Charity begins with the unerring politeness that bestows justice to the dignity of each person beloved by God, regardless of social status. Everyone who has met the Empress’ children or grandchildren has experienced this radical cordiality, the human warmth which emanates from them, in their relationships; a certain kindness and desire to put the other at ease without being improper.  This quality comes from their mother and grandmother, and it reveals itself in an attitude of extreme gratefulness, which in its way quite Eucharistic: “She would immediately express her gratitude for the littlest favor.

       “She was very sociable, yet reserved and tactful, and her charity always seemed genuine and vast.” The reserve that is mentioned here means the ability to maintain her dignity.The Servant of God, despite the numerous titles she bore, among the most prestigious in the Gotha, knew both how to uphold her rank, as well as to put others at ease. She was commonly called “Her Majesty” and everyone, including her children, used the most formal way of addressing her (le vouvoiement), as a direct consequence.This is how she explained it herself to one of her great-granddaughters, who, with her 3-year-old wisdom, wondered: “‘Among us, everyone has a nickname: Baronness [Plappart], Sister, Her Majesty’. The young Tatiana agreed wholeheartedly.

       This does not dismiss a discernible unpretentiousness. He who knows his rank and who he is, does not need to put others down, as a parvenu would.On the contrary, he should be accessible to all as he knows the height of his rank, as the servant of many, to imitate Christ the King. To the point that the simplicity of the imperial family did not suit some who could not sense it: “This simplicity shocks Father [Parent, in Québec]. He would rather see more magnificence. This simplicity bothered him…

       At recess [at Sainte-Cécile], she was concerned about our families, and told us stories about her grandchildren that were amusing.Her charm was about bringing pleasure to others: in 1962, when she returned to Sainte-Cecile, it was on Holy Wednesday: she had attended the blessing of the Palms in Rome and gave us her branch of the olive tree blessed by John XXIII: there was one leaf for each of us.I had made my temporary vows at the time, and I glued my leaf on a card to make a bookmark, and wrote the first stanza of the 'Gloria Laus,' and I asked Mother Marie-Antonia if Her Majesty would autograph it: this she did after having completed the 'Gloria Laus' with ‘Rex Christe,’ and she signed it with her solemn signature.

       Her respect for people was revealed in the way she prepared herself to receive visitors. Thus all felt comfortable visiting her. This is how one day, a young lady of 18, who wanted to go to a wedding, came to ask the Empress if she could borrow a crinoline dress from her. The poor young girl was disappointed to hear that those were in fashion about a century earlier. This episode gave the Servant of God a good laugh.