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PRINCESS ANDREW OF GREECE & DENMARK 
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Following Prince Philip's marriage to Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022), Alice returned to Athens and encouraged visits from her daughters and their children.  She led a fairly modest life, receiving £30 a month allowance from Edwina, £10 a month from her daughter Louise, then Crown Princess of Sweden, and was granted a pension from the Greek Government as a Greek Army General's widow.  She decided to purchase a small flat in Athens, which Prince Philip paid the £2,000 deposit, however it soon became clear that she had secretly borrowed money for the purchase, and her personal finances were in a mess.  Prince Philip bailed his mother out and by October 1950, the flat was put in his name. 

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Mother-Superior Alice-Elizabeth (Princess Alice - Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark)

In January 1949, the Alice founded a nursing Order of Greek Orthodox nuns - the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary, modelled after the convent founded in 1909 in Russia by her aunt - Grand Duchess Elizabeth 'Ella' Feodorovna of Russia, formerly Princess Elisabeth of Hesse & By the Rhine (1864-1918) and who later became a Holy Martyr.  Alice raised funds across America and sold the last of her jewels for the Order and bought premises in Athens and became known as Mother Superior Alice-Elizabeth, deciding to wear a grey nun’s habit.  Whilst on a fund-raising tour (for building renovations, a new chapel and a rest home for the elderly) in Chicago, USA when she heard of the death of King George VI (1895(1936-1952) on 6th February 1952 and went to a memorial service in Washington DC before flying back to London, to be with her son and his wife - the new Queen.  However, by June 1959 her Order of Sisterhood was wound up due to the lack of suitable new applicants (Alice was by then 74yrs) but the orphanage she founded is still in use today as a community centre.  At the Coronation of her daughter-in-law - Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022) on 2nd June 1953, Alice attended in her habit (in sheer contrast to the tiaras, medals, uniforms and ermine) and led members of the Mountbatten family in the processional within the Abbey.  When she travelled anywhere, she normally had one small suitcase, which she insisted on unpacking herself, and always had unfailing courtesy to any servants. 

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Princess Alice - Mother-Superior Alice-Elizabeth
(Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark)

leading members of her family

in Westminster Abbey at the Coronation

of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953

Princess Alice - Mother-Superior Alice-Elizabeth
(Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark)

at Portsmouth 1955, with her grandchildren -

Princess Anne, later The Princess Royal

& Prince Charles (now King Charles III)

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Princess Alice - Mother-Superior Alice-Elizabeth
(Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark)

accompanied by her son - 

Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh

to the wedding of her granddaughter

Princess Margarita of Baden in June 1957

at Schloß Salem, Bodensee, Germany

In January 1960, Alice accepted an invitation by Rajkumari Amrit Kaur (1889-1964), a respected former Minister of Health (and personal friend of Mountbatten and Edwina), to see the work of the Red Cross in India.  Whilst in Delhi, she met up briefly with Edwina, who was on a tour for the St John's Ambulance Brigade.  Unbeknown to them both, this would be the last time Alice would see her sister-in-law.  Edwina died suddenly on 21st February 1960 whilst in Jesselton, North Borneo, and on 25th February 1960 (Alice's 75th birthday), she joined Mountbatten and his family at Edwina's funeral and burial at sea off the coast of Portsmouth, Hampshire.  However, with Edwina's death, came the end of her financial assistance to Alice.  Following her return to Greece, Alice wrote to Prince Philip upon hearing the news that he and The Queen had decided to call their new-born son (her grandson) 'Andrew' expressing - "I am so happy that Papa's name being given to the baby".

On 21st April 1967, just weeks before the scheduled elections in Greece, a group of right-wing Army officers seized power in a coup d'état - called 'The Colonel’s Coup', and Alice (along with the rest of the Greek Royal Family) were forced to flee Greece. Her great-nephew - King Constantine II, the King of the Hellenes (1940-2023) left Greece soon after and went into exile after the failure of a counter-coup.  By this time Alice’s health was of concern and she was invited by Prince Philip and The Queen to reside permanently at Buckingham Palace, London and had two rooms on the first floor, overlooking The Mall and soon settled in.  Staff commented that they knew when she coming along the corridor because "she smoked like a chimney" and was followed by "clouds of smoke" and that "she coughed incessantly as she lit another cigarette".

During her time at Buckingham Palace, Alice - who had many grandchildren and was known as "Yaya" (Greek for grandmother), regularly saw young Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, now King Charles III (1948(2022-    ) and Princess Anne, later The Princess Royal (b.1950) and enjoyed getting to know her grandchildren. Prince

Charles, The Prince of Wales, later King Charles III (1948(2022-    ) said - "we were terrified if we were late.  She was very strict." 

