Alice Maud Mary Grand Duchess of Hesse
- Born: 25 Apr 1843, Buckingham Palace, London, England
- Marriage: Ludwig IV Grand Duke of Hesse on 1 Jul 1862 in Osborne House, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
- Died: 14 Dec 1878, New Palace, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany at age 35
- Buried: Rosenhöhe, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany
The Princess Alice (Alice Maud Mary) was a member of the British Royal Family, the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria. As the consort of Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse she was The Grand Duchess of Hesse.
Princess Alice was the great-grandmother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Princess Alice was born on April 25, 1843 at Buckingham Palace, London. Her father was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her mother was the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria, the only child of King George III's fourth son, Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent. As the daughter of the sovereign, Alice was styled Her Royal Highness The Princess Alice from birth. She was baptised in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace on June 2, 1843 by William Howley, Archbishop of Canterbury and her godparents were the King of Hanover, the Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Princess Sophia of Gloucester and her mother's half-sister Feodora, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
Alice was educated with her elder sister, Princess Victoria, Princess Royal. She was especially attached to her elder brother, Prince Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales. After the marriage of the Princess Royal to Prince Frederick William of Prussia, Queen Victoria came to rely on Alice's support as the eldest daughter at home. The eighteen year-old Alice nursed Prince Albert during his final illness in December 1861.
On 1 July 1862, Princess Alice married Prince Louis of Hesse and by Rhine (12 September 1837-13 March 1892), the son of Prince Charles of Hesse and by Rhine and the nephew of Louis III, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine (9 June 1806-13 June 1877), at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. On the day of the wedding, Queen Victoria issued Letters Patent granting her new son-in-law the style Royal Highness. This style was in effect in Great Britain, not Hesse.
Alice and Louis took up residence at Darmstadt, Hesse. The couple had seven children. It was later learned that Alice carried and passed on the haemophilia gene she inherited from Queen Victoria to several of her own children.
Name Birth Death Notes
*Princess Victoria 5 April 1863 - 24 September 1950 Married Prince Louis of
Battenberg, later Marquess of Milford Haven (24 May 1854-11 September 1921),
and had issue.
*Princess Elisabeth 1 November 1864 - 17 July 1918 Took the name
Yelisaveta Fyodorovna on her baptism into the Russian Orthodox Church, m. Grand
Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia (11 May 1857-17 February 1905), son of
Alexander II of Russia and had no issue. Had been courted by her cousin, William II,
German Emperor, but rejected him.
*Princess Irene 11 July 1866 - 11 November 1953 Married her cousin Prince
Heinrich of Prussia, (14 August 1862-20 April 1929), son of Frederick III, German
Emperor and had issue. Irene passed haemophilia on to two of her three sons:
Prince Waldemar of Prussia and Prince Henry of Prussia.
*Prince Ernest Louis 25 November 1868 - 9 October 1937 Became Grand
Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, 13 March 1892; abdicated 9 November 1918; married
HRH Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (25 November 1876-2
March 1936), divorced; married HH Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
(17 September 1871-16 November 1937), and had issue.
*Prince Friedrich 7 October 1870 - 29 May 1873 Suffered from haemophilia and
died from internal bleeding after a fall from a window at the age of two and a half.
*Princess Alix 6 June 1872 - 17 July 1918 Took the name Alexandra
Feodorovna on her baptism into the Russian Orthodox Church, m. Tsar Nicholas II
of Russia (18 May 1868-17 July 1918), and had issue. Their only son, Tsarevich
Alexei, suffered from haemophilia.
*Princess Marie 24 May 1874 - 16 November 1878 Died of diphtheria.
Princess Alice's concern about the poor nursing conditions for wounded soldiers during the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, led her to found the Alice-Frauenverein, or Women's Union, to train nurses and auxiliary workers. On 13 June 1877, Prince Louis succeeded his uncle as the reigning Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Alice became the Grand Duchess. However, in November 1878, the Grand Duke and all but one of the children, Princess Elisabeth, fell ill with diphtheria. Elizabeth was sent to live with relatives. Princess Marie died of the disease. Alice had, despite warnings from the physicians, hugged and kissed her one surviving son when she told him of Marie's death.
Exhausted by nursing all of them, Alice succumbed to the disease and died at the Neues Palais in Darmstadt on 14 December, the anniversary of her father's death. Alice is buried at Rosenhöhe, the mausoleum for the Grand Ducal House of Hesse outside Darmstadt. Prior to her death she spent a few weeks in Eastbourne, East Sussex recuperating. In 1882 the Princess Alice Memorial Hospital was set up in the town in her honour.
Alice married Ludwig IV Grand Duke of Hesse on 1 Jul 1862 in Osborne House, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, England. (Ludwig IV Grand Duke of Hesse was born on 12 Sep 1837 in Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany, died on 13 Mar 1892 and was buried in Rosenhöhe, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany.)