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 Post subject: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 01:05 
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I recently wrote a piece of fic featuring a little theory I developed in my tiny head, to which I have become somewhat wedded, and I thought I would share it (apologies if you've already read my extensive story notes on the SDL). Please feel free to share your thoughts and evidence on why this is true (or not, if you are a soulless denier!).

Follow me closely, fellow CBBers, while I tell you a story of VIOLENCE, ROMANCE, and INTRIGUE.

Let’s start with the Robin as a young girl, living on the Sonnalpe with her father. Everyone’s constantly worried by her health, and she is discouraged from any violent activities. We’re told it’s because they’re afraid she’ll “inherit” TB from her mother. This is the reason we’re given for many things, including Miss Annersley reporting that Jack hoped she’d never have children. None of this makes much sense, really. TB isn’t genetic. It is, admittedly really quite likely that she was infected with TB by her mother and thus had latent TB. However, the odds of actually developing active TB in the first year of infection are only 5%, and in subsequent years the risk drops to 0.1% - and those cases often only where the person is immunosuppressed (no reason to suppose that Robin was). Jem, of all people, must have known that Robin was at no great risk. More to the point, she turned into a perfectly healthy teenager. We don’t hear of any health concerns while she’s at university. Apparently settlement work is too much for her and she becomes ill, but frankly that’s unconvincing as an indicator of ongoing weakness, given that later she is given the OK to join the convent, which likely involved quite as much hardship as settlement work. After being a nun for a few years, she is clearly fine in Adrienne. Even if Jack/Jem were concerned about her health growing up, why on earth would Jack say that he didn’t want an adult Robin to have any children? As an adult, I don’t believe we see any indication that Robin herself is not healthy enough to bear a child.

Why no children for Robin? If she’s well enough to have a child, as she appears to be, there’s really only one reason a doctor would take this view, and that’s because there is a “family problem” (in romantic novels it’s usually insanity, but I’ve taken a leap and decided that wasn’t the issue here). It can’t be TB – Robin wouldn’t pass it on simply by having a child, and she wouldn’t be infectious if she did have latent TB. So what other problem might she have inherited from her English father or her Polish mother?

I have decided (in the fictional universe of the CS, natch) that it comes down to the fact that Robin was a carrier for haemophilia, possibly exhibiting mild symptoms herself (hence looking after her so closely when she was little, insisting on her unquestioning obedience etc (though that is of course culturally appropriate anyway), and also why she was fine (usually) once she was older). This would certainly explain why Jack didn’t want her to have children (genetic counselling at its very earliest stages!). And who did she inherit this from? Not her mountain-climbing father (who would have had to be a haemophiliac himself and was therefore fairly unlikely to have survived his childhood, let alone mountain-climbing), but her mother, Marya.

Do we know of any Maryas who might have been in Germany/Poland c. 1919 (extrapolating from the publication date of Jo of and the Robin’s age), carrying the haemophilia gene? Any Maryas who might be, say, missing from where they ought to be? Oh, I think we do.

Queen Victoria must be the most famous carrier of haemophilia, and, in marrying off her children and grandchildren to heads of state across Europe, she managed to spread the disease from one end of the continent to the other. Including, of course, Russia, where the Tsar’s only son, Alexei, was born with haemophilia in 1904. The Empress Alexandra (Victoria’s grand-daughter) was the carrier. Any daughter she gave birth to ran a 50% risk of also being a carrier. Statistically speaking, then, half of her four daughters may have been carriers (or all, or none; it’s the luck of the draw). One, Maria, the second youngest girl, is even reported to have been a heavy bleeder.

