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PRINCESS ANDREW OF GREECE & DENMARK 
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HRH 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, 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 was styled 'Princess Alice of Battenberg' from birth, with the qualification of Serene Highness.

 RIGHT: Mother Superior Alice-Elizabeth
of the Christian Sisterhood of Martha & Mary,
Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark
(Princess Alice of Battenberg)

 

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Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) was close to Alice's mother, and like many births, she choreographed her new great-grandchild's birth, ensuring that she was born not only in the same room as Princess Victoria had been born in 1863, but even the same bed - overlooking the Long Walk at Windsor Castle.  Co-incidentally, Alice was born on the second birthday of another Alice - Princess Alice of Albany, later Countess of Athlone (1883-1981), the only daughter of Prince Leopold, 1st Duke of Albany (1853-1884), youngest son of The Queen.

 

Alice was christened at the Neues Palais, Darmstadt on 25th April 1885 and her god-parents were - 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), the elderly Queen-Empress.

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Princess Alice as a child c. 1887

 

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Princess Alice as a bridesmaid
at the wedding of
Princess May of Teck
(later Queen Mary)
and Prince George, The Duke of York (later King George V)
at The Chapel Royal, St James's Palace in July 1893

 

It was at the gathering of relations for the Coronation of King Edward VII (1841(1901-1910) which was originally planned for 26th June 1902, that Alice first met at Buckingham Palace, her future husband - Prince Andrew 'Andrea'  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).  The Coronation was subsequently rescheduled to 9th August 1902, when The King was fully recovered after a life saving operation for appendicitis - which in 1902 had a high mortality rate.

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."

  

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A painting by Amadée Forestier of the wedding of
Princess May of Teck (later Queen Mary)
and Prince George, The Duke of York (later King George V)
at The Chapel Royal, St James's Palace in July 1893

 

On 6th July 1893, Alice (aged 8yrs) was one of ten bridesmaids to attend Princess Victoria Mary 'May' of Teck (1867-1953) when she married Prince George 'Georgie', 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 the aged Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901).  Just a few weeks before Alice’s 16th birthday, she attended the funeral of The Queen (her great-grandmother) on 2nd February 1901 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire.

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Princess Alice (right) with her sister Princess Louise
 

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Prince Andrew 'Andrea' of Greece
& Denmark in 1902

 

Prince Andrew - known as 'Andrea', spoke German, Danish, French, Russian and English, and 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 and Prince Andrew were in love and was to say in later life - "he was exactly like a Greek god", however, Alice's mother was against the match between Alice and Prince Andrew due to their young age, but 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.

Alice and Prince Andrew were married in a civil ceremony on 6th October 1903 at the Altes Palais (Old Palace), Darmstadt, Hesse. The following day, two religious wedding services were performed - a Protestant ceremony in the chapel at the Altes Palais, and then a Greek Orthodox ceremony in the the St. Mary Magdalene Russian Chapel, on the Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, Hesse.  King Edward VII (1841(1901-1910) had asked for a forth ceremony at the British Legation (as the bride was a British subject) however, the bride and groom were reluctant.  Prince Andrew wore his Hessian Red Dragoons uniform with the riband and breast star of a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO), given by King Edward VII (1841(1901-1910) in August 1902 at the time of his Coronation, whilst the bride wore a lace dress with a veil adorned by orange blossom and myrtle.  Upon marriage Alice became known as 'Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark' and by marriage was elevated to the style of Royal Highness.  As the couple were related to the Royal Houses of Greece, Denmark, Britain, Germany and Russia, and as such the wedding was one of the last great gatherings of European royalty pre-World War I. 

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ABOVE: Princess Alice
in her wedding dress 
in 1903

LEFT: Princess Alice & Prince Andrew
following their wedding in 1903

 

 

Prince Andrew and his bride set off to Greece in 1904, it was a complete culture shock, but Alice stayed loyal to her adoptive country for the rest of her life.  Her new father-in-law - King George I of the Hellenes, formerly Prince William of Denmark (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg) (1845-1913) led the entire Greek nation welcoming their new Princess, and she soon became good friends with her sister-in-law - Princess Nicholas, formerly Grand Duchess Helen 'Elena' Vladimirovna of Russia (1882-1957), even joining each other in Greek lessons.

 

Alice and Prince Andrew had five children - 

  • Princess Margarita of Greece & Denmark (1905-1981).  She was the first great-great grandchild of Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901).  In 1931, she married - Prince Gottfried, 8th Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1897-1960) who was her second cousin once removed, both being descended from The Queen.  She died in 1981 at Langenburg, Baden-Württemberg.

  • Princess Theodora 'Dolla' of Greece & Denmark (1906-1969).  She married in 1931 - Berthold, Margrave of Baden (1906-1963), who was her second cousin. Princess Theodora died just 5 weeks before her own mother in 1969 at Konstanz, Baden-Württemberg. 

  • Princess Cecilie of Greece & Denmark (1911-1937).  She married in 1931 - Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus 'Don' of Hesse (1906-1937), who was her first cousin once removed. On 16th November 1937, whilst heavily pregnant, Princess Cecilie and her husband were killed in an aircraft crash, with several members of their family (including children) near Ostend, Belgium. They were flying to England for the wedding of Prince Louis, The Prince of Hesse & By the Rhine (1908-1968) to The Hon. Margaret 'Peg' Geddes (1913-1997).

  • Princess Sophie 'Tiny' of Greece & Denmark (1914-2001).  She married (1) in 1930 - Prince Christoph of Hesse (1901-1943), who was her second cousin once removed. Prince Christoph was a director in the Third Reich's Ministry of Air Forces, Commander of the Air Reserves, and held the rank of Oberführer in the Nazi’s SS (Schutzstaffel), who was killed in an aircraft accident near Forli, Italy during World War II.  Princess Sophie married (2) in 1946 - Prince George William of Hanover (1915-2006), who was her third cousin - a grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany & King of Prussia (1859-1941), and who was also first cousin once removed to her first husband.  She died in 2001, aged 87yrs at Schliersee, Bavaria.

  • Prince Philip of Greece & Denmark (1921-2021) who married in 1947 - Princess Elizabeth, who later succeeded as Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022).  He became a naturalised British citizen and took the surname 'Mountbatten'.  In 1947 he was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth & Baron Greenwich  with the qualification of Royal Highness.  In 1957, he was created a Prince of the United Kingdom.  Through Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901), Prince Philip and The Queen were third cousins, however through King Christian IX of Denmark (1818-1906) they were second cousins once removed.  Prince Philip was (until his death in 2021) the oldest living great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) - an honour now held by Mountbatten's youngest daughter Pamela, and died in 2021 at Windsor Castle a few weeks short of his 100th birthday.

Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark by Philip de László in 1907 ​

The 1907 portrait of Princess Alice
(Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark)

by Philip de Lászlo

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The 1913 portrait of 

Prince Andrew of Greece & Denmark

by Philip de Lászlo

Prince Andrew & Alice with their 5 children ​

 
Prince & Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark and their children - 
(left to right) Prince Andrew; Princess Alice, Princess Margarita; Princess Theodora; Princess Cecilie;
Princess Sophie; and Prince Philip (later 1st Duke of Edinburgh)

 

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