Princess Alice was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She was the first of Queen Victoria’s nine children to die.
She is one of the most overlooked members of her family when it comes to celebration. She was, however, a unique individual of her own kind.
Princess Alice of the United Kingdom
Princess Alice was born during the early hours of 25 April 1843 at Buckingham Palace in London. She was christened on 2 June 1843 as Alice Maud Mary. Being the second daughter of the queen, her birth was greeted with mixed feelings in public.
After Alice’s birth, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert started feeling the need for a bigger home and they purchased Osborn House on the Isle of Wight in 1844 as a family holiday home.
Alice received her education from her father and his close friend, Baron Stockmar. At Osborn House, Alice along with her siblings was taught real-world skills like cooking, housekeeping, gardening, and carpentry as well as they received lessons in English, French, and German.
Princess Alice Daughter of Queen Victoria
As Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were interested in building monarchy based on family values, their children wore middle-class clothing on daily basis and their bedrooms were sparsely furnished with little heating.
Princess Alice was deeply fascinated with the world that was outside the Royal Household. She visited the tenants working in the estate to understand them better. During the Crimean war in 1854, Alice was just 11 years old and she toured London hospitals with her mother and eldest sister for wounded soldiers.
She was the most emotionally sensitive child of Queen and very sympathetic with other people’s problems. She is said to have a sharp tongue and easily triggered temper.
Princess Alice as a family caregiver
Alice grew into a sympathetic adult with an interest in medicine and caring for others especially the patients. When her father fell ill in 1861 with typhoid fever, she proved to be a great comfort for her father. She looked after him and was continuously near his bedside till his death which was on 14 December the same year.
However, when after her father’s death Queen went into an intense period of mourning, she looked after the Queen’s correspondence and daily paperwork, unofficially.
This was a very difficult period for Alice because along with coping with her father’s death alone, she had to deal with the growing demands of her distressed mother.
Before her father’s death, Princes Alice took care of her maternal grandmother Victoria, Duchess of Kent. She spent a good deal of time nursing her grandmother through her final illness and she used to play piano often for her. She died on 16 March 1861.
Princess Alice’s Marriage
When Alice turned 17, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert decided to get her married. She personally chose Prince Ludwig and Hesse and her marriage was fixed within six months of arranging the introduction.
Though the marriage was carried out in the period of grief, it was a private celebration carried out in the dining room of Osborn House, which was converted into a temporary chapel.
Maud Queen of England & Princess Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse
The grand duchess of Hesse had a special interest in nursing and was very fond of Florence Nightingale, an English reformer and founder of modern nursing techniques. She played a major role in the Bismarck’s war in 1866. In the Astro-Prussian war she was heavily pregnant but even then, she devoted all her time to the management of field hospitals.
When Grand Duke Louis III of Hesse died on 13 June 1877, and Louis and Alice became the Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. However, she could never gain popularity in Darmstadt.
Princess’s life in Darmstadt was not happy because of the impoverishment, family tragedies as well as deterioration of her relationship with her husband and mother. In 1878 diphtheria infected the entire family except one of their daughters, who was sent to live with her paternal grandmother to be safer.
Alice nursed her family for over a month but caught the infection due to which she died on 14th December 1878. Alice’s descendants played major roles in the world history.