That Edward VII was unfaithful to his long-suffering wife, Alexandra of Denmark, is undeniable, but despite how poor his reputation is, there is actually a surprising dearth of information on who, when and where. Edward, or Bertie as he is better known (his given name was Albert Edward), maintained a coterie of female companions, but who actually rose to the level of mistress is debatable. Among the most famous of these women is Alice Keppel.
Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, has garnered himself a reputation for propriety. At his worst, he is dull and responsible for some of the dreariness of his wife’s court. At his best, he can take credit for moving his wife away from the worst qualities of the House of Hanover and helping correct the reputation for gambling, womanizing and excess that defined the reigns of George IV and William IV.
A year ago we took a look at the assassination of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra and their five children in 1917, from the months leading up to it to its impact in Britain after George V and Queen Mary failed to offer refuge. Today we’re going to jump back a couple decades and take a look at their marriage, their rule and how Alexandra – born Alix of Hesse – fared (or rather, didn’t) as Tsarina.
The most famous of Empress Frederick’s children is without a doubt Kaiser Wilhelm II. Ironically, this would also be the child with whom she had the worst relationship, for all told she produced eight children, six of whom reached adulthood. A year ago, I posted about her daughter, Sophie, who would end up marrying into the Greek Royal Family and became the Queen of the Hellenes in the lead up to World War I. Over the course of this week, we’re going to take a look at her three other daughters: Charlotte, Victoria and Margaret.
In the middle of World War I, Queen Marie of Romania wrote to her first cousin, King George V of Great Britain: “I never imagined that it would be the lot of our generation, we who are children together, to see this great war and in a way to have to remodel the face of Europe.”
Grandchildren of Queen Victoria alongside the Kaiser of Germany, the Queen of Norway, the Queen of Spain, the Tsarina of Russia, the Queen of Greece, the Crown Princess of Sweden and countless German royals, that is in fact very much with what George and Marie were tasked in the 20th century. For the royal men, they at least had something approaching an education and training to complement such a job, but for Queen Victoria’s granddaughters, born and raised in the height of the Victorian Era, it was by far easier to stumble as they were dropped in the midst of increasingly politicized foreign courts with few tools to leverage.
As for Marie, Bucharest was far from home and her husband a far cry from her first love (George V), but despite a tyrannical father-in-law, an unstable mother-in-law, a series of affairs, illegitimate children, proximity to Russia and a shared heritage with Germany, she established herself as a popular and effective queen consort to the Romanian people.
It’s fitting to acknowledge Maud of Wales this winter as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prepare to visit Oslo for the first two days of February. The Norwegian Royal Family is an interesting one, and while we’ve acknowledged them in passing here on this site, we’ll follow up with a more in-depth look later this month in preparation of the tour. In the meantime, it’s worth taking a look at the familial ties between Norway and Britain thanks to the marriage of Edward VII’s youngest daughter.
The brief relationship between Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Mary of Teck is a nice little tale of what could have been, except that how events unfolded was better for all. Albert Victor was the eldest son of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and, as such, second-in-line to the throne on which his grandmother, Queen Victoria, sat. Born two months prematurely on January 8, 1864, he grew into a young man of questionable virtue and value, a fact which opened the opportunity for a penniless young woman with fading ties to the British monarchy to find herself primed to become the UK’s next queen consort.
Queen Victoria is rightfully known as the “Grandmother of Europe” thanks to how many of her descendants found themselves on European thrones by the dawn of World War I. The role of her junior male counterpart rightfully belongs to King Christian IX of Denmark. Less well-known than his British peer, four of Christian’s six children would end up crowned heads, while the remaining two played equally as important roles in the makeup of Western Europe as it careened into the 20th century.