The Russian revolution took place in 1917 and the tsar’s family was held in captivity. Eventually, in July 1918, they were all killed – parents, children and servants. For a very long time, however, there was no actual proof that anyone was dead, a state of affairs which led to numerous people claiming to be members of the imperial family (of which the most famous was undoubtedly Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Anastasia). It wasn’t until 1991 (allegedly; there are tales told in the dead of night that the Soviet government had known the location for years) that a grave was uncovered, when the bodies of the tsar, tsarina, four servants, and three daughters were found. Alexei and one of the younger sisters were missing (Anastasia according to the Americans, Maria according to the Russians, Tatiana according to some people on the internet; so I think we can presume there was no reliable way of knowing), which of course fuelled speculation that they had escaped. Much effort had previously been spent on showing how it would have been possible.

If Maria had escaped Ekaterinburg, she would have been injured and probably in shock at what had happened. Someone would have had to help her (a suggestion about that later). She’d also have been carrying a young fortune in jewels sewn into her underwear. Probably she’d have tried to flee Russia entirely – a very reasonably reaction to the Bolshevik government signing her death warrant. After an experience like that, she’d probably have been afraid of being recognised and recaptured, so would have gone to some lengths to avoid that. Travel whilst the war was still happening was probably hard, though it may have been easier in the confusion of the aftermath, as former empires dissolved. In 1919, the surviving Romanovs from the wider imperial family were shipped off by the British, and ended up in England, France, Denmark etc. Maybe Maria travelled west to be reunited with her family, passing through Cologne, where she called herself Marya (hardly a noticeable name in Europe) and said she was from Poland. There she met Captain Humphries, an English soldier, and fell in love, getting married and having a baby, just as she had always wanted. Maybe it was Ted who helped her escape (we know, later, that he speaks Russian. He might have learnt the language when he went to Russia in 1926, but frankly it seems far more likely to me that he was sent because he spoke Russian, which suggests he had been there before).

Once settled in west Germany with the security of a British husband, and a baby on the way, she gave up the idea of contacting the remainder of her family (or maybe afraid still of identifying herself), and settled down to a life of quiet domestic happiness. And thus was the Robin born, a little girl who looked just like her mother.

Image
The young Maria

This is, of course, my slightly mental musings*. Alas for my theory (which is so evidently otherwise CORRECT), a second grave was discovered in 2007 containing the bodies of the two remaining children. Although you will still find some tin-hat Anna Anderson fans claiming that the extensive DNA testing was a stitch-up job…




* My love of historical mysteries tends to cycle round the Romanovs, Richard III and Edward II (was he murdered at the behest of Roger Mortimer, or did he end his days as a wandering Italian monk? Who knows? Or dares to dream?).

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 03:23 
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Thank you for sharing your well developed theory Liss. It is obviously true.

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 09:05 
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That's a brilliant theory, Liss, and extremely plausible, specially given that picture of the young Maria. Explains so much. :D

I love historical mysteries and one of my favourites is the Lost Dauphin, Louis XVII, which I used in my second Victorian mystery, 'Death is the Cure'.

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 09:21 
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I am utterly convinced this is what really happened. As I read your story, I was nodding to myself and saying "Of course. That explains that ....".


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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 10:03 
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They have now found the remains of Maria/Anastasia and Alexei, as you say, but it's an excellent theory even so :D . Especially as it makes little sense that a Polish woman living in Germany would sing a Russian song to her child.

I read a novel recently in which Edward II wasn't murdered after all and was still in contact with Edward III years later, but I've managed to forget what it was called.

Interestingly, Anna Anderson turned out to be a Polish woman who'd moved to Germany. It's possible that Marya Humphries, whilst she in fact wasn't the Grand Duchess Maria, claimed to be her and convincingly fooled Ted, who in turn passed the story on to Jem and Jack.

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 10:06 
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Really convincing - and in the World of EBD, utterly possible :D

Thanks Liss 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 11:16 
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Oh this is so obviously true Liss! And I loved "That time long since....."

