Charming signed letter written from Denmark from Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia (1882 – 1960), dated 28th june / 10th July 1923 (Old Style and New Style), witten in French from Hvidore and addressed to her former tutor Ferdinand Thormeyer, discussing her family..
"My dear Siocha, it has been some time since we have written to one another. I received your good letter – the last one – about the Lake – but did not find the time nor the xxx to write to you! Now we are enjoying some admirably beautiful weather – not too hot – not too humid, no wind, delightful really! The children have started to swim in the sea – and they are overjoyed – running for hours completely nude on our beach, that too delights them. They are all well. A little American boy, Bobbie, the grandson of the minister Mr. Prince, comes from the town to spend a nice day with my little ones and swim with them. He is a young boy of nearly 7 years – very spirited – who Muxonz likes a good deal. I am reading a French book by Marcelle Tinayre. Priscille Séverac. A Russian lady sent me it from Berlin. The idea is somewhat striking – and corresponds to an idea that many people share. Read this book, Liocha. I am interested to know what you think of it. While the American squadron was here, I made the acquaintance of 3 little sailors from the Philippine Islands who I found in our church one Sunday. We invited them to our home. They were as sweet as children! Of Malay (Malayan?) origin, they spoke English and Spanish. They liked xxx! They eat so much and in general they were really nice. I asked them about their religious beliefs. One replied ever so well to me: “What does that do – we love the same Christ…” I loved him for that reply. After that first visit they grew attached to us – came to see us – and one came to bid us farewell – the others were on duty – but I received some touching letters. And there you have our newest little friends! They look to be Siamese. The other friends from xxx write very often from Holland – where they are now finishing their tour with success.
And how are you? Have you rested well? I am writing to you – on the ground beneath an old pear tree – my two sons are by my side – telling one another frightful stories (and who push me in such a terrible way!). It is Guri who invents – and his elder brother listens and then interrupts him and continues the story himself. The sea is like a mirror – the sky has not a cloud – it has been so for 9 days! The strawberries are finally in season – and there is a great number of them. On Sunday, with the children, we were invited to the circus! Our joy was enormous. The Circus is truly good – it comes each summer from Berlin – [Circus] Schuman [sic]. The clowns are excellent and very interesting.
I am worried and unhappy that my husband’s kidney is hurting him again (he has a stone). We can do nothing but wait – and that is so awful and uncertain… Ah! If we were true Christians – who xxx commandment – then we would have no illnesses at all… our faith in God would cure us… What a sad thing – that all or nearly all Christians are not what we could have been. What a nightmare!?
My sons are now up in the tree – and all sorts of dirt is falling onto my head – and down my neck. Unbearable! I must finish. Goodbye dear Siocha. How nice it is! With all my friendship and best wishes. Kindest regards, Olga.
28 June 1923
/10 July Hvidore"
Olga was the youngest child of Emperor Alexander III of Russia and younger sister of Tsar Nicholas II. It comes in its original heavy ormolu brass frame direct from the Kulikovsky family.
She was raised at the Gatchina Palace outside Saint Petersburg. Olga's relationship with her mother, Empress Marie, the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark, was strained and distant from childhood. In contrast, she and her father were close. He died when she was 12, and her brother Nicholas became emperor.
In 1901, she married Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg, who was privately believed by family and friends to be homosexual. Their marriage of 15 years remained unconsummated, and Peter at first refused Olga's request for a divorce. The couple led separate lives and their marriage was eventually annulled by the Emperor in October 1916. The following month Olga married cavalry officer Nikolai Kulikovsky, with whom she had fallen in love several years before. During the First World War, the Grand Duchess served as an army nurse at the front and was awarded a medal for personal gallantry. At the downfall of the Romanovs in the Russian Revolution of 1917, she fled to the Crimea with her husband and children, where they lived under the threat of assassination. Her brother and his family were shot by revolutionaries.
Olga escaped revolutionary Russia with her second husband and their two sons in February 1920. They joined her mother, the Dowager Empress, in Denmark. In exile, Olga acted as companion and secretary to her mother, and was often sought out by Romanov impostors who claimed to be her dead relatives. She met Anna Anderson, the best-known impostor, in Berlin in 1925. After the Dowager Empress's death in 1928, Olga and her husband purchased a dairy farm in Ballerup, near Copenhagen. She led a simple life: raising her two sons, working on the farm and painting. During her lifetime, she painted over 2,000 works of art, which provided extra income for both her family and the charitable causes she supported.
In 1948, feeling threatened by Joseph Stalin's regime, Olga emigrated with her immediate family to a farm in Ontario, Canada. With advancing age, Olga and her husband moved to a bungalow near Cooksville, Ontario. Colonel Kulikovsky died there in 1958. Two years later, as her health deteriorated, Olga moved with devoted friends to a small apartment in East Toronto. She died aged 78, seven months after her older sister, Xenia. At the end of her life and afterwards, Olga was widely labeled the last Grand Duchess of Imperial Russia.
Ferdinand Thormeyer – Siocha to his imperial correspondents – came from the Geneva district of Carouge, and was appointed French tutor to the children of Alexander III in 1886, when he was 28.
He stayed with them until 1899 and remained close to them, and to Russia, in spirit and through letters for the rest of his life. Even after returning to Switzerland in 1899, he remained strongly attached to Russia. During the First World War he was a Red Cross delegate, and visited Russian prisoners of war. He set up a “Russian corner” in his house with the souvenirs he had collected – gifts, postcards, photos, telegrams, the menus of imperial breakfasts, details of the timetable and composition of trains used by the tsar and his family. He died childless in 1944
Hvidøre House is a former country house at Klampenborg, just south of Bellevue Beach, on the Øresund coast north of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is most known for serving as the home of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, daughter of King Christian IX and mother of the last Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, after she was exiled by the Russian Revolution of 1917. It now serves as a conference and training venue for the Novo Group.
Size: 25 x 19.5 cm approx