|Sisters: The future Queen Alexandra of |
England and Empress Marie of Russia
Despite the many privileges of her life, the woman who was born Princess Alexandra of Schleswig Holstein Sonderburg Gluckburg also faced many challenges. Some of these were common to many women of her day, some were inherent in her royal status at a time of great international turmoil, and some were specific to her.
Although she became incredibly wealthy and is remembered today as a glamorous figure dripping in jewels, Alexandra was born into a relatively poor and minor branch of the Danish royal family. She and her sisters shared a chilly room in the attic and even made their own clothes. Then, when she was eight, she underwent an incredible change of fate when the vagaries of succession laws made her father heir to the throne and future King Christian IX of Denmark. This raised his six children to the top of the royal European marriage market; Alexandra's siblings made brilliant marriages with the royal families of Sweden, France, Hanover, and Russia. One of her younger brothers was even selected to be the King of Greece, and one of her nephews was presented with the throne of Norway.
Admired for her beauty and quiet charm, Alexandra caught the attention of the Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia who was on the hunt for a bride to help curb her brother's "wild" ways. The Crown Princess arranged a meeting for the couple, and within no time, Alexandra was on her way to England to become the Princess of Wales in a wedding ceremony where the gloomy widow Queen Victoria and the ghost of Prince Albert loomed over the limited festivities.
Despite her new mother's funereal spirit, Alexandra soon found herself caught up in the exuberant and exciting whirlwind lifestyle of her groom, Prince Albert Edward, better known as Bertie and she as Alix in the family. Their first child was born 10 months after the wedding and seven more babies followed within five years. With the arrival of her last child, Prince Alexander John, Alix suffered like so many other nineteenth century mothers with the loss of her baby before she had even recovered. Twenty-one years later, she lost her firstborn to influenza. Then, 23 years later, her beloved youngest grandson, also named John, died at the age of 13.
Alix also suffered the humiliating philandering of her husband. Always faithful to him and always graceful, she epitomized the ideal of the "good wife" who turned a blind eye. She even invited his final mistress to visit his deathbed.
These various disabilities reinforced her charitable nature and she was highly supportive of various charities for people with disabilities. These characteristics, especially her hearing issues, probably also contributed to her extreme shyness, a trait she passed on to her children, who were collectively referred to as the "whispering Waleses." Nevertheless, Alexandra was very close to them, taking a hands-on role atypical of a princess of her day. It was she who gave baths and put her children to bed. In return, they absolutely adored her, calling her Motherdear all of their lives. She even managed to keep her middle daughter, Princess Victoria unmarried and at her side until her death in 1925.
Alix spent a decade as the Queen Consort, and maintained her enviously youthful appearance after she was widowed in 1910. In 1912, her oldest daughter Louise Princess Royal and her two oldest granddaughters barely survived a shipwreck which ultimately caused the death of her son-in-law. A year later, her brother King George I of Greece was assassinated.
|Alix at age 79, two years before her death|
More about Alexandra:
Alexandra of Denmark on British Express
Alexandra of Denmark on English Monarchs
Alexandra of Denmark, Queen of Great Britain on Freelance History Write
Alexandra of Denmark, Queen of the United Kingdom on Unofficial Royalty
Consort Profile: Alexandra of Denmark on The Mad Monarchist
Deaf History: Queen Alexandra on BSL Zone
The First Queen of Hearts on Sunday Express
HM Queen Alexandra on Museum Victoria
The Last Marriage of a Prince of Wales on History Today
Princess of Wales on Queen Victoria
The Princess of Wales' Feast for the Outcast Poor on History 250
Queen Alexandra on IMDB
Queen Alexandra of Great Britain on Windows to World History
More about Alexandra's Fashion and Jewels:
Flashback Friday: The Splendor of Queen Alexandra on Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor
Queen Alexandra and Face Enameling on Cosmetics and Skin
Queen Alexandra - Fashion Icon on The Enchanted Manor
Queen Alexandra's Royal Bosom on Lisa's History Room
Queen Alexandra's Wedding Parure on From Her Majesty's Jewel Box
Tiara Time: Queen Alexandra's Amethyst Tiara on Tiaras and Trianon
Tiara Timeline: Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara on Court Jeweller
More about the Alexandra Limp:
The Stupid Limping Fad of Victorian Britain on Knowledge Nuts
Victorian Strangeness: The bizarre tale of ladies who limped on BBC Magazine Monitor no twitter
More about Alexandra as an Artist and Photographer:
Alexandra's Photo Book I on Glucksburg
Alexandra's Photo Book II on Glucksburg
Queen Alexandra, when Princess of Wales on Royal Collection Trust
More about Alexandra's Wedding
Alexandra of Denmark Marries Albert Edward, Prince of Wales on About Royal Weddings
British Royal Wedding Look-Back: Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark on The Royal Forums
Portraits of Alexandra:
Children of Alexandra of Britain, Life at Sandringham on Glucksburg
Engagement: Alexandra to Edward VII of Britain on Glucksburg
Queen Alexandra on National Portrait Gallery
Queen Alexandra of Britain, Her Early Years in Denmark on Glucksburg
Wedding: Alexandra to Edward VII of Britain on Glucksburg
Books by Alexandra:
Books about Alexandra: