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Friday 15 August 2014

Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii's describes Grand Duchess Elizabeth

The future Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii attended Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations and in her book Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen, included a lovely account of what happened. I have always believed that the tall young lady she mentions in her account of the reception on 20th June 1887 is Ella, Grand Duchess Elizabeth...Apart from her 'presence' the star in her hair gives it away. Interesting that Ella probably had more jewels than any of the other guests, yet did not show off with them on her grandmother's day!

There were duchesses with shining tiaras, marchionesses with coronets of flashing stones, noble ladies with costly necklaces or emerald ear-drops, little women who seemed almost bowed down under lofty circlets of diamonds over their brows, tall women bearing proudly off their adornment of stones of priceless value. I have never seen such a grand display of valuable gems in my life. There was such a profusion of brilliant and handsome jewels before my eyes, that to compute its worth would be to lose one's self in a maze of confusing calculation. Yet there was amidst the shining throng one young lady, tall and of commanding presence, whose sole ornament was a single glittering star fixed in her hair. It shone forth more brightly, attracted my gaze more quickly, and its elegant simplicity excited my admiration above all others. She was a lady of high rank, and it is a matter of regret to me that I did not learn her name.


Gem said...

This was a very lovely account. I'd also want to believe that it was Ella that she was referring to because of the star and her strong presence wherever she goes.

Christina said...

Thank you, Gem, for commenting :-) I agree with you :-)

Anonymous said...

She was a complex person. I read a memoir by one of her nieces by marriage and that relative described Elizabeth as a very self absorbed woman who was not warm to a child who was motherless and virtually fatherless since he was banished from Russia for marrying someone not of the blood. The niece came to terms with it as a grownup but she was very lonely as a child and did not get loving attention from Elizabeth that she craved. I wonder how much Ella was actually like her sister. Has anyone else read about this contradiction in Ella's character.

Christina said...

Thank you for commenting :-) The niece, Maria Pavlovna had a rather jaundiced view of the world, I think, and she appears to have transferred to Ella the disappointment she felt at being abandoned by her father. Maria's brother, Dmitri, loved Ella as did many other children: her niece Alice Battenberg adored her, as did her younger cousin Marie of Edinburgh; Anna Vyrubova - who later had issues with Ella - recalled visiting her home with other children and how she hid treats for them and what fun they had; Felix Yussupov loved her from childhood;and the countless orphans she helped felt nothing but affection for her. All this suggests that the difficulty lay with Maria rather than Ella.