Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Princess Alice is dead

December 14, 1878

The Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine -- Princess Alice of the United Kingdom '' died at 7:30 this morning of diphtheria, reports the New York Times.  She was in a "state of unconsciousness" from 2:30 a.m, until the "time of her death."
A telegram was received at Marlborough house at 8:25 a.m., which read "The Grand Duchess quietly expired at half 7 this morning."
Princess Alice Maud Mary was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and the late Prince Albert, the Prince Consort.  She was born on April 25, 1843.  She married Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and By Rhine, on July 1, 1862, less than seven months after the death of the Prince Consort.
The wedding was "solemnized privately at Osborne, and was probably the least ostentatious royal marriage" in England in many years.  Queen Victoria, then "suffering in her recent severe affliction, attended in deep mourning, and in the most private manner.  The Prince of Wales, Prince Alfred, Prince Arthur, Prince Leopold, Lord Palmerston, Earl Russell, Earl Derby, the Earl Clarendon, the Duke de Nemours and several Cabinet minister were the only other wedding guests. 
Princess Alice was given away by her paternal uncle, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and the wedding took place at an "altar erected in the drawing room."  All of the guests, apart from the bride, were "attired in mourning, and the entire ceremony was devoid of display or ostentation's."
Despite the somber settings, the "alliance was well received."
Princess Alice was a "favorite, owing to her gentle and amiable disposition."   She and her husband had seven children, five of whom survive:  Victoria, born in 1863; Elisabeth, in 1864; Irene, in 1866; Ernst Ludwig, in 1868; Friedrich, in 1870; Alix, in 1872, and Marie, in 1874.
Prince Friedrich suffered from hemophilia, and died in 1874 from injuries sustained in a fall from a window.  One month ago, on November 16, four-year-old Princess Marie died from diphtheria.
In a remarkable coincidence,  the Princess' father, Prince Albert died on December 14, 1861.

The blinds have been drawn at Buckingham palace, St. James's Palace, and Marlborough House.  Dean Stanley left London last night to "spend the anniversary of the Prince Consort's death." He remains at Windsor, although no memorial service was held.  The Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Leopold and Princess Beatrice are also at Windsor with Queen Victoria.
The Queen's Ministers and her Government have sent expressions of sympathy.   The flag at Windsor Castle is at half-mast, according to a telegram received in London.  The bells are tolling at the Royal Chapel and at Eton College, and "nearly all the houses, public and private, in the royal borough, are closed."

In Copenhagen, King Christian X ordered that the marriage of his youngest daughter, Princess Thyra, to the Duke of Cumberland, be postponed until after Princess Alice's funeral.   Princess Thyra is the youngest sister of the Princess of Wales.

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