Friday, 8 July 2016

Paleis Soestdijk - Grand Duchess Anna Palovna

When looking at Mårten Hougström  [], photos of Paleis Soestdijk, the former palace of GD Anna Pavlovna, Queen of the Netherlands, reminded me of a question I had reading Grand Duchess Olga N’s memoir.

She wrote in 1835 “… With her [GD Anna P.] arrogant face and cold eyes, she did not like Papa. I think she was in a bad mood, but generally she feared him, while Aunt Maria Weimar, Papa’s sister too, was respected by all, despite her certain sluggishness …”
Her memoir was written from 1881 to 1883. I tend to believe the intervening years of controversial relationships between Wurttemberg and Holland impacted her later view of her aunt.

There are scarce sources in English on the life of GD Anna Pavlovna. A caricature is the general impression describing her insistence on royal prerogatives within her family and inner circle.
I am curious. Do archival fonds contain diaries and letters on her visits to the Winter Palace, viewing her former rooms? The opportunities for Dutch authors, researchers and translators are widespread today to reach English readers.

GD Olga N. also wrote about Prince Alexander Golitsyn, an old family friend, who supervised the children when Nicholas I and Alexandra F. were away.  “… [Prince Golitsyn] kept a diary about us, which was sent on a weekly basis to Papa. He [NI] answered with the next courier, writing [in pencil] on the edges of the sheets. I do not know whether these letters have survived; there were drawings and full of jokes …”
The diary survived!

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