22 May 2019

Victoria's Guide

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with their first five children
By Franz Xaver Winterhalter from the Royal Collection
via Wikimedia Commons
May 24, 2019 marks 200 years since the birth of Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent, known to us today as Queen Victoria. At the time she was born, everyone knew that she might rise to the throne, but the odds were still against her. Her father, Edward Duke of Kent, had three older brothers who might have fathered children ahead of her in the line of succession. Also, if her father had a son, Victoria would lose her place in line to that little brother due to male-preference primogeniture of the day.

Even for those who could imagine her eventual ascension, how well might they have imagined her iconic status as Queen and Empress and as the person for whom an entire age is named? What is the 19th Century if not Victorian? Around the world, lakes, towns, territories, mountains, etc. etc. Her descendants sit on five European thrones (Denmark, Norway, Spain, Sweden & the United Kingdom). At least 27 of her descendants have born her name, including the next Queen Regnant of Sweden.

In celebration of her anniversary, here is an index to all of the Princess Palace posts that have been published about her, her daughters and granddaughters over the years:

Queen Victoria
Long May She Reign (Queen Victoria et al)
Losing Her Prince (Queen Victoria et al)
The Mother of the Bride (QueenVictoria)
Queen Victoria (Queen Victoria)
Victoria's Secrets: 10 Things You Don't Know About the Famous Queen (Queen Victoria)
Young Royal Widows (Queen Victoria et al)

Victoria's Daughters
Darling Vicky's Birthday (Victoria Princess Royal)
Darling Baby: Beatrice's Brief Childhood (Princess Beatrice)
50 Years Ago: Death of Princess Beatrice (Princess Beatrice)
10 Centuries of Royal Moms (Princess Alice et al)
Amiable and Affectionate Alice's Birthday (Princess Alice)
The Kiss of Death (Princess Alice)

Victoria's Granddaughters
Gorgeous Granddaughters of Victoria (all of the granddaughters)
The Princesses & The Soldiers (many of the granddaughters and great-granddaughters)
Death to the Queen: One Night at the Palacio Real (Queen Victoria Eugenie)
Fire at the Palace (Queen Sophie)
The Royal Lady Who Passed Her Name Down (Queen Sophie)
The Last Romanov Ladies Part 1 (Empress Alexandra)
The Last Romanov Ladies Part 3 (Grand Duchess Elizabeth et al)
Victoria of the United Kingdom (Victoria of the UK)




18 May 2019

A Windsor Wedding: Lady Gabriella

On May 18, 2019, St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle hosted its third royal wedding in a year. The first was the internationally celebrated marriage of Prince Harry of Wales and American Meghan Markle, now known as The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, on May 19, 2018. On October 12, 2018, the chapel hosted the nuptials of Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank. The latest union to be celebrated is that of Lady Gabriella Windsor to Thomas Kingston.


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Lady Gabriella Marina Alexandra Ophelia is the youngest grandchild of the late Prince George of the United Kingdom and Princess Marina of Greece, better known as The Duke and Duchess of Kent. Gabriella is first cousin once removed to Queen Elizabeth II. She is a great-grandchild of King George V of the UK, a great-great-grandchild of King George I of Greece, and a great-great-great grandchild (twice over) of King Christian IX of Denmark and of Tsar Alexander II of Russia.

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Born in April 1981, she is the only daughter of Prince Michael of Kent and his wife Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz, better known as Princess Michael of Kent. (Read my post about Princess Michael.) She grew up at their former country home in Gloucestershire and in London at Kensington Palace, where they were neighbors of Princes William and Harry of Wales, who are just a bit younger than she is.

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The Michaels earn their own living. The Prince is a business consultant with many interests in Russia. The Princess is an interior designer and author. Ella, as their daughter is nicknamed, also writes professionally. Her work has appeared in several prominent publications like Country Life, Hola!, The Spectator and The London Magazine. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative literature at Brown University in the United States in 2004. Seven years ago, she earned a Master of Philosophy degree in social anthropology Linacre College at the University of Oxford. (Her older brother Lord Frederick Windsor is a financial analyst and is married to actress Sophie Winkleman -- read my post about her.)

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The groom, Thomas Kingston, completed his education at Bristol University, taking a bachelor of degree in economic history. He initially worked for the Foreign Office, including several years as a project officer at the Iraqi Institute of Peace in Baghdad. He currently is a director at Davenport Capital working in frontier market investment. Thomas previously dated The Duchess of Cambridge's sister, Pippa Middleton Matthews, who attended the wedding along with their parents, Carol and Michael Middleton and her husband, James Matthews. (Thomas and Gabriella were are James and Pippa's wedding two years ago.)

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Several members of the British Royal Family attended the wedding. These included The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Duke (and former Duchess) of York, Earl of Wessex, Duke of Sussex, Princess Beatrice of York and, of course, the extended Kent branch of the family. The former King and Queen of Greece as well as members of other former royal families, particularly Brazil and Yugoslavia were also present.

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Among Gabriella's five little bridesmaids and three pageboys were her nieces, Maud and Isabella Windsor. This was five-year-old Maud's second gig as royal bridesmaid as she filled the same role for her godmother, Princess Eugenie, in October. 

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15 May 2019

Strange Royal Baby Names

By Chris Allerton via SussexRoyal
When The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that their son's name would be Archie Harrison, many people around the world scratched their heads. With no precedent in the British Royal Family, Archie just did not sound royal to people. Of course, Archie himself is not royal -- he is a great grandson of the monarch outside of the direct line of succession. His daddy is not destined to be King and neither is he. He is also in welcome company of Queen Elizabeth II's great grandchildren who have unusual, or at least non-royal, given names. Like Archie, the names Savannah, Isla, Mia and Lena have also never appeared in the Royal Family tree before. And, let's not forget that Princess Anne's son Peter was the first Peter to be born near the throne in Britain when he arrived in 1977 and his sister was certainly the first Zara in 1981.

While giving unprecedented names to royal descendants may seem extraordinarily modern, it is actually a tradition that dates back to the beginning of this stem of the British Royal Family, beginning with the Georgians/Hanoverians three centuries ago. At that time, Princess Anne Stuart was about to succeed her childless brother-in-law (who had been co-monarch with her sister Mary) to the throne. However, Anne's 14 children had all died young. Parliment wished to settle the succession question to ensure that none of Anne's Catholic cousins acceded to the throne. So, they drew up the 1701 Act of Settlement declaring that only Anne's second cousin Electress Sophia of Hanover, a Stuart descendant but in the female line, and her descendants were eligible to the throne. As the mother of three living adult sons at the time, Sophia seemed a great choice. Sophia died just weeks before Anne, leaving the throne to her oldest son, who became King George I in 1714.

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In the 300 years since then, nearly 100 royal youngsters have been added to the British Royal Family. More than a quarter of them have been given names that never before appeared in the family. Among the most recent "new" names is one of Queen Elizabeth II's children, one of her grandchildren and one of her cousins. For all that we view Queen Victoria as being "old fashioned", her own name was unique at the time and, more incredibly, she gave "new" names to five of her nine children.

