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 King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Tue 11 Feb 2014, 11:23

The two BBC documentaries about the three royal cousins was fascinating with unfamiliar enriching detail. That both Stalin and Wilhelm had offered safe passage to the Tsar and his family, it was disclosed that George, via a private secretary demurred from offering sanctuary in Britain by way of a letter - I can't recall to whom.

Many reasons have been proffered for this decision - was it for the survival of the monarchy or to benefit the state - or for other reasons? One can argue several sides of this one. What do you think?
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sat 15 Feb 2014, 13:01

I thought George was persuaded that the presence of the Tsar might inflame local communist sympathies and particularly in Ireland might stir up yet another rebellion, after the 1916 Easter Rising of the year before. Though I'm not sure who persuaded him as I thought Lloyd George and the government were generally in favour of offering Nicholas asylum in Britain. Whoever it was that persuaded George to refuse his own cousin sanctuary, I presume they were acting to protect the monarchy and maintain stability in the UK. I don't know the timetable of events but I assume Nicholas' overtures to Britain and George V were made in March 1917 directly after his abdication. At which time the war as a whole was still very much undecided and Britain, after already two and half years of bitter, costly conflict, was still desparately trying to conscript even more men from an increasingly demoralised and unenthusiastic country.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sat 15 Feb 2014, 16:11

MM, P's question is referring to these 2 docs that were on TV recently



and



Some good old visual material.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sat 15 Feb 2014, 18:58

I wonder if the final outcome of that refusal made the welcoming of so many fugitive monarchs and governments in WWII an attractive option?
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sat 15 Feb 2014, 21:08

@Meles meles wrote:
I thought George was persuaded that the presence of the Tsar might inflame local communist sympathies and particularly in Ireland might stir up yet another rebellion, after the 1916 Easter Rising of the year before. Though I'm not sure who persuaded him as I thought Lloyd George and the government were generally in favour of offering Nicholas asylum in Britain. Whoever it was that persuaded George to refuse his own cousin sanctuary, I presume they were acting to protect the monarchy and maintain stability in the UK. I don't know the timetable of events but I assume Nicholas' overtures to Britain and George V were made in March 1917 directly after his abdication. At which time the war as a whole was still very much undecided and Britain, after already two and half years of bitter, costly conflict, was still desparately trying to conscript even more men from an increasingly demoralised and unenthusiastic country.

Meles meles,

did some research for that question some years ago for the ex BBC messageboard:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/NF2233809?thread=2253572
My message 15
"I did research in the local library for Nicholas II, the last Tsar, by an English author, whose son had also haemophilia. I read the book some two years ago and remembered the episode about why his English nephew refused the escape to Britain. I needed it for a reply in the Nicholas II thread of Matt (Buck's skin). But that less spectacular book is gone on the historyshelf, because it was too old?"
http://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-Alexandra-Robert-K-Massie/dp/0345438310
If you look in the "inside" it is in the notes of pages 487 and 488...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_K._Massie
Thus if I recall it well it was on the instigation of Loyd George, who seems to have been afraid of the Socialists in Britain...If I have more "proof" I will add some further information...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sat 15 Feb 2014, 22:41

Ferval,

thank you very much for the two episodes. I commented them for the ex-BBC messageboard and was very critical about this BBC series. Perhaps less than for the Charles II series which I even criticized more in a reply to Minette if I recall it well. I wondered why I was so critical about it in the time and I have seen now thanks to you Episode one again.
For instance the relationship of Wiliam II and his mother...on the 14th minute someone says "...profound implication for the future of Europe..." The authors seem not to have heard of the Annales (the "longue durée") history. Yes we are back in the discussion of the importance of the "great figures" versus "the great tendencies".
You had also the historian "Röhl" in the episode...did already a lot of research in the time about William II and the causes of WWI...all those historians...as  a Röhl, a Fischer another Englishman, whose name I don't recall for the moment...who speak about a William II who had a great responsability for WWI...and read then from other historians and would be historians...just the contrary...

