Saturday, November 11, 2023

Death of Princess Irene, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria


Princess Irene of Prussia died today at her home at Hemmelmark near Kiel, reports the New York.  The Princess was 87 years old.

Her nephew, Prince Ludwig of Hesse and By Rhine announced the death.

Princess Irene Louise Marie Anna of Hesse and by Rhine was the third daughter of Princess Alice of Great Britain and Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and By Rhine. She was born in the New Palace in Darmstadt on July 11, 1866. She was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

The Princess grew up in Darmstadt with her sisters, Victoria, Ella, and Alix, and her younger brother, Ernst Ludwig, who succeeded his father as Grand Duke in 1892.  The four sisters were known as the Four Graces and were expected to have grand marriages. Irene's eldest sister, Victoria, married her father's first cousin, Prince Louis of Battenberg, who rose to the highest positions in the Royal Navy and was created Marquess of Milford Haven in 1917 after he relinquished his German titles.  Ella and Alix married into the Russian Imperial family.  In 1884, Ella married Grand Duke Serge of Russia, and a decade later, Alix, the youngest sister, married Nicholas II.   

Grand Duke Serge was assassinated in 1905.   Nicholas, Alexandra, their five children, and Grand Duchess Ella were murdered by the Bolsheviks in July 1918.  The Marchioness of Milford Haven, who was the Duke of Edinburgh's grandmother, died in 1950.

On May 24, 1888, Princess Irene married her first cousin, Prince Heinrich of Prussia.  He was the second son of Emperor Friedrich III and Princess Victoria of Great Britain, who was Princess Alice's sister.  The marriage took place at Charlottenburg Palace. 

Queen Victoria was not pleased when she was informed that her grandchildren were getting married as they had neglected to tell her about their romance before Heinrich proposed.

  The couple had three sons, Prince Waldemar (1889-1945), Prince Sigismund (1896) and Prince Heinrich (1900-1904).  Prince Waldemar and Prince Heinrich suffered from hemophilia, a disease that they inherited from their mother, who carried the gene.

Following the abdication of Heinrich's brother, Kaiser Wilhelm II.  When the Revolution broke out in November 1918, Irene and Heinrich got into a car and "fled from Kiel under fire" from Naval mutineers.  Irene was shot in the arm.  Her husband "narrowly escaped death" from a bullet that pierced his coat.

After the First World War and the establishment of the German Republic, Irene and Henry retired to Hemmelmark and "devoted themselves to good works.  

all images from Marlene A Eilers Koenig's collection

Prince Heinrich died on April 20, 1929.

Throughout her life, Irene was devoted to charitable work.  She was the Honorary Chairman of the German Red Cross.  

In 1950, she moved to a cottage on the Hemmelmark estate to allow the main house to be used as a home for aged Red Cross workers.  She remained in the cottage "where she lived modestly and worked unremittingly until her death."

Her granddaughter, Princess Barbara of Prussia was at her side when she died.  Barbara's father, Prince Sigismund farms in Costa Rica. D


  1. She had a tragic life poor lady - so many losses!
    Co- incidentally, she & I share the same birthday & first name.🙂

  2. Who brought the Genetic desease in the Royal Family?
    Do you know that?

    Greetings to Harper and Fleur.


  3. I wrote about this earlier this year