boys clothing: British royalty -- Princess Alice

Princess Alice, 1843-1878

Figure 1.--This photo shows the 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven with sailor-suited son at the 1922 wedding of his brother Louis, later Earl Mounbatten of Burma. The family dropped the name 'Battenberg' during World War I, because of its German connections.

Princess Alice was born in 1843 and knicknammed Fatima. The Queen was pleased when going through the baby linen and found almost nothing new needed to be purchased. Allice became Grand Duchess of Hesse and the Rhine. She had strong views favoring the emancipation of women and pursued a livelong interest in education and nursing. Although she died at a tragically young age , her descendents had stiried if often tragic lives. The young Prince Wilhelm visited with the family as a university student. The future Kaiser Wilhelm was very attached to Princess Alice's family and wanted to marry a daughter. Her daughter Victoria mairred Prince Louis of Battenburg and gave birth to the future Lord Mountbatten. A grandson, Prince Phillip married Queen Elizabeth. Another daughter mairred Tasar Nicholas II. Two children died in infancy and two of her daugters were killed by Bolsevicks. Alice died tragically at the young age of only 35 years.


Alice was Victoria and Albert's fourth child and second boy.


Albert was the born into the royal family of a small German principality. He was stictly raised and very well educated. His mairrage to Victoria brought him to the throne of the most powerful country of the day. He was only the Prince Consort and not a co-ruler with his wife. His advise to his poorly educated wife, however, was of great value to England, especially his advise that England not support the South in the American Civil War. He took the education of their chiodren very seriously--especially heir, the future Edward VII very seriously. Despite the attention given to the care and education of the children. Albert's untimely death devestated Victoria.


Queen Victoria was Britain's longest serving monarch. Her mairrage with Albert was the love story of the 19th century. She set the moral tone of the nation and helped shape Britain's emergence as a truly democratic nation. Victoria witnessed an extrodinary development of British power and influence. She and Albert changed how Britain's looked on their monarch. She became in many ways the gramdmother of Europe, forging dynastic ties throughout the Continent. She also played a major role in influencing boys clothing around the world by the garments she selected for the young princes.


Princess Alice was born in 1843.


Princess Alice was knicknammed Fatima. She was a rather palcid child. But she like the oter children developed a will of her own and helped to teach her two younger sisters, Helena and Louise to asert themselves also. [Bennett, p.217.]

Relations with Siblings

HBRC has only limited information about Alice's relationship with her brothers and sisters. We do know that she had a close relationship with Vicky. I have no information on her relationhip with her other brothers and sisters.


Vicky's relationship with her sister Alice could not have been more different than that with Bertie. The two were very close, sharing everything. Alice was terribly hurt when pams for Vicky's mairrage with Prince Friedrich of Prussia were kept from her. First for being left out. Second because her dearest and closest friend was being taken away from her.


No information available.

Childhood Clothing

The Queen was pleased when going through the baby linen and found almost nothing new needed to be purchased. All te available images show Princess Alice and her sisters clad in heavy, elaborate dresses with full skirts, often looking like hoop skirts. We di not know what kind of play clothes the children wore.


I have little information at this time. I do know that Prince Albert began tutoring Alice after Vicky was mairred. Unlike the situation with Vicky, the Queen did not compklain.

Adult Life

Princess Allice became Grand Duchess of Hesse and the Rhine. She had strong views favoring the emancipation of women and pursued a livelong interest in education.


Princess Alice married Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt (1837-92) in 1861. The marriage was important news in Britain an articles were featured in the London Illustrated News, along with reporting on the American Civil War. [LIN, July 12 and 19, 1861] Some historians have wondered why a girl so intelligent and charming as Alice wuld have mairred such a "red-faced bucolic" as Louis. One advantage was that it placed her closer to her beloved sister in Berlin.


We do not yet have a separate page for Louis IV, we do have a page on Hesse Darmstadt. The Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt was established by George I, son of Philip the Magnanimous in 1567. It became a Grand Duchy in 1806. Although Hesse-Darmstadt also supported Austria in the Austro-Prussian War (1866), unlike Hesse-Kassel, it managed to maintain its independence when the Prussians proved victorious. The capital Darmstadt is south of Frankfurt, a few miles from the Rhinr River. Hesse-Darmstadt entered the German Empire in 1871. The family mairred into the British, Prussian, and Russian royal family and was given the Bulgarian Crown--although the prince receiving it was forced abdicate because he objected to democratic constitutions. Grand Duke Ernst-Ludwig (Ernst-Louis) of Hesse and by Rhine abdicated on November 9, 1918. The best known modern descendent is probably Lord Mountbatten.