Thank you :D

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 11:36 
Another who is totally convinced. Though until I got to the haemophilia bit, I thought the Family Secret was going to he Hereditary Insanity - the backstory of Gabrielle Van der Mal entering the convent in The Nun's Story is that her doctor father won't let her marry her fiancé, because one of the fiancé's parents died in an asylum, and Dr Van der Mal 'won't put upon her the risk of reproducing insanity'.


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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 12:09 
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Just being totally irrelevant, it's amazing how many historical royals supposedly didn't die when they were said to've done. Richard III, Edward II, the family of Nicholas II and the Dauphin have already been mentioned, but, of you believe all the stories, Alexander I of Russia faked his own death and became a wandering monk, Peter III of Russia ended up either in Montenegro or with a band of Cossacks, King Harold survived the Battle of Hastings and became a leader of Anglo-Saxon resistance, and Frederick Barbarossa of Germany went off to live in a cave. Numerous fake Dmitri (son of Ivan the Terrible) claimants turned up and one of them was even crowned Tsar, and there are all sorts of stories about the Princes in the Tower.

Ted could, of course, have been murdered. The whole business with him going to work in Russia is very odd, and it would've been easy to arrange for a baddie to push him off a cliff (Bette's husband being an unfortunate collateral damage victim).

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 12:19 
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as soon as I read the title I was thinking she was one of the Romanov's and the picture confirms it

Who lets a little thing like a grave decades later put them off?


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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 12:21 
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claire wrote:
as soon as I read the title I was thinking she was one of the Romanov's and the picture confirms it

Who lets a little thing like a grave decades later put them off?

Especially when that picture is proof positive!

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 12:31 
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Alison H wrote:
Ted could, of course, have been murdered. The whole business with him going to work in Russia is very odd, and it would've been easy to arrange for a baddie to push him off a cliff (Bette's husband being an unfortunate collateral damage victim).


A sequel, perhaps?


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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 13:44 
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I salute you. A fine piece of detective work, closely reasoned, with evidence, and so clearly true.
Just a minute while I go and find my life.....


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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 13:57 
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I do often wonder why on earth EBD packed Ted off to Leningrad (which she calls Petrograd even though the name'd been changed by then), rather than ... well, India would've been the obvious choice, or anywhere else considered unhealthy for Robin. He ends up as Jem's secretary: if that was his line of work after leaving the army, surely he could've found secretarial work somewhere in Britain! & why couldn't he take Robin with him, and get a nanny/governess for her? The Soviet Union wasn't Vulgaria: they did have little kids there!!

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 14:26 
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This is wonderful, and really could have been true (erm, in a fictional way!) when she was writing the books, as they hadn't found the remains then.

Things about the Romanovs always make me so sad, it was such a waste of their young lives! The book The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne is a fictional story involving the Romanovs (although I don't want to give too much away!) and it always makes me sad to read it.


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PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 15:46 
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Ted’s death… an interesting subject…

I thought about linking it in with my theory, but I think there were flaws. The only reason to kill him would be because they were afraid he knew (and possibly could prove) the truth, and that they were afraid the truth could threaten the Soviet government. Interestingly, though there was a fairly wholesale killing of Romanovs during the revolution, a fair number did escape and were not stopped from leaving Russia via the Crimea in 1919, among them the tsar’s mother and sisters. Many of them survived to old age, and there is now a substantial group of Romanov descendants roaming the world (and arguing about who would be the king of the world had it not been for the pesky revolution). It’s not like, say, after the end of the Wars of the Roses where Henrys VII and VIII made sure the entire Yorkist line was wiped out. The Soviet Union didn’t seem massively interested in the imperial family once they left Russia. Even Anna Anderson, who convinced a large number of people, including members of the Romanov family, that she was Anastasia, lived to a healthy (albeit slightly weird) old-age, which suggests that the Soviets really weren’t bothered (thought one might, of course, argue that they knew that the entire family was dead, because they knew where the bodies were long before that information was made public, and therefore knew there was no risk of a direct descendent of the tsar). If they did know that Maria had survived and married Ted, and they were worried enough to do something about it (which I think would be unlikely), why kill Ted (who was just a husband), and not Robin, who was the tsar’s actual grandchild? It can’t have just been an attempt to keep the secret, as Robin was old enough that he might already have told her. Also, even if the government was afraid that the people would welcome a return of imperial Russia, Robin wouldn’t have been a suitable candidate, as she would signally fail Paul’s rules for succession (she was female, not Orthodox, not the product of an Orthodox marriage between people of equal status approved by the tsar).

