Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Queen and the Empress

Queen Louise of Prussia and Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna of Russia

In 1809, Tsar Alexander I and the Empress Elizabeth welcomed King Frederick William III of Prussia and Queen Louise in St. Petersburg. The lovely and vivacious Prussian queen managed to charm the whole court, even the Empress Elizabeth herself. The sight of these two beautiful women together caused quite a sensation at the Russian court. Apparently, Louise and Elizabeth instantly "clicked" and they were to become very good friends. Observers were quick to notice the physical resemblance between the two and Joseph de Maistre, Sardinian ambassador to Russia wrote in his memoirs:
"[Queen Louise] has often been compared to the reigning Empress [Elizabeth]. The Queen may be a beautiful woman, but the Empress is a more beautiful sovereign."
After the Prussian couple's departure, Queen Louise and Empress Elizabeth continued writing to each other. Louise wrote to Elizabeth about her and her husband's return to Berlin:
"Our entry was a very touching experience. The people received us with the utmost joy. We could feel that they welcomed us with all their hearts. The King has never been more popular. We see only friendly faces everywhere. God be thanked that we are again in Berlin. Whatever we may still have to endure will be more easily endured here."
Elizabeth was very fond of the Prussian queen. She confided to her mother her thoughts about Louise:
"There is no need for me to measure my words and exercise prudence in speaking of the Queen of Prussia. It is impossible for anyone to be more delightful, more easy to get on with than she is. I cannot think how those reports about her affectation and coquetry originated. I have never seen a trace of any such thing. She was extremely sociable, and one could note the liveliness of her natural disposition. Her relations with the King were quite a pleasure to me. In society she was sure of her position and quite at her ease. Alone with me she was genuinely friendly and confidential. If there is any shade in her portrait I assure you it is barely perceptible."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Isabella of Angouleme, Queen of England

A Victorian artist's engraving of Isabella.
My first post for this month is about an English queen from the Middle Ages: Isabella of Angouleme. Isabella was one of England's least popular queens consort. This was partly attributed to her husband's bad reputation and partly for her own indiscreet and troublesome ways. Her turbulent life perfectly mirrors the struggles between England and France during the 13th century.

She was described to be a stunningly beautiful woman and possessed the Middle Ages' ideal of beauty: blonde hair and blue eyes. She was called "The Fair Maid of Angouleme" and the "Helen of the Middle Ages". Despite her lovely face, Isabella was not a well-liked Queen during and even after her lifetime; she was described to be vain and capricious, and her marriage to the even more unpopular and disliked King John added more fuel to the people's growing hatred and dissatisfaction on his rule.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Powered by Blogger