Wednesday, July 27, 2011



'Edward The King'

Shirley Steedman

From Wikipedia:
The Princess Alice (Alice Maud Mary: Princess Louis and Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine by marriage; 25 April 1843 – 14 December 1878) was a member of the British royal family, the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Alice's education was devised by Albert's close friend and adviser, Baron Stockmar. Like her other siblings, Alice spent her early childhood in the company of her parents and siblings, travelling between the British royal residences. In 1861, Prince Albert became ill with typhoid fever, and Alice nursed him through his final illness before he died on 14 December. Following his death, Queen Victoria entered a period of intense mourning, and Alice spent the next six months acting as her unofficial secretary. While the court was still at the height of mourning, on 1 July 1862, Alice married the minor German Prince Louis of Hesse, heir to the Grand Duchy of Hesse. The ceremony—conducted privately and with unrelieved gloom at Osborne House—was described by the Queen as "more of a funeral than a wedding". The Princess' life in Darmstadt was unhappy as a result of impoverishment, family tragedy and worsening relations with her husband and mother.

Alice was a prolific patron of women's causes, especially nursing, and was a follower of Florence Nightingale. When Hesse became involved in the Austro-Prussian War, and Darmstadt filled with the injured, the heavily pregnant Alice devoted much of her time to the management of field hospitals. One of her organisations, the Princess Alice Women's Guild, became a national one, and took over much of the day-to-day running of the military hospitals in Darmstadt. Furthermore, she befriended and promoted the theologian David Friedrich Strauss, who provided an intellectual basis for her faith instead of the traditional sentimentality of Victorian religion. In 1877, Alice became Grand Duchess following the accession of her husband, and her duties put a further strain on her health. The following year, she travelled to England for the last time, holidaying in Eastbourne at the Queen's expense. In the later months of 1878, diphtheria infected the Hessian court, and Alice nursed her family for over a month before falling ill herself. She died on the 17th anniversary of her father's death, 14 December 1878, at the New Palace in Darmstadt.


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