I was going to say, how would they even know about Marya and Ted? Within the context of this imaginary world, I had the connection being made after the falling apart of the Soviet Union, when the Belsornian government demanded the return of their state archives, and an archivist found a report of the ceremony attended by Robin in Princess, where the Russian journalist commented on the extraordinary resemblance to Maria. But, of course, nothing in my theory presented here has explained how Maria escaped in the first place and made her way across Europe. Maybe they traced the sale of her jewels. Maybe Prince Carol himself (who would surely have known the Romanovs, if Belsornia is supposed to be close enough to have been annexed by the Soviets) noticed the resemblance, mentioned it to someone, and it eventually raised suspicions in Moscow. Oh, so many possibilities!! (I might have to write a sequel. I can’t lie. It’s pulling at me!)


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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 16:14 
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I sense the start of a War & Peace-esque saga...

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 16:28 
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Maybe Ted was killed by MI6? The British government could have been worried that his secret dealings with royalist agents, specially if he had documents to prove Marya's identity, might destablize the fragile Anglo-Soviet relations? In a world where Germany was rising and Depression all over the world, it could have been an issue.

And maybe Ted had the key to the secret bank account where the Romanov gold was held? Only he didn't know how to read the key but they were afraid he was getting close. The Soviet (and British) governments might not bother about personnel but money always generates excitement!

This is lovely, Liss - it could run and run. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 16:37 
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There's an ongoing debate about whether or not the succession to the Russian throne can pass through the female line, which (along with various complicated issues with unapproved-of marriages) is one of the reasons why no-one's sure who the current Romanov heir actually is. Paul I tried to introduce the Salic Law, largely because he never got on with his mother (Catherine the Great), but not everyone recognises that. So some people would recognise Robin, were she indeed the daughter of the Grand Duchess Maria, as heiress (ignoring the additional complication of not being Orthodox), and others wouldn't.

According to all reports, the female members of the family weren't killed immediately because they had jewels sewn into their corsets and so the bullets ricocheted off them. They were then bayoneted (sorry for being gory), but Anna Anderson's story, and the story put forward in a book I once read which claimed that Tatiana had escaped, is that in all the general mayhem (the soldiers had apparently been on the vodka all night, and also they were desperate to get the job done and the bodies removed before daylight), is that the killers failed to realise that AN member of the family was still breathing and that AN member of the family was then helped to escape by a sympathetic soldier who took pity on a young girl. The reports say that they got in a huge panic over trying to dispose of the bodies (again sorry for being gory), and first tried burning them and then tried acid, and in all the chaos it's quite plausible that they wouldn't have noticed that they were one short.

The White Army was approaching Ekaterinburg, and if the escapee had managed to hide for a little while it would then not have been that hard for her to find sympathetic people who'd help her to escape. Once she'd got to Germany, there'd've been plenty of Russian emigrés for her to get to know. It would only have taken one, whom she'd trusted enough to confide in, to betray her and Ted to the Soviets ...

However, as we now know that all the Romanov children died at Ekaterinburg, I personally prefer the idea that Marya, like Anna Anderson, was a Polish woman living in Germany who managed to convince people that she was really the Tsar's daughter.

Incidentally, IIRC the fake Tatiana died of TB.

I possibly need to a) get a life and b) do some work :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of royal questions: Robin's secret past...
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 22:22 
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Nice theory, Liss! It is clearly true. :D

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