"the great tendencies"
Not the King, the Kaiser and the Tsar were "fundamentally" the "central figures" but more the King figurehead of an already "liberal" UK, a Kaiser in a less democratic Germany, a Tsar with the tensions of an autocratic country...

Not a "marxist" approach  Wink but rather an "Annales" approach of nordmann Bloch...

Tomorrow more...

PS and based on:
http://www.amazon.com/King-Kaiser-Tsar-Three-Cousins/dp/0802716237
http://www.aitkenalexander.co.uk/a-to-z-sherpa/itemlist/user/470-catrineclay
And I don't see from Catrine Clay a background of historianship...?

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.

 PPS I mean "nordmann Bloch"

OOPS there it is again I mean the name of the French historian Bloch with the French forname of the Latin name Marcus...
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sat 15 Feb 2014, 23:09

Gil makes an interesting point about the arrival of many monarchs during WW2. I wonder also if there was fear of the many Russian aristocracy who fled to Britain setting up a second court - of sorts?. Empoverished they may have been but they held great loyalty for the Tsar. This I   know for certain because I met with some and their families - counts and countesses all and truthfully so.   Would the Romanoffs have expected entree to all court activity, perhaps - or was feared at a time when the house of Sax Coberg was becoming Windsor and trying to distance itself from other associations? It was a tough decision.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 00:26

Quote :
The two BBC documentaries about the three royal cousins was fascinating with unfamiliar enriching detail. That both Stalin and Wilhelm had offered safe passage to the Tsar and his family, it was disclosed that George, via a private secretary demurred from offering sanctuary in Britain by way of a letter - I can't recall to whom.

That detail in the documentary is a perplexing one. The reason is that the original acceptance of the proposal to grant asylum was made on 22 March 1917 and then withdrawn on 10th April. This was barely a month after the February Revolution.

Stalin, therefore, was in no position at that time to offer safe passage to anyone. He had only just arrived in Petrograd from exile in Siberia on 12th March and had begun working on the Bolshevik paper Pravda in opposition to the Provisional Government headed by Prince Georgy Lvov. Meanwhile Lenin was still in Switzerland until 27th March before being granted safe passage himself on the 'Sealed Train' to Sweden. He didn't arrive at the Finland Staion in Petrograd until 3rd April. This was all 6 months before the October Revolution.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 12:09

I never knew this until now, but it seems there were advanced plans to rescue the Tsar and his family from Yekaterinburg:

Sunday Times 15/10/2006 - British spies in plot to save tsar

From The Sunday Times
October 15, 2006
British spies in plot to save tsar
John Crossland

Transcript: 'A NEWLY discovered diary has uncovered a plot by the British secret services to rescue the last tsar and his family from the house in Ekaterinburg where he was imprisoned by the communists and later executed.

The diary of Captain Stephen Alley, second in command of the British intelligence mission in Petrograd — now St Petersburg — shows he positioned four undercover agents ready to extract what he called “the valuables” — the deposed Tsar Nicholas II and the Russian imperial family — from the House of Special Purpose where they were held. The diary also includes a sketch map drawn by Alley of the house and its surroundings.

It used to be believed that Britain had abandoned the tsar, his wife Alexandra — a granddaughter of Queen Victoria — and their children. But in recent years evidence has emerged that both King George V and the government of David Lloyd George were willing to rescue the family. No evidence has previously come to light, however, of the advanced stage that preparations had reached.

Alley’s diary was found accidentally by his descendants in a trunk of his papers and will be featured in Queen Victoria’s Grandchildren, a documentary to be shown on Channel 4 in December. The diary shows that, after they had been sprung from custody, the tsar and his family were to be taken by train to Murmansk and then shipped to safety by the Royal Navy. On May 24, 1918, Alley, who was employed by MI1 (c), part of what became MI6, wrote to the War Office in London naming the six Russian- speaking officers he wanted to carry out the rescue. He asked London for a grant of £1,000 a month (about £25,000 today) due to “increased requirements for intelligence purposes”.

