Natalia Paley an actress of the imperial family
Born 5 December 1905, Natalia Paley became known as French fashion model and actress. A woman with delicate features, the Parisian fashion model, Hollywood actress, beloved by German writer … But first of all, Natalie Paley was a Russian Princess of the Romanov dynasty.
Thrown out of the revolutionary wave of 1917 outside of Russia, Russian beauties became highly valued in the market of fashion services in a foreign land. In particular, they became popular dressmakers, embroiderers and models. Besides, many girls from noble families worked as “dummies” – demonstrating to clients in the studio the clothes at social events.
The beauty and charm of Russian aristocrats brought glory to the French fashion houses. Almost a third of the Parisian fashion models at that time were Russian. Among them – Princess Natalie Paley. Queen of fashion in Paris, a woman who tried to emulate. Natalie Paley was adorable and sad at the same time. She was born in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-sur-Seine, in a mansion that belonged to her father Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, uncle of Emperor Nicholas II.
On the Cote d’Azur in France and in the foggy alleyways of Stone Island, roses always grew in the greenhouses of Paley. But it was not to be this simple and easy as a child dreamt. 1917 – everything seemed like a terrible terrible dream, the dream hard to believe, but it lasted and lasted. First her brother was arrested, then her father. It was in March 1917. Natasha’s father was shot in the fortress. He was so ill that was carried on a stretcher to the place of execution.
After Finland and Sweden, Duchess and her daughters, risking their lives by hiding the few remaining valuables after a search in the lining of her coat, moved to France. Prudently left by the Grand Duke Paul, the French part of the state has provided to his widow and daughters quite a comfortable life.
Being familiar with the famous couturier Lucien Lelong, she entered his house as a fashion model.
Natasha became the idol of the Paris fashion world. Slim and attractive Natalie could find herself an enviable batch of Russian aristocrats with a brilliant title, who used to come in the house of her mother. She has linked her fate to the world of fashion.
When Lelong met her, he was married to Anne-Marie Audoy. He left her and married Natalie on the 10th of August 1927. Natalie’s friends and family did not approve the marriage, both due to the age and religious differences, and rumors about Lelong’s homosexuality.
During the years of their marriage, which lasted officially for 10 years, Natalie Paley becomes a symbol not only at home, “Lelong”, but “Beauty in Exile.” The magazine “Vogue” regularly publishes her portraits.
Family life of the Lelong couple was not happy. Of course, he was proud of his beautiful wife, whose photos graced the pages of magazines. But she preferred the company of his friends – men gifted and brilliant, who saw in her the personification of beauty, which they worshiped, without striving for intimacy.
In addition to the well-known photographers, among her friends were talented Russian artist Pavel Tchelitchew, Christian Bear and, of course, Jean Cocteau’s and Serge Lifar. It is clear that the “real” men didn’t attract Natalie: she saw them as a threat to her beauty and preferred to be worshiped with poetry, feelings.
The relationship of Natalia and Sergei Lifar. They met in Venice in the summer of 1930. Nathalie Lelong was married a little over three years, and Sergei was thriving career. Natalie was attracted by Serge for his charisma, talent and idealism. Serge was also enthralled by the beauty of Natalie. Their first conversation took place at the grave of Sergei Diaghilev. Natalie was well aware of the homosexual Sergei, but she did not care, their relationship was much more sentimental than physical.
Their relationship lasted for two years. In the end, when Serge had to choose between Natalie and his career, he decided that the latter would be more correct. Nevertheless, they remained close friends for life. Serge will always remember Natalie as one of the three women he loved all his life.
In 1937 Natalie was married to theater producer John Chalmana Wilson. In the USA Natalie Paley-Wilson was involved in the modeling business, working together with Valentina Sanya, half-sister Maria Pavlovna Romanova. Not inclined to be “just a wife” for a short time has become a prosperous, well-known model in the U.S.
In life, Natalie will have two more romances, and both times – with prominent writers. In 1942 she met Antoine de Saint-Exupery. A year later he returned to France, but continued to write to her. And Natalie … Back in the early forties, she became acquainted with Remarque. His mistress was then Marlene Dietrich, a good friend of Natalie. About Natalie, he wrote after one of the first meeting: “Natasha P., Beautiful face, gray eyes, slim as a teenager. Smooth top, some words, flirting, tender skin of the face and lips, suddenly demanding … A beautiful, pure, concentrated face, long body – Egyptian cat. For the first time the feeling that you can fall in love with the Cougars… “. And so it happened.
These relations lasted eleven years. At first, too violent and passionate, with scenes of jealousy on both sides, then more and more calm. When Remarque went to Switzerland, Natalie went with him. In 1951 Remarque fell in love with the actress Paulette Goddard, his love affair with Natalie slowly faded away …Natalie returned to the United States, to the almost forgotten spouse.
In 1961, John Wilson, Natalie’s American husband died of cirrhosis of the liver, and Natalie suffered a very severe form of depression. The last decade Natalie has lived a very lonely, communicating with the outside world except by phone, and very rare. She chose a life of recluse, having left the modeling business, leaving many friends. Did not respond to phone calls, it lasted for 20 years.
At the end of December, 1981 Natalie Paley – Wilson broke the neck of the femur. Doctors verdicts – to remain motionless until the hour of death! But the once brilliant beauty listened to them with a dispassionate smile. Left alone in a black satin-draped room where the walls were hung with pictures of her own – at a time of dazzling youth – and portraits of the last reigning couple, mother, father, brother, Vladimir, she gathered her last strength, took a large dose of sleeping pills.
Natalie was seventy-six, she did not want to be a burden to anyone. They say that her death at the hospital was in fact a suicide. “I want to leave with honor.” Indeed, in the end, Natalie, Natalia, was the Princess … She was buried Paley Natalia in the cemetery of Presbyterian Church in New Jersey.
Natalia Paley an actress of the imperial family