Queen Mary’s Jewelry Box

Queen Mary - Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Choker

In honor of Queen Mary’s birthday (born: May 26,1867 died: March 24,1953), in this post I will discuss her personal and extensive jewelry collection.  Queen Mary was the consort of King George V and she was known for wearing several of these dazzling pieces of jewelry all at one time.  She would wear several necklaces, brooche, stomachers, bracelets, rings and of course a crown, she often mixing diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and rubies.  Perhaps this fashion style was excessive and it is possible that she had “inherited” it from her mother-in-law, Queen Alexandra, who was always lavishly jeweled and dressed at the expense of King Edward VII.  (Queen Alexandra was a royal trendsetter influencing fashion and for more information on her, please click on the link to Queen Alexandra – A Fashion Icon)

Queen Mary wore items in her jewelry collection for special occasions such as her wedding, coronation and the Delhi Durbar.  I will also single out a few of these noteworthy items such as the Love Trophy Collar, the Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Necklace, the Karputhala Stomacher and finally the Fringe Tiara owned by Queen Mary.

So, let’s open up Queen Mary’s jewelry box …       

Princess May of Teck (later to become Queen Mary) married Prince George (later to become King George V) on July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal in St. James Palace in London.  In the photo below she is shown wearing a diamond tiara from Queen Victoria, a diamond rivière necklace which was a gift from her in-laws, Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra.  She also wears diamond earrings and an anchor brooch (which can be seen in the photo of the right) that were both wedding gifts from Prince George.  Her elaborate bridal dress is heavily decorated with garlands of orange blossoms and Prince George wore the full dress naval uniform of a Fleet Captain which seems to be overloaded with medals and special honors.  (For more information about the wedding of Prince George and Princess Mary, click on the click to British Royal Weddings – Part Two.  Also for detailed information about Princess Mary’s bridal dress, please click on the link to British Royal Wedding Dresses – Part One)

 Bride And Groom  Princess Mary - anchor brooch wedding present from Prince George

Upon the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 her son, Prince Edward, ascended to the British throne and his coronation took place on August 9, 1902 at Westminster Abbey in London.  In the photo below Princess Mary is shown dressed for the coronation of her father-in-law, now known as King Edward II.  She is wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara, the Ladies of England tiara (converted into a necklace), a pearl and diamond choker, pearl and diamond earrings, a long sautoir and a few bracelets while on the gown’s bodice she wore a pearl and diamond stomacher, the Kensington bow brooch and the Women of Hampshire brooch.  (For more detailed information on the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara and the Kensington bow brooch, please click on the link to the Queen’s Jewelry collection – Part One)

Princess Mary - coronation of King Edward II

After the death of his father, King Edward II, in May 1910 Prince George ascended to the throne and his coronation took place on June 22, 1911 at Westminster Abbey in London.  As his wife and consort, Princess Mary was also crowned in the solemn ceremony.  Shown below in the photo on the left are King George and Queen Mary dressed in their coronation robes and crowns (King George was the first British monarch to be crowned with the St. Edward’s Crown, for more information click on the link to the Crown Jewels of England – Part One).  Queen Mary’s Crown was specially made for the coronation by Garrard & Co. and featured 2,200 diamonds including the Cullinan III and Cullinan IV.  The crown was constructed so that the eight arches and velvet lining could be removed to be worn as a circlet, as shown in the photo on the right which shows Queen Mary many years later in 1937 at the coronation of her son, King George VI. 

King George and Queen Mary - coronation  Queen Mary - coronation crown worn as circlet

Upon King George V accession to the British throne, preparations were immediately begun for his coronation at Westminster Abbey in London and because he was also the Emperor of India a special celebration known as the Delhi Durbar was planned for December 1911.  Historical Note: Previous Imperial Durbar had taken place in 1877 and 1903 but Queen Victoria and King Edward did not attend those celebrations and sent a royal representative instead.  King George V was the only British sovereign to be present at the Imperial Durbar that crowned him as Emperor of India. 

Delhi Durbar 1

The Delhi Durbar was held from December 12, 1911 at the Coronation Park.  Indian princes and other nobleman and other landed gentry from India attended the celebration.  King George V and Queen Mary wearing their Coronation robes were crowned Emperor and Empress of India in an elaborate ceremony.  Historical Note: The British government had determined that the valuable coronation regalia, including the St. Edward Crown which was part of the Crown Jewels, were not allowed to leave England.  A new Imperial Crown of India was specially made for King-Emperor George to wear to the Delhi Durbar. (For more information about the Imperial Crown of India, please click on the link to the Crown Jewels of England – Part Two)

King George V and Queen Mary - Delhi Dubar portrait

As she always did, Queen Mary was known to wear numerous pieces of jewelry at one time and the Delhi Durbar was no exception.  She wore several necklaces, a set of earrings, stomachers, brooches and bracelets.  Listed below are some of these items:

Delhi Durbar Tiara

Since the crown worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 Coronation was now considered part of the Crown Jewels it was not allowed to leave England.  So, a new tiara was specially made by Garrard & Co. for her to wear at the Delhi Durbar and the tall circlet of platinum and gold featured diamond scrolls topped by ten cabochon Cambridge emeralds.  Queen Mary in shown in the photo below wearing the Delhi Durbar Tiara. 

Queen Mary - Delhi Durbar

In keeping with the royal custom of re-styling and re-purposing jewelry, in 1922 the Cambridge emeralds were permanently removed from the Delhi Durbar Tiara to be used in the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara.  Then in 1923, the Delhi Durbar tiara was further altered so that two additional stones could be temporarily added to the Delhi Durbar Tiara, the stones were cut from the famous Cullinan diamond acquired by England in 1905.  The Cullinan III, a 94.4 carat pear-shaped diamond, and the Cullinan IV, a square-cut 63.6 carat diamond, could be both placed into settings in the center front of the Delhi Durbar Tiara.  Historical Note: The Delhi Durbar Tiara set with the Cullinan diamonds, as shown in the photo below on the left, was only worn by Queen Mary.  Later the Cullinan III and IV diamonds were removed from the tiara permanently and reset to be worn together as brooch.  In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II inherited them and the stones became known together as “Granny’s Chips”.  Most recently Queen Elizabeth II wore the massive brooch for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, as shown in the photo on the right.

Delhi Durbar Tiara with Cullinans III and IV  Queen Elizabeth wearing the Granny Chips

Over forty years later, Queen Mary lent the Delhi Durbar Tiara to her daughter-in-law (now known as Queen Elizabeth since the death of King George V in January 1936 and the ascension of her husband as King George VI), which she first wore on the 1947 South African Royal Tour.  The Delhi Durbar Tiara remained in the possession of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother until her death in 2002 when it was returned to the private collection of Queen Elizabeth II.

Delhi Durbar Tiara

Delhi Durbar Necklace

The Delhi Durbar Necklace worn by Queen Mary in 1911 was made by Garrard & Co. at the request of King George V and presented to Queen Mary on the occasion of her 44th birthday, it was intended for her to wear the necklace at the Delhi Durbar.  The necklace is set in platinum and gold with nine cabochon Cambridge emeralds, six large diamonds, 94 smaller diamonds and the Cullinan VII diamond which is an 8.8 carat marquise-shaped diamond.  The Cullinan VII is suspended from a detachable platinum chain decorated with ten graduated sized diamonds.  A second detachable platinum chain is also attached to the necklace to counterbalance the first chain and features 12 pavé-set diamonds.  Queen Mary is shown in the photo below wearing the Delhi Durbar Necklace.  

Delhi Durbar Tiara with emeralds

In keeping with Queen Mary’s custom of re-styling her jewelry, she would sometimes wear the Delhi Durbar Necklace without the asymmetrical pendant chains and on at least one occasion she replaced the Cullinan VII with a lesser stone.  After Queen Mary’s death in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the necklace and she usually wears it for evening events paired with the Vladimir Tiara.

Delhi Durbar Necklace

Delhi Durbar Earrings

The Delhi Durbar Earrings are part of the Delhi Durbar Parure created by Garrard & Co. and worn by Queen Mary in 1911.  The earrings feature oval-shaped cabochon emeralds each surrounded by 11 diamonds which are set in platinum and gold.  One emerald is from the famous Cambridge collection and the other was acquired by Garrard to match. In 1953, the Delhi Durbar Earrings were inherited by Queen Elizabeth II after the death of Queen Mary. 

Delhi Durbar Necklace - blue background

Typical of Queen Mary fashion style, she wore several pieces of jewelry at one time and shown in the photo below is the Delhi Durbar Stomacher with several additional brooches and pendants attached to create one massive piece of jewelry that Queen Mary wore on the bodice of her dress for the Delhi Durbar in 1911.

Delhi Durbar Stomacher wore with several brooches

Arranged from the top to the bottom are:

Delhi Carved Emerald Brooch – given to Queen Mary by the ladies of India to wear at the Delhi Durbar.  This brooch is set in platinum and gold and features a large hexagon shaped emerald is intricately carved with the images a rose on the front and an unidentified plant on the back and it is surrounded by several diamonds.  In 1953, the Delhi Carved Emerald Brooch was passed to Queen Elizabeth and she only wears in occasionally due to its heavy weight.

Delhi Carved Emerald BroochDelhi Durbar Stomacher – made by Garrard & Co. especially for Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar.  It is set in gold featuring several Cambridge emeralds and smaller diamonds, including some cut from the original massive Cullinan diamond originally acquired by England in 1905.

Cullinan V Heart Brooch – features the 18.8 carat heart-shaped Cullinan V diamond in a beautiful platinum setting with a pave border of smaller diamonds.

Cullinan V Heart Brooch - blue backgroundScroll Cambridge Emerald Brooch – features a square-shaped emerald set in a scrolled diamond setting and a removable emerald pendant.  Special Note:  The removable emerald pendant was worn separately at the Delhi Durbar and can be seen in the first photo as the final piece.
Scroll Cambridge Emerald Brooch - blue background

The next piece of jewelry associated with Queen Mary is the …

Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Necklace

The Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Necklace was inherited by Queen Mary from her mother, Princess Mary Adelaide.  (She was the Duchess of Teck, hence the name of the necklace!)  Queen Mary wore a longer version which had 46 large diamonds and it became one of her most frequently worn necklaces.   Upon the death of Queen Mary, the Duchess of Teck Diamond Collet Necklace went to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother who wore the necklace at the 1953 coronation of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.  Upon the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the necklace and is today part of her personal jewelry collection.  

In the photo on the left, Queen Mary is shown wearing the longer version of the Duchess of Teck Collet Necklace and in the photo on the right Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother is shown wearing the shorter version. 

Duchess of Teck diamond collet - Queen Mary and the Queen Mother

Love Trophy Collar Necklace

Before discussing the Love Trophy Collar Necklace worn by Queen Mary, let’s take a look back and see how this trend of collar necklaces started.  Back in the Victorian era, Princess Alexandra (the future Queen Alexandra and mother-in-law of Princess Mary, the future Queen Mary) was also very creative in adapting her style of clothing to mask several physical impediments.  She had a scar on her neck and she took to wearing day dresses with high collars and in the evening she wore multiple layers of pearls or diamond necklaces that would cover her neck, these were known as collier de chein meaning collar necklace.  This style of jewelry became very popular with society ladies and a fashion trend was soon started.

So, as a young woman of the Victorian era and later the Edwardian era, Princess Mary followed the fashion trend and often wore collar necklaces.  The Love Trophy Collar Necklace was made by Garrard & Co. in 1901 from diamonds of previous pieces of jewelry owned by Princess Mary’s grandmother and aunt.  The diamonds are arranged vertically with panels linking them together, the center panel features a “love trophy” symbol (hence the name of the necklace) which has a design of a Cupid’s bow with a quiver of arrows surrounded by a laurel wreath.  Queen Mary is shown in the photo the left wearing the Love Trophy Collar Necklace and the photo on the right shows the details of the necklace.  

Queen Mary - Love Trohpy Chocker 1  Queen Mary - Love Trohpy Chocker 2

Soon after the Love Trophy Collar Necklace was made, the fashion of wearing collar necklaces soon fell out of fashion and Queen Mary passed the necklace to her daughter-in-law, Princess Elizabeth (the Duchess of York and later Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) who rarely wore the necklace.  Upon her death in 2002, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the necklace and she has never worn it in public.  

Karputhala Stomacher

The Karputhala Stomacher was given to Princess Mary by the Maharajah of Karputhala as a wedding present in 1893.  As previously mentioned, jewelry was often re-designed to extended the use of a piece.  Shown in the photo below on the left is Queen Mary wearing the Karputhala Stomacher and the photo on the right shows the details of the three sections (which could be detached and worn as separate brooches) made of diamonds set in gold and white gold.  Eventually the redesigned Karputhala stomacher was given by Queen Mary to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) as a wedding present in 1947.

Karputhala Stomacher

Queen Mary Fringe Tiara

The Queen Mary Fringe Tiara was made by Garrard & Co. in 1919 from the diamonds of a necklace previously given to her as a wedding present from Queen Victoria.  The tiara had 47 bars of diamonds with smaller diamond spikes.  In 1936, Queen Mary gave the tiara to her daughter-in-law Princess Elizabeth the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother). 

Queen Mary - Fringe Tiara

Then, in 1947 the Fringe Tiara was loaned to her daughter Princess Elizabeth for her wedding to Prince Phillip.  On the wedding day the tiara broke but was quickly repaired by the court jeweler.   In the photo below of Princess Elizabeth, the tiara can be seen looking a little off-center.

Queen Mary Fringe Tiara 2

The Queen Mother also lent the tiara to her granddaughter, Princess Anne, to wear on her wedding day in 1973.  The Queen Mother wore the tiara frequently over the years and when she died in 2002 the tiara was inherited by Queen Elizabeth II who also wears it often.

Queen Mary Fringe Tiara

In past posts, I’ve discussed in detail the Crown Jewels of England, the Personal Jewelry Collection of Queen Elizabeth II and the Cambridge Emeralds.  Other posts regarding famous pieces of jewelry included the Russian Imperial Jewels and the Jewelry Collection of Elizabeth Taylor. (For more information on any of these posts just click on the links)  

   

 

The Adventures of Robin Hood

Adventures of Robin Hood DVD coverI remember as a young girl watching “The Adventures of Robin Hood” on television, the 1938 version with Errol Flynn.  At the time, it was maybe 25 years since the film had originally been shown in theaters.  The movie had everything – a swashbuckling hero, a beautiful heroine and a sinister villain.  It was a drama, it had action and adventure, moments of light-hearted comedy, and it was a love story all set in merry old England (supposedly back in the year 1191).  In this post I will begin by discussing the film and the actors involved in this classic movie and I will end with a brief history of the legend of Robin Hood and some of the historic places that still exist in England.

“The Adventures of Robin Hood”

 “The Adventures of Robin Hood” premiered on May 14, 1938. The movie directed by Michael Curtiz was filmed between September 1937 and January 1938 with the interior scenes shot on several different Warner Bros. Studio soundstages in Burbank, CA.  The exterior scenes shot were filmed at the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, the archery tournament was filmed at Arroyo Park in Pasadena, Bidwell Park in Chico was used for many of the Sherwood Forest scenes with additional scenes shot at Lake Sherwood.  (Interesting Note:  Lake Sherwood, now an upscale community located in Ventura County, was named for its association with two Robin Hood films.  The first movie was the 1922 silent film starring Douglas Fairbanks which used the location for the Sherwood Forest scenes.  Sixteen years later, the 1938 “Adventures of Robin Hood” also filmed there)

It was the first Warner Bros. Studio movie to be filmed in Technicolor, the estimated cost of the production was $2 million.  The Technicolor film process was a relatively new production technique for the movie industry and it could be rather costly because it used special slow speed cameras which required the soundstage to be set with bright lighting for filming.  Whether the scenes involve Robin Hood scaling the castle walls or riding on horseback through Sherwood Forest, the Technicolor color saturation adds an intense sense of reality that probably could not have been achieved if the movie had been filmed in black and white.

Adventures of Robin Hood filming 1

Adventures of Robin Hood filming 2  MBDADOF EC080

Adventures of Robin Hood movie scenes 1

The cast of the movie was absolute perfection with Errol Flynn playing the dashing hero of Sir Robin of Locksley, also known as Robin Hood.  Flynn had previously made his first film, the 1935 “Captain Blood”, for Warner Bros. and it had turned out to be a very profitable movie for the studio so they were willing to commit to the expensive Technicolor production of the “Adventures of Robin Hood” with Flynn as the lead character because they knew it would be a successful film.  (Interesting Note: The role of Robin Hood had originally been intended for James Cagney but he had left Warner Bros. over a contract dispute and the film was postponed for three years at which time Flynn took over the role)

Errol Flynn as Robin Hood

The elegant Olivia de Havilland played Lady Marian Fitzwalter, known as Maid Marian in the movie.  This was just a year before she played perhaps her most famous film role as Melanie in “Gone with the Wind”.  Flynn and de Havilland had co-starred in two other films; they would eventually make eight films together.  It has been speculated that they were romantically involved but years later de Havilland denied the allegations.

Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian

Basil Rathbone played the sinister Sir Guy of Gisborne and Claude Rains played the villainous Prince John, the brother of Richard the Lionheart.  Alan Hale, Sr. played “Little John”; he had previously played the same role in the 1922 silent film version of “Robin Hood” co-starring with Douglas Fairbanks.  (Interesting Note: Hale, Sr. is probably best known to my generation as the father of Alan Hale, Jr. who played the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island)

Basil Rathbone as Sir Guy  Alan Hale, Sr. as Little John

After casting the actors in the major roles, the next step in the film production was designing and creating the elaborate medieval period costumes.  Special attention was paid to the selection of color for the fabrics since this was a Technicolor film.  The contrast of Robin Hood’s earthy green costume with Sir Grisbourne and the other noblemen’s rich colored costumes served to visually illustrate the difference between the rich and the poor.  In one key scene, Robin is giving a speech to his Merry Men and as he moves slightly the deep red lining of his cape is revealed adding a sense of drama that he is really Sir Locksley of noble birth.  For the majority of the film we see Robin in the same costume while Olivia De Havilland, as Maid Marian, had nine costumes and Basil Rathbone, as Sir Grisbourne, had seven.

Errol Flynn as Robin Hood 1

The Archery Tournament scenes were filmed at Arroyo Park in Pasadena and the action was coordinated by Howard Hill, a professional archer.  The stuntman that would be receiving a direct hit from an arrow during the scene wore a metal chest plate covered with a piece of balsa wood.  Hill also worked with the sound department to create the distinctive arrow sound using a specially made bow and a thicker arrow.  In perhaps one of the most famous scenes in the movie, when Robin Hood splits the arrow of an opponent to win the tournament, it has been speculated that a pre-cut arrow was fired from the bow then traveled the distance along a wire to accurately hit the target.  (Interesting Note:  At the time it was filmed back in the late 1930s, the movie had employed for the archery tournament scenes the largest number of stuntman used in a single production)

The intricate sword fight scenes were extensively choreographed with exaggerated movements to increase the dramatic effect.  Flynn and Rathbone had previously co-starred in “Captain Blood” and were familiar with the sword techniques used for filming; Rathbone was actually better skilled with the sword while Flynn disliked practicing.  The type of swordplay in the movie was actually used modified fencing techniques with stylized lunges and parries (fencing bladework maneuvers intended to deflect or block an opponent’s attack) while in real life medieval swordplay had used boarder swords and more “hacking” motions.  The final duel of the movie between Robin and Grisbourne is considered by many film historians to be the one of the most exciting swordfights ever filmed. 

Adventures of Robin Hood movie scenes 3

The Legend of Robin Hood

Robin Hood is a character in a popular English folk legend.  The earliest known reference to him was in a 15th century ballad, “Robin Hood and the Monk” which has now been written down and preserved at the Cambridge University.  A collection of stories about the famous outlaw, “A Gest of Robyn Hode”, was written circa 1500 followed by “Robin Hood and the Potter” written in 1503.

Historians say that Robin Hood was possibly an alias for a nobleman by the name of Sir Robert Fitzooth, later becoming the Earl of Huntingdon, who was born around 1160 in the Nottinghamshire village of Locksley; he died in 1247 at the approximate age of 87 years old.  Sir Robert was an ardent supporter of King Richard the Lionheart.  While the King was away at the Third Crusade, the Sheriff of Nottingham and his henchman Sir Guy Grisbourne took advantage of the situation by enforcing the collection of exorbitant taxes.  Seeing these increasingly unfair conditions brought onto the lower class, Robin was determined to help by stealing the money back from the Sheriff and returning it to the poor.  Originally acting alone Robin used his skills as an excellent archer and swordsman.  Eventually he gained the support of a group of men, which included Little John, Will Scarlet and Friar Tuck.  Subsequent stories romantically linked Robin Hood to Lady Marian Fitzwalter, possibly the daughter of an English nobleman.    The earliest reference to Maid Marian was in a story first printed in 1490, “A Lytell Geste of Robin Hood”.

In 1883 “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire”, written and illustrated by Howard Pyle, adapted the stories of the legend into a collection of children stories.  In this popular book, each chapter tells a different story about the famous legend, such as when Robin Hood first meets Little John in Sherwood Forest and they battle with staffs.  In another story, Robin meets the pious but inebriated Friar Tuck who ends up carrying Robin on his back while crossing a river.  The book ends when King Richard returns to England, frees the imprisoned Robin and his men and officially pardons them.

Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle  Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Little John  Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Friar Tuck

The stories of Robin Hood proved to remain popular with the public and eventually they were made into movies.  Some of these films include the 1922 silent movie, “Robin Hood” starring the dashing Douglas Fairbanks, followed by the 1938 “The Adventures of Robin Hood” movie starring Errol Flynn in the title role, then the 1976 “Robin and Marian” film starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn which is based on a French version of the legend depicting the couple in their later years, another film was the 1973 Disney animated film “Robin Hood”, then the 1991 “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” starring Kevin Costner which starts the story while Robin is overseas fighting in the Crusades and the 1993 comedy spoof “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” starring Cary Elwes and directed by Mel Brooks.