Andrew Cook, the historian who has examined the papers for the documentary, believes Alley’s telegrams to London may have been intercepted, leading the Bolsheviks to reinforce defences around the tsar’s prison. “At the first hint of a rescue the whole family would have been shot,” he said. Alley’s apparent reluctance to activate the plot led to his sacking and recall to Britain. He worked for MI5 in the second world war and died in 1969 at the age of 93. He always kept his work secret, even from Beatrice, his wife. Anthony Summers, author of The File on the Tsar, said: “She told me that when she asked her husband what he did, he would say, ‘Sometimes I will go away for a night and sometimes for a year, and I won’t be able to tell you where I am, but I’m working for the king.’ She thought he was going for dirty weekends".'
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 20:02

Well, that's very, very interesting, MM. Honestly, trying to get the truth of anything is like trying to nail a hard boiled egg to a table  - you have to get under the table, apparently; not tried either way but you get my drift. I am pleased to think that someone did consider a rescue. Keeping secrets is admirable - yet it's also interesting how many who do also keep secret diaries of them.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 20:42

Reading around a bit this afternoon ... I see that in the late 1960's Duke Louis Mountbatten as a staunch royalist (and himself closely related to the British, German and Russian Royal families), very firmly denounced Lloyd George for, as he said, "betraying my family". But then very shortly after that pronouncement the diaries of Lord Stampfordham, who had been private secretary to George V, rather showed that the decision to abandon Nicholas and his family certainly didn't come from Lloyd George nor any senior members of the government, but rather came from much closer to the king - but without naming specific names.

To my mind George V couldn't have made such a decision on his own: he wasn't the brightest bunny in the bunch when all is said and done. So given his simplicity he might well have expressed a desire to rescue his cousin the tsar ... or equally abandon him to his fate ... But I rather think that the British government would have had had the final say one way or another.

Frankly I don't think George V had the mental capacity to decide anything. But I wonder if it was his private secretary, Lord Stampfordham himself, who made the unpleasant decisions for him? .... Or was it Queen Mary of Teck? Although basically from a German family (weren't they all?) she does seem to have had a lot more "bottom" (to use a Francis Urquhart phrase) ...  She certainly always comes across to me as 'a fully hard-boiled egg!'. In short while all the annointed cousins were playing at being absolute monarchs, she at least seems to have understood the fundamental raison d'être of any monarchy ... and that is just to survive!  Remember it was she who encouraged the dropping of all the German titles and the change from Battenburg to Mountbatten etc... And I wouldn't be at all surprised if she advocated the abandonment of the Romanovs .... just to help her own dynasty survive.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 23:07

It has to be appreciated that in March and April 1917 there was no real threat (implicit or otherwise) to the personal safety of the Imperial family coming from the Provisional Government. The Head of that Government, Prince Lvov, even acknowledged Nicholas' younger brother the Grand Duke Michael as conditional head of state.

The view from Sandringham would have been that to keep Nicholas, Alexandra, young Alexei Nicholaevich and the Grand Duchesses etc in Russia would have helped in conferring a sense of continuity and stability on the (supposedly) new Romanov regime. For Nicholas to have fled Russia would have signaled to the wider Russian public that there was more of a sense of panic and illegitimacy in imperial circles. And monarchy is, after all, all about stability and continuity.

Furthermore it was Russia's blank cheque to Serbia which had been one of the main causes of the war. For George V to have granted Nicholas asylum in Britain would have also sent a message to the British public that Nicholas had got us into this world war and now here he was running away from it.

Viewed this way then the refusal to grant asylum in April 1917 is more than understandable.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Mon 17 Feb 2014, 13:48

At that point it is also true that the British government were trying to keep Russia in the war, and keeping the Tsar in Russia might have been thought conducive to that.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Mon 17 Feb 2014, 22:36

@Meles meles wrote:
Reading around a bit this afternoon ... I see that in the late 1960's Duke Louis Mountbatten as a staunch royalist (and himself closely related to the British, German and Russian Royal families), very firmly denounced Lloyd George for, as he said, "betraying my family". But then very shortly after that pronouncement the diaries of Lord Stampfordham, who had been private secretary to George V, rather showed that the decision to abandon Nicholas and his family certainly didn't come from Lloyd George nor any senior members of the government, but rather came from much closer to the king - but without naming specific names.