 

Alice remained at Buckingham Palace until her peaceful death on 5th December 1969.  She was 84yrs and her only possessions were three dressing-gowns.  Her funeral was held on 1oth December 1969 at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle (where she was born).  Prince Philip commented that Alice had "a life of wars, revolutions, separations and tragedies" and Patricia said of her aunt - "Aunt Alice was too much of a character, one will never forget her..."

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Princess Alice -

Mother-Superior Alice-Elizabeth
(Princess Andrew

of Greece & Denmark)

Alice,  Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark

 

ABOVE: one of the last photographs of
Princess 
Alice -

Mother-Superior Alice-Elizabeth

(Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark)

BELOW: The final resting place of

Princess Alice - Mother-Superior Alice-Elizabeth
(Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark)

at The Church of St Magdalene,

on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Israel

Prior to her death, Alice made it clear that she wished to be buried at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, near the Garden of Gethsemene, on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel. This Russian Orthodox church was built by Tsar Alexander III of Russia (1845-1894) in honour of his mother and was the last resting place of her aunt - Grand Duchess Elizabeth 'Ella' Feodorovna of Russia, formerly Princess Elisabeth of Hesse & By the Rhine (1864-1918) who later became a Holy Martyr.

 

Initially her remains were kept in the Royal Crypt under St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle, but in 1976 the new Dean of Windsor - The Rt Rev Michael Mann (1924-2011) started the long journey of ensuring Alice's wishes were complied with.  After overcoming many political, religious and diplomatic issues and problems, on 3rd August 1988, Alice’s remains were finally transferred to the crypt under the Church of St Mary Magdalene in accordance with her final wishes, and is covered in a Greek Royal Standard.

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The Church of St Magdalene, on the Mount of Olives,
Jerusalem, Israel

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The 'Righteous Among The Nations'

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On 11th April 1993, the posthumous award of 'Righteous Among The Nations' was approved by the Holocaust Memorial Committee - their highest honour from the State of Israel for a non-Jewish foreigner.  On 31st October 1994, a ceremony was held at Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Memorial) on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, Israel, to honour someone who had risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. The ceremony was attended by her son - Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021) and her only living daughter - Princess George William of Hanover, formerly Princess Sophie of Greece & Denmark (1914-2001).  Prince Philip said at the ceremony - "as far as we know, she had never mentioned to anyone that she had given refuge to the Cohen family at a time when Jews throughout Greece were in danger of being arrested and transported to death camps.  I suspect that she never thought of it as something special.  She was a person with deep religious faith and she would have considered it to be a totally natural human action to fellow human beings in distress." 

 

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Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh

and his sister - Princess George William of Hanover

(Princess Sophie) in October 1994,

laying a wreath at Yad Vashem, in honour

of their mother - Princess Andrew

of Greece & Denmark (Princess Alice)

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'The British Hero of the Holocaust' medallion

​ Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh & his sister -  Princess Sophie, Princess George William of Hanover planting a tree at Vad Yashem in honour of their mother ​


Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh

and his sister - Princess George William

of Hanover (Princess Sophie),

in October 1994, planting a tree

at Yad Vashem, in honour of their mother

- Princess Andrew of Greece

& Denmark (Princess Alice)

In 2008, the Holocaust Educational Trust initiated a campaign to posthumously honour British citizens who had helped to rescue members of the Jewish community during the Holocaust.  In April 2009, the then Prime Minister - The Rt Hon. Gordon Brown (b.1951) announced that the Government would create a new national award, outside of the Honours System - which precludes posthumous honours.  In March 2010 the first list of 27 recipients was announced - Alice was one of the first to be honoured.  The award is a solid silver medallion, and bears the inscription "in the service of humanity" on the front, and on the reverse, a recognition of the recipient's "selfless actions [which] preserved life in the face of persecution" and recognised as a 'British Hero of the Holocaust'. 

 

Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge visited the grave of Alice,  Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark (his great-grandmother) whilst on an official visit to Israel in 2018

ABOVE: Prince William,

now The Prince of Wales

visited the grave of his

great-grandmother - 

Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark

(Princess Alice) whilst on

an official visit

to Israel in June 2018

RIGHT: A short film by

Associated Press showing

the visit by King Charles III

 in January 2020

to the grave of his grandmother -

Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark

(Princess Alice)

Prince William, now The Prince of Wales (b.1982) visited the grave of his great-grandmother in June 2018.  He was the first member of the British Royal Family to undertake an official visit to the State of Israel.  King Charles III (1948(2022-    ) did visit the grave of his grandmother privately in October 2016, whilst he was in Jerusalem attending the State funeral of the former President - Shimon Peres (1923-2016), but was able to  visit Alice's grave once again in January 2020 whilst on an official visit to Israel.

 

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