Robin Hood Douglas Fairbanks  Adventures of Robin Hood movie poster
 

Robin and Marian  Robin Hood Prince of Thieives  Robin Hood Men In TIghts

Listed below are some of the real life locations in England that have been mentioned in the stories about the legend of Robin Hood:

    • Nottinghamshire – This area of England, located138 miles north of London, is a major British tourist destination probably due to its historical link with the legend of Robin Hood.  Places to visit are the City of Nottingham and Sherwood Forest.  Nottingham is a charming city and tourists can explore the remains of Nottingham Castle and also visit several abbeys and churches located nearby as well as the Village of Edwinstowe which is the site of Thoresby Hall.  Once part of the Kingdom of Mercia in Anglo-Saxon times, the region was once known in the ancient British Celtic language as “Tigguo Cobauc” or the Place of Caves.  (Interesting Note: In 2010, the University of Nottingham began an extensive project to map out the 450 sandstone caves in the area.  Were these caves possibly used by Robin Hood and his band of outlaws to hide from the Sheriff of Nottingham?)
    • Nottingham Castle – Nottingham Castle was built in the Middle Ages on a natural promontory, known as “Castle Rock”, with 130 feet high cliffs.  The royal fortress was possibly used as a royal residence by King Richard the Lionheart; in 1649 the massive structure was partially demolished.  Today, tourist can visit Nottingham Castle which has a small museum and also tour the surrounding grounds.

Nottingham Castle etching Nottingham Castle Cave

  • Sherwood Forest – Perhaps one of the most iconic locations associated with the legend of Robin Hood is Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, England.  This famous royal hunting woodland forest of ancient oaks and birch trees covering 1,045 acres is where the outlaw Robin Hood and his group of “merry men” possibly lived. Today, the Sherwood Forest Visitor Center is a great place to start a tour and other points of interest in Sherwood Forest include the famous Major Oak.
  • The Major Oak – The Major Oak is located in Sherwood Forest and according to the local folklore was Robin Hood’s hideout.  (This theory is not substantiated since the tree dates between 800 and 1,000 years old and the idea is possibly connected with the Victorian era when legend and stories were changed to create a more romanticized version)  Regardless, the Major Oak is still noteworthy due to its massive size and it is circumference is approximately 33 feet and weighs an estimated 23 tons.

Sherwood Forest

  • Loxley – Loxley is a small village located 3 miles northwest of Sheffield in Yorkshire.  According to the legend, Loxley is the birthplace of Robert Locksley, who would later become the outlaw Robin Hood.  Yorkshire also had a very large forest, Loxley Chase, which in the 12th century extended so far as to border Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.  This geographic location makes it highly probable that Robin Hood and his “merry men” roamed the area when “stealing from the rich to give to the poor”!

The Original Star Wars Trilogy

May the Fourth be with You

“May The Fourth Be With You” is considered by fans to be the unofficial Star Wars Day.  The date was chosen because off the word play on the famous phrase from the Star Wars series … “may the Force be with you”.  The Force is an energy field that connects all living things and can be used to bring change to the spirit of the Galaxy.  The phrase was used in the context of the films to wish people goodwill in parting or before going into battle.

The Star Wars movie series was created by George Lucas and the first film, “Star Wars” was released on May 25, 1977.  It was followed “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980 and then “Return of the Jedi” in 1983.  These three highly successful films are considered the original Star Wars trilogy which when combined earned over $4 billion.  Then, after a span of 16 years, “Phantom Menace” was released in 1999, followed by “Attack of the Clones” in 2002 and “Revenge of the Sith” in 2005.  These three films in the franchise are considered the prequel trilogy which never seemed to reach the same commercial success as the original films.  Last year the highly anticipated “The Force Awakens” was released and it continues the Star Wars story, is the first of three movies that will follow the characters into the years after “Return of the Jedi” (I guess you could say it is the “post” trilogy!)

In this post I will mainly discuss the original trilogy of the epic Star Wars series.  So let’s get started … “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”.

The History of the Star Wars Movie Series

After George Lucas mild success with the 1973 film “American Graffiti” he decided that Lucasfilm’s next film would be a science fiction adventure story.  He began writing a rough draft inspired by a relatively obscure 1958 film called “The Hidden Fortress” by Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (Lucas had recently graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1967 and possibly saw the film as part of his Fine Arts courses).  Between 1973 and 1976, several versions of the proposed science fiction film were written and various elements of the original story were changed, added or deleted.  The name of the main character’s changed from Annikin Starkiller to Luke Starkiller to finally Luke Skywalker.  As a result of the name change, the working title of the film also changed from the “Adventures of Luke Skykiller” to “The Star Wars” and then shortened to simply “Star Wars”.  (Interesting Note: After the financial success of the first film, Lucas was able to create an independent film production company which would be separate from the typical Hollywood studio system.  This would allow him complete control over his future films and he would eventually build a large complex for Lucasfilm in Marin County which he named Skywalker Ranch)

By 1976, Lucas had a final draft for the movie completed involving not only Luke but a an entire cast of characters including Princess Leia as a member of the Rebel Alliance, two robotic droids named C3PO and R2D2, Obi-Wan Kenobi a former Jedi Knight, Han Solo and Chewbacca as the renegade crew of the Millennium Falcon and the mysterious and sinister character of Darth Vader who is a member of the opposing Galactic Empire.  (Interesting Note:  Many months prior to the release of the original Star Wars movie, a book titled “Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker” was published in November 1976 by Ballantine Books.  Alan Dean Foster was hired to write the book based on Lucas’ screenplay, although Lucas is credited as the author.  It is unclear as to whether the book was part of Lucas’ plan for marketing his upcoming movie but the initial print run sold 125,000 copies.  The photo shown below is my personal copy of the book that I happened to have stumbled upon a few years ago in an antique store, needless to say, I quickly purchased the book for under $10)

Star Wars book

The first Star Wars movie (later re-titled “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”) cast consisted of relatively unknown actors in the three principal parts.  Mark Hamill played Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher was Princess Leia and Harrison Ford was Han Solo.  Ford had previously played a minor role in Lucas’ other film, American Graffiti.  Alec Guinness played ObiWan, Guinness was an established British stage and film actor who was hired to please the studio because they were concerned about the cast of unknown actors.  David Prowse played the role of Darth Vader but James Earl Jones gave the character its voice.  Peter Mayhew played the 200 year old Wookie named Chewbacca, Han Solo’s first mate on the Millennium Falcon.  Anthony Daniels played C3PO the protocol droid that is programmed to speak over six million languages.  Kenny Baker played R2D2 the droid that Princess Leia entrusts with the Death Star plans and also a special message for Obi-Wan.

Luke, Leia and Hans Solo  Darth Vader

C3PO and R2D2

The next phase of pre-production was scouting the locations for filming, creating the sets, models and background paintings as well as deciding on the final costumes for the various characters.  Lucas had a very distinct vision for the film and he worked closely with the designers at Elstree Studios in England styling the 30 different sets required for the film and selecting the props using a very small budget.  For the complicated visual effects, Lucas formed Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) which worked in a large warehouse in Van Nuys, CA.  The effects needed to give the illusion of spaceships traveling through the galaxy that were developed using digital motion control photography created by John Dykstra and his team.  (Interesting Note:  Despite the fact that Dykstra won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for his work on the first Star Wars film, Lucas had fired him from ILM over creative differences)

The filming schedule was set to have three separate units filming simultaneously at various locations.  Principal photography began in March 1976 in the Tunisian desert in North Africa was used for the scenes of Tatooine, Death Valley National Park was also used for some Tatooine scenes.  Tikal National Park in Guatemala was used for the scenes of the Fourth Moon of Yavin Rebel base.  Elstree Studios is where the Millennium Falcon, Death Star and several other interior scenes were filmed while at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England the final awards ceremony scene in the film was shot on the large Stage H.