Of course, at the beginning of the Hanoverian dynasty, unusual names would be expected. They were German not British, after all, and when the first dynasts were born (prior to 1701), they did not have any idea that they would one day rule "this scepter'd isle." The first King George only had two children: a son named George and a daughter named Sophia Dorothea. George certainly became a common name for the dynasty, but it was not new for royals. In the Wars of the Roses, Yorkist Kings Edward IV and Richard III had a brother named George Duke of Clarence, who aligned himself with the enemy Lancastrians for a time.

Queen EmeritaSofia of Spain was named for her
grandmother Queen Sophia of Greece.
By Ricardo Stuckert/PR via Wikimedia Commons
George I's daughter Sophia Dorothea did not come to Britain with him, as she was already married to Prussian King Frederick William I, but her name certainly did. Several princesses after her bore the name Sophia and the name was eventually used for one of Queen Victoria's Prussian granddaughters, who married a King of Greece and had a granddaughter named for herself who is now Queen Emerita of Spain (and who, by the way, has a Spanish royal granddaughter named Sofia, keeping the name alive and well within the extended family).

The next King, George II, had eight children and gave "new" royal names to two of the them: Amelia and Caroline. The choice of Caroline was fairly obvious, however, as the name of George's wife, Caroline of Ansbach. It continued to occur in future generations and was carried into the Nordic royal families when their granddaughter Princess Caroline Matilda married a Danish King. The name Amelia occurred again when King George III gave it to his youngest (and favorite) daughter before it fell into disuse in the family. It was revived in the 1990s for Lady Amelia Windsor, granddaughter of the Queen's royal cousin, Prince Edward Duke of Kent.

George II's eldest son Frederick Prince of Wales predeceased him. He did not inherit the throne, but he did introduce the name Augusta for one of his nine royal children. Once again, the little princess was named for her mother, this time Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. It proved to be a popular name, occurring as recently as the Queen's grandmother's aunt Princess Augusta of Cambridge, who passed away in 1916.

Charlotte of Wales
By Sir Thomas Lawrence via Wikimedia Commons
Since Frederick was gone, George II was succeeded by his grandson George III, who went on to have 15 children, 13 of whom lived to adulthood and six of whom received unprecedented royal names: Charlotte, Ernest, Augustus, Adolphus, Octavius and Alfred. The name Charlotte once again came from the mother's name, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and has been used rather regularly since then. It almost became the name a reigning queen when the future King George IV gave it to his only child in 1796. Unfortunately, that Princess Charlotte of Wales died in childbirth and never inherited the throne. By the time Prince William chose the name for his daughter in 2015, it seemed very traditional indeed.

The names Ernest and Augustus passed quickly out of the British Royal Family when the Hanoverian and British thrones were separated at Queen Victoria's accession. As a female, she has barred from inheriting that crown, so it went to her next uncle Prince Ernest Augustus (she also had an Uncle Augustus), who had one child named George, who named his son Ernst August (the German version) and the heir of every generation since has borne the double name. The current heir is married to Princess Caroline of Monaco, from whom he is separated. He is also not on terms with his heir, another Ernst August, who opted to name his baby son Welf instead.

Having already had seven sons, King George III and Queen Charlotte were running out of ideas when an eighth baby boy arrived. Cleverly they drew upon their knowledge of Latin to give him the name Octavius, indicated his status as the eighth. No other royal child has been given the name since then. Perhaps because the little fellow died at the age of four or more likely because no one else has had an eighth son. However, George and Charlotte did not stop at eight boys. For their ninth, they drew back upon English history to use the name of England's only great king: Alfred the Great. Baby Alfred passed away shortly before his second birthday, but Queen Victoria used the name for her second son in 1844.

Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent
the future Queen Victoria
By Stephen Poyntz Denning via Wikimedia Commons
After the sudden tragic death of Princess Charlotte of Wales, mentioned above, King George III's many unmarried sons rushed into approved marriages and raced to father an heir for the throne. When the fourth son Prince Edward Duke of Kent's wife gave birth to a daughter, it didn't seem terribly likely that she would be Queen. After all, one of the older brothers might yet have a child or Kent himself might have a son who would take her place due to the male-preference succession of the time. Nevertheless Kent's oldest brother, George Prince of Wales, who was serving as Prince Regent for their "mad" father, was irritated when Kent proposed a grandiose name for the baby: Georgiana Charlotte Augusta Alexandrina Victoria. An argument over the baby's name took place at the baptismal font. The Regent finally agreed to let her be called Alexandrina, after the Russian Emperor who had so recently helped them defeat Napoleon. Not only was the name unprecedented in the British Royal Family, but Kent insisted she must have a second name at least. "Very well" big brother allowed, "call her after her mother" -- and she just happened to be Victoria of Saxe-Coburg. And, this is the story of how one of the most iconic royal names of the modern era entered into the British Royal Family and spread through her descendants to nearly every other European monarchy. This also explains why Queen Victoria was called Drina during her childhood. Perhaps even more than Archie, Alexandrina Victoria, was a rather odd a choice for a royal prince's child.

It is not surprising perhaps that the unprecedented Victoria did not pause to give unprecedented names to her own children, as mentioned above. She added Albert, Alice, Helena, Leopold and Beatrice to the list of suitable royal names. Drawing upon the names of her husband, Albert of Saxe-Coburg, and her father, she named her first son, Albert Edward, expecting that one day he would be the first King Albert. Although her chose the much more traditional King Edward as his regnal name, Alberts and Edwards have proliferated throughout the extended family. Even the Queen's father was named Prince Albert -- though he chose to be King George when the time came.

The name Alice largely stayed within their second daughter's own line: she gave a version of it to one of her daughters, Alix, who became the murdered Empress Alexandra of Russia. Alice's first daughter, Victoria of Hesse, gave the name Alice to her own first daughter. That little Alice married a Greek prince and became the mother of a boy named Prince Philip, who has been married to Queen Elizabeth II since 1947. Nevertheless, there have been no other Alices born into the British Royal Family. Likewise the name Helena, which Victoria gave to her third daughter, stayed in that line, but didn't get far. Princess Helena named one of her daughters Helena Victoria, who never had children. She and her childless sister Marie Louise were considered official members of the British Royal Family, even though they had born into a German princely house.

Queen Victoria named her youngest son Leopold after her uncle, who had been selected as the first King of Belgium. Before gaining his own throne, Uncle Leopold has been married to that tragic cousin Charlotte, who should have been Queen, if she had not died so tragically and young. Unfortunately Victoria's baby Leopold also died tragically and too young. He was the first member of the family to be diagnosed with hemophilia, a disease that would be passed on through two of Victoria's daughters into other royal, imperial and princely families. Leopold also passed it to his daughter, Princess Alice of Albany, named for his older sister who had at least one son and three grandsons afflicted with the condition. Leopold's name has yet to be employed again in the British Royal family although the Belgians have used it several times.

The three oldest Edinburgh princesses: (from left) Marie,
Victoria Melita and Alexandra
From the Royal Collection via Wikimedia Commons
The tradition of "new" royal name didn't end with Queen Victoria. Her heir King Edward VII added the male version of his mother's name to call his first child Prince Albert Victor. Victoria's second son Prince Alfred Duke of Edinburgh added another new name to the Queen's to name his second daughter Princess Victoria Melita. For his third daughter, he introduced the name Alexandra. By that time, the Princess of Wales was a Danish princess named Alexandra, but the name was more likely derived from the baby's maternal grandfather Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Meanwhile her third son Prince Arthur Duke of Connaught named his youngest daughter Princess Patricia of Connaught when the little girl was born on St. Patrick's Day.

Three more "new" royal names were added in the 20th Century. Edward VII's grandson, another Prince Edward Duke of Kent, was the first to name a British prince Michael in 1942. The Queen herself was the first to introduce the name Prince Andrew in 1960, when she named her third child for her husband's father, Greek Prince Andrew. Finally, today's Prince Andrew used another name without British precedent with his youngest child, Princess Eugenie. While Queen Victoria's granddaughter Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg was born in Balmoral Castle and grew up in the Queen's household, she was not officially a British royal. She had received the name in honor of her godmother, Empress Eugenie of France, who had been born into the Spanish nobility. The name returned to Spain, when Victoria Eugenie later married the Spanish king.

So, while the name Archie may never have been given to the son of a British prince before, its uniqueness has its own deep historical roots.

11 May 2019

Ancestress of the Aristocracy

By Peter Lely via Wikimedia Commons
The wife of Roger Palmer had six children, but Roger had none.

When you've got it, you've got it. And, Barbara Villiers definitely had it. Although she was born among the lower rungs of the English aristocracy, she rose to the very top by using the assets that had been granted her: stunning good looks and an even more stunning sensuality.

Soon after the teenage Barbara married the future Member of Parliament Roger Palmer, she met a man with an even brighter future: the exiled King Charles II. Charles has been living on the Continent since the English Civil War had ended the monarchy and executed his father, but he was preparing to return one day. Fortunately for Barbara, his libido was as big as his ambition. The two became lovers less than a year after her marriage. Despite this, Roger and Barbara remained together even when she bore a daughter, whom Charles later recognized as his own. Roger believed the little girl was his own and showed her favor throughout his life, even making her his heir. However, when another child arrived a year later, Roger apparently started to to figure out what was happening. He and Barbara separated but still remained married.

Always one with an eye for the ladies, the 32-year-old King already had three other children by two other women when Barbara gave birth to their second child together. He also had a brand new royal bride, the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza. However, Charles was completely besotted with Barbara. When the already well-informed Catherine struck Barbara's name off a list of women intended to serve her, Barbara complained to the King, who publicly brought her to the Queen's presence. The convent-raised Catherine developed a bloody nose and fainted. This dramatic encounter clearly showed all and sundry that it was Barbara, not the new Queen, whom the King most wished to please. In fact, the King even dismissed all of Catherine's Portuguese ladies in a display of disgust at her behavior.

The two women remained bitter rivals, but neither managed to hold the King's undivided attention. In fact it's said that Barbara prayed fervently for Catherine's recovery from a deathly illness because she worried that a new Queen might not only replace her in the King's affections but might actually deliver an heir. You see, while Barbara continued to pop out royal bastards for Charles, Catherine never carried any of her few pregnancies to term. Barbara's fecundity was awarded by Charles after the very first child, when Charles gave her husband the title Earl of Castlemaine, thereby making her a Countess. Nine years later, he gave her her own titles as Duchess of Cleveland, Countess of Southampton and Baroness Nonsuch. This he did despite the fact that she was never sexually loyal to him. In fact, it was strongly believed that her last child didn't belong to the King. When Charles refused to acknowledge the expected baby, Barbara threatened to kill it. Always more ready for a party than a fight, Charles gave this new child the same royal surname as Barbara's other children, Fitzroy, which means "child of the King."

By Peter Lely via Wikimedia Commons
Known as the "Merry Monarch", Charles preferred to laugh at Barbara's sexual foibles. When he happened upon one of her poor, young lovers sneaking out the window, he hollered after him, "I forgive you, for I know you only do it for your bread." Of course, the "bread" that Barbara so generously gave to her lovers came largely from the King, who greatly enriched her. This combined with Barbara's strong political influence over Charles -- and it was well-known that her influence could be purchased by favor-seekers for the right price.

Many men found her incredibly alluring. Portrait artist Peter Lely, who once painted her as the Virgin Mary, said that her personal beauty was "beyond the power of art" to capture. Bishop Burnet, who found her "enormously vicious and ravenous, foolish but imperious", thought her a "woman of great beauty." Diarist Samuel Pepys wrote about how inspiring it was just to see her underclothes drying on the line. Nevertheless, she was widely considered "the curse of the nation" as diarist John Evelyn wrote, as famous for her greed, temper and promiscuity as she was for her beauty and figure.

As she grew older, the King's attraction to her began to wane. (He had many other ladies to sate his desires, any way.) In 1673, Barbara even lost her place in court, not because the Queen had finally triumphed, but because the Test Act prevented Catholics (as she was) from holding office, including as Lady of the Bedchamber. (Of course, Charles said he was interested in women's bodies not their souls.) By the time Charles added the luscious Frenchwoman Louise de Kerouaille to his collection of mistresses, Barbara's ongoing angry fits drove him to send her away.

She moved to Paris for a few years but was briefly reconciled with Charles after her return. They were even seen together shortly before his death in 1685. His death did not slow her as she continued her rowdy lifestyle. After her husband, the unfortunate Roger, finally died, the 65-year-old Barbara briefly married a fortune hunter, until she found out that he was already married. She died just a few years later in 1709.

All three of her sons by Charles became dukes during her lifetime. Her two older daughters married earls while the youngest daughter (who most likely did not belong to Charles) became a Benedictine nun. Today, much of the British aristocracy is descended from her. In fact, seven current Royal Highnesses (William, George, Charlotte, Louis, Harry, Beatrice and Eugenie) count her as an ancestor because both the late Diana Princess of Wales and Sarah Duchess of York were descended from her.


For more about Lady Castlemaine:

Barbara Palmer on English Monarchs
Barbara Palmer (Countess of Castlemaine) on The Diary of Samuel Pepys
Barbara Villiers on Historic UK
"The Curse of Nation" on Erin Lawless
The King's Whore on Scandalous Women
Lady Castlemaine on The Honest Courtesan
Like a Virgin on Pippa Rathbone's SCRATCH POST
Mistress of the Bedchamber on The Diary Review
Mistresses of King Charles II: Barbara Villiers on Stuarts Weekly
My Lady Castlemaine by Philip IV Sergeant, B.J.
The Story of Barbara Palmer on Author, Jane Lark's Stories

08 May 2019

Welcome Little Archie

When it comes to guessing royal baby names, I am the world's worst. I have never even come close to being right. However, I did get one thing correct about the name of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first child: it is without precedent. Unlike, the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who will remain close to the crown all of their lives, Meghan and Harry's son will drift quite far from the royal limelight. (The last prince born seventh in line to the throne, like this baby, is now #48!) Therefore, there was no pressure at all to select a traditional name for the tyke. Nevertheless, many people were still surprised when the name was announced as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

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As adorable as the name Archie may sound to some -- and as much as Meghan and Harry clearly like it -- it does break with some precedents.

