Rare Facts About Prince Philip's Mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg
Throughout her life, Alice was branded a stranger but a stranger with a good heart. She exemplified the best qualities of a princess and this princess now happens to be a leading figure in the exciting third season of The Crown! As Prince Philip's mother, her life wasn't always easy... Let's look into all the details, from her unique birth defect to her loving nature. Was she really the perfect princess she is painted to be?
Princess Alice was born in Windsor Castle on February 25, 1985, while her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria watched her birth. Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Mary was the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and Rhine. The girl was born deaf.
She grew up in England as an English princess, however, she also spent time in the German Empire and Greece in the Mediterranean. Very intelligent, at age eight she could read lips in three languages. Princess Alice's brother was Lord Louis Mountbatten, who would become an integral member of the British royal family.
In 1903, Princess Alice married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, becoming from then on Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark. The couple had four children: three daughters and one son. The first, Princess Margaret of Greece and Denmark was born in 1905.
Then Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark was born in 1906, third was Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark in 1911, and Princess Sofia of Greece and Denmark is the fourth in 1914. Prince Philip was his youngest son, born in 1921. Upon returning to Greece a little later, her husband was guilty.
He was involved in the country's defeat in the Greco-Turkish War, and again, the family was forced into exile until the Greek monarchy was restored in 1935. This definitely dampened their reputation and caused immense strife in their lives, luckily they were able to rise again.
Princess Alice and her husband lived in Greece until the exile of the majority of the Greek royal family. After the abdication of King Constantine I of Greece, who was expelled in 1917, Greek royalty was exiled. They began to find comfort in religion. He was Greek Orthodox Christianity.
It is known that he said he had encounters with Jesus, something that first baffled his family and then made decisions. In 1930, Princess Alice was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was admitted to a sanatorium in Switzerland; thereafter, she lived separately from her husband and her youngest son, Felipe.
Shortly after, Prince Andrew, who had been a leader in the Greek army was found guilty (somewhat unfair) of abandoning his obligations, was also demoted and sentenced to the perpetual fate of Greece, and began the second exile of the family. What a tragedy for them.
Princess Alice spent most of the remaining years of her life as a volunteer doing charity work in Greece. He was in Athens during World War II. In her apartment in Athens, she housed a family of Jewish refugees, something that earned her recognition as "Fair among the Nations" by the Holocaust memorial institution of Israel, Yad Vashem.
With the fall of King Constantine II of Greece and the establishment of a military government in Greece in 1967, Prince Philip and his wife Queen Elizabeth invited her to live at Buckingham Palace in London. Apparently, for years, the Prince had tried to convince his mother to live with him.
Only when Princess Alice understood that the invitation came directly from the queen, was she considered to accept it. She lived in Buckingham Palace, where she died two years later in 1969. Her remains were transferred from a vault at his birthplace, Windsor Castle, a Russian Orthodox convent on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in 1988.
Her great-grandson, Prince William visited the tomb of Princess Alice on her trip to Israel, leaving a floral offering and paying his respects to the one outside the most misunderstood princesses of European royalty almost all her life. There is no doubt that Princess Alice of Battenberg was a character that influenced the life of her son.
First with her absence, and then in the final years of her life. Princess Ana has commented that she had a pleasant relationship with her paternal grandmother, despite being called for many years the black sheep of the royal family. It seems as though this family was always involved in drama!
NETFLIX EXPLORES HER LIFE
One of the things that Season 3 of The Crown explores is Prince Philip's complex relationship with his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg (played by Jane Lapotaire). The royal Netflix show gives viewers an insight into what the Duke of Edinburgh's mother was like, shedding light on some of the traumatic events.
She was baptized as Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Mary on February 25, 1885, according to The New York Times. She was the great-granddaughter of her namesake, Queen Victoria (which means Philip and Elizabeth are third cousins.) Princess Alice was deaf from birth, and could apparently lip-read in several languages.
While she was "raised as an English Princess," per iNews, she also spent time in Germany and Greece as a child and became fluent in German. She married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. In 1903, Alice married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, and subsequently became known as Princess Andrew.
TREATED BY A FAMOUS PSYCHOLOGIST
Princess Alice was treated by Sigmund Freud. According to the psychologist... from the British Psychological Society, Prince Philip's mother received psychological assistance from Sigmund Freud after her husband was almost executed following the Greco-Turkish War. How interesting that he treated her!
Alice apparently "began to behave in a very disturbed manner," which led to her receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia and being referred for psychoanalysis. She was treated by two of Freud's protégés, one of whom ran the Swiss asylum where the princess stayed until the mid-1930s.
Per the psychologist..., they consulted Freud, who "believed Princess Alice’s religious delusions were the product of sexual frustration and recommended X-raying her ovaries in order to kill off her libido." Allegedly, the princess's health issues, and the question of whether she really needed these types of therapy or not.
HOW SHE IMPACTED THOSE AROUND HER
This impacted greatly upon Prince Philip, who had little connection with either of his parents during this period of time She protected Jews during World War II. Princess Alice was instrumental in aiding the escape from Greece of several Jews during World War II.
This was when Nazi occupation put their lives in grave danger. She also helped members of the Cohen family hide in her palace and used her deafness to convince Gestapo officers she couldn't understand them and therefore prevented them from entering her property, Associated Press reports.
Because of her efforts, the Cohen family is still alive and living in France, as of June 2018. Princess Alice was later bestowed with the title Righteous Among the Nations, Israel's highest honor granted to non-Jewish people who assisted Jews during the Holocaust.
THE WAR AND ITS EFFECT ON THE PRINCESS
The war itself also put pressure on Princess Alice's family as a whole, especially Prince Philip who was serving in the Navy, while all of her daughters were married to German men who fought for the Nazis, according to the AP. As a result, none of Philip's sisters were invited to his wedding to Queen Elizabeth.
Per Biography, "wartime memories were still fresh." She founded an order of nuns in Greece. In October 1928, Alice quietly converted to the Greek Orthodox Church, according to her biography by Hugo Vickers. She founded the monastic society of Martha and Mary.
GOOD CAME FROM HER RELIGION
It is also known as the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary) in 1949, an order of nuns dedicated to caring for the sick. She ran the institution as Mother Superior under the name Alice-Elizabeth and raised funds to set up two houses for the order, one for recovering ill patients and another to train nuns.
According to the Times. After lacking candidates for the sisterhood training, she eventually abandoned the project. Princess Alice moved back to England. After a military coup d'etat forced her to leave her home in Athens, Princess Alice moved back to England in 1967 and stayed in a suite in Buckingham Palace.
THE END OF HER STORY
According to her obituary in The New York Times. Part of the reason why she stayed was "old age and increasingly fragile health," according to Encyclopedia.com. Her return to England apparently allowed Prince Philip to reconnect with his mother. She passed away in Buckingham Palace on December 5, 1969, at the age of 84.
She was first buried at Windsor Castle, but her remains were later transferred to the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane in Jerusalem, her final resting place. This lady sure lived through some fascinating historical times! What do you think bout her and the quiet royal she was?
Sources: Harpers Bazaar