A New Hope - original cast

The final phase was post-production in which the visual effects involving the space sequences were being completed by ILM and sound effects were added by Ben Burtt, who won an Oscar for Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing.  The famous lightsaber battle scenes were choreographed by Bob Anderson and the lightsaber effects as well as R2D2 were created by John Stears, who won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.  (Interesting Note: The lightsaber was the sword-like weapon used by the Jedi Knights and the Sith.  The lightsabers had specific colors, such as the green lightsaber was used by Luke Skywalker and other Jedi Knights.  The red lightsaber was used by Darth Vader and other members of the Sith.  The blue lightsaber was used by Obi-Wan and the other Jedi Guardians or by Jedi Knights with higher powers)

When Lucas was in need of a composer for the first Star Wars film, Stephen Spielberg recommended John Williams who he had previously worked with him on his 1975 movie “Jaws”.  The Star Wars soundtrack was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, with Williams conducting, at the Anvil Studios in Denham England recorded in March 1977. The memorable Star Wars film score known as “Luke’s Theme” won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and the soundtrack album won the Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.  (John Williams would eventually compose all the music for the Star Wars movie series)

Finally, Star Wars written and directed by George Lucas was released on May 25, 1977 into fewer than 40 theaters nationwide and Lucas was so convinced that the movie would fail that he planned a trip to Hawaii to distract him on opening weekend.  While in Hawaii, Lucas watched the evening news reporting on the large crowds queuing up at the movie theaters to see the movie but it wasn’t until it was finally confirmed that Star Wars had overwhelming broke box office records that Lucas realized his “little science fiction film” was not only a huge hit but it had just made him a very wealthy man!  (Interesting Fact: After visiting the set of his friend and fellow director Spielberg’s “Close Encounter of the Third Kind”, Lucas had serious doubts about the success of his own film and felt that Close Encounters would be more successful than Star Wars.  Spielberg disagreed and he felt Star Wars would be the bigger hit.  To settle the disagreement, Lucas proposed that each would trade 2.5% of the profit of each other films.  Well, the bet turned out to be very profitable for Spielberg who still receives his share of the profits from Star Wars)

Star Wars poster of original film

To celebrate the enormous success of Star Wars, the film had an unprecedented second opening at the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on August 3, 1977 in Los Angeles, CA.  During the festivities attended by thousands of people there was a special ceremony in which C3PO, R2D2 and Darth Vader placed their “footprints” in front of the theater, an honor usually received for established Hollywood movie actors.

Star Wars premiere 1977

The second film of the original trilogy was “The Empire Strikes Back” which was released on May 21, 1980.  The film was directed by Irvin Kershner, screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan from a story by George Lucas.  Lucas was the executive producer, overseeing all aspects of the production.  The film continues the story of Star Wars as the Rebel Alliance has relocated to the ice planet of Hoth to escape the Galactic Empire.  Luke soon leaves to train with the Jedi Master named Yoda (Frank Oz was the puppeteer and voice of Yoda, the puppet was created by Stuart Freeborn while Warwick Davis appeared in costume for the walking scene) Meanwhile, an old friend of Han’s named Lando Calrissian (played by Bill Dee William) unfortunately turns Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C3PO over to Darth Vader and Han is frozen in a block of carbonite.  Before this happens, Leia confesses her love for Han and he famously responds, “I know”.  Back on Dagobah, sensing that his friends are in serious danger Luke is faced with the decision to complete his training to become a full Jedi Knight or to save his friends.  Luke leaves Yoda to confront Vader who tries to persuade him to join the Empire and the dark side.  During their lightsaber battle Vader severs Luke’s right hand and in the end Vader confesses that he is Luke’s father.  (Interesting Note: This major plot twist’s backstory was that Vader, previously known as Anakin Skywalker, was a former Jedi student of Obi-Wan Kenobi that been turned to the dark side.  In an attempt to protect Luke, Obi-Wan had sent him to Tatooine and that is where we find him at the beginning of Star Wars living with Aunt and Uncle)

Empire Strikes Back poster

The third film of the original trilogy was “Return of the Jedi” which was released on May 25, 1983.  The film was directed by Richard Marquand, screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas.  The film opens with the Galactic Empire constructing a second Death Star in the orbit above the planet of Endor; the first Death Star was destroyed in the Battle of Yavin by Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film.  Seeing an opportunity, the Rebel Alliance plans an attack on the incomplete space station and to also eleminate Emperor Palpatine (played by Ian McDiarmid) who is onboard overseeing the final stages of the Death Star II construction.  On Endor the Rebels are hoping to deactivate the protective shield of the Death Star as part of their attack plan.  Meanwhile, Luke is coming to grips with the fact that Darth Vader (a former Jedi Knight named Anakin Skywalker) is his father and he struggles with this knowledge that Anakin had turned to the dark side.  In the Battle of Endor, the Rebels are victorious in destroying the Death Star and killing the Emperor.  Darth Vader also dies but before he does he tells Luke that Leia is his daughter.  Saddened by the death of Vader, Luke returns to Endor to tell Leia that she is his sister.  In the end, Leia tells Han that she loves Luke because he is her brother, this news shocks him but it also makes him very happy because has come to the realization that he has fallen in love with Leia.  (Interesting Note: After “Empire Strikes Back” completed filming in 1980, it was uncertain as to whether Harrison Ford would return in his role as Han Solo since he had only signed a contract for the first two Star Wars films.  To add to the situation, Ford had become a huge star as “Indiana Jones”.  This was the reason that Han was enclosed in the block of carbonite because the character could potentially be killed off to explain Ford’s absence.  Lucas was against this idea and Ford renegotiated his contract for the last movie in the original trilogy)

Return of the Jedi poster

As the “Return of the Jedi” moved toward completion, Lucasfilm had developed the THX sound system.  Lucas had been unhappy with the sound quality of the movie theaters that showed his films and felt that a better sound system was needed.  THX is a high-fidelity audio/visual sound system that would be compatible with any sound recording format whether digital or analog.  Movie theaters needed to undergo a certification process requiring specific acoustic, technical and architectural standards to be able to use THX.  When “Return of the Jedi” was in May 1983 it was the first film to use the THX sound system.  (Interesting Note:  The first theater install the THX system was the Norris Cinema Theatre located on the campus of the University of Southern California which was where Lucas graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1967)

On a personal level, the making the original Star Wars trilogy effected not only Lucas health but also the state of his marriage.  Lucas had worked through an extensive and exhausting schedule making of the three films which lead him to be diagnosed with hypertension and he was warned to reduce his stress levels.  His demanding schedule also affected his marriage and by 1983 his wife had filed for a divorce.  The final divorce settlement also affected his financial situation and he lost a large portion of the fortune he had earned.  The ideas he had for the prequel trilogy were put on hold and he took a break from Star Wars, instead he worked with Spielberg as executive producer and story writer for the Indiana Jones film series.

