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Cordelia Fitzgerald

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« on: April 18, 2022, 01:40:10 AM »

Could anyone explain the nuances of why exactly George V refused to give refuge to Nicholas and his family when they asked?  I remember reading something about Queen Mary didn't think the British public would be ok with it and she didn't want to weaken British support for their monarchy.  Is that right, and why did she think the public would be so against it?

I know there is a wealth of knowledge and more to the point understanding of nuance on this board, and if anyone wanted to fill me in I'd love it!

It's come up in my one of my classes and I'd like to have a thorough answer for my students!  Smiley

Or, if this has been addressed in a previous thread that I have overlooked, I'd welcome being pointed in that direction!
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emtishell

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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2022, 02:17:07 AM »

Could anyone explain the nuances of why exactly George V refused to give refuge to Nicholas and his family when they asked?  I remember reading something about Queen Mary didn't think the British public would be ok with it and she didn't want to weaken British support for their monarchy.  Is that right, and why did she think the public would be so against it?

I know there is a wealth of knowledge and more to the point understanding of nuance on this board, and if anyone wanted to fill me in I'd love it!

It's come up in my one of my classes and I'd like to have a thorough answer for my students!  Smiley

Or, if this has been addressed in a previous thread that I have overlooked, I'd welcome being pointed in that direction!

It was a very complicated situation. All of Europe was on tenterhooks with what was happening in Germany, and there was a lot of unrest and anti-monarchy sentiment in Britain.

The British government reluctantly offered the family asylum on 19 March 1917, although it was suggested that it would be better for the Romanovs to go to a neutral country. News of the offer provoked uproar from the Labour Party and many Liberals, and the British ambassador Sir George Buchanan advised the government that the extreme left would use the ex-Tsar's presence "as an excuse for rousing public opinion against us". The Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George preferred that the family went to a neutral country, and wanted the offer to be announced as at the request of the Russian government. The offer of asylum was withdrawn in April following objections by King George V, who, acting on the advice of his secretary Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham, was worried that Nicholas's presence might provoke an uprising like the previous year's Easter Rising in Ireland. However, later the king defied his secretary and went to the Romanov memorial service at the Russian Church in London. In the early summer of 1917, the Russian government approached the British government on the issue of asylum and was informed the offer had been withdrawn due to the considerations of British internal politics.

At the time, no one could even have imagined what the outcome of all this would be, certainly not the murder of the entire family. I have read that George was forever haunted by the fact that he had refused his cousin, assuming they would just go somewhere else.

The French government declined to accept the Romanovs in view of increasing unrest on the Western Front and on the home front as a result of the ongoing war with Germany. The British ambassador in Paris, Lord Francis Bertie, advised the Foreign Secretary that the Romanovs would be unwelcome in France as the ex-Empress was regarded as pro-German.
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luvcharles

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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2022, 05:49:44 AM »

People tend to romanticise Nicholas and Alexandra, due to what happened to them, but they were tyrants under whose rule many had died (not just in the war) and others, especially Jews, had fled. When given the chance to modernise the country into an early 20th century democracy Nicholas did all he could to keep power in his own hands, and once at the front, gave that power to Alexandra.

In 1917 no country wanted them for fear of uprisings within their own country against these tyrants. The children, being their children, would have been a rallying point for Russians who wanted a return to the 'old ways' and so they all had to die.

I once asked my grandmother about what she was told at the time and she said everyone at her school and in her mother's circle believed that the right decision was made to deny them sanctuary, in Britain, as their mere presence would be enough to destabilise a country. She even said, that as sad as it was that they were all executed, that was the only option the government had as no other country (not just Britain) but no other country would want them. My grandmother was at school at the time here in Oz but her mother had many many friends and family still living in the UK then and no one of them wanted that 'evil man' in the UK.

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Gemsheal

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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2022, 03:10:40 PM »

These are excellent responses ... I would only add that I've read George V's feeling of guilt over withdrawing the offer to the Romanovs was supposed to have led to his sending a British ship to rescue Prince Andrew of Greece and his family members in 1922.  This was after Andrew's arrest and trial for his actions during the Greco-Turkish War.  (But presumably George had his government's permission to send the cruiser.)
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Cordelia Fitzgerald

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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2022, 12:16:09 AM »

Thanks everyone!   Star

I'm happy to have a deeper understanding for myself, and I'm glad I'll be able to help my students get their minds around it.

This was around the time when the BRF decided they needed to start focusing on charities/patronages to "earn their keep" in the public's eye, right?
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Celia

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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2022, 01:10:24 PM »

The whole royals-as-professional-volunteers vibe had started years before.  I think Prince Albert kind of started it, and Princess Mary Adelaide, duchess of Teck, perfected it.  She influenced her daughter, later Queen Mary, tremendously in that regard.
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Cordelia Fitzgerald

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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2022, 05:01:23 PM »

The whole royals-as-professional-volunteers vibe had started years before.  I think Prince Albert kind of started it, and Princess Mary Adelaide, duchess of Teck, perfected it.  She influenced her daughter, later Queen Mary, tremendously in that regard.

Thank you!  Beer
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