Firstly, no member of the British Royal Family has ever been given a first name that most people consider to be a nickname. "Archie" is usually short for Archibald. Secondly, even the name Archibald is almost without precedent. You have to stretch back five centuries to find it in the family tree.  The Scots lord Archibald Douglas 6th Earl of Angus married Henry VIII's older sister, Margaret Tudor, after her first husband, King James IV of Scotland died. This made Archibald the stepfather of King James V. He and Margaret had a daughter, also named Margaret, who married Matthew Stewart 4th Earl of Lennox. Their son Henry Stuart Lord Darnley famously (infamously?) married his cousin Mary Queen of Scots and fathered King James VI of Scotland, who later succeeded Queen Elizabeth I of England as King James I of England. The two thrones were later merged. The new little Archie is descended from this original "royal" Archibald through several lines through both his grandfather Prince Charles and his late grandmother Lady Diana Spencer.

Thirdly, the name Harrison is even more clearly without precedent. There is no great-great-great grandpa Harrison in the royal family tree. However, the name may just be a nod to the age-old tradition of recognizing a child by its father's name. Marvel fans may be familiar with Thor Son of Odin. Or, perhaps you have heard of Leif Ericsson? Ericsson was not his surname or his family name; it literally meant that his father was named Eric. The name Harrison literally means "Son of Harry" and you couldn't get more spot-on than that. Many cultures share this patronymic (father's name) tradition: Abu or Ibn in Arabic, Ben in Hebrew, Ap in Welsh, -vich in Slavic languages, etc. Fitz meant "son of" in Norman French and was used as a part of surnames for some royal bastards as recently as Queen Victoria's first cousins, the plentiful FitzClarences, children of King William IC who were born when he was still the Duke of Clarence. Even the prefix of Mc-, Mac- or O' so common in the British Isles originally indicated who the father was. The use of formal surnames that passed from generation to generation tends to be a more modern concept, especially for non-noble classes. At the time surnames were adopted, people who had a patronym, just passed their own down to their children, freezing the that genealogical marker in time. (Other surnames were commonly derived from location names or jobs but even these mark a certain point in history. For instance, I have known many people named Cooper, but none of them made barrels for a living.)

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Finally, little Archie Harrison received only two names. While that's quite common for most of us. It is not as common for babies with royal daddies. The Queen's children and Prince Charles's children (including Harry, who is named Henry Albert Charles David) each have four names. Prince William's, Prince Andrew's, Prince Edward's and Princess Anne's children each have three. The Queen has three names (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary), but her younger sister, Margaret Rose, had only two. Princess Anne's oldest grandchild as three, but her other granddaughters only have two each. Queen Victoria only had two (Alexandrina Victoria) but her cousin/granddaughter-in-law, Queen Mary, had eight (Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes).

Of course, the baby's announced surname, Mountbatten-Windsor, also raised questions among some who are less familiar with the history of the British Royal Family. Both names were "made up" in a sense in 1917, when the Queen's grandfather, King George V, decided that the members of the British Royal Family needed to drop all of their Germanic names and titles in the midst of World War I. The royal family itself did not really have a surname -- royals didn't need them -- so they really had to make something up. Ultimately, they decided to lay claim to the most historically British thing in their midst and named themselves after their home at Windsor Castle, which had originally been constructed by William the Conqueror shortly after his Norman Conquest in 1066. As for the royal cousins who had been born Princes of Battenberg, they merely translated their German name to English. Since "berg" means "mountain", they renamed their family Mountbatten. One of their princesses, however, was already married to a Greek prince. During the next World War, her son, Prince Philip of Greece fought in the British Navy. Afterward, in the run-up to his marriage to the heir to the British throne, he surrendered his foreign citizenship and his royal house. He opted to adopt his mother's family's newish surname of Mountbatten. When his engagement to Princess Elizabeth was announced, he was simply Lt. Philip Mountbatten. (His father-in-law made him Duke of Edinburgh and an HRH and made it so that the children of the marriage would be HRH Prince/Princess.)

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Everything seemed fine for a time. Four and a half years after the wedding, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth and some people wondered what her surname was as married women traditionally took their husband's name. When Philip's uncle Louis Earl Mountbatten of Burma boastfully toasted the Royal House of Mountbatten, the actual Royal Household and senior royals were aghast. Parliament quickly decided that Elizabeth and her children were all of the Royal House of Windsor. Philip is said to have felt emasculated. "I'm just a bloody amoeba!" he declared at one point in response to this and other slights. He was, he noted, the only man who could not give his name to his children. This is thought to have been a rough point in the royal marriage for a long time, until shortly before their third child, Prince Andrew, was born in 1960. Elizabeth issued an Order in Council declaring that their male-line descendants who lacked royal titles and styles would use the hyphenated surname of Mountbatten-Windsor. Since then, the name has appeared from time to time on wedding registeries and birth records of many family members who DO have royal titles. It is the name of Prince Edward's children who do not use their royal styles, however, his daughter is usually just referred to as The Lady Louise Windsor. This means that little Archie may be the first descendant who may actually use the combined surname throughout his entire life.

The bigger issue, in my option, is not the baby's name but his title. Or rather, his lack of title. Although many people wished that he would have been HRH Prince Archie of Sussex, like his Cambridge cousins, he actually wasn't entitle to a royal title. Royal styles currently only extend to the children and male-line grandchildren of the monarch and to the children of the Prince of Wales's firstborn son. In order for the child of the Prince of Wales's second-born son to become a prince, new Letters Patent would have been needed.

However, calling Meghan and Harry's baby just plain-old "Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor" flies in the face of centuries of aristocratic tradition. The eldest son of a duke, royal or otherwise, is traditionally allowed to use his father's next highest secondary title. In this case, Harry's next title is Earl of Dumbarton. The daughter of a duke is traditionally entitled as Lady First Name Surname and younger sons as Lord First Name Surname. (The children of the Queen's cousin the Duke of Kent are the Earl of St. Andrews, Lady Helen Taylor and Lord Nicholas Windsor. Even Prince Michael of Kent, way down at #48 in the Line of Succession these days, has children who are style Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Windsor.) If Meghan and Harry wished for their children to have no titles at all, they could have refused to accept the titles that Harry was granted just last year. Of course, under current practices, this would have made Meghan's title Princess Harry. I can only imagine the uproar that would have caused on at least two fronts: one that she was 'forced' to use her husband's name (as Princess Michael of Kent does) and two that she 'outranks' her sister-in-law, the future Queen Consort, who is merely Duchess of Cambridge. Both of these are fallacies of sorts. Until extremely recently, all married women used their husband's name (Miss Jane Taylor married and became Mrs. John Smith). More importantly, and I want you all to remember this, both Catherine and Meghan ARE princesses because their husband's are princes. Period. They are styled as Duchesses, rather than as Princess William and Princess Harry.

Over all of this title business is looming another issue: the future. As it stands, no matter what Archie is called now, he is his father's heir. Unless he predeceases Harry or surrenders his rights himself, he will inherit the Duke of Sussex title at some point in the hopefully distant future. Much sooner than that, Archie will stop being the great-grandson of the monarch and become the grandson of the monarch. As you'll remember, male-line grandsons are entitle to be HRH Prince. What will happen the Prince of Wales becomes King? Will Master Archie suddenly become Prince Archie, or will he be the only member of the immediate royal family without a title of any kind?


