Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr

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9780470870631: Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr

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 have been very different.

With the assassination of her husband, Ella renounced society and, against considerable opposition, founded the first religious Order of its kind in Russia, working for the poor and destitute of Moscow. Though loved for her charitable works and pionerering achievements, Ella, like Nicholas, Alexandra, and fourteen members of their family, met a brutal death at the hands of the Bolsheviks. At the height of the Russian Revolution, she was taken captive to Siberia where, having been clubbed with rifle butts, she was hurled alive into a disused mineshaft and left to die  of her injuries. Later retrieved, her incorrupt body was eventually laid to rest on the Mount of Olives. She was subsequently canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as the Holy Imperial Martyr Saint Elisabeth Romanova. 

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From the Inside Flap:

CONSIDERED AT THE TIME to have been the most beautiful princess in Europe, capable of arousing "profane passions", Ella was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the daughter of Princess Alice of great Britain and Grand Duke Louis of Hesse. Following the tragically early deaths of her youngest brother and sister and also that of her young mother, Ella spent some of the happiest years of her youth in Britain with her grandmother Queen Victoria. At 19, however, much against the wishes of the Queen, who disliked 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 even which not only sealed the fate of both sisters, but that of the Imperial House of Romanov. Without these two marriages, the history of Russia might have been very different.

Following the assassination of her husband, Ella renounced society and, against considerable opposition, founded the first religious Order of its kind in Russia, working for the poor and destitute of Moscow, Though loved for her charitable works and pioneering achievements, Ella, like Nicholas, Alexandra and fourteen members of their family, met a brutal death at the hands of the Bolsheviks. At the height of the Russian Revolution, she was taken captive to Siberia where, having been clubbed with the rifle butts, she was hurled alive into a disused mineshaft and left to die of her injuries. She was subsequently canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as the Holy Imperial Martyr Saint Elisabeth Romanova.

From the Back Cover:

'...RIVETING, ANS SO UNUTTERABLY MOVING. WHAT A TOUR DE FORCE!...COMBINE[S] SPARKLING DETAIL WITH THE GRIM REALITIES OF THE LAST DECADES OF IMPERIAL RUSSIA. [CHRISTOPHER WARWICK'S] ELLA LIVES, AND WE LIVE ALL THE DRAMAS AND THE TRAGEDIES WITH HER. THIS IS A POWERFUL, STUNNING AND POIGNANT BOOK THAT DESERVES WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION.'
—ALISON WEIR, CELEBRATED BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF, AMONG OTHERS, ELEANOR OF AWUITAINE, HENRY VIII, ELIZABETH THE QUEEN, THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII, INNOCENT TRAITOR, AND ISABELLA: SHE-WOLF OF FRANCE

'THE READER IS IN EXPERT HANDS AS CHRISTOHER WARWICKS TELLS TEH INSPRING, PARTLY TRAGIC STORY OF THE GRAND DUCHESS ELISABETH, LEADING FROM ITS ROMATIC START TO ITS TERRIBLE CONCLUSION. WARWICK HAS MASTERED THE MATERIAL, AND GUIDES US SYMPATHETICALLY THROUGH THE STORY, ADDING MUCH THAT IS NEW. THE BOOK LINGERS WITH YOU LONG AFTER YOU HAVE FINISHED IT.'
—HUGO VICKERS, ROYAL HISTORIAN AND BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF ELIZABETH THE QUEEN MOTHER, ALICE: PRINCESS ANDREW OF GREECE, CECIL BEATON, LOVING GARBO AND MANY OTHERS

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