16 February 2018

Royal Lady Flashback: Alexandrine & Cecilie of Prussia

Alexandrine Irene von Preussen (1915-1980)
Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrine of Prussia (1915-1980)

Cecilie Viktoria Anastasia Zita Thyra Adelheid von Preussen (1917-1975)
Her Royal Highness Princess Cecilie of Prussia (1917-1975)
Mrs. Clyde Harris (1949-1975)

Alexandrine and Cecilie were the two youngest children (and only daughters) of the six offspring of German Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Unlike other royal children who were born "different," Alexandrine, who had Down Syndrome, was included in family activities, in public events, and on postcards. However, as a teenager, she was sent to a special school, and after World War II, she lived most of her life in Bavaria, although she remained involved with her family.

The entire family's lives were disrupted and displaced by World War II. Little sister Cecilie was living at the Hesse castle of Wolfsgarten after the war when the U.S. Army's "Monuments Men" arrived. Among them was a young man from Texas named Clyde Harris, who together with young Moritz of Hesse actually put out a fire that threatened the castle. Harris and Cecilie married in 1949, but it took a bit of paperwork to get her back to Texas with him. They made their home in Amarillo and had one daughter, Kira Alexandrine. He passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage shortly before his 40th birthday and she lived for another 17 years after him, passing away in 1975 while visiting family in Germany.

Alexandrine died in 1980 at age 65, a few years beyond even today's average life expectancy for someone with Down Syndrome. She is buried at the ancestral Hohenzollern Castle.

The two princesses were confirmed together in 1934. Alexandrine (left) and Cecilie (right) flank their mother Crown Princess Cecilie.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-2003-1014-505 via Wikimedia Commons




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