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01 May 2019

Happy 4th Birthday, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

May 2, 2019 marks the fourth birthday of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's only daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. As has been the case with most of the official photos of the three Cambridge children, these three photos were taken by the Duchess, who is a keen amateur photographer. And, frankly, who better to capture these carefree kinds of photos?

As the world eagerly awaits the next addition to the Windsor Family, Charlotte's new cousin, I hope you enjoy these photos and links to my previous posts about the world's favorite little princess. (Feel free to join in the guessing game about whom Charlotte most resembles: The Queen? Prince William? The Spencers?)

All photos copyright HRH The Duchess of Cambridge
via Kensington Palace




Other Posts about Princess Charlotte
Princess Charlotte Breaks Glass Ceiling
A Title for Princess Charlotte

09 March 2019

Amiable & Affectionate Alice's Birthday

Please enjoy this limited series by blog guest, Aimee Byrony Silvester. In these posts, she shares items from Queen Victoria's diaries marking the birthdays of each of Victoria's birthdays. One child will be spotlighted per post. (Click below for other posts in the series.)

     Vicky

Alice Maud Mary
born April 25, 1843

from Studio of Hills & Saunders
via Wikimedia Commons
The third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Princess Alice was a dutiful but strong-minded individual. Six months after nursing her dying father, she married the future Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse, a match that her father had approved. However, her wedding was very small and intimate due to Albert's recent death. In Hesse, Alice made a habit of looking after the poor and the sick, even learning some nursing skills. She was also a hands-on mother (see The Kiss of Death). She shocked her mother by breastfeeding her own children, for which reason Victoria famously named on her cows Alice! Four of Princess Alice's seven children died tragically. Her daughters Elizabeth and Alix were both murdered by the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution as Grand Duchess Sergei and Empress Alexandra. Her second son, Friedrich, a hemophiliac, died at age two after a fall from a window. Her youngest daughter Marie died at age four from diphtheria. Alice followed her a few weeks later, on the 17th anniversary of Prince Albert's death, having contracting diphtheria herself while nursing her little ones. Her oldest daughter Victoria became the mother of Earl Mountbatten of Burma and the grandmother of Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh.

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I went far too overboard with the notes but Alice is probably my favourite among Victoria's children, so I couldn't help myself. - Aimee Byrony Silvester

1844: 
“Today is dear good fat little Alice’s 1st birthday. May God Almighty bless & protect her & may she continue & grow up as sweet tempered as she is now.”

1845: 
“On waking, our first thoughts were for dear sweet little Alice, for whom we can never be thankful enough, & we earnestly pray that God will long bless & preserve her from all bodily & spiritual harm.”

1846: 
“On waking we thought & talked much of our dear little Alice, whose birthday it is today. We arranged her table with presents in the window, in the breakfast room, & then went up to fetch the little darling.”

1847: 
“Today is our dear pet little Alice’s 4th birthday. May God grant that she may ever be the blessing she is to us now!”

1848: 
“Our dear good little Alice’s birthday. May God bless & protect the sweet child, who has ever been a pleasure to us, & may she grow up good & happy. I can hardly believe that it is really possible that she can be already 5!”

1849: 
“Today is our dear good little Alice’s birthday, already her 6th. May God bless the dear sweet child, & let her grow up as amiable & gentle, as she is now!”

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1850: 
“Our dear little Alice’s birthday. May God bless & preserve our good little Alice; such a very amiable gentle child, with such a sweet & affectionate disposition. It seems like a dream, that she should already be 7 years old!”

1851: 
“We were awoke by a serenade for Alice, whose 8th birthday it is, which seems quite incredible to me. May God bless her! She is so gentle, & very accomplished as to music, dancing, & needle work.”

1852: 
“Our good little Alice’s 9th birthday. May God bless & protect her, she is a dear child, industrious, sweet tempered affectionate & very unselfish. It seems but yesterday she was born, & she was such a beautiful Baby. At 16 months & at 2 years old it was impossible to see a prettier, dearer little thing.”

1853: 
“Dear Alice’s 10th birthday. May God bless her! She is a good, amiable unselfish & affectionate child.”

1854: 
“Good Alice’s 11th birthday. May God bless her. She is a good amiable, unselfish child, who I am sure will someday make a very amiable wife.” 1

1855: 
“Good Alice’s 12th birthday. May God bless the dear Child!” 2

1856: 
“Good Alice’s 13th, & dear Aunt Gloucester’s 80th birthday! May God bless both! Alice is a dear good, amiable child, who deserves to be very happy.” [Because she was born on the same date, Alice's third name, Mary, was given to honor of George III's daughter Princess Mary, who married her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester.]

1857: 
“On the 25th, dear Alice's 14th birthday, her present table was rolled into my bedroom” 3

1858: 
“Our dear good Alice’s 15th birthday. It seems a dream she should be growing up so fast. May God bless our dear Child, so pretty, gentle, & so truly amiable & unselfish!”

1859: 
“Today is our dear sweet Alice’s 16th birthday. I can hardly believe it possible! She is a great treasure to us, & may God leave her long with us, & may she ever be blessed, preserved & protected!”

1860: 
“Our dear good Alice’s 17th birthday. May God bless & preserve this dear good, amiable child & may she be happy, when her future lot is decided (which I am thankful to think there is as yet no question of) She is gentle, unselfish & affectionate as can be.” 4

1861: 
“Our dear good Alice’s 18th birthday, which we had looked forward to with pleasure, hoping beloved Mama would have been with us, as she was last year in London! Now all is so changed, & it is so sad that this, dear Alice’s last unmarried year, & season, should be one of entire seclusion.” 5 6

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1862: 
“Dear Alice’s birthday, her 19th, & the first without her beloved Father, as well as last unmarried. God bless her! How sadly her young life has been blighted." 7 8

1863: 
“Our dear good Alice’s 20th birthday, which as all the birthdays is now so sad, so silent & so joyless! Directly after breakfast went over to dear Alice & felt I could hardly bear up as I wished her all possible happiness. But I do indeed pray God long to bless her with her excellent husband & dear little child.” 8

1864: 
“Darling Alice’s birthday, the first she has ever spent away from home, & which she was to have spent here, only she has not been well.” 9

1865: 
“Dear good Alice’s birthday. May God long preserve her!”

1866: 
“Dear Alice’s 23rd birthday! May God long bless & preserve her, happy as she is now!” 10 11

1867: 
“Dear Alice’s 24th birthday. May God bless & preserve her!”

1868: 
“Dear Alice’s birthday. May God bless & preserve her!” 12

1869: 
“Dear Alice’s 26th birthday. May God long bless & preserve her!” 13

1870: 
“Dear Alice’s 27th birthday. God bless & protect her.”

1871: 
“Dear Alice’s 27th [actually 28th] birthday. May God long bless & protect her.” 14 15

1872: 
“Dear Alice’s 29th birthday. I trust all will go well with her.” 16

1873: 
“Dear Alice’s 30th birthday. May god bless her.” 17

1874: 
“Dear Alice’s birthday. May God bring her safely through her approaching confinement.” 18

1875: 
“Dear Alice’s 32nd birthday, which she has not spent here since 68, just after Victoria’s birth. May 
God bless & protect her, dear Louis, & their delightful beautiful children!”