To my mind George V couldn't have made such a decision on his own: he wasn't the brightest bunny in the bunch when all is said and done. So given his simplicity he might well have expressed a desire to rescue his cousin the tsar ... or equally abandon him to his fate ... But I rather think that the British government would have had had the final say one way or another.

Frankly I don't think George V had the mental capacity to decide anything. But I wonder if it was his private secretary, Lord Stampfordham himself, who made the unpleasant decisions for him? .... Or was it Queen Mary of Teck? Although basically from a German family (weren't they all?) she does seem to have had a lot more "bottom" (to use a Francis Urquhart phrase) ...  She certainly always comes across to me as 'a fully hard-boiled egg!'. In short while all the annointed cousins were playing at being absolute monarchs, she at least seems to have understood the fundamental raison d'être of any monarchy ... and that is just to survive!  Remember it was she who encouraged the dropping of all the German titles and the change from Battenburg to Mountbatten etc... And I wouldn't be at all surprised if she advocated the abandonment of the Romanovs .... just to help her own dynasty survive.


MM and Ferval,


I saw now the second episode "into the abyss" and reading around a bit this evening...I have to agree with what you said, but will explain it tomorrow in detail...

Kind regards and with esteem to both of you,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Tue 18 Feb 2014, 22:04

Ferval,

saw now the second episode: Into the abyss.
I was perhaps a bit hyper-critical in my first approach of the BBC series. After all it has to be interesting television too. And the approach was about the three figure heads of the three nations...but again I think in their emphasis on the "persons" and their character they played down to much the circonstances...But I agree the second episode was perhaps better than the first one...up to the end of the second episode...
Again I have some difficulties with for instance:
William II as the instigator of the Anglo-German naval competition.
In my opinion it was von Tirpitz, who invented the theory of the deterrence in the North Sea...not that William wasn't inspired by the work about naval power from the American Alfred Mahan.
Other example:
Britain working together with Japan...Wasn't that a consequense of the Great Game between Russia and Britain in the Far-East..? And later an entente with Russia because there were more urgent problems and they, for the time being, had solved their problems...really a geopolitical strategy which had not that much to do with the three monarchs? Or it was that all of the three followed the arguments of their respective countries...?

PS: And if all the viewers of the BBC are like me...perhaps the BBC couldn't make any historical series anymore...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Tue 18 Feb 2014, 22:30

Meles meles,


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_V
From Wikipedia:
"When Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, George's first cousin (their mothers were sisters), was overthrown in the Russian Revolution of 1917, the British government offered political asylum to the Tsar and his family, but worsening conditions for the British people, and fears that revolution might come to the British Isles, led George V to think that the presence of the Russian royals might seem inappropriate in the circumstances.[67] Despite the later claims of Lord Mountbatten of Burma that Prime Minister Lloyd George was opposed to the rescue of the Russian imperial family, the letters of Lord Stamfordham suggest that it was George V who opposed the rescue against the advice of the government.[68] Advanced planning for a rescue was undertaken by MI1, a branch of the British secret service,[69] but because of the strengthening position of the Bolshevik revolutionaries and wider difficulties with the conduct of the war, the plan was never put into operation.[70] The Tsar and his immediate family remained in Russia, where they were murdered by Bolsheviks in 1918. The following year, Nicholas's mother (George's aunt) Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark) and other members of the extended Russian imperial family were rescued from the Crimea by British ships."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Bigge,_1st_Baron_Stamfordham
From Wikipedia"
"Bigge exerted considerable influence over King George V,[citation needed] advising the King to change the family name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor; persuading the King to deny asylum to Tsar Nicholas II and his family, who were thus forced to remain in Russia and who were murdered by the Bolsheviks; and interpreting the King's response "Bugger Bognor" as assent to the renaming of Bognor as Bognor Regis.[5]"


And I found also this:
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=4517.75;wap2
And the source:
http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/aboutbob.html

I have some vague remembrance from the book of Massy that the Whites reconquered Jekaterinenburg and found a lot of details about the Romanof's murders by the Bolshevics...The negociations of the flight of the Russian imperial family, again if I recall it well, were entirely with the Kerensky government...As I have no access anymore to the Massy book, even in the inside of my Amazon file there was only a reference about the story in the notes and to another book...and the book of Massy is from the Sixties and the new information and revelation about Stamfordham is only from 1989 or something in the neighbourhood...so there can be contradictions in the stories...

