Friday, November 4, 2011

In the limelight: the Queen's younger brother


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November 4, 1911

Queen Mary's handsome younger brother, Prince Alexander of Teck is about to step into the limelight, as he has been asked to represent King George V at the coronation of the King of Siam, reports the Los Angeles Times.

He has "come into pre-eminence" only since his brother-in-law came to the throne.  Prior to this is was "merely a distant cousin," as King Edward VII had his brother, the Duke of Connaught, and the latter's son, Prince Arthur of Connaught to "represent him in foreign lands."   Prince Alexander's stock has gone up since George's succession, for he and Prince Arthur "are the only male royalties available" to represent the king in foreign countries, until the Prince of Wales and his brothers "are old enough to do so."

[Marlene's note: Alexander was hardly a distant relative.  His mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, was Queen Victoria's first cousin.  She was very popular, and known as the People's Princess.]

Known to his family as Algy,  Prince Alexander "is a splendid person for the job.  He "has an imposing height and carriage and a fine handsome face which is bound to attract attention."  He is one "of those cheery souls who finds life anything but a bore."   Alexander is also "a true son of his mother, one of the happiest and kindest women that ever stepped." 

There was not "a merrier family party than that at White Lodge," in Richmond Park, where the late Duke and Duchess of Teck, raised their children, May, now Queen Mary, and her three younger brothers.

The duke and duchess were often "hard up," and although they were royal, the "children were brought up on strict and sensible lines."    Prince Alexander attended Eton, and then passed out at Sandhurst, near the top of his class.  He served with the Seventh Hussars and "distinguished himself" in South Africa.  He also served in the Boer War.

After the death of his brother, Prince Francis of Teck,  Prince Alexander came into public view.  His brother was "deeply interested in Middlesex Hospital," and was involved in a project to raise money for the hospital.  After Francis became ill and died,  Alexander "completed his brother's tasks."  And "he worked really hard."  He would frequently visit the hospital, and take attend meetings.  At the children's war, he would linger.  Alexander "would stand by a cot to let some baby fingers curl round his own, and a romp with the little convalescents was not in frequent.

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 Alexander has been married since 1904 to Princess Alice of Albany, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and King George V's first cousin.   She is a "sweet and charming girl with no money to speak of and there is no happier or handsome couple to be found anywhere."   They have two children, Princess May and Prince Rupert.  A third child, a son, died when he was only a few months old.

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