1876: 
“Dear Alice’s birthday, which she spent here last year.”

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1877: 
“Dear Alice’s 34th birthday. May God bless & protect her!” 19

1878: 
“Dear Alice’s birthday. May God long bless & preserve her!” 20 21

1879: 
“This dear day, so full of tender & bright memories of darling Alice, now full of sadness, no letter to write, no present! All, silent! It is so dreadful.” 22

1880: 
“My darling Alice’s birthday, formerly such a happy day, now alas! so sad! How impossible it is, yet to realize, the dreadful truth, even after having been to the Rosenhöhe.”

1881: 
“Beloved Alice’s birthday, once such a happy day, now so sad.”

1882: 
“Darling Alice’s birthday, the remembrance of which brought tears to poor Louis’ eyes.”

1883: 
“Beloved Alice’s birthday. It would have been her 40th! If only she were with us still!”

1884: 
“Darling Alice’s birthday. How strange I should be spending it at Darmstadt, never having done so, in her dear life time.” 23 24

1885: 
“A day of great emotions. Dear beloved Alice’s birthday & her darling boy to be confirmed, & 1st grandchild, christened. But she not there to see it!” 25

1886: 
“Beloved Alice’s birthday. We spent the day 2 years ago, & last year, at Darmstadt.”

1887: 
“Darling Alice’s birthday, which we spent 2 years ago at Darmstadt, & Ernie was confirmed, & little Alice Battenberg christened on that day.” [Alice of Battenberg, Alice's first grandchild, became the mother of Prince Philip of Greece, spouse of Queen Elizabeth II.]

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1888: 
“Dear Alice’s birthday.” 26

1889: 
“Darling Alice’s birthday! She has already been taken from us 11 years ago.” 27 28

1890: 
“Dear Alice’s birthday.”

1892: 
“Today was darling Alice’s birthday. Thank God! that she did not live to see this terrible misfortune!” 29 [Alice's husband Louis had died suddenly of a heart attack six weeks earlier at the age of 54.]

1893: 
“Beloved Alice’s birthday, she would have been 50!”

1894: 
“Darling Alice’s birthday.” 30 31

1895: 
“This was darling Alice’s birthday.” 32 33

1896: 
“This was darling Alice’s birthday.” 34

1897: 
“This was dear Alice’s birthday.” 35

1898: 
“This was dear Alice’s birthday also Georgie’s little girl’s first birthday.” ["Georgie's little girl" was Princess Mary of York, the future Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood. "Georgie" was Victoria's grandson, the future King George V.]

1899: 
“This was dear Alice’s birthday, & is also little Mary of York’s.” 36

Notes

1: “In 1854 the Crimean War started, and Victoria and Albert’s second daughter, now eleven, first tasted of the cause that would become her life’s work. Alice was already far the more emotionally sensitive of the princesses, her sympathies with other people’s burdens notably marked for a child so young. When she was taken by her mother to visit the war wounded streaming back from Russian battlefields to hospitals in Britain, the horrifying scenes she witnessed, no matter how circumspectly masked for the queen’s presence, burned indelible pictures on Alice’s sense of compassion.” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)

2: “Alice contracted scarlet fever in 1855, permanently weakening her constitution. It was a presentiment the queen seemed not to appreciate, possibly because of her own deep-seated unease with illness of any kind, even that in her own family. Added to the girl’s difficulties during adolescence were looks that elicited one of the queen’s most blunt assessments of her shortcomings when, in a letter to her half sister, Princess Feodore of Leiningen, Victoria commented, ‘I dare say [Alice] will improve...’” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)

3: Victoria went into confinement for the final time on the 13th April, for the birth of her youngest child Beatrice. Beatrice was born a day later on the 14th April. She started to write in her journal again on the 29th, which is when this birthday mention was written.

4: In June 1860 Alice met Prince Louis of Hesse and by Rhine on his visit to England. Queen Victoria noted in her diary a few days after they met, “It is nice to see the liking the young people have to one another, & it is so apparent, that everyone must see what is coming.”
“In 1858 the Queen Victoria turned her sights on the small, albeit far from wealthy, German Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine which, until 1806, had been called Hesse-Darmstadt, the name by which it is still frequently, though incorrectly, known. Ruled by the childless and vaguely eccentric Grand Duke Louis III, the Queen’s interest lay in his eldest nephews, Ludwig (or Louis) and Heninrich (Henry). [...] By the time he and Henry were invited to England in the summer of 1860, to stay with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, first at Buckingham Palace and then at Windsor for Ascot races, Louis was twenty-three, a good looking young man with a fresh open face, light brown hair and, as the Queen noted, an attractive figure. A certain initial shyness added to his appeal. If the Queen was considerably taken with Prince Louis of Hesse, Alice herself was totally smitten. Cupid’s arrow had hit the desired spot with such speed and precision that Louis instantly became ‘the only man she ever did, shall, can or will love’.” (’Ella: Princess, Saint & Martyr’)
Louis proposed to Alice on 30th November. “Afterwards, while talking to the Gentlemen, perceived Alice & Louis talking more earnestly than usual before the fireplace & when we passed to go into the other room, both came up to me in great agitation, Alice saying he had proposed to her & he begging me for my blessing, which I gladly gave him, & told him to come to our room later. Got through the evening as well as we could. Alice came to our room & told us of Louis expressing his hope to her, that she liked him sufficiently to exchange her English for a German home, — small as it was. Louis then came going first to Albert's room, who called in Alice. We talked a little, then after a warm embrace of the dear young people we separated. Dear Alice was so happy & I overjoyed!”

5: 16th March 1861, Queen Victoria’s mother died. “The duchess of Kent died, while holding her heartbroken daughter’s hand, at Frogmore House in the grounds of Windsor Home Park. The only person Albert sent for was Princess Alice, to whom he gave a single simple instruction: ‘Go and comfort Mama.’ Alice had spent a good part of her days during the previous winter as a companion to her ailing grandmother, playing the piano in Frogmore’s drawing room, and eventually nursing the old woman, in an early demonstration of the princess’s abilities to care for the sick that would play so important a role in her married life. Albert was wise to choose this daughter to help the monarch get past the tragedy. But on the duchess’s death, Queen Victoria almost immediately fell into a nervous breakdown, the first of two she would endure in this one year.” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)

