Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The mystery of the Princess Royal's operation

September 28, 1906

The Marquise de Fontenoy's latest dispatch focuses on the "extent old world royalty dreads publicity where its ailments are concerned."  This is the case with the "extraordinary mystery which has been observed in connection," with the Princess Royal, the wife of the Duke of Fife, who has recently undergone a major operation at Mar Lodge, her favorite home in Scotland.  The Princess, who is the eldest daughter of King Edward VII, "has been in bad health for some time past," and her doctors believed that an "operation was inevitable."  Queen Alexandra was in Norway visiting her younger daughter, Queen Maud, when she learned of Princess Louise's operation.  She wished to return immediately to England, but it was "only when Sir Frederick Treves was dispatched in hot haste by the king to beg her to remain abroad until the operation was over."  Alexandra reluctantly agreed to stay away. 
Sir Frederick promised the queen that he would be presented at the operation in "an advisory capacity," and insisted that the princess was not in danger.  But if Alexandra "interrupted her stay abroad and hastened to Mar Lodge public attention would be drawn to the condition of the princess." 
The press would have focused on Louise's health,  which would have caused her distress, and "consequently impair the success of the operation."   Queen Alexandra "yielded to these arguments."
The Princess Royal is the "shyest of all the members of the reigning house of England." She lives a very retired life with her husband and two daughters, Alexandra and Maud, and she "shuns publicity in every form."
Her marriage has "turned out to be  a happy one " in spite of the age difference with her husband. 
The princess is the fourth member of the royal family to undergo surgery in recent years.  King Edward VII, his daughter Victoria and his niece, Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, have all undergone appendectomies.

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