In preparations for the 20th anniversary of the original Star Wars film in 1997 Lucas decided to re-release the trilogy into theaters.  With the new special effects technologies in filmmaking, in particular computer generated imagery (CGI), Lucas felt he was now able to incorporate the visual effects and additional scenes that he was not able to achieve before in the original trilogy.  With the renewed interest in the Star Wars franchise, Lucas decided to move forward with the prequel trilogy which elaborated on the backstory of Annakin SkyWalker and how he turned to the dark side.  “Phantom Menace” was released on May 19, 1999, “Attack of the Clones” on May 16, 2002 and “Revenge of the Sith” was released on May 19, 2005.

Phantom Menace poster  Attack of the Clones poster  Revenge of the Sith poster

In January 2012, Lucas announced his retirement from producing major motion pictures.  By June 2012, Kathleen Kennedy, was named co-chair of Lucasfilm.  Kennedy had co-founded Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall; she had previously worked with Lucas on the Indiana Jones series.  Then when Lucas sold his company to the Walt Disney Company a few months later Kennedy became the president of Lucasfilm.  At time it was also announced that there would three new Star Wars films.  The sequel trilogy would continue the story of Luke, Leia and Han Solo.  The first film in that trilogy, “The Force Awakens”, was released on December 18, 2015.  (Interesting Note: 20th Century Fox retained the physical distribution rights to the first two Star Wars trilogies, owning permanent rights for the original 1977 film and holding the rights to the other five films until May 2020.  The Walt Disney Studios owns the digital distribution to all of the Star Wars films with the exception of the first original film.

The Force Awakens logo

Queen Victoria’s Daughters

In part one of the series on the children of Queen Victoria’s children I discussed her four sons including Prince Albert Edward (the future King Edward VII).  In part two, I will discuss their five daughters.  The Queen had a very uneasy relationship with her children that ranged from showing them a minimum amount of affection when they were infants, controlling their education through private tutors as they were small children and finally as young adults selecting their future marriage partners aimed at furthering her political plans for England.  Throughout the years, the Queen wrote letters to her children almost constantly not only to inquire about their personal lives and she also to voice her very strong opinions about all aspects of their lives.  Many of the daughters, especially after the death of the Queen’s beloved husband, felt it was their duty to be a daily companion to their mother and often acted as nursemaid or personal secretary.

So, let’s take a look at Queen Victoria’s daughters …

Princess Victoria Adelaiede (future German Empress and Queen of Prussia)
born – November 21, 1840 at Buckingham Palace in London
died – August 5, 1901 at Castle Friedrichshof in Germany

Princess Victoria was the first child and eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert.  She was christened in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace and she is named in honor of both her mother, Queen Victoria and her maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.  For the special occasion of the birth of her first child, the Queen commissioned a special silver baptismal font made by Barnard & Co. decorated with the symbol of the lily to represent purity and new life.  The Queen Victoria also commissioned a lovely christening gown made with Honiton lace and lined in white satin, it has a very long skirt with an elaborate collar and bow.  (Historical Fact: Since 1841 over 60 royal children have worn the gown for their christenings including four Kings, King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.  The original robe was very old and fragile so in 2008, to preserve the historical garment, an exact replica was made by the Queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly.  Most recently the replicated christening gown has been worn by Prince George in 2013 and Princess Charlotte in 2015)

Princess Victoria - christening

Victoria was the heiress presumptive (the person entitled to inherit a throne but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent) until her brother, Prince Albert Edward, was born the next year.  At that time, the Queen gave Victoria the title of HRH the Princess Royal, a grand name for a one year old but the family called her “Vicky”.

Victoria was her father’s favorite child and he felt that her intelligent nature warranted her education by tutors alongside her brother in subjects such as: mathematics, literature, history, science, Latin, French and German.  Unfortunately, Victoria turned out to be the better student than her brother!  This only added to Prince Albert’s pride in his daughter’s accomplishments and the two became very close discussing politics and current events, this situation greatly distressed the Queen and she was extremely jealous of the close relationship between father and daughter.

Since the Queen controlled all aspects of her children’s personal lives, by the time Victoria was 10 years old it was arranged that would met her future husband at the Great Exhibition of 1851.  He was Prince Frederick William of Prussia and he was second in line to inherit the Prussian throne, this alliance was a calculated move in which the Queen hoped to strengthen the political connections between the two countries.  By 1955, Victoria and Frederick were engaged but the public announcement was delayed for a few years because Victoria was only fourteen years old and Frederick was twenty-four.  Finally, after a long wait, their engagement was officially announced in 1857.

Princess Victoria - wedding

Princess Victoria - wedding dressAt the insistence of the Queen, the wedding of Victoria and Frederick took place in England on January 25, 1858 at the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace in London.  In 1861, Frederick’s father became King William I of Prussia, Frederick and Victoria were now the Crown Prince and Crown Princess.  The couple went on to have a very happy marriage based on true love and mutual respect; they had eight children – Wilhelm (the future German Emperor), Charlotte, Henry, Sigmund, Viktoia, Waldemar, Sophia and Margaret.

During the early years of their marriage, Victoria was having a hard time adjusting to life in a foreign country and she was being encouraged through letters sent by the Queen and occasional visits home to England not forget her British heritage.  (Over 3,700 letters from the Queen to Victoria and over 4,000 letters from Victoria to the Queen have been preserved in the British Royal Archives which were secretly smuggled out of Germany after her death to avoid them being destroyed)

Sadly, after the difficult breech birth in 1859 of their first son, Wilhelm, it was soon discovered that he born with severe paralysis of his left arm which greatly upset Victoria.  This would be a foreboding sign that Wilhelm was to cause his mother’s life to be filled with many more difficulties.  In regards to his education and military training, Victoria was determined that he would have lessons by private tutors that would be brought over from England but Otto von Bismarck, the powerful Prussian minister, was equally set on German tutors.  Bismarck would ultimately succeed with his plan and over the following years the young Wilhelm would ultimately become alienated from his own parents and favor the opinions of Bismarck.

Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia

With the death of Frederick’s father in 1888, he became the Emperor Frederick III and Victoria became the Empress of Prussia, their son was now Crown Prince Wilhelm.  Unfortunately, Frederick was already terminally ill with throat cancer at the time of his ascension and died after only 99 days on the throne, his son was now the Emperor.  Guided by Bismarck, one of the first things that Wilhelm did was to immediately banish the widowed Victoria to live at the Castle Friedrichshof located in the hills near Frankfurt.  By this time, Victoria had lost her father in 1861 and following the example of her mother’s intense mourning, after the death of her own husband she dressed in black for the rest of her life.  The widowed Victoria built a satisfying life at Castle Friedrichshof and she continued her civic work in Berlin by establishing a training school for nurses and also as a patron of the arts helping to organize the 1872 Industrial Art Exhibition.

Empress Victoria 1

In 1899, while visiting her mother at Balmoral, Victoria was feeling ill and the British doctors soon determined a diagnose of breast cancer.  Sadly, upon her return to Germany later 1900, the cancer had spread to her spine and she died on August 5, 1901 at Castle Friedrichshof, she is buried in the royal mausoleum at the Friedenskircheat Postdam.

Princess Alice Maud (later Grand Duchess of Hesse)
born – April 25, 1843 at Buckingham Palace in London
died – December 11, 1878 at the New Palace, Darmstadt in Hesse

Princess Alice was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  Her name was chosen by the Queen because it was Lord Melbourne, her first Prime Minister, favorite female name and Maud was also chosen to honor Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester, one of Alice’s godparents.  To accommodate their growing family and to escape London during the summer months, after the birth of Alice Victoria and Albert purchased Osborne House located on Isle of Wight, it soon became a favorite retreat for the Queen and her family.

