Sunday, 12 March 2017

Archduchess Stephanie in Peterhof & Wolfsgarten

In the Hofburg, Vienna on August 15th, 1896 Empress Alexandra wrote her brother Ernest “… Stephanie [widow of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria] was directly charming – she must be coming now in a minute, as she wanted to see me a little quietly …” [Petra Kleinpenning ‘Correspondence of Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig’]

On Saturday, July 12th, 1897 Nicholas II wrote “… Before lunch Stephanie arrived from Moscow, whom we met at the station and took to the Farm [Peterhof]. We settled her downstairs, where Alix had just been staying …” and on Sunday, July 13th “… After Mass we had lunch with Stephanie and her suite …”

On Saturday, July 19th, 1897 Nicholas wrote “… lunch which we had at Mama’s [Cottage Peterhof]. We all had our pictures taken there, vying with each other, we jumped on the net with Stephanie …” and on Sunday July 20th “… At 2PM we took Stephanie to the dock; Stephanie went off to Piter and then to Finland and to Valaam. We became so accustomed to her; she is completely warm and smart! …”

Aerials Photographs (below) of Peterhof and the Cottage

On September 6th, 1897 Grand Duchess Marie wrote her daughter Missy from Coburg “… Ducky wrote today that this tiresome Sephanie has announced herself, therefore she will hardly have time to come here. I am going to try to persuade Ducky to put her off. And then come Nicky & Alix & Henry & Irene, all with their children …” and on September 25th  “… Ducky wrote that Stephanies séjour was quite pleasant this time …” [Diana Mandache 'Dearest Missy']

Photograph (below) of Archduchess Stephanie and her daughter Elizabeth

On Saturday, September 11th, 1899 Nicholas and Alix arrived in Wolfsgarten “… We were put with children in Alix’ little house in very pretty rooms …” and on Sunday, September 12th Nicholas wrote “… At 12 Archduchess Stephanie arrived with her daughter and Niki from Friedrichshof …”

On September 19th, 1899 Grand Duchess Marie in Illinskoe wrote her daughter Missy “… Poor Ducky, do you know, I think it quite dreadful, those constant guests and so tiring. I believe the Majesties are going to stay an eternity, as Ella tells me, that Nicky particularly enjoyed the idea of a stay at Wolfsgarten. I cannot imagine that Stephanie ould wish such a very bad marriage for her only daughter. Nicky of Greece is a very nice boy, but now I consider him extremely cunning to have hit upon a very rich princess! …”

Aerial Photograph & Plan (below) of Wolfsgarten north of Darmstadt

On Sunday, October 10th, 1899 Nicholas wrote “… At 10:20 we went with Niki [of Greece] to Mass in Darmstadt and returned at 12:30. Max [of Baden] came to lunch and played tennis with us …” Later, Max was the former fiancé of Grand Duchess Helen, daughter of Vladimir and Maria Pavlovna, who then married Niki.


  1. Oh, very nice! A whole bunch of royal gossiping. ; ) Glad that Nicholas had nice things to say about Stéphanie, though; she didn't have a very happy life, all told.

  2. Also, wonderful images. With all that survived - or was recreated - at Peterhof, I'm so sad that the English Palace didn't....

  3. I do like Grand Duchess Marie - although a moment of annoyance when it interferes with her plans.

  4. Stephanie was very critical of the Romanovs in her memoirs. She wrote they gave a ball soon after Rudolph s death.That they only bothered to drap the mirrors in black...

  5. Very interesting stream of correspondence (and gossip) which fleshes out these royals as being, at times, real people too.

  6. Amazing post, love how you mix the description with excerpts from memoirs and letters ! Let me suggest you to dedicate a post to the Special Storeroom or Pantry (Особая кладовая) in the Great Palace of Peterhof and to the state visits of French presidents Faure (1897) and Poincaré (1914) ;)

  7. Now I am curious on the Special Storeroom in Peterhof!

    Was it under the Ministry of Court i.e. Anichkov storerooms 2 and 3?

    1. Well I'm not sure, actually it the first time that I read about the Anichkov storerooms.... XD I think that only the lower floor of the Special Storeroom in Peterhof was actually used as a warehouse, on the second floor (European first floor) there was the private apartment of Catherine the Great, later used as a accommodation for foreign heads of state, at least under Nicholas II.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. It was a storeroom then for the Peterhof palace i.e. extra furniture, carpets, materials for repairs?