
Correspondence between Heads of State


Perhaps I am showing my ignorance in this matter, however I was surprised to find this particular cover available for auction:


http://www.bennettstamps.com/sale255/lot1158.htm

Somehow I would have expected that the Imperial Family would have been exempt from using the services of the ordinary postal services for reasons of security and privacy. Were not diplomatic channels used to transmit correspondence between Heads of State?
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Gary
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[*] posted on 9/17/2004 at 17:10


How do we know this is a "real" letter as described? I am not saying it is not!

What about the kantselariya mail?
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Rusalka
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[*] posted on 9/18/2004 at 00:34


A couple of things bother me about this cover:

1. The destination is written as Windsor Castle while no country was stated.

2. The absence of an Imperial monogram on the cover, which would be the expected practice had the Empress actually sent the letter. She certainly owned her own easily identifiable personal stationary.

3. There is no certainty that the Empress actually wrote the address. More than likely it would have been one of her Maids of Honour surely???

4. Had The Empress self-addressed the cover, surely she would addressed her letter to H. M. Queen Victoria?

5. There is no proof that Queen Victoria wrote a notation on the back of the cover.
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yozhik
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smile.gif posted on 9/20/2004 at 07:06
Heads of state


Just a small point but the empress was not "head of state" and her private correspondence with her grandmother would not have gone through diplomatic channels.

some circumstantial points:

The mourning stationery is appropriate to the death of the tsar the previous year. The mourning went on fo at least a year and the tsar mentions in his letters on 21st November 1895 about suspending the mourning of his father to celebrate the birth of his daughter Olga.

I have seen the stright line tsarskoe selo on other corespondence from the summer palace.

A letter from the Empress to Queeen Victoria in August of 1895 would have been appropriate as Queen victoria was celebrating her Golden anniversay that month. Many Royals including the Kaiser visited her but the Tsar and Tsarina did not as, another possible reason for correspondence, at that time is that the Empress was pregnant with The Grand duchess Olga who would be born on 3rd November (old style). The baby was actually expected in October and the Empress had been quite ill during her pregnancy and could not therefore travel to England in August.

During her pregnancy the Alexander Palace at tsarskoe selo was being refurbished for the family to use when the child was born and the empress was sending to england for furnishings, cushions, chintzes and so on to furnish the palace in the English style of her grandmothers appartments. another reason for private correspondence between the empress and Queen Victoria. It is also worth noting that Alexandra was one of Victorias favourite grand-children.

All that said Rusalkas questions need answering, Such covers do come up from time to time but the auctioneer could provide more by way of provenance.
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yozhik
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biggrin.gif posted on 9/20/2004 at 07:25


having just re-read the postings another thought occured to me. One of Rusalkas comments questioned the envelope being in the tsarinas hand and whether a maid of honour would have written this. I cannot attest to the handwriting but can add the following:

1.The language of the Russian court was French.

2.The cover is addressed in English which was the language that the Empress preferred. She rarely spoke French - her French was not up to court standard and used English with Nicholas.

3.The Tsarina had begun learning Russian upon her marriage to Nicholas but it was still a largely foreign language to her - something exacerbated by the use of French at court.

The above may the adressing of the envelope in English and would fit with it being addresed by the Tsarina personally although they in no way prove that it was so.
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Rusalka
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[*] posted on 9/21/2004 at 01:34


Thanks Anatoly for pointing this out.

Why would the country АНГЛИЯ be written in Russian while the remainder of the address is all written in English?

It does not make any practical sense.

Yozhik,

I believe that Alexandra spoke impeccable English, not out of preference, but because Queen Victoria effectively brought her up in England, after the death of her mother Princess Alice (in Germany) from a very early age. It was the language she was most comfortable with.
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oldteddy
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[*] posted on 9/21/2004 at 06:26
Two languages


This Russian АНГЛИЯ is rather easy to explain - it was FOR THE RUSSIAN POST OFFICE (not all Post Office clerks were polyglots), while the rest of the address was FOR THE BRITISH POST OFFICE.

It was rather common on Russian mail abroad to state the country of destination in Russian or in Russian and in a foreign language. Sometimes the sender gave the country's name in both languages, sometimes the Russian Post Office added Russian version in manuscript (usually with a color pencil). I show below an example of such mixed addressing - in this case almost everything in the address is duplicated (in a rather clumsy way) in two languages, most likely by the sender.

sh7-env-63.jpg - 43kB
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Rusalka
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[*] posted on 9/22/2004 at 01:33


Thanks oldteddy for clearing this up for me. ;)
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[*] posted on 9/22/2004 at 14:44
something else


This item was playing through my mind again the other day as I was sure that I had missed something. It came back to me later...

The question was asked as to why a "maid of honour" would not have written the cover rather than the Empress herself.

It may be academic but at the time this cover was posted the Empress was having some trouble with the "maids of honour" that had been appointed to her suite. There is a long story behind this of misunderstandings and the differences between the English/German courts where the empress was raised and the Russian court. Suffice to say that There was a growing antagonism between the Dowager empress and Alexandra Feodorovna and the maids were embroiled in this. The upshot was that the empress did not trust the majority of her official maids of honour.

Again it is circumstantial but it does fit.
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