Visits from Prince Wilhelm

Prince Wilhelm, the future Wilhelm II, first met his Aunt Alice, his mother's cloest sibling, while an infant when his parents visited England. While Prince Wilhelm was at University in Bonn, he would often spend the weekend with his Aunt Alice and Hessian counsins at their modest palace in Darmstadt. His mother encouraged him to visit with her sister's family as the atmosphere was less formal than the Prussian court and she thought it would be good for him. He would go rising or rowing with his younger cousins or play croquet and tennis. He was apt to stop the games at a moment's notice and order them to listen to him read passages from the Bible. The cousins found him much like a likable, but unpredictable and often omineering older brother, but according to one historian "... too mercurial, volitilem and restless, full of energy one moment, morose and brooding the next. They nicknamed him 'Wilhelm the Sudden" and 'Gondola Billy'. [Van der Kriste, Wilhelm II, p. 21.] Victorians have speculated on his behavior. Some think it was a way of showing his rank or perhaps an effort to show that desoite his arm, he was not in any way handicapped. It is interesting that even children noted it. As he was the heir apparent, however, they had to tolerte him.


While few now remember Pricess Alice, her descendents are quite well known. Louis and Alice had two well known children. Their oldest child was Princess Victoria, primrily because her grandson was Lord Mountbatten and great grandson was Prince Phillip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II. A younger dauhter, Alix, mairred Tsar Nicholas II. Several of tge children, including Alix had tragic ends. Two children died tragic deaths at an early age.

Vicoria Alberta (1863-1950)

Alice's eldest child was her daughter Victoria. She proved rather a tomboy. One writer desibes her as a good companion for Prince Wilhelm during his visits while he was a university student at Bonn. Victoria was quite a bright child. She reportedly did well in the Oxford examps for girls. Victoria's childhood was essentially over when her mother died (1878). Although only about 15 years ols at the time, she began looking after the children and comforting her father. The family began staying more in England with Queen Vivtoria than in Darmstadt. [Vickers, p. 6.] Victoria married Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854-1921). Louis, a Hesssian had improbably pursued a career in the Royal Navy. He served in the British Royal Navy and drew up plans for using destroyers against heavier vessels. Victoria Alberta's father did not approve of the mairrage, because of the lowly origins of Louis' mother. Queen Victoria, however, did approve. In fact Queen Victoria after the death of her daughter Princess alice, insisted on overseeing the birt of Victoria Albert's first child, Alice (1885). [Vickers, pp. 1-3.] Their son Louis is better known as Lord Mountbatten who commanded Allied operations in Burma and was the last British Viceroy in India. His sister Alice (1885-1969) married Prince Andrew of Greece. Their son Prince Philip is the husband of the present Queen. Although Alice was the mother of the Duke of Edinburgh she was little heard of in Britain. I believe she later founded an order of nuns. The Marquis of Milford Haven, their eldest son, was offered that British sounding title at the end of World War I in order to obfuscate their German connections. Battenberg was supposed to sound Teutonic whilst the made-up name of Mountbatten sounded English. Incidentally, Mountbatten was also a cousin to the last Tsar and when they need to run DNA tests on the newly exhumed bones of the murdered Romanovs recently, his nephew Prince Philip (the present British Queen's husband) provided a DNA sample for matching.

Elizabeth (1864-1918)

Elizabeth was called Ella within the family. Prince Wilhelm was reportedly very fond of Elizabeth, a little more than a year younger than her sister Victoria. Elizabeth was the pertiest of the children. Uncharacteristically, when ever she spoke, he was silent. Wilhelm apparently wanted to marry her. His mother approved, but Elizabeth apparently gently declined, well aware of his personality. Wilhelm never really forgot her. Some historians believe that she may have had the strength of character to restrain Wilhelm exuberent personality. Wilhelm thought that he was rejected because of his arm, but his increasingly arrogant personality was surely a more important factor. Instead, Elizabeth mairred the handsome, but rather cold Russian Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, the younger brother of Alexander III, at the Winter Palace (1884). Queen Victoria who distrusted the Russians in general, disapproved of the marriage. [Vickers, p. 17.] The Grand Duke apparently viewed her more as a daughter than a sister. After he was assasinated, Elizabeth became the mother superior in a convent. Like her younger sister Alix, she was killed by Bolshevicks (1918). Elizabeth had a very important impact on her niece Allice (Victoria Alberta's oldest girl).

