Palais Edinburg, Coburg
After a short breathing time we are again beginning a life of anxiety, as Ali starts today for Morocco. It suddenly has begun again there, though a soit disant peace was made and Ali was going to stay a fortnight longer. Now he has to hurry back, as all officers were recalled and nothing has been done for him by Alfonso, on the contrary, we have discovered from very sure sources new infamies that he spreads about his cousin, so as not to call him back to Spain as Infante. He pretends that Ali tried to get out of the first big fight by pretending to be ill at Melilla! Now we are going to get material against Alfonso through diplomatical sources and I have already written to the Russian Ambassador at Madrid. It cannot last longer as those infamies will never end, until they succeed to get Ali killed, I think it would be an immense relief to Alfonso. He is absolutely a vile character, holds no promises, never sticks to his word and is very jealous besides. It seems that now, he cannot stand Ali being popular in the army and therefore he tries to blacken his character in every way. Of course his entourage keeps him up in those ideas, as no doubt they don’t want to have the Ali’s back: he is energetic and clever in a way and sister dear is feared on account of her sharp tongue, so goodness only knows what it is all going to end. But if we get high and mighty relations to bear down upon Alfonso, he might get a great fright, because he is full of vain glory and would smart under Imperial and Royal disapprovals of his conduct. I am going to stop at nothing now though I have no personal relations with Alfonso or his mother since Baby’s marriage. But I know that they are afraid of me and always apprehend some new outburst. Their consciences are uneasy. But even Aunt Beatrice wrote now, that there were intrigues against Ali, which meant an enormous effort on her part as she adores Alfonso and would never admit a word said against him. She even behaved nastily, considering her soit disant love for Baby. I gathered a good bit of information through Ali’s hideous little brother, who also goes today. He is the only one who tackles Alfonso, as he is not serving and has not much to lose. He says, that he considers Alfonso absolutely stupid and inconsequent in all his doings, he won’t admit that he is in the least intelligent and proud and absurd to a degree. He has just seen him and talked very openly to him. He says that he is quite hopeless, for he never sticks to his word and has no idea of honour or gentlemanly conduct. Luis is widerlich  as person, but not stupid and certainly can be very amusing in comparison with the Battenberg boys, who are so absolutely pas cultivé, that one might as well talk to babies. Thank God that Carol is intelligent and so full of interests, as it makes life so much easier and for a man and prince it is invaluable. Luckily Poldi at least is fond of music and through Fichtner we arranged for him every day a small orchestra, where he played the flute and Maurice the big drum! Yesterday they performed before the Red Cross sisters, to whom Baby gives annually a big tea under the Christmas tree, which we keep in the dining room table till my Christmas. We were quite jolly until this unexpected war news came again, it feel like a black cloud upon our small company. . . Continue reading
Palais Edinburg. Coburg. December 23rd 1906
I must write a few words amongst all the agitations of Christmas, of course, it is always a laborious time and the weather being “exquisite” now, one wants to be out in the afternoons. Perfect winter atmosphere, dry, snowy, sunny! Very good sledging and skating also started. I do enjoy sledging. I bought a new light and comfortable sledge and it is heavenly going along. Well, Ducky is looking very well, though beginning to get uncomfortable in a dozen small ways. She is very large but it all sits up very high, making her quite out of breath and the kicking little creature makes her start from time to time. But she comes over often and does not let herself go. She is enchanted to be back, as at Paris she had to go out often to big parties and it began to be very troublesome in her advanced state. Kyrill is gracious and in good humour for him! Only he will insist on driving her every day in an uncomfortable high American sledge, when she can hardly lift her legs to jet into any carriage at all! I tell him every day about it but he won’t see it and she is absolutely his slave. He is obstinate like a mule and the whole business is so simple to get a low comfortable sledge and she does enjoy it, as she won’t walk a step. Very bad for her, but here comes her obstinacy. Well, well, I am old fashioned enough to believe in the excellency of moderate walking before confinements, for otherwise you gradually get incapable of moving at all. But she always was mal sur jambes. Of course we play bridge after dinner, even till midnight, because they both like it so much. Baby has been angelrut and, as a fact, does not dislike it at all, but she is terribly slow, which is trying and prolongs the pleasure. Continue reading
June 12th 1904, Buckingham Palace
