Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Princess Alice Of The United Kingdom

Photo by Camille Silvy: Princess Alice, June, 1861
Recently I read the biography of another of Queen Victoria's nine children, her 3rd child, Princess Alice Maud Mary, who was born on April 25, 1843. The Queen's 2nd daughter inherited her father, Prince Albert's keen intellect, musical talent, organizational genius and desire to live a life of worth. 
Princess Alice, Prince Alfred (Affie), Queen Victoria (hidden by her hat), Prince Albert Edward, Princess Royal Victoria and Princess Helena with her head on her mother's lap in 1850
Moreover from a young age, Princess Alice showed a flair for nursing. It was Alice who's bedside manner got the royal family through the illnesses and deaths of her maternal grandmother and (nine months later) her father, when she was only 18 years old. Royal attendants and doctors alike were amazed by her composure, maturity and deftness as a hospice caregiver. For hours she played the piano for her granny and "dear papa," slept nearby and wrote letters they dictated, all the while comforting her distraught mother. It was to Alice (not Queen Victoria) that Prince Albert confided, he was dying. It was also Princess Alice who sent her older brother, Prince Albert Edward (Bertie), heir to the British throne, the telegram telling him to hurry home from school (in Cambridge) to see their father for the last time.

After Prince Albert's death on December 14, 1861, Alice was the strength that her mother, Queen Victoria, relied upon to face her overwhelming grief. A daunting undertaking at any age, Alice acted as her mother's console(r) and unofficial private secretary managing government and family matters.

At the time Alice was engaged to Louis of Hesse, her handsome, straightforward and good natured German prince. Fortunately, the marriage had already been sanctioned and arranged by Prince Albert (before his illness), taking place on July 1, 1862. But since Queen Victoria was wrapped up in grief, the event resembled more a funeral than a wedding. It was held in the dinning room at Osbourne House, not a church. Although Princess Alice was allowed to change into a white wedding gown, she had to wear black before and after the service, with the wedding party dressed in half-mourning. Without the usual fanfare, this significant day in the young royal's life was over by 4 PM. 
Louis, Alice with Victoria & Ella 1865

Princess Alice meet with several challenges in her new home. Unlike her sister, the Princess Royal Victoria who married Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia, life in Darmstadt, Hesse was more modest by royal standards. The newlyweds exhausted their savings to build a new palace. Running way over budget, it was "heavily subsidized by the British Queen, who harbored strong feelings about the proper settings for her children."* Meanwhile they lived in Darmstadt's "Old Quarter" in a house with thin walls pierced through by the noises of "carts rumbling along the cobbled streets,"* which Alice didn't mind. However, she acutely missed the cultural and intellectual stimulation of London.
Even so, the Princess made the most of her life in Hesse. She had a sensibility and drive to improve the lives of poor people in practical ways that made a difference. Considering her youth, it's mind-boggling to think of all her accomplishments, which still impact Germany today. 
Prince Louis, Princess Alice, Princess Marie (in Louis' arms), Ella, next to her father (Princess Elisabeth, later Grand Duchess of Russia), Alix (later Empress Alexandra of Russia), Victoria, next to her mother (grandmother of Philip), Prince Ernst and Princess Irene in May, 1875.
Alice devoted much of her time to bringing Florence Nightingale's procedures for military hospitals to Darmstadt during the Austro-Prussian War (1866). All the while, the Princess was pregnant with her 3rd daughter, Irene. Not only did she visit and roll bandages for wounded soldiers, her organization, the Princess Alice Women's Guild, ran the day-to-day operations of the state's field hospitals.

The Alice Hospital in Hesse-Darmstadt, which still exists, was named after the Princess. She also spearheaded better maternity care. 

Queen Victoria was alarmed by Alice's directness in medical subjects, especially in the area of gynecology. Biographers of mother and daughter cite an 1871 letter in which the Queen wrote to her newly married younger daughter, Princess Louise, warning her: "Don't let Alice pump you. Be very silent and cautious about your interior!"*
Left photo: Princess Alice with her older sister, Vicky, 1850; Right photo: Bertie, Helena (in the cart), Vicky, Affie, (baby) Louise held by their nurse, Mrs. Thurston and Alice (sitting in front of cart), 1848.