Irene Marie Louise Anna (1866-1953)

Irene mairred the Kaiser's brother Prince Henry (1888). Henry was a much more mellow indivisual than Wilhelm. He was dominated by Wilhem, especially after his brother became kaiser. Prince Henry persued a naval career. They had three children: Waldemar (1889), Sigismund (1896), and Henry Victor Louis (1900).

Ernest Louis (1868-1937)

Like his siblings, he contrcted diptheria as a child, but survived. Prince Ernest was called Ernie. He became Grand Duke of Hessse in 1892 when his father died. As a brother-in-law to the kaiser's brother, Prince Henry, and the Tsar, he had ties to the British, German, and Russian royal families. He was deposed in 1918 in the aftermath of World War I. He mairred twice and had four children. Ernest died 2 weeks before his younger son was due to marry. His widow and elder son were tragically killed in an air crash on their way to the postphoned wedding.

Frederick (1870-73)

Prince Frederick was a haemophiliac fell out of an upsatirs window and bled to death. He had been playing hide-and-go-seek with hi older brother Ernie.

Alexandra Fedorovna (1872-1918)

Princess Aleandra was called Alix. Wilhelm II as Kaiser took a special interest in Alix. He and others strongly advised her to accept the mairrage offer of Tsar Nicholas. Wilhelm had gotten on badly with Nicholas' faher, Tsar Alexander III. He hoped to return to good graces by brokering the marriage and perhaps help move Russia away from the dangerous alliance with France (which he had helped make possible). She married Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in 1894. Unlike many royal marriages which involved politics, the marriage proved to be a love match. Nicvholas and Alexandra loved each other and created a warm and loving family. Alix was less successful as Tsarina. She and her husband and all their children were assasinated by the Bolshevicks on Lennin's orders in 1918.

Marie Victoria Fedore (1874-78)

Princess Marie was called "May". She died as a small child of diptheria in 1878. A week after she died, her mother who had been nursing the children contracted the disease.

Family Life

The children were very strictly raised. They began their lessons sharply at 7:00 am in the morning and studied until 9:00 am when they had breakfast with their parents. Then there were more lessons, outdoors exercise, a snack, and a substantial meal at 2:00 pm with their parentss. Afterwards there was more exercise and schooling. A light tea at 5:00 pm and then to bed by 6:30-7:00 pm. [Vickers, p. 6.]


Princess Alice founded the Alice Hospital in Hesse-Darmstadt. Princes Alice sought the advise of Florence Nightengale. The children were often brought along during bher visits to the hospital. Princess Alice also convinced state officials to assume resonsibility for an "idiot asylum" (mental hospital). With the help of her children Princes Alice sponsored bazars to help raise money for it. [Vickers, p. 8.]


Grand Duchess Alice did not have as strong a constitution as her mother or older sister. In 1878 Princess Victoria contracted diptheria. All the other children got it, except for Ella who was sent to stay with relatives. Their mother nursed them, but the youngest child May, did not survive dieing at age 4. Just as the other children were recovering, the Grand Duchess contracted the disease and and died in December 1878. Apparently she kissed Ernie to comfort him. [Vickers, p. 6.] Prince Wilhelm who was very attached to his Aunt was deeply moved. He wrote several sentiamental poems to Cousin Ella. Alice's mother Queen Victoria was heart broken. Her daughter-in-law Princess of Wales Alexandra was at Winsor when a telegram arrived with the sad news. They wept in each other's arms. [Battiscombe, p. 148.]


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

Van der Kriste, John. Kaiser Wihelm II: Germany's Last Kaiser (Bodmin: Sutton Publishing, 1999), 244p.

Vickers, Hugo. Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece (St. Martin's Press: New York, 2000), 477p.

London Illustrated News, July 12 and 19, 1861.


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Created: February 26, 1999
Last updated: 3:37 PM 12/9/2004