Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr
Christopher WarwickISBN: 047087063X; 9780470870631;
Considered to have been the most beautiful princess in Europe, capable of arousing ‘profane passions’, Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, or ‘Ella’ as she was known, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the daughter of Princess Alice of Great Britain and Grand Duke Louis of Hesse. A privileged, happy Victorian childhood was touched by tragedy not only with the early deaths of her youngest brother and sister but also that of her young mother. Close to Queen Victoria, Ella spent some of her happiest times in Britain. At 20, however, much against the wishes of her grandmother, who despised everything Russian, Ella became engaged to Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, the authoritarian younger brother of Tsar Alexander III. It was at their wedding that her younger sister, Alix, formed a love match with the future Tsar Nicholas II; an event which not only sealed the fate of both sisters, but that of the Imperial House of Romanov. But for these two marriages, the history of Russia might...
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