Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Confessions of a Ci-Devant: Missing Royals and Murder Mysteries

I am in the middle of reading a book about the infamous Anna Anderson case, The Resurrection of the Romanovs (which I hope to review this month!) and I came across an interesting post by Gareth Russell about the enduring legacy of the survival of Anastasia and the persisting  'romance' of other survival stories that found their beginninigs in the secreative deaths of royal children.

Missing Royals and Murder Mysteries: Anastasia and the Allure of Romance

All four of these young royals – Edward V, his brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Louis XVII and Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia – disappeared in times of turmoil and secrecy. Richard III could not reveal what he had done with the boys, or allowed to be done to them, without fears of toppling his own regime. The French Republic felt that drawing attention to the appalling treatment the little boy had suffered in jail would only inflame royalist sympathies and the fledgling Bolshevik movement were concerned that Kaiser Wilhelm II would back-out of his recent truce with them if he discovered what had happened to his cousins. The myths about their survival are therefore perfectly explicable by a process of historical logic: initially, no one knew exactly what had happened to them which led to them speculating about possible explanations. I suspect, of course, that it’s more than that and that the reason why so many people believed, or believe, in these fantastic tales of  imperial survival is because the allure of fairy stories never quite leaves us – however hard we try. We want to believe in royal glamour, excitement, danger and happily-ever-afters. We want to believe, I suppose, in some form of magic.
 What do we do with these stories, though, once we know they’ve been disproved?
Read more.

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