Monday, April 27, 2009

Duke Albert of Schleswig-Holstein dies at 62; grandson of Victoria

Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection

April 27, 1931

The Associated Press reports today the death of Duke Albert of Schleswig-Holstein, who a grandson of Britain's Queen Victoria.

Albert "suffered an attack of grip during a recent visit to England and developed pulmonary conditions which did not respond to treatment. He was 62-years-old.

Duke Albert was the second son of Princess Helena of Great Britain who married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. He was born at Cumberland Lodge at Windsor and most of his "early life was closely identified with English people and English customs." He was educated at Charterhouse and "received a commission in the English army."

At that time, his older Prince Christian Victor had "waived his right of succession to the dukedom of Schleswig-Holstein because he was loath to give up his British nationality and position in the army." Prince Christian Victor was killed in the Boer War in 1900.

Thus, Prince Albert became the heir to the dukedom and the family's "extensive properties." He quit the British army and adopted German nationality.
He also entered the German army and became an officer in the First Regiment of Hessian Dragoon. He was appointed to the General Staff of the Germany Army. His position "was particularly difficult" during the world war as he "was an Englishman by birth and by training." He was "looked upon with suspicion by the Germans, and his intimacy with the English branch of his family made him, even more, a target of German prejudice."

Albert refused to "take part in the fighting against the British, his fellow countrymen," but he "volunteered for service on the Russian front."

He was eventually assigned to the staff of the Military Governor of Berlin, and "left to his own devices." He "spent most of his time helping the British officers and soldiers in captivity, saving many of them from death and winning devoted friends."

Albert succeeded as head of the house in 1921, following the death of his cousin, Duke Ernst Gunther. At that time, he also inherited the great estate at Primenkau in Silesia and also a "large perpetual annuity."

Duke Albert of Schleswig-Holstein was unmarried. The title becomes extinct. He is survived by two sisters, Princess Helena Victoria and Princess Marie Louise.

[Marlene's note: several days before his death, Duke Albert sent a letter to Valerie Marie Schwalb, and acknowledged her as his natural daughter.)


Anonymous said...

Duke Albert, was a son of Princess Helena. To me they are the most interesting of Queen Victoria's descendants. Very nice people, I feel, as Princess Helena was herself.

Thank goodness Marlene has been so good in giving us so much information about them. Otherwize we would never have known about them, as we do.

I have more to say. But work beckons tomorrow!

jason said...

It is never mentioned but I sometimes wonder if Princess Helena might have been a carrier of the haemophilia gene. Though it doesn't appear that her sons suffered from it her daughters may have been carriers but they never had children so didn't pass it on if they were.

Christopher said...

I was very interested to read the item about the death of Duke Albert of Schleswig- Holstein- one of the lesser known Grand-children of Queen Victoria.
He died in Berlin, but does anybody know where he was buried? It doesn't seem to be mentioned in any of the usual reference sources.