6: 14th December 1861 Alice’s father, Albert, died. She had been nursing him during his illness, but it was in vain. Alice, who had been extremely close to her father and was very much like him, was forever saddened by his death. Her last words were ‘Dear Papa’
“At this point Alice stepped in as principal family caregiver. At eighteen, the princess’s maturity would astound witnesses to the unfolding tragedy. She dropped every other pursuit of interest, including writing anything frivolous to Louis, informing her fiancé only of the facts surrounding the prince consort’s illness and of her mother’s needs: ‘I only hope that I am really useful to them... and I would still gladly bear everything, if it were possible.’ One observer, Lady Lyttelton, called Alice ‘the angel in the house’ [which makes it more ironic when Victoria, a few years later, said that Alice was the true ‘devil’ in the family].
Alice would read to Albert, or play the piano in the room adjoining Windsor’s Blue room, where the prince now lay. She moved her own bed into the connecting room, rising at all hours of the night to comfort her declining father. Though her presence at his side unquestionably eased the torments of Albert’s last days, her careful ministrations were powerless to check the progress of disease in a man who had already abdicated the will to live. [...] December 14 brought this great family tragedy to a horrifying close. Alice wrote to Louis that morning, informing him that ‘everything would be decided’ in the next twenty-four hours. [...] Alice carried on steadily with her nursing activities, her ministrations to her dying father remarkably intimate for the age in which these horrors were playing out. [...]
On December 14th Princess Alice ceased to be her father’s nurse, and on the following day assumed that role for her remaining parent. Thoughts of Louis and life in Darmstadt would be for a long time be relegated to a further corner of Alice’s thoughts. The ordeal the the queen underwent was in reality deeply shared by Alice. The younger woman would later write of her amazement that either she or her mother managed to survive the experience of Albert’s death with their reason intact. Sleeping nightly in Victoria’s room, keeping constant watch over the keening monarch, running interference with the ministers whose business with the sovereign remained as urgent as it had been before his death - never did the princess flag, even when her own need for her father’s counsel seemed almost unbearably urgent.” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)

7: On 1st July 1862 Alice married Louis. “The widow [Victoria] would allow none of the usual happiness associated with a wedding to supersede her grief, regardless of the effect his would have on the bridal couple. [...] What should have been a festive and joyous day was instead, as the queen described it to Lord Tennyson, ‘the saddest I remember.’ Indeed, the wedding could have been a funeral.” (’Victoria’s Daughters’). During the wedding Victoria “restrained my tears, & had a great struggle all through, but remained calm.”

8: On 8th July 1862 Alice and Louis left England. Victoria wrote, in her journal, “felt very wretched at the thought of my darling Child leaving us, & her home. [...] Then they left & I felt more than ever alone!”

9: On 5th April 1863 Alice gave birth to her first child, she was named Victoria. Victoria (who would later be the grandmother of the current Duke of Edinburgh, the current Queen of England’s husband), was born in England with Queen Victoria present.
“I stood close to the bed, stroking darling Alice's shoulder & feeling terribly agitated, but I was able to control myself completely, thank God! At last at 1/4 t.5 me child was born a little girl, who cried vehemently. Dear Alice was too exhausted & half stupefied by the chloroform to take any notice. I embraced good Louis whose face showed signs of deep emotion, though he had been perfectly calm, & full of devotion & affection.”

9: On 1st November 1864 Alice gave birth to her daughter Elisabeth, later Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna, who was nicknamed ‘Ella’.

10: In 1866 the Austro-Prussian War started. “As a major general, Louis commanded the Hessian cavalry brigade that was to oppose the Prussian forces under the command of his brother-in-law. [...] Alice remained in a highly uneasy Darmstadt, expecting within days of her husband’s departure the birth of her third child. Determined to follow Louis to the war front after the baby was born, Alice sent the two older children - Victoria and Ella - to their grandmother in England. Her immediate post delivery aim was to oversee the Hessian army’s field hospitals [...] Heavily pregnant, Alice nonetheless undertook those war activities appropriate to her sex, principally making bandages from torn-up sheets and exerting pressure on the authorities to get the local hospitals ready for the expected casualties.” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)

11: On 11th July 1866 Alice gave birth to her daughter Irene. She was born just as Prussia’s troops were on the verge of entering Darmstadt. ‘On 11th September, the day before Prince Louis’s twenty-ninth birthday, his and Alice’s new baby was christened. In a ceremony at which her father’s entire regiment, the Hessian Cavalry Brigade, stood as godfather, the eight week-old princess was given the name Irene, the Greek word for Peace. It was, said Princess Alice, a name ‘my parents-in-law and we like; it stands, besides, as a sort of recollection of the peace so longed for... It will always remind us... of how much we have to be grateful for.’” (’Ella: Princess, Saint & Martyr’)

12: On 25th November 1868 Alice gave birth to her son Ernest, nicknamed ‘Ernie’.

13: “She daily went to the hospitals and ambulances, directing and organising the best means of relief, and bringing comfort and brightness wherever she went, proud to work like the wife of a German officer whose only thought during her husband’s absence was to relieve as much as possible the misery and suffering of the wounded soldiers. ‘The Alice Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded’ did grand work all this time. The Princess established a ‘depot’ at her own palace of all hospital necessaries, and organised committees of ladies who served out refreshments day and night at the railway station to the wounded who were constantly passing through Darmstadt on their way home.
She was indefatigable, never a thought given to herself, and though almost distracted with anxiety about the Prince, it was she who ‘kept others up,’ who kept her presence of mind, who directed, guided, advised, who comforted the bereaved, and gave hope to many ready to despair. But what tried her the most sorely was the heartrending sight of the crowds of mothers, wives, sisters, pressing round her carriage after the first intelligence of a great battle: all came to her for news, and yet she was often unable to tell them anything but ‘that the loss had been enormous.’
The strain on her health was intense, but she would not give in. In answer to one of her sisters writing to her at that time and begging her to spare herself, she said: ‘I must work only not to be able to think. I should go mad if I had to sit still and think;’ and this, too, was shortly before her second boy’s birth, which took place on the 6th of October. After it, to help her recovery, she was persuaded by her parents-in-law to go for three weeks to her sister at Berlin. There is not doubt that the perpetual mental anxiety and great physical strain of that terrible time told permanently on the Princess’s health.” (Alice’s sister, Helena, 1884)

14: On 7th October 1870 Alice gave birth to her son Friedrich, nicknamed ‘Frittie’ or ‘Fritz’. “Not long afterwards, the 27-year-old Princess, who would suffer severe nervous strain as a result of the responsibilities she shouldered as a nurse, organizer, anxious wife and expectant mother, wrote home to Queen Victoria ‘A great many things concerning the troops come to me from all parts of the country and there is much to do - much more than in my present state is good for me; but it can’t be helped.’” (Ella: Princess, Saint & Martyr’)

15: Victoria had been becoming increasingly annoyed with Alice over the years. At this point, Alice and Louis’ financial situation was getting rather bad. “Helping to pay the price for opposing Prussia in the war also imposed its own financial demands, which used up the last of Princess Alice’s dowry.” (’Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr’).
Victoria wrote to her daughter Louise on the 2nd November 1871 “Alice and Louis left yesterday. I warn you that (besides begging for much money again which must never let her think you know or tell anyone else) [she] is moving heaven and earth to stay, taking the children’s coughs as a pretext, the whole winter in England living at my expense”. She also wrote on the 11th “Beware of incurring debt (as Alice has to a very serious extent)”.
“A peripheral source of Victoria’s disenchantment with Alice turned on her daughter’s outspokenness on gynaecological matters and eagerness to extract as much information as possible on the subject from her already married sisters, information Alice hoped to put to use in her nursing work in Darmstadt. Louise received a letter from the queen just after returning from a honeymoon visit she and Lorne paid Alice in Darmstadt: ‘I would rather you had not met her so soon, for I know her curiosity and what is worse and I hardly like to say of my own daughter - and I know her indelicacy and coarseness... (she was as nice and refined as any of you and has learnt all of this from the family there)... When she came over in ‘69 and saw Lenchen again and asked her such things, that Christian was shocked.’ As has been noted, Victoria abhorred matters of the body, and highly resented anyone - especially her daughters - who didn’t share that discomfort.” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)

