Albumette:  Princess Alice

Princess Alice, b. 1843, was Queen Victoria's second daughter. She was not a ravishing beauty and she married a minor German noble, Ludwig of Hesse. However, Princess Alice's daughters played major roles in history. 

Her oldest daughters were Victoria (b. 1863), Elisabeth (b. 1864), and Irene (b. 1866). Victoria married Princess Louis Battenberg who served in the Royal Navy. His youngest son, also named Louis (with the last name anglicized to Mountbatten) served Great Britain as skipper of a destroyer early in World War II, later commanded allied forces in the China-Burma-India theater, and saw India become independent after the war. The younger Louis was assassinated by an IRA bomb attack. Victoria's oldest daughter Alice became unstable and Alice's son Philip was adopted by the younger Louis Mountbatten. Philip married Princess, now Queen, Elizabeth in 1947. The assassination of Louis Mountbatten is said to have deeply affected the Prince of Wales who apparently looked to Mountbatten for avuncular guidance. Victoria had to leave her residence in Kensington Palace during World War II after it was bombed by the Luftwaffe. She died in Britain in 1950.

Daughter Elisabeth was courted by the future Kaiser Wilhelm, rejected him, and married Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia. She became Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna, but they had no children. She became Abbess of a nunnery after the virulently intolerant Grand Duke died. She was assassinated by the Reds in 1918. She was canonized by the Russian Orthodox church and is honored with Dr. Martin Luther King, assassinated while supporting sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, and Óscar Romero, assassinated by US-supported forces in El Salvador, and other modern martyrs above an entrance to Westminster Abbey.

Irene stayed in Germany, marrying Prince Heinrich of Prussia. He died in 1929 so he was not in a position to accept or decline serving the NSDAP (Nazi) government. She left Germany in the 1930s and refused to return after World War II. She died in 1953.

Her last daughter to reach adulthood, Alexandra, married Tsar Nicholas II, adopted Orthodoxy and became Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna. Alix was born in 1872 and assassinated with her husband and all of her children, as proven by DNA testing, at Ekaterinburg in 1918. She was also canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Alexandra and Alice before her played an unwitting major role in history by carrying and transmitting the gene for hemophilia to some of their offspring. The girls were carriers, but some of the boys were afflicted with it, particularly Alexandra's only son, Tsarevich Alexei. The Tsarevich's illness drove the mystic-oriented Alexandra into the hands of monk-con artist Grigori Rasputin, contributing to the Bolshevik revolution by his close association with Alexandra that undermined the ruling family's credibility. Rasputin was assassinated, with great difficulty, by a noble of the Yussupov family and a Romanov. Alexandra's mother-in-law, Dagmar of Denmark-Tsaritsa Maria Feodorovna, was opposed to the marriage of Nicholas to Alexandra because of Alexandra's mysticism.

Princess Alice herself contracted diphtheria in 1878 from her son Ernest, who survived, after losing her youngest daughter Marie, who was just four. Alice died from this bacterial disease that is now prevented using a common vaccine and can be treated with antitoxin or the common antibiotics penicillin or erythromycin.

Princess Alice's Wikipedia article is here.


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