Friday, August 1, 2014

Grand Duchess Marie visits Princess Beatrice to end feud

Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection
August 1, 1914

The Dowager Duchess Marie of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, daughter of Alexander II of Russia and widow of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, and Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, visited her sister-in-law, Princess Beatrice, today at Kensington Palace.

Everyone is talking about this visit, reports the Chicago Daily Tribune because the two women were once "arch enemies and kept old Queen Victoria's Household in constant turmoil."

As Duchess of Edinburgh, Marie was never popular in England.  She hated the country, and felt that she deserved a better precedence at the court because she was the daughter of the Russian Emperor.  Queen Victoria did not agree.  Marie would not have precedence before the Princess of Wales nor Queen Victoria's daughters.

This did not set well with Marie.  It was not until the death of her husband's uncle, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, that the Russian grand duchess became the consort of the new Duke.   Her new rank did not extend, however, to the British court. 

She resented the influence that Victoria's youngest daughter, Beatrice, had with her mother.  Beatrice's position remained higher than Marie's even though Beatrice married Prince Henry of Battenberg, the son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and By Rhine and his morganatic wife, Julie von Hauke.

Marie's life is now very different.  Her only son, Alfred, died before his father, and the Coburg dukedom passed to a nephew.  None of her daughters have made brilliant marriages.  Her eldest daughter, Marie, will one day be Queen of Roumania, but "that is nothing great as far as a throne and queens are concerned."

However,  Princess Beatrice's only daughter, Victoria Eugenie, is the queen of Spain.

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