Queen Victoria loved, but was not as kind and motherly to her children as she sometimes should have been. At heart, Alice was a peacemaker, and yet the Princess' tendency to speak her mind, strained her relations with the Queen who did not like to be contradicted. When Alice breast feed baby Ella, herself, Victoria disapproved, naming a cow "Alice" after her daughter.* At first Alice objected to her sister, Helena's fiancé, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. He was an older, poor, Danish born German prince. Alice knew he was chosen primarily to keep Helena close to home. In response, Victoria called Alice "Mischief-Maker,"* claiming that she was, "the real devil in the family!"* After Alice understood the match was what Helena desired too, she supported the union, getting another family dissenter, Bertie's acceptance. Still the Queen's resentment lingered.
Princess Helena, Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria, Princess Alice, and Princess Louise, August, 1860
Princess Alice worked diligently to upgrade the health, education and everyday life of women in Darmstadt. She initiated programs to train nurses who could work in hospitals. The Princess was also interested in opening "technical, industrial and trade schools"* for women. The Alice Society paired women with teachers and commerce, which could pay them for their sewing and knitting, letting women earn income for their families. Alice often visited the homes of the impoverished in Hesse, as well as, English social agencies on visits home, whose methods she studied in order to develop similar hospitals, group homes and agencies to address social needs. Another interest was to provide a place where prostitutes could turn their lives around. "Prostitute" was not a word used by Victorians in polite society. Furthermore, entering the homes of the poor in the Grand Duke's Kingdom (often "unannounced and unrecognized with just a lady-in-waiting"*) was rare for a princess. And, sometimes criticized by high born tongues.
Left photo: Alice with Louis in uniform, mid 1860s; Right photo: Ella, Victoria, Alice holding Marie, Alix, Ernie and Irene, 1877 or 1878?
Throughout their marriage, Alice and Louis remained devoted to each other. Prince Louis was a good man, a caring husband and adored father. But due to different temperaments, Alice was not happy in later years. She felt lonely. Louis was accepting and easygoing, while Alice had her father's brain, passions and seriousness. 

Louis responded as best he could, and Alice came to realize she had to accept him for who he was. She wrote: 

"You were made for a smooth cheerful, happy life -- and so your wife must want that too. She can share your joys with you, and your worries too, but she may not or rather cannot, expect you to enter into hers ... my mistake is to forget that sometimes. I can share with you -- but you not with me."* Sadly, the spouses were not soul mates, despite there being much love and tenderness in the marriage.
Left photo: Alice with 2nd daughter Ella (1864); Right photo: Alice with son Ernst 1877 or 78

Another trait Alice shared with her father was taking on complicated responsibilities and feeling the effects of overwork resulting in fatigue and running herself down.

Alice's bedroom from where 2 year old Frittie and 4 year old Ernie played when tragedy struck. 
In 1877 Alice and Louis became the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Hesse. By this time, 7 children had been born. Tragically, 2 children died young. Alice was a carrier of
Son Frittie, November, 1871
hemophilia B. One of her sons, 2 year old Frittie, died of the disease (in 1873) after a fall of 20 feet from a window in his mother's bedroom that a normal child would likely have survived. Then 5 years later in November, 1878, nearly everyone in the family came down with diphtheria. Their second daughter, Ella, escaped the illness and was sent away to her Hessian grandmother. For a month Alice nursed her family who had to convalesce in separate rooms. Their youngest child, 3 year old Marie, died on November 15 of the disease; however Alice kept the news from their young son, Ernst, for several weeks. When finally told of his youngest sister's death, the 10 year old boy was so upset, his mother let her guard down to comfort him with a hug and kiss. 

