Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark
During World War I, the Greek Government had a policy of political neutrality but by 1917 this policy became untenable and following the abdication of King Constantine I of the Hellenes (1868-1923) on 11th June 1917, the Greek Royal Family went into exile. On 19th December 1920, Alice’s brother-in-law (The King) was restored to the Throne and Alice and Prince Andrew returned to Greece, residing at the Villa 'Mon Repos' in Corfu. After the defeat of the Greek Army in the Greco-Turkish War, a Revolutionary Committee seized power and forced the King into exile once again on 27th September 1922 and Prince Andrew was arrested and court-martialled for disobeying orders during the Battle of Sakarya. Following a show trial, he and his family were banished from Greece. Fearing their safety, the British Government sent HMS Calypso where Prince Andrew and his family (which included their 18mth old son - now Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh (b.1921) in a cot made of an orange box) were taken to Brindisi, Italy. The family subsequently made their home (with limited possessions) in Paris, France.
ABOVE: Villa "Mon Repos", Corfu
the home of Prince & Princess Andrew of Greece
and the birthplace of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
RIGHT: Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark
with her only son - Prince Philip (now Duke of Edinburgh)
Whilst Alice lived in Paris, she worked in a charity shop for Greek refugees and became deeply religious and converted to the Greek Orthodox Church. In 1930, Alice suffered a complete nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia whilst in an asylum in Berlin, Germany and then subsequently placed in the Belle-Vue Sanatorium in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland - where the famous Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (1890-1950) was also a patient. During this time Alice and Prince Andrew drifted apart and as far as he was concerned, the marriage was over. She remained in the sanatorium for 2 years and upon her release she wandered around Europe and broke off all contact with her husband and her children - although she maintained limited contact with her mother, feeling betrayed that she had been detained not on medical grounds but by at the request of her own mother. Prince Andrew by this time was now living on the French Riviera with his mistress.
Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus of Hesse & Princess Cecilie
with their three children in 1936 (left to right) - Prince Alexander,
Princess Johanna (in the arms of her mother) & Prince Ludwig.
All (except Princess Johanna - who died in 1939) were killed in the air crash
near Ostend, Belgium in November 1937
On 16th November 1937, Alice’s daughter Princess Cecilie (who was eight months pregnant) and her husband - Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse (1906-1937), were killed in an aircraft crash, with several members of their family near Ostend, Belgium who were all flying to England for the wedding of Prince Louis, The Prince of Hesse (1908-1968) to The Hon. Margaret 'Peg'
Geddes (1913-1997). At their funeral, Alice met Prince Andrew for the first time in six years and she resumed contact with her family. However in November 1938, she returned alone to Athens, Greece once the monarchy had been restored and started to help the poor, whilst living in a modest two-bedroomed flat.
When World War II started, Alice was still living in Athens, but with her widowed sister-in-law - Princess Nicholas of Greece & Denmark, formerly Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia (1882-1957), whose youngest daughter Princess Marina (1906-1968) had married Prince George, 1st Duke of Kent (1902-1942), the fourth son of King George V (1865(1910-1936). During the War, Alice worked for the Red Cross and helped organize soup kitchens and flew to Sweden to bring back medical supplies on the pretext of visiting her sister - Queen Louise of Sweden, formerly Princess Louise of Battenberg (1889-1965). With the occupation of Greece by the Axis Powers in April 1941, Alice was in turmoil being a member of the Greek Royal Family with two sons-in-laws fighting with the Germans, and a son serving in the British Royal Navy. When Alice was visited by a German General (on the presumption that as a German Princess, Alice was pro-German) he asked her - “is there anything I can do for you?", to which she replied, "you can take your troops out of my country.”
Nazi German forces occupied Athens in September 1943, following the downfall of Benito Mussolini 'Il Duce' (1883-1945). Athens had been the haven of many Greek Jews and at this time Alice hid a Jewish widow and her children from being deported by the Gestapo to a death camp. At the risk of her own death, she hid the Cohen family for over a year within her own residence. Athens was liberated in October 1944 and by this time Alice was living in squalid conditions and half-starved as she frequently gave away food parcels sent to her by her brother - Mountbatten.
On 3rd December 1944, Prince Andrew died aged 62yrs whilst staying in the Metropole Hotel, Monte Carlo, Monaco - he had not seen his wife or children since 1939. Prince Andrew was buried initially in the Russian Orthodox Church in Nice, but in 1946 his remains were transferred to the Greek Royal cemetery at Tatoi Palace, near Athens.