Princess Alice of Battenberg Biography

(Mother-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II)

Birthday: February 25, 1885 (Pisces)

Born In: Windsor Castle, Windsor, England

Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, also known as Princess Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie of Battenberg, was the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and mother-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II. She was born in England as the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the eldest child/daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg. At the time of her birth, she was considered a slow child, but later it turned out that she was suffering from a hearing condition which made her prone to congenital deafness. In the early 1900s, she fell in love with Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and it was deemed a perfect royal match, and by the next year, the two young lovers were married. But she couldn’t bring her good luck with her as right after their marriage, the royal Greek family was forced into exile and eventually when the monarchy in Greece was restored in 1935; their life became stable once again. Although she was a beautiful and kind woman, she was prone to severe illness and by 1930 she was already suffering from schizophrenia, a mental illness. She was sent out for treatment and after returning back, she dedicated her life to charity. The wars, particularly the Second World War, affected her on a deeper level, and she offered refuge to Jews, being targeted by Nazi Germany. She was honoured with the ‘Righteous among the nations’ title for her efforts. She dedicated her later life in the service of Christianity.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In February

Also Known As: Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie, Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark

Died At Age: 84


Spouse/Ex-: Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (m. 1903-1944)

father: Prince Louis of Battenberg

mother: Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine

siblings: 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, George Mountbatten, Lord Mountbatten, Louise Mountbatten

children: Prince Philip, Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark, Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark, Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark

Born Country: England

Royal Family Members British Women

Died on: December 5, 1969

place of death: Buckingham Palace, London, England

City: Windsor, England

Childhood & Early Life
Alice was born to Prince Louise of Battenberg and mother Princess Victoria of Hesse in the Windsor Castle in London on 25th February, 1885. She was the great granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who was present when Alice entered the world. She was considered a slow learner, as she wasn’t able to speak properly owing to a disability, which later turned out to be a congenital deafness. Her mother got extremely concerned about her.
Even though she lacked in hearing abilities, she made up with strong penchant to learn and despite her medical condition, she learned to speak and lip-read quickly, with professional help. Being the eldest child, she was deeply loved by her mother and spent her initial days switching between England, Germany and Mediterranean. These constant travels shaped her up and the new experiences she had on these trips made her grow faster than other kids of her age. While she was a teenager, she got well versed in French and English and always had the penchant for learning new languages.
Most of her early years were spent in the comfort of all the royal pleasures among her royal relatives and she had a very content childhood. She had faith in Christianity and was devoted to God. After attending the funeral of her great-grandmother, she turned to Anglican faith. She attended the coronation celebrations of King Edward VII in 1902, where she met Prince Andrew of Greek for the first time, and they fell in love.
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Life Post Marriage
Prince Andrew, although far behind in the line of succession, was the son of King George I and Queen Olga of Greece. They were highly respected among the European monarchs and had good relations with the UK, Germany, Russia and Denmark.
The wedding took place on 6th October 1903 at Darmstadt. It was attended by a large gathering of royal guests. She became Princess Andrew after the marriage and the marriage was followed by two more ceremonial weddings.
Prince and Princess Andrew had five children in all. Their first four children were girls - Theodore, Margarita, Cecile and Sophie and all of them were later married to the great German royal houses. The couple almost gave up their dreams of having a heir but six years after giving birth to their last daughter, the couple had a son, who was named Philip. He would later marry Queen Elizabeth II of England.
As it is a norm with royal princesses, Alice didn’t have much of a say in the matters of the court, and hence, she was resorted to doing charities and following religious practices ardently. In 1908, while attending a royal wedding in Russia, Alice was furthermore drawn towards the religion and got the idea of founding a religious order for the nuns. When they returned to Greece, Prince Andrew found out that Greek politics was becoming unstable and that their safety was in danger and the prince, as a result, had to resign from his military positions.
When the Balkan crisis raised its head in 1912, the Prince was reinstated and Alice spent most of her time nursing the wounded. She forgot she was a royalty and dedicated herself to the service of the people, when the crisis was at its very peak.
When the First World War broke out in 1914, the King of Greece, who was an advocate of peace and refused to participate in the war, was being heavily criticized, as the politicians wanted to aid their allies in the war.
The war caused a great deal of horror and tragedy for her family back in Germany, as they all lost their privileges and royal positions once the war was over and worse, most of them got murdered in the year 1917, towards the end of the war. Her father and two brothers, who had taken asylum in the UK, were asked to resign from all their royal titles.
In 1920, King Constantine of Greece was reinstated for some time and it seemed that peace had returned to Greece, but not for long. Prince Andrew and Princess, along with their children were scared for their lives and it got more serious when Constantine went into exile. With the aid of the British, they fled from Greece.
By the late 20s Alice had became severely ill and started hallucinating, which was said to be a side effect of suffering from schizophrenia. Sigmund Freud, upon proper examination, landed on the conclusion that she was in fact suffering from sexual frustration as she was unable to get enough of pleasure from it. This didn’t set well with Prince Andrew and the couple became estranged, and stopped talking to each other.
In 1930, Alice was sent to an asylum for two years for cure. A massive blow came to her in 1936, when her daughter Cecile, along with her husband and two children died in a plane crash.
Alice was devastated and she saw her husband for the first time in many years, at the funeral. A few more years later, when the Second World War finally started boiling up, she was further more disturbed as her family had divided into two opposing sides. Her son Philip was fighting for the British as a part of their military, while, her daughters’ husbands, were on the German side. During the war, she stayed in Greece and catered to the soldiers and civilians who suffered from the atrocities of the war. She used to smuggle medical supplies, getting her life in danger, but doing the ‘real’ charity work was what she intended to do at any cost.
She also hid many Jews during the holocaust when the Nazi Germany was annihilating several thousands of them. The Germans had occupied Italy and Athens and several Jews from Greece were sent to the concentration camps. It was a horrific time and Alice did her best to save as many lives as she could.
All the years of separation from her husband was coming to an end, and when a possible happy reunion was in sight, her husband died of a heart attack in 1944. Elizabeth, the daughter of King George VI, was betrothed to Princess Alice’s son Philip and she attended the royal wedding in 1947.
Alice was getting old and returned to Greece and established an order of nuns. A political turmoil rose again and Alice was sent into exile in 1967; her son Philip and his wife arranged for her stay in the Buckingham palace, where she lived until her death.
Death & Legacy
Princess Alice died on December 5, 1969, with a senile mind and a frail body. At the time of her death, she had nothing on her as she had given everything away to the ones in need. Her remains were kept in the Windsor castle following her death, but her son fulfilled her last wish to be buried in Jerusalem.
For her services towards the Jews during the Jew Massacre, Princess Alice was named ‘Hero of the Holocaust’ by the British government. Israel also honoured her as ‘Righteous among the Nations’ in 1994.
She dedicated a large part of her life in the service of the poor and will always be remembered as a kind woman, who gave away everything she had to the ones in need.

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