Natalia Brasova - Second Marriage

Second Marriage

Natalia and Wulfert had known each other as children, but only fell in love after re-meeting in Moscow when Wulfert was on leave. He was an army officer serving in The Dowager Empress's Life Guard Cuirassier Regiment, known as the Blue Cuirassiers from the colour of their uniforms, stationed at Gatchina near Saint Petersburg. Natalia and Wulfert set up home at 7 Baggout Street, Gatchina.

In early December 1907, Natalia was introduced to one of her husband's fellow officers in the Blue Cuirassiers: Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia, the brother of Tsar Nicholas II. The following month, they met again at the Regimental Winter Ball. From then on, they began to see each other regularly, though Michael was always careful to include Wulfert in his letters and invitations, at least until October 1908, and use the formal form of "you" (vy) rather than the familiar one (ty). Rumours of their affair spread through the regiment, and Wulfert grew resentful. Michael began sending her secret letters to a separate postal address, now writing to her in familiar terms, and Wulfert grew physically violent, as Natalia refused to share his bed. In July 1909, privately in a letter, she accused her husband of rape. She packed luggage, and with their daughter, an elderly female cousin, and two maids, she left Wulfert for a break abroad in Switzerland. Both Michael and Wulfert turned up at the train station to see her off, and Wulfert created a scene by loudly accusing her of ruining him.

Through Baron Frederiks, the court minister, Michael tried to buy off Wulfert by offering him a post in Moscow as aide-de-camp to Prince Odoevsky-Maslov at the Kremlin. Wulfert threatened to commit suicide if Natalia did not return to him, and then challenged Michael to a duel. Nicholas II intervened, and transferred Michael from the Blue Cuirassiers to the Chernigov Hussars at Orel, 650 miles (1,050 km) from Saint Petersburg. In August 1909, Michael went to Denmark with his mother, and arranged for Natalia to meet him there. They were reunited in a hotel in Copenhagen, unbeknownst to his mother, and consummated their relationship for the first time.

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