Friday, October 29, 2010
Alexandra, the princess who might have been Queen of Portugal
October 29, 1910
A new portrait of Princess Alexandra of Fife, niece of King George V, has been published in the Los Angeles Times. The princess is said to be "deeply interested in the Portuguese revolution."
If her mother and the Queen Mother of Portugal "had their way," Alexandra would have been the Queen of Portugal. If she had married Manoel, he "would not have lost his throne for the Portuguese people are keenly alive to the value of the alliance with England.
About a year ago, King Manoel came to England for the wife hunting season, and his first choice was Princess Alexandra. The Queen Mother was fond of the young princess, and was a close friend of Alexandra's mother, the Duchess of Fife, since their school days. Both women "were keenly anxious" to arrange a marriage between their children. Plans for the marriage were scotched due to the Duke of Fife and the late King Edward VII, who was the Duchess of Fife's father. The late king had a "veritable flair for politics," and he knew that Manoel's throne was shaky. The Duke of Fife did not see the advantage of an alliance with one of the "poorest kings in Europe."
More recently there were rumors of Alexandra's marriage to Prince Christopher of Greece, one of the younger sons of King George of the Hellenes.
This rumor has been "vigorously denied. The marriage did have the support of Christopher's aunt, the Dowager Queen Alexandra, who also is Princess Alexandra's grandmother. The Queen knows that her nephew is keen to marry an heiress, and Princess Alexandra is a very rich heiress.
Princess Alexandra's "future is a good deal of a problem to the royal family. She may be the niece of a king, but she is also the daughter "of the man who is known as the 'bourgeois duke.'" Before his marriage to Princess Louise, the Duke of Fife was "merely an earl," and he "has never been received as an equal by the highest society."
The Duke of Fife is an extremely frugal man, despite being one of the richest men in Britain.
Princess Alexandra will one day be the Duchess of Fife, due to a special remainder for the title, as she has no brothers. She will be one of the "greatest territorial magnates in Scotland."
She may end up marrying an English or Scottish nobleman, now that the Portuguese marriage "is out of the running." Alexandra is, however, likely to remain single for the time being, as she is said to be "young and shy even for her years, and the gossips declare that she is rather stupid and undeveloped."
The Greek marriage is "also out of the question," as Prince Christopher has no "private fortune." He would "also have to settle down in Scotland" as the husband of the Duchess of Fife, and "for dynastic reasons he could hardly become a British subject."
[Note: Prince Christopher was a British subject due to the Sophia Naturalization Act, which gave British nationality in perpetuity to the non-Catholic descendants of the Electress Sophia of Hanover. This act was superseded in 1949 by the British Nationality Act.]