Like her siblings, Alice was educated with private tutors in English, French and German and other basic subjects.  She was also taught practical skills that would include sewing and knitting, housekeeping, cooking and gardening.  Although Alice was content with her family life she was intrigued by the daily lives of the average people outside the Palace walls.  In fact, during the Crimean War, the eleven year old Alice accompanied the Queen when she went to the London hospitals to visit the wounded soldiers.  Alice grew into a compassionate and sympathetic young adult with an interest in medicine and caring for patients.

Alice’s nursing skills proved to be a comfort to her father when he fell ill with typhoid fever in 1861 and she was constantly at his bedside caring for him until his death.  (Although the initial cause of death was believed to be typhoid fever, recent history indicates that Prince Albert had been ill for at least two years possibly suffering from abdominal cancer)  After her father’s death, the Queen went into an intense period of mourning and for the next few months she relied heavily on Alice to act not only as her own nursemaid attending to her constant care but also her personal secretary dealing with the Queen’s correspondence and daily paperwork.  This was a very difficult time in Alice’s life because not only had she lost a father but she was dealing with the increasing demands of her distraught mother.

Princess Alice

Perhaps out of despair and exhaustion living in an oppressive home of deep mourning Alice went forward with her engagement to Prince Louis of Hesse, this union had been approved by Prince Albert before his death.  Alice and Louis were married on July 1, 1862 in a private ceremony at Osborne House; it was a very solemn occasion which seemed to forewarn the possibility of future trouble within her marriage.  (Historical Note:  As a wedding present to Alice, the Queen gave her a gold, diamond and pearl bracelet with an unusual inscription that read in part “… from your loving parents … who though visibly parted are ever united …”.  A strange message to be be given on the occasion of a wedding, but the Queen was always thinking of her problems!)    Alice and Louis went on to have seven children – Victoria, Elisabeth, Irene, Ernest, Fredrick, Alexandra and Marie.

Princess Alice in her wedding dress

Now living in Darmstadt during the Austro-Prussian War, Alice became more heavily involved with the nursing profession and she developed a great interest in the work of Florence Nightingale (an English social reformer and considered the founder of modern nursing techniques).  It has been said that the Queen (dare I say, a prude!) was deeply concerned about her daughter’s exposure to various aspects of medical care and in particular gynecological matters.  Sadly, Alice’s youngest son had recently been diagnosed hemophilia when he accidentally fell from a window at their home and ultimately died from internal bleeding, it has been said that Alice never recovered from the death of her favorite son.  (Historical Fact:  The hemophilia disease has been traced back to Queen Victoria.  Besides affecting not only her son, Leopold, she unknowingly passed the disease onto future generations through Alice but also through her other daughter Beatrice)

Princess Alice with husband and child

Then in 1877, upon the death of his father, Louis became the Grand Duke of Hesse and Alice was now the Grand Duchess.  Alice, perhaps still distraught over the death of her young son, had become increasingly worried about her own minor personal health issues, her marital problems with her seemingly disinterested husband and the ongoing problems of an extremely difficult relationship with her controlling mother.  Alice was also distressed that despite her involvement with the social and cultural activities she continued to have a difficult time being accepted by the people of Hesse, this was a problem very similar to her older sister Victoria troubles in Prussia.

Princess Alice and her husband

In November 1878, several members of the Grand Duke and Duchess family became ill with diphtheria.  Victoria was the first of the children to be diagnosed followed by Alexandra, Marie, Irene, Ernest and even the Grand Duke became infected with the disease.  Elizabeth was the only child not to be affected by the illness because Alice had the forethought to send her away to stay with mother-in-law.  After Marie died Alice broke a strict rule of no physical contact with the patients and embraced her son, Ernest, to comfort him upon hearing the news about the death of his sister.  As a result Alice became seriously ill with the diphtheria and she died on December 11, 1878; she was the first of Queen Victoria’s children to die.  Alice is buried at the Grand Ducal mausoleum at Rosenhohe near Darmstadt and as a final salute to her English heritage the British flag was draped over her coffin at her funeral.

Princess Helena Augusta (later Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
born – May 25, 1846 at Buckingham Palace in London
died – June 9, 1823 at Schomberg House in London

Princess Helena was the fifth child and third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  Like many of her other siblings, Helena was christened at the private chapel in Buckingham Palace.  She soon became known as Lenchen within her family, a name shortened from the German Helenchen.   

Helena was educated by private tutors arranged by her father and she soon proved her artistic skills when she began drawing, this brought the Queen great pleasure because she was also an accomplished amateur artist.  Also noticed at that time, was Helena’s excellent needlework skills (she went on later in her adult life to promote the art of needlework and in 1872 became the first president of the Royal School of Needlework).

Princess Helene 2

Then, with the death of Prince Albert, her father, the royal household fell into a deep mourning period prompted by the intensely grieving Queen Victoria.  The once happy home with children playing and laughing was drastically changed into a somber house where any type of outward joy or happiness was greatly stifled by the Queen.  Maybe out of rebellion or to bring some excitement in her life, Helena began a mild flirtation with Carl Ruland, the Royal librarian, he also taught German to the Royal children.  Of course when the Queen found out about this fledgling romance she quickly dismissed him and he returned to Germany.  (Nothing every escaped the watchful eyes of Queen Victoria!)

As with all her children, the Queen looked for a prospective marriage partner for Helena.   But unlike her older siblings who married into prominent European Royalty, the Queen stipulated that Helena and her future husband would be required to live in England and remain available to tend to the Queen’s needs whenever she wished.  The Queen’s unusual choice was Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, which was an area in Europe that was at the time being fought over between Prussia and Denmark.  (Historical Note: This caused great friction with the family because the Prince of Wales’ wife was from Denmark and Princess Victoria was married to the Crown Prince of Prussia.  Queen Victoria ruled over not only England, but her decisions regarding her family were ultimately always obeyed)  

Princess HelenaPrincess Helene  in wedding dress

The wedding of Helena and Christian took place on July 5, 1866 in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle and despite the family disagreements everyone attended the ceremony.  The royal couple, abiding by the Queen’s personal request, moved into Frogmore House and later Cumberland Lodge.  They had five children – Christian Victor, Albert, Helena Victoria, Marie and Harald who died in infancy.    

Princess Helene with her husband 2  Princess Helene with children 

During her marriage, Helena continued to work as patron of several charities and she was a founding member of the Red Cross and later served as president of the Royal British Nurses Association.  Helena and Christian were granted an annual allowance, per the request of the Queen, and Christian also held the position of as the Ranger of Windsor Park and the High Steward of Windsor.  Helena was often called upon by the Queen performed personal duties for her as secretary alongside her younger sister, Beatrice.

Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, Helena began to distant herself from her siblings although she continued to support her eldest brother who was now King Edward VII.  She had a distant relationship with her nephew, now King George V.  She was to become the only child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that had lived to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary in 1916, sadly her husband died a year later.  Helena lived another six years and died on June 9, 1923 at Schomberg House in London.  She was initially interred at the Royal Vault in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle but later reburied at the Royal Burial Grounds at Frogmore.

Princess Helene 3

Princess Louise Caroline (later Duchess of Argyll)
born – March 18, 1848 at Buckingham Palace in London
died – December 3, 1939 at Kensington Palace in London

Princess Louise was the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  She was christened in the Private Chapel in Buckingham Palace, her first name of Louise was chosen to honor Prince Albert’s mother.