Only a few words in the middle of the greatest agitations, but all going well and Baby enjoying it very much. We had a court ball, a big dinner and a concert, a private dinner and dance at Lord Farquhar and more opera then I quite can stand… All very amiable, especially the Majesties, no explanations or unpleasant conversations, Aunt Alix quite charming and remarkably “frisky”, enjoying life more than she did for years, all tell me so. Yesterday I went with her for a long auto drive in the country and as I have found her far more nervous than myself, I was not a bit ridiculous and sat in perfect calm. We had tea in the grass with some select people and dinner at Lady de Grey. Oh! You see, I am severely in for it, but I will do them all, as I am fresh and well, and they already tired! So I develop all my spirits and astound them! Non of your dull poor old Duchess, for I auftreten with the greatest aplomb and pounce upon all my acquaintances. Well, this will set me up again in London society and I stand it for a short time, but it is very fatiguing and I drop to sleep on an armchair even before luncheon and a frightfully correct page wakes me up with a start, to announce 2 o’clock and luncheon. The whole morning I have been seeing people and “gushing Gussy” is very trying, because she jabbers away and I never can turn her out of the room within a good half hour. This afternoon the Majesties go off to Windsor for Ascot week and we to Kensington which might just be a bit dull, for I don’t think Aunty B. cultivates much the society, nor sees many people. However, there are some invitations for Baby and myself. Imagine that she is quite different determined to amuse herself and danced with pleasure, sans se faire prier! What a good thing for her. We went once to Clarence House to tea and Aunt Alix came too. Well, it gave me a pang at first, but it is much changed and in many ways immensely improved, only my own rooms were much nicer before. Aunt Louischen always looks sour, so I don’t find that she is worse than before.
Has Ducky written to you to say, how all our efforts to arrange their marriage, miserably failed again and just as all seemed so well arranged! It is too wretched for words and now we again don’t know what to do. A last effort is being made by Erni H. and if that fails I think we must apply to the King and his kindness. The details I cannot write now, as I have only a short half hour to write and must end now, the mornings are always one series of interruptions and later on I am quite incapable. Aunt Alix would be so pleased to see you, but she says the 15th of July is too late. I saw the Astors, thought him also charming but advised him to let his moustache grow again… This Thursday I asked to go to Ascot to show baby this dull amusement, one day we can stand it. This week more opera but I prefer some amusing plays… You know that Ducky and Kyrill are at Langenburg, went all together in automobile.
Much love, please write soon. Aunt Alix enchanted with your picture.
Dearest Missy,2011, pp.235-236 ©Diana Mandache
Schloss Rosenau, Coburg, 29 September 1895
Many thanks for your last letter. You seemed terribly agacée with Aunt and I can understand it, but what is to be done? If one thinks that she is positively mad, it is perhaps easier to bear. But then one might say, that if she was an ordinary person, she would have been probably shut up, or at least put under restraint. The misfortune is that at Sinaia you must live so close to her, in town you will feel it less when you have your own entirely separate home. I always thought that it would be much wiser if you could establish yourself at least part of the year near Jassy, where Nando has a place of his own. Every year you will find it more difficult to put up with Aunt, for she cannot improve, she will even probably become more and more odd as years go on and more and more trying as the children grow up. But then you will have Cotroceni to stay at as long as you like and you must also make it a rule to come abroad every year to refresh yourself. Does Uncle not understand how you must suffer under Aunt, or he pretends not to? Yet he knows well enough how mad she really is and could he not help you to keep away from her as much as possible? Why not talk with him quite openly? Cannot your father-in-law help you? It must be a comfort having him there. Think of the delight of having your own house in winter!
I have very little to relate now as we are perfectly alone at the Rosenau, Papa gone to the Tyrol, Erni H. also gone to the mountains, to his father’s place. He was terribly sad to leave; even cried, but his father wanted him for the shooting and he is too good a son to disappoint his Papa. Sandra is cheerful and very content, writes to him every day and looks forward to his coming back very soon. We have always the most heavenly weather and are not thinking yet of leaving for town. I am writing in the garden, we even dine out of doors, which we never have done yet the last days of September. I read now a great deal with sisters and enjoy this quiet and peaceful life very much. Only it is too terribly dry and will soon become a calamity as the water is drying out in many places. We go sometimes to the theatre, as the evening drives are delightful now. For Alfred’s birthday we are going to have a quite big ball and I hope that Ernie and Ducky will come. Sandra’s marriage is not to be before next summer, as we cannot well manage it before with the Coronation and the visit to England. But I hope that Papa will consent to go to England in April and have the marriage in June, when we come back from Russia, instead of going to England then. One must not try his patience too much, as it is rather hard for young men to wait so long. I like him every day more, he is really extremely nice and Sandra is to be envied for her good luck. I must now stop with many tender kisses. Could I only help you with Aunt, but one is powerless when one has to do with a mad woman who is not shut up!
Your old Mama