In any case I am seeking further...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Wed 19 Feb 2014, 22:08

MM,

didn't find anything more. Of the hundreds of entries it is Always the same tekst, which appears and which seems to be copied from one and the same source...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lloyd_George
Only this a bit new:
"Russian Revolution[edit]
Lloyd George welcomed the Fall of the Tsar, both in a private letter to his brother and in a message to the new Russian Prime Minister, Prince Lvov, not least as the war could now be portrayed as a clash between liberal governments and the autocratic Central Powers. Like many observers he had been taken by surprise by the exact timing of the revolution (it had not been predicted by Lord Milner or General Wilson on their visit to Russia a few weeks earlier) and hoped – albeit with some concerns – that Russia’s war effort would be invigorated like that of France in the early 1790s.[42]
Lloyd George gave a cautious welcome to the suggestion (19 March on the western calendar) of the Russian Foreign Minister Pavel Milyukov that the toppled Tsar and his family be given sanctuary in Britain (although Lloyd George would have preferred that they go to a neutral country). From the very start the King’s adviser Stamfordham raised objections, and in April the British government withdrew its consent under Royal pressure. Eventually the Russian Royal Family were moved to the Urals where they were executed in 1918. Lloyd George was often blamed for the refusal of asylum, and in his memoirs he did not mention King George V’s role in the matter, which was not explicitly confirmed until Kenneth Rose’s biography of the King was published in 1963.[43]"


Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Wed 19 Feb 2014, 22:36

MM,

addendum.

About the book that seems to be the source:
http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-King-George-Press/dp/1842120018

Another discusion around the theme:
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=560661

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sat 22 Feb 2014, 20:08

Ferval,

concerning the "Royal Cousins at War"

In a similar discussion a Swiss contributor mentioned the following on the French Passion Histoire...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26048324
I spoke in a former message about John Röhl. his vision is also among the ten opinions in the former URL...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._G._R%C3%B6hl

You can see Röhl's vision in the Wikipedia. But there is also mentioned the critique of the Australian historian Clark.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Clark
If I recall it well the British historian Evans, who is also in the ten opinions, was also a critique? or it has to be a critique of the German "Sonderweg" (apart way, special path)?
I mentioned also in my former message Fischer (with the Fischer controversy) I found now that the guy that I didn't remember in my former message was Wehler...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Ulrich_Wehler

What Wehler said was also a bit what I read in von Krockow's "Die Deutschen in ihrem Jahrhundert" translated into Engish under the title "The Germans in Their Century"

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sun 08 Jan 2017, 16:05

Before the above thread got seriously derailed there were some points made concerning just what authority, or even decisiveness, George V was at liberty to employ regarding granting or refusal of asylum to his cousin, the deposed Russian Tsar. I came across this rather splendid published thesis by Claire Theresa McKee, then of University College London, which examines British attitudes towards the Tsar throughout his reign, the views of George V at this critical point in Nicholas and his family's life being rather critical to both McKee's thesis and the subject under discussion here.

British Perceptions of Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Fedorovna 1894-1918

What emerges is an iteration of the point made earlier that we don't actually know with any certainty what George may have thought, or indeed if he even spent much time thinking about this issue at all, at least in its political form. His recorded opinions were always relayed via secretaries, confidantes and diplomatic officials, and where reported display a range of attitudes ranging from proactive intervention in order to secure asylum for Nicholas all the way to outright rejection of asylum for the ex-Tsar at all. In between there is tacit agreement that he and his family might be afforded asylum in France or Spain, and even an offer to mediate with Wilhelm and Prince Lvov to negotiate a solution while the provisional government was still ostensibly in power. All of these suggestions carried reported royal origin or at least approval, though what they reveal in essence is a fairly accurate reflection of the disparate political views held by different parties in Britain whose opinions were shaped by rather different agendas being pursued by each - placation of working class militants, side-stepping potential revolutionary influences within the UK, ensuring a continuation of a war on two main fronts for the axis enemy, and even some rather blatant attempts at what we would now call "spin" to ensure that the Russian debacle could still be used to enhance rather than diminish a positive attitude amongst the British electorate towards the institution of monarchy itself.