It was a kiss of death. For a few weeks Alice was fine, but on December 14, 1878, the same day Prince Albert had died 17 years earlier, Grand Duchess Alice succumbed to diphtheria. "Dear Papa" were the last words she spoke.

Queen Victoria in mourning with the Hesse family at Windsor Castle, 1879.
Transforming life in her new home for the better, Alice turned out to be her father's daughter. As Prince Albert left his mark on England, Alice mirrored him by leaving hers on Germany. She also died young at 35 years old.

It was desvasting news for the royal family, especially for brother, Bertie and his wife Alexandra, who came to the British throne after Queen Victoria in 1901. Likewise younger brother, Prince Leopold, had grown close to his sister.
The Hesses (+spouses) gather in 1894 for the wedding of Prince Ernst Ludwig of Hesse to Princess Victoria Melita, Affie's daughter 

Grand Duke Ernst of Hesse and by Rhine, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Princess Irene of Prussia, Prince Henry of Prussia, Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna of Russia, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, Princess Victoria of Battenberg, and Prince Louis of Battenberg
In later years two of Alice's daughters, Ella (known as Grand Duchess Elisabeth) and Alix (who became Empress Alexandra) married into the Romanov Royal family of Russia to be violently murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Son Ernst Ludwig became the Grand Duke of Hesse, after his father, reigning from 1892 until 1918. World War I ended his rule, though he was allowed to keep the family estate. The 3rd daughter, Irene of Hesse, married her first cousin, Henry of Prussia (Vicky's younger son and the brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II). Princess Irene was a hemophilia carrier also. Alice's oldest daughter, Princess Victoria of Hesse, married Prince Louis of Battenberg. They are the grandparents of Prince Philip the current Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, which makes the UK's Princes Charles, William and George direct descendents of both Princess Alice and King Edward VII (Bertie).

*Quotes from "Princess Alice" by Gerald Noel. (This is an out of print book. I bought it used on Amazon.) here
*Quotes from "Victoria's Daughters" by Jerrold M. Packward. here
*Quotes from a BBC documentary on the Letters of Victoria


You may also enjoy:
Remembering Prince Leopold, Duke Of Albany  
Extra Photos: Prince Leopold, Duke Of Albany    
More Photos: Prince Leopold, Duke Of Albany
Queen Victoria & Prince Albert: Books And Series

13 comments:

  1. Wonderful post Debbie. I really enjoy reading about the royal family of Queen Victoria, such fascinating history. And so interesting to see how the family line comes down to the present day. Great photos and great research!

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    1. Glad to know somebody else likes history too. I am concentrating on Victorian England for a bit of time. A fascinating era. As are biographies, if a biographer does a thorough job.

      It turns out I like Victoria's children as people. She wasn't a natural mother, but she must have done many things right. She raised altruistic, talented and likeable children, more moral than not.

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  2. Very interesting reading. I have a great interest in this history since my daughter has recently married into this family. Where do you live ? I could pay for postage for the book.

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    1. Hi sharkattack,

      Just private email me (upper right) so I can send you book information. How cool to be related to this family via you daughter's marriage. I wish her all the best!

      Cheers,
      Debbie

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  3. Mentions of Alice's birthday in Victoria's diary. I went far too overboard with the notes but Alice is probably my favourite among Victoria's children, so I couldn't help myself.
    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!”
    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 & affectate 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.”
    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

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  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
    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.”
    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.”
    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.”

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  5. 1892: “Today was darling Alice’s birthday. Thank God! that she did not live to see this terrible misfortune!” 29
    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.”
    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 if 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 Louise) 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!”

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  6. 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.”

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  7. 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’

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  8. 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’)

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  9. 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 letter 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’)

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  10. 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)

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  11. After publishing this I accidentally delected it, which I did not know was possible. Luckily, a copy of the comment went to my email so I can restore it:

    "Aimee Silvester has left a new comment on your post "Princess Alice Of The United Kingdom":

    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
    28: On 20 March 1889 Alice’s daughter, Irene, gave birth to her first child Waldemar
    29: On 6 December 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 of Edinburgh
    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
    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"

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