Grand Duchess Marie (1899-1918)
The tallest and most powerfully built of the Tsar’s daughters, Grand Duchess Marie was born, like Tatiana, at Peterhof at 12.10pm on June 26th 1899 (June 14th OS). Described by one, clearly smitten admirer as having large, grey, luminous eyes, classically beautiful features and languorous movements, she was seen as the greatest beauty of the four daughters. She was also the warmest most personable of all the girls, being interested in all the social goings-on around her. She endeared herself to everyone she met and had a personal touch that is in some ways reminiscent of Diana, Princess of Wales. She loved to talk with aristocrat and commoner alike. She knew the names of many of the Konovoy Cossaks and the sailors on the Standard, took a direct interest in their families and often sent gifts to their children, paid for out of her monthly allowance.
Marie was completely uninterested in Royal protocol when it came to marriage and dreamed of one day being allowed to marry one of her father’s officers, settle down and have children. By all accounts she would have made a wonderful mother. She was a kind hearted and deeply compassionate soul. Too young to nurse during the First World War, unlike her two older sisters, Tatiana and Olga, she nevertheless founded a hospital and regularly visited the wounded where her calm and sensuous beauty had a profound healing effect on all those she met. Interestingly, it would appear that she carries on her healing work to this day, as attested to in documents received by the Russian Orthodox Church, in “The Miracle of Grand Duchess Marie”. This healing, given directly and in physical manifestation by her to a young Serbian woman is entirely in character with this sensitive and deeply caring soul.
As a poignant postscript, it is interesting that a photograph of her was kept by Lord Mountbatten. He had evidently fallen in love with her and he kept her photograph with him until he died in 1979.
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