Natalia Pavlovna Paley - Early Life

Early Life

Princess Natalia Paley was born, as Countess Natalia Pavlovna von Hohenfelsen, at her parents' estate, 2 avenue Victor Hugo (now 4 avenue Robert Schuman), in Boulogne-sur-Seine, close to Paris, France, on 5 December 1905. She was the youngest child of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia and his morganatic second wife, Olga Valeriovna Karnovich, who was of Hungarian descent.

Her parents had met in St. Petersburg in 1895, when Olga Karnovich was married to an officer, by whom she had three children. Grand Duke Paul already was the father of two; his first wife, Princess Alexandra of Greece, had died in childbirth. The couple's relationship did not remain secret for long. On January 9, 1897, Olga gave birth to a son, Vladimir, by Grand Duke Paul. Olga was granted a divorce from her husband and soon left Russia to marry Paul in Livorno, Italy, on 10 October 10 1902. Their daughter Irene was born on 21 December 1903. Not long after, the King of Bavaria gave Olga the hereditary title of Countess de Hohenfelsen. They were still vacationing in Rome when the couple was forbidden to return to Russia by Paul's nephew, the reigning Tsar Nicholas II.

They settled in Paris and bought a house in Boulogne-sur-Seine that previously belonged to Princess Zenaide Ivanovna Youssoupoff. It was there that Natalia was born in 1905, completing their family. Paul and Olga employed a household staff of sixteen maids, gardeners, cooks, and tutors. Vladimir, Irene and Natalia had a happy and privileged upbringing, and for a time, utterly protected from the outside world. Though their parents had a busy social life, the children were very close to them and they ate their meals together, an unusual custom for children of their time and station. On Sundays, the whole family would enter the Russian church on rue Daru, but would only attend private mass with the priest who had christened Natalia.

Read more about this topic:  Natalia Pavlovna Paley

Famous quotes containing the words early and/or life:

    If there is a price to pay for the privilege of spending the early years of child rearing in the driver’s seat, it is our reluctance, our inability, to tolerate being demoted to the backseat. Spurred by our success in programming our children during the preschool years, we may find it difficult to forgo in later states the level of control that once afforded us so much satisfaction.
    Melinda M. Marshall (20th century)

    Why is light given to one in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it does not come, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures; who rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they find the grave?
    Bible: Hebrew, Job 3:20-22.