In other words there was, within Britain, a range of conflicting opinions regarding how best to address this issue with no one opinion seeming to prevail as the months unfolded, though each view with the exception of those typified by Thomas Mann and HG Wells in which Nicholas's abdication could be seen as the start of a domino effect toppling monarchs throughout Europe (Mann hoping for it, Wells dreading it), seeming to have the king's endorsement in some form.

I would conclude from reading McKee's excellent thesis (which would make a book worth buying if it had ever been published in that form) that it is the question which started this thread that is misleading. That the Tsar did not enjoy asylum in the UK is historical fact. That this constituted a refusal to allow it however is rather presumptuous.

As the situation for the Russian royal family began to quickly deteriorate in the autumn of 1917 there was an opinion, again vicariously endorsed by the British royals, that a rescue of some description be performed, and one assumes that the Norwegian Lied's alleged attempt is probably the one that came closest to fruition, so it may probably be said with most certainty in fact that George V, along with some other European royalty, when finally driven to form a concrete opinion one way or the other, resolved to do anything to avoid potential Russian regicide. Of all the optional outcomes this was the one with most obvious and direct implications for their own tenure of office. However by the time such resolution was formed it was already too late to do much about it.

I wonder what happened to Claire McKee? Googling her and "history" produces no further reference to a career as an historian. It is a shame if she gave it all up. One rarely sees such thoroughly researched and well written work these days.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sun 08 Jan 2017, 19:57

Thank you very much for this information Nordmann.
Did myself some research about Claire Theresa McKee from the University of London. You know me Wink .
But after some painstaking hour nothing found...but there is always some note beneath: further results not available due to European data protection...is Britain also in that European data protection?...or in the future not anymore due to the Brexit? Wink
https://books.google.be/books/about/British_Perceptions_of_Tsar_Nicholas_II.html?id=TzTwoAEACAAJ&redir_esc=y
And the entire book from Claire McKee
goo.gl/t90VYs


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?   Sun 08 Jan 2017, 20:43

Ms McKee was a student at UCL and what you have found is the published thesis to which I have already linked, Paul.

What commends McKee's thesis above both the BBC programme's insinuations and that which can be generally found in Wikipedia, etc, is that she carefully draws a distinction between whatever George V may or may not have desired in relation to his cousin and that which Balfour and Lloyd George recorded as having been the opinion of Arthur Bigge, Lord Stamfordham. Bigge, in his role as private secretary to three successive monarchs, was fiercely protective of the species and completely against any attempt to dictate royal policy by parties in Westminster. At a meeting with Lloyd George in which the latter mooted the possibility of granting asylum Bigge dismissed the suggestion on very spuriously weak grounds - that the climate in Scotland mightn't suit Nicholas, that Sandringham wasn't a suitable residency, and that the Tsar could not possibly hope to continue the lifestyle to which he was accustomed in Britain. Basically what he was ensuring was that a huge financial drain on already much fought over public stipends supporting his employer could not be countenanced, especially an open-ended one as the asylum suggestion seemed to include.

Whatever George himself may have felt about all this is not recorded anywhere, and in fact even Stamfordham may not have ever consulted him on the matter. That was Bigge's style with George - he had done alright by Victoria and Edward so young George could just trust him to speak George's mind for him whenever it was needed.

Unfortunately it is this that has been erroneously interpreted as George's own mind and why the BBC, Wikipedia and several others who should know better, now start pointing retrospective fingers of accusation at the daft bugger. Ms McKee in her thesis never once even pretends that it was - fair dues to the lass.
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King George and the Tsar: Why did he refuse refuge?

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