Louise was brought up traveling with the Queen’s Court from Buckingham Palace to Windsor to Osborne to Balmoral and she enjoyed a relatively happy childhood.  She was educated by tutors alongside her siblings and she proved to be an intelligent student.  She was also trained in the practical skills which she would use later to aid her in managing her future martial household.  Louise developed her artistic skills as an accomplished sculptor and a noted artist creating many beautiful drawings.

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll.Daughter of Queen Victoria (Died Dec 1939)

When her father, Prince Albert, died unexpectedly in 1861 the Queen fell into a deep period of mourning and the Queen secluded herself from public life alternating between staying in Osborne and Balmoral.  Surviving through this prolonged and intensely solemn time, when Louise was nearing her seventeenth birthday in 1865, she requested that a grand ball be held for her celebration but the Queen refused her request.  Then in 1866, when most young ladies were enjoying an active social life, the duty of being the Queen’s personal secretary and nursemaid fell to Louise after her older sisters were married and she actually excelled in the position.  Later, when Louise fell in love with the much older Reverend Robinson Duckworth, much like her sister Helena before her had a dalliance with another tutor; the Queen heard about the romance and quickly put an end to it.   

As the result, the Queen was soon looking for a prospective husband for the seemingly wild Louise with her progressive ideas about feminine liberation; she found one in John Campbell of Lorne and the heir to the Duke of Argyll.  Louise and John were married on March 21, 1871 in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Princess Louise - wedding
Princess Louise in wedding dress 1

Within seven years, John was offered the position as Governor General in Ottawa, Canada.  The Queen was very pleased with this new appointment and hoped that this would continue to improve the political link between England and Canada.  John and Louise soon moved to Canada and took up residence in Rideau Hall which they decorated with Louise’s watercolor and oil paintings and also several of her sculptures.

Despite the difficulties adjusting to life in a new country Louise found joy in skating and sledging during the long winter months.  Unfortunately, in February of 1880, Louise and her husband were involved in a severe sleigh accident.  As a result, Louise suffered from a concussion and when the news ultimately reached the Queen many anxious letters were sent between mother and daughter during the recovery process.

In 1883, Louise and John returned to England and they moved into Kensington Palace in an apartment arranged by the Queen.  While John continued his political career, the couple was having ongoing marital problems and it was rumored that John was a homosexual while Louise was engaging in numerous affairs to compensate for the lack of a sexual relationship with her husband.  The Queen was very insistent that the couple remain married and divorce was not an option (at that time for a member of the royal family.

Princess Louise with her husband

After the death of the Queen in 1901, Louise fully enjoyed the seemingly loose moral of the Edwardian era with an active social life by traveling frequently and sometimes living separate from her husband alternating between their London residence at Kensington Palace with Kent House on the Osborne Estate.  Despite the emotional distance between the couple, Louise returned to take care of John as he became increasingly senile and was devastated with the death of her husband in 1914 from bronchial problem exacerbated by double pneumonia.

Afterwards, Louise spent her final years at Kensington Palace occasionally making public appearances.  She had lived through the reign of her mother Queen Victoria, her brother King Edward VII, her nephew King George V, and the brief reign of King Edward VIII shortly before he abdicated.  Louise died on December 3, 1939 at the age of 91.  She was cremated and her ashes were initially placed inside the Royal Crypt at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor then later moved to Frogmore.   

Princess Beatrice Mary (later Princess Henry of Battenberg)
born – April 14, 1857 at Buckingham Palace in London
died – October 26, 1944 at Brantridge Park in Sussex

Princess Beatrice was the youngest child and the fifth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and, like many of her siblings before her; she was christened in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace.  Even though the Queen disliked babies, she was delighted with the infant Beatrice who became known to the family as “Baby”.  Beatrice grew into a beautiful child with stunning blue eyes and long blonde hair; she seemed to be an angel on earth in the eyes of the Queen and her husband. 

Four years after her birth, the Queen’s Royal household went through several traumatic events that came to greatly affect Beatrice and her entire family.  In March of 1861, the Queen’s mother died and then December of the same year Prince Albert suddenly died.  As a result the Queen feel into a deep and prolonged period of mourning that brought an intense and constant somber mood to the household.  As her older siblings married and left the royal residence, Beatrice was able to offer unconditional comfort to her mother and the Queen came to rely heavily on her for daily companionship.  Later as she became older, Beatrice assisted the Queen with her correspondence and general nursemaid.

Princess Beatrice - young

In 1878, upon the death of their sister Alice, the Prince of Wales proposed something rather unusual … that Beatrice should marry the widowed husband, the Grand Duke of Hesse.  He felt that this would be the solution in terms of the future upbringing of the Duke’s young children.  At the time it was against the law for a sibling to marry another sibling’s widower so to do this the British government needed to pass special legislation to grant approval, however the bill failed.

While attending the wedding in Germany, Beatrice met the groom’s brother, Prince Henry of Battenberg, and they quickly fell in love.  Upon realizing that if and when Beatrice married the Queen would lose her last daughter and her constant companion thereby being alone (how could a Queen ever be alone?)  Finally the Queen granted her permission but on the stipulation that after the wedding the couple would remain in England and move into the Queen’s house.

On July 23, 1885, Beatrice and Henry were married at Saint Mildred’s Church in Whippingham near Osborne.  Beatrice was the only one of the Queen’s five daughters to be given the honor of wearing their mother’s precious wedding veil of Honiton lace.  (Royal Note: Throughout the years Queen Victoria wore her wedding veil to the almost all of the christenings of her children, the exception was for Prince Albert Edward when she wore the Order of the Garter Robes as befitting the christening of the heir to the throne.  Later she wore it on the occasion of two of her children’s weddings, Princess Victoria and then Prince Leopold.  Finally, per her personal request, upon her death in 1901 the Queen was buried wearing her bridal veil)

The Battenbergs

After a brief honeymoon, the newly married couple returned as promised to live with the Queen and Beatrice resumed her work as the Queen personal secretary.  Henry and Beatrice were able to attain a truly happy marriage and their love proved to be as deep as that of her own parents.  The couple has four children – Alexander, Victoria Eugenie, Leopold and Maurice.

As the years passed, Beatrice’s work with the Queen proved to be very demanding and time consuming.  Henry became restless and in 1889 in response to this situation the Queen made him Governor of the Isle of Wight where Osborne House was located.  Eventually, Henry wished to serve in the military and finally in 1895, the Queen granted him permission to join the British forces fighting in the Anglo-Asante war.  Unfortunately, Henry contracted malaria while overseas and waiting to be sent home when he died on January 22, 1896. 

Beatrice was devastated in much the same way that her mother had been 35 years earlier when she lost her husband.  However, Beatrice spent only a brief month in mourning before returning to the constant demands of the Queen.  At this time, the Queen gifted Beatrice with an apartment in Kensington Palace; in fact it was the same set of rooms in which the Queen had occupied with her mother before her ascension to the throne.

NPG x32717; Queen Victoria; Princess Beatrice of Battenberg by Alexander Bassano

Five years later, Queen Victoria died and per the Queen’s request, Beatrice soon set upon the enormous task of transcribing and editing the massive volumes of her mother’s journals.  The journals were of great historical significance because the Queen had recorded within their pages her views on important political events and details of her daily life.  The journals also included the Queen’s personal information, perhaps expressing her true feelings about various events not only in her life before, during and after the death of her beloved Prince Albert but also about her relationships with her children.  Maybe it was for this reason that Beatrice seemed to do the unthinkable and in transcribing the journals and preparing them for publication she deleted