Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark
Her Royal Highness Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark, RRC, formerly HSH Princess Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie of Battenberg and subsequently Mother Superior Alice-Elizabeth of the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary was born at 4.40pm on 25th February 1885 in the Tapestry Room at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, the eldest child and first daughter of Admiral of the Fleet The Rt Hon. Sir Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven, formerly Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854-1921) and Princess Victoria of Hesse & By the Rhine (1863-1950), who was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901). Known as Alice, she held the title of Princess Alice of Battenberg from birth, with the qualification of Serene Highness.
Alice was christened in Darmstadt on 25th April 1885. She had 6 god-parents - her maternal grandfather Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse & By the Rhine (1837-1892); her paternal grandfather Prince Alexander of Hesse & By the Rhine (1823-1888); her paternal grandmother Julia, The Princess of Battenberg (1825-1895); her aunt The Grand Duchess Elizabeth 'Ella' Feodorovna of Russia, formerly Princess Elizabeth of Hesse & By the Rhine, later canonised as Holy Martyr Elizabeth Feodorovna (1864-1918); her aunt Princess Marie, The Princess of Erbach-Schönberg, formerly Princess Marie of Battenberg (1852-1923) and lastly her great-grandmother Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901).
Alice’s childhood was difficult - she was diagnosed as being congenitally deaf from an early age, but with encouragement from her mother, she learnt to lip read and speak both English and German. Her mother (who educated all of her four children at home) was an open-minded liberal who tutored her children in the same manner. Mountbatten (Alice’s youngest brother) said of their mother that she was "a walking encyclopædia” and that she “was outspoken and open-minded to a degree quite unusual in members of the Royal Family” and that she “was also entirely free from prejudice about politics or colour and things of that kind.”
On 6th July 1893, Alice (aged 8yrs) was one of ten bridesmaids to attend Princess Mary of Teck (1867-1953) when she married Prince George, The Duke of York, later King George V (1865(1910-1936) at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, London. Like many of her cousins, she grew up in the shadow of her great-grandmother, the aged Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901). Just a few weeks before Alice’s 16th birthday, she attended the funeral of The Queen on 2nd February 1901 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire.
Mother Superior Alice-Elizabeth
(Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark)
formerly Princess Alice of Battenberg
ABOVE: Alice as a child
LEFT: Alice as a bridesmaid at the wedding of Princess Mary of Teck
& Prince George, The Duke of York (later King George V)
ABOVE: a young Prince Andrew (Andrea)
of Greece & Denmark
RIGHT: Alice with her younger sister Louise (left),
later Queen Louise of Sweden
It was at the Coronation of King Edward VII (1841(1901-1910) on 9th August 1902, Alice met her future husband - Prince Andrew of Greece & Denmark (1882-1944), the fourth son of King George I of the Hellenes, formerly Prince William of Denmark (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg) (1845-1913), the brother of Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) Queen Consort of King Edward VII (1841(1901-1910). His mother was Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia (1851-1926), a granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia (1796-1855).
Prince Andrew - known as 'Andrea', spoke German, Danish, French, Russian and English, was educated in a military college in Athens. Despite being short-sighted he was permitted to join the Greek Army as a Cavalry Officer in 1901. Alice's mother was against a match between Alice and Prince Andrew due to their young age, but in 1903 King Edward VII (18410(1901-1910) announced the engagement at a family dinner at Marlborough House in May 1903. Prince Andrew's parents hoped that Alice would be a stable influence on the carefree Prince Andrew, who was bisexual and had various affairs with men and women.