16: On 6th June 1872 Alice gave birth to her daughter Alix, later Alexandra Feodorovna, who was nicknamed ‘Alicky’

17: On 29th May 1873 Frittie died. “He had only shortly before been confirmed a haemophiliac [...] The young prince repaid his mother’s love in remarkable measure, and he became Alice’s foremost diversion from the frenzied aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War [...] Ernie and Frittie had joined their mother, and were playing together on the floor. Ernie left to go to the sitting room, and Frittie, wanting to keep an eye on his brother, jumped onto a chair near an open window so he could see through to where Ernie had gone. The younger boy leaned too far out the window, and either lost his balance or the chair tipped under his weight. He fell, about twenty feet, to the stone terrace below. [...] The end wasn’t long in coming. There was massing effusion of blood into the brain tissues, bleeding that wouldn’t stop because the child’s haemophilia kept the blood from coagulating normally. Alice’s beloved Frittie died the afternoon of the day he fell. It was a calamity which Alice would never recover. [...]
Though Victoria was not aware of the full circumstances of Frittie’s accident, she nonetheless reproached Alice in a letter to Vicky four days afterwards. [...] The queen refused to treat her grieving daughter gently.” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)

18: On 24th May 1874 Alice gave birth to her last child Marie, nicknamed ‘May’ and sometimes ‘Maysie’.

19: By late 1877 Alice and Victoria’s relationship had gotten better/recovered, but there were still incidents: “At the end of the year, she [Alice] complained to Louis of a hurtful letter from her mother, one ‘so unfair it makes me cry with anger... I wish I were dead it probably will not be too long before I give Mama that pleasure.’” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)

20: On 16th November 1878 May died. She had died from the illness which had affected the whole family (excepting Ella). Alice’s brother Arthur wrote Louise “imagine the frightful anxiety Alice has had to go through. At the very time of the funeral of her little darling she had to go into the room of Louise and the others with a smiling face as if nothing had happened.” Right after May’s death Alice, according to Miss Maebean, “was half sitting up, her face ghastly white; she put out both her arms, and drew me to her, and whispered, ‘She is gone; my little darling is dead,’ and then burst into tears.”
A few days later she said “Fancy having two up there in that blue sky, two of my little angels. I wonder if they know that ‘mother dear’ is looking at them, and if my two sweet little loves are looking down at me! Only no more, not Ernie. I could not bear that; it would kill me to have to give him up too.”.

21: On the 14th December, the same day that her own beloved father died on, Alice died. “For two weeks, Alice tried to keep word of the death [of May] from the other children. Irene had just come off the danger list. Ernie remained the sickest, Alice was almost certain she was going to lose this last of her sons. At the beginning of December, with the boy finally seemingly past the worst of the danger, the young prince begged his mother to know what happened to his beloved little sister. Alice was heartbroken at the pain on her son’s face when she had to tell him that May was gone. Herself still well, a miracle in the face of the diphtheria she had nursed for nearly a month, Alice would now break the cardinal rule of keeping away from any physical contact with the diseases’s victims. She bent over to kiss and comfort her tormented son.” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)
“That evening, however, the first symptoms of that fatal illness declared themselves, and the next morning the doctors confirmed the fact of its being diphtheria. The case was a most severe one from the first, and the Princess’s weakened delicate state made all especially anxious as to the course it would take. [...] She suffered terribly, but through it all her patience, gentleness, and unselfishness, as ever, made themselves felt; there never was a thought for herself, only sympathy and consideration for all around. [...] From that sleep she passed into unconsciousness, murmuring to herself as a tired child would do, ‘From Friday to Saturday - four weeks - May - dear Papa!’ Those were her last words, and early on the morning of the 14th December she passed away in her sleep from the world where she had suffered so much, yet where she had been so happy and so blessed, to that home above where ‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away’.” (Alice’s sister, Helena, 1884)

22: “With the horrendous shock of Alice’s death, Queen Victoria was jolted into a reappraisal of what this daughter had meant to her. In a torrent of grief, she wrote Vicky of her agony: ‘My precious child who stood by me and upheld me seventeen years ago on the same day taken, and by such an awful fearful disease... She had darling Papa’s nature, and much of his self-sacrificing character and fearless and entire devotion to duty!’ The bitterness and animosity she had shown Alice, the anger at this daughter’s progressive views and her willingness to thwart her mother’s wishes, would appear to have fallen away. It would be a stretch, however, to surmise that Victoria regretted any of the settled partialities that had led to her alienation from Alice.
Simultaneously, Vicky was pouring out her own grief in a thirty-nine-page letter to Victoria: ‘Darling Alice - is she really gone - so good and dear, charming and lovely - so necessary to her husband and children, so widely beloved, so much admired. I can not realise it - it is too awful, too cruel, too terrible.’ Vicky deeply mourned the sister to whom she was closest - in age, in the liberality of their political and social views, in their marriages to German princes and life in closely comparable cultures so different from that in which they had grown up.” (’Victoria’s Daughters’)

23: On 30th April 1884 Alice’s eldest child, Victoria, married Prince Louis of Battenberg. “I thought much of beloved Alice, whose spirit was surely near us.”

24: On 15th June 1884 Alice’s daughter, Ella, married Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich.

25: On 25th February 1885 Alice’s eldest child, Victoria, gave birth to her first child Alice. “I had some breakfast, & then went back, remaining with dear Victoria on & off, till, at length, at 20 m. to 5 in the afternoon, the child, a little girl, was born. The relief was great, for poor Victoria had had such a long hard time, which always makes one anxious. How strange, & indeed affecting, it was, to see her lying in the same room, & in the same bed, in which she herself was born. Good Ludwig, was most helpful & attentive, hardly leaving Victoria for a moment.”

26: On 24th May 1888 Alice’s daughter, Irene, married Prince Henry of Prussia.

27: On 13 July 1889 Alice’s eldest child, Victoria, gave birth to her daughter Louise. [Louise was later Queen of Sweden.]

28: On 20 March 1889 Alice’s daughter, Irene, gave birth to her first child Waldemar.

29: On 6 November 1892 Alice’s eldest child, Victoria, gave birth to her son George.

30: On 9th April 1894 Alice’s eldest son, Ernie, married Princess Victoria [Melita] of Edinburgh. [The two later divorces and both remarried.]

31: On 26th November 1894 Alice’s daughter, Alicky, married Nicholas II.

32: On 11 March 1895 Ernie’s first child was born, Elisabeth, who was nicknamed Ella. [At age 8, Ella died of typhoid contracted from drinking contaminated water while playing with her cousins, the Russian Grand Duchesses, who would later by killed by the Bolsheviks.]

33: On 15 November 1895 Alice’s daughter, Alicky, gave birth to her eldest child Olga.

34: On 27 November 1896 Alice’s daughter, Irene, gave birth to her son Sigismund.

35: On 10 June 1897 Alice’s daughter, Alicky, gave birth to her daughter Tatiana.

36: On 26 June 1899 Alice’s daughter, Alicky, gave birth to her daughter Maria.