On 17 March 1909 Maria Alexandrovna went to Tsarskoe Selo and lunched with the Imperial family. She wrote the first impressions in a letter to her daugher Marie of Romania:
Alix looks blooming and was amiable, we talked a great deal about Ella, as she does not approve of all her exaggerated charitable doings. At luncheon a free conversation is impossible, as those big girls are all ears. As they never see any lady, ces Demoiselles are much interested at every newcomer and examined me from head to foot. I thought they were laughing at me, but they whispered to their father, that I was “a very amusing Aunt!” Fancy what dull members of the family they must see, to find me so entertaining and in that smiles too, where one feels so jênée and has to carry on the conversation. [Extract from RNA holdings]
©Diana Mandache and http://royalromania.wordpress.com 2009.