Edward VII and Queen Alexandra: Grandparents


Figure 1.--The newly crowned King Edward VII is shown here during 1902 with his grand children. The kilt was a favorire of the royal family. Notice the younger prince wears a sailor dress with a kilt skirt. The princess wears a sailor suit, another royal favorite.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were both doting grandparents. The Princess was always more prone to spoiling rather than disciplining her own children, but this is often more of a virtue for a grandmother. Prince George's children grew up next door in York Cottage. Their parents, now the Duke and Duchess of York, did not especially approve of Alix's endulgences with the children, but neither was about to make a strong issue of it which would have terribly upset Alexandra. She was allowed to have the children when ever she wanted. The young princes and princess loved to visit their grandmother who spoiled them terribly, in contrast's to their fathers' strict navy routein. The children quickly learned that the excuse, "but grandmama said we could" often got them out of difficult situations. Their grandfather was also quite endulgent, but not as engaged. Alix developed an especially close attachment to Prince John, the youngest child. Her relationship with her other grandchildren was more distant. Not only were they in Scotalnd, but daughter Louisa now Duchess of Fife was not nearly as willing for Alexandra to have the children as often as Alexandra would have wanted. The Princess was hurt by the differing attitude of her own daughter compared to her daughter-in-law.

Grandmother

Alexandra is said to have been a doting grandmother. She waa always more prone to spoiling rather than disciplining her own children, but this is often more of a virtue for a grandmother. Prince George's children grew up next door in York Cottage, which meant that she was deeply involved in their young lives.

Grandfather

Their grandfather was also quite endulgent, but not as engaged. King Edward could be quite formidable when dealing with adults, but he could be quite kind and gentle with children, especially the grandchildren.

The Grandchildren

Three of Prince and Princess of Wales married. Prince George, now Duke of York, had the largest family wich conveniently was located next door at York Cottage. There were also grandchildren in Scotland and Denmark, but because of the duistance and differing attitude of their parents, these children had less contact with their grandparents.

The Yorks

The York grandchildren grewup with a sartling contrast. Their great grandmother Victoria lived in mourn and isolation--silence and gloom. Their grandparents' home could not br more of a contrast living right next door in Sandringham House. One historian described their grandparent' home Sandringham House as bathed in "perpetual sunlight" in contrast to their own military styled, rather spartan home at York Cottage. As one historian puts it, both Alix and her husband were "in their element as grand parents". While with grandmama they were outrageously endulged. The Duke and Duchess of York, did not especially approve of Alix's endulgences with the children, but neither was about to make a strong issue of it which would have terribly upset Alexandra. The Duchess was a level-headed woman. Prince George was Alexandra's favored child. The relationship between them was very close. She knew that there was no way her husband would deny his adored mother access to her grandchildren, despite differences as to how children should be raised. Alexandra as a result was allowed to have the children whenever she wanted. The young princes and princess loved to visit their grandmother who spoiled them terribly, in contrast's to their fathers' strict navy routein. The children quickly learned that the excuse, "but grandmama said we could" often got them out of difficult situations. Alix developed an especially close attachment to Prince John, the youngest child.

The Fifes

Her relationship with her other grandchildren was more distant. Not only were they in Scotalnd, but daughter Louisa now Duchess of Fife was not nearly as willing for Alexandra to have the children as often as Alexandra would have wanted. The Princess was hurt by the differing attitude of her own daughter compared to her daughter-in-law. The Princess wrote to her daughter-in-law the Duchess of York in 1897, "I was so glad to show Louise and MacDuff [HBC note: a bit of sarcasm here on the Princess' part] how fully you trust your precious children to my care, and how fondly I look after them." [Battiscombe, p. 210.]

Danish Grandchild

Danish Prince Charles (Carl) and Princess Maud had only a single child, Olav. As Prince Carl became king of Norway, prince Olav subsequently succeeded his father after World War II to become King Olav V of Norway. At this time, I have few details on his relationship with his English grandparents. I know there were visits as Olav was photographed playing with the York children at Sandringham. Queen Alexandra referred to Olav (Olaf) as "my little Hamlet" and remarked that he helped the newly elected royal couple win the hearts of the Norwegian peole. [Battiscombe, p. 256.] The Princess was undoubtedly especially pleased with the election of her son-in-law as king because Kaiser Wilhelm II had wanted the Norrwegian crown for one of his sons.

Sources

Battiscombe, Georgina. Queen Alexandra (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1969).

Bradford, Sarah. The Reluctant King: The Life and Reign of George VI, 1895-1952 (New York: St. Marin's Press, 1989), 506p.






Christopher Wagner








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Created: September 14, 2001
Last updated: July 7, 2002