On the pages of Mikhail Bulgakov’s “fireproof” novel “The Master and Margarita”, the main character was very surprised when she heard a story about her great-great-grandmother, who was the French queen of the 16th century. Probably, Otto fon Bismarck would be amazed in the same way if he found out about one of his distant cousin.
It is believed that the Bismarck clan is one of the oldest noble clans in Europe. His family tree spreads over several centuries, rooted in the European Middle Ages. Bismarck’s male ancestors were Brandenburg knights and landowners, distinguished by their courage and militancy. Even in modern times, some of them managed to become famous for their unrestrained disposition, such as, for example, Ludolph-August Bismarck. This representative of the surname managed to become an exile in Germany, to flee to Russia, go to Kurles in Kurland and, ultimately, end up in Siberian exile. Oddly enough, after such misadventures, he continued his military career and even held some important post. Perhaps it was precisely the aristocratic origin that had no effect.
German Chancellor Otto fon Bismarck did not really like the French. But ironically, he was connected with France by blood ties. Some genealogy researchers trace its genus almost to the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne. The fact is that the great-great-grandmother of Bismarck Dorothea Sofia fon Katte came from the Hessian Margraves. And those, in turn, did not disdain dynastic ties with France. Further, a bizarre interweaving of genealogical branches leads to the French king Philip I (1052-1108), whose relationship Dorothea Sophia fon Katte was probably proud of.
Perhaps King Philip was inferior in state talent to his Prussian descendant from the 19th century. But they still had a lot in common. Both that and another as if easily walked through life. Philip ascended the throne without difficulty, and Bismarck almost with a wave of magic wand took key government posts. Philip cared a lot about his own profit and Bismarck never forgot about his estates and their profitability. Philip calmly watched as his vassal William of Normandy conquered England and Bismarck with noble calm joined new lands to Prussia, uniting Germany. But Bismarck fought with France, the country of his distant ancestors. And he fought quite successfully, having confirmed the German Empire with the laurels of the winner.
But where does the Rurikovich, by whose name Ivan Vasilyevich rightfully called himself from a well-known movie, and to whom Bismarck would hardly classify himself, have to do with it? Everything is very simple. The French king Philip was the son of Anna Yaroslavna, daughter of the old Russian prince Yaroslav the Wise. And here, as you know, Rurik is not far away – only a few generations.
Anna was the youngest of three daughters of the Kiev prince Yaroslav. She grew up in Kiev, was a real beauty with luxurious golden curls and received an excellent education. Therefore, when the French Embassy arrived in Russia in 1048, the young princess was immediately noticed. Soon, the widowed French king Henry I asked for her hands, and a year later, the baby Philip, who later inherited the throne, was born. So Anna Yaroslavna ended up in medieval France. The amazing combination of a keen mind and royal charm allowed her to forever remain in history. Yes and how! It seems that the French still admire their queen.
Obviously, Anna Yaroslavna surpassed many, many of her contemporaries. In an era when a woman (especially at court) was assigned a secondary role, she energetically engaged in public affairs. Her abilities were admired by the dukes, kings and the Pope himself, who wrote about “a delightful girl with enormous virtues”. It is not surprising that Anna Yaroslavna did not lose her influence and respect even after the death of her husband, King Henry.
The royal couple left many descendants. After many centuries, the thread reached to the “iron chancellor” of Bismarck. Naturally, on the female side. But as if it was from Queen Anne that Bismarck inherited the qualities that made him a great politician. Indeed, could such a gifted statesman be born in the midst of the “Prussian military”? Rather, he would become a conscientious servant whose life would be spent in a constant drill on the parade ground and on campaigns, like other representatives of the family name. But genes, apparently, did their job.
And the attitude of Bismarck towards Russia was reverent and not indifferent. He not only learned the Russian language, but could speak it well. Many of his statements are known that characterize the Chancellor as a pragmatic supporter of Russian-German friendship and cooperation. But the man who completed his career with the words “comedy is over”, possessed still deep sarcasm and amazing insight. Bismarck, in particular, belongs to the words: “The war between Germany and Russia is the greatest stupidity. That is why it is bound to happen”. And she happened. Moreover, alas, more than once…
“This deck is so fantastically shuffled!” Said another character of the mentioned work of Bulgakov, less attractive than Margarita. Undoubtedly, Mikhail Afanasevich was right when he put in the mouth of his hero the words that blood issues are the most difficult issues in the world. And of course, the most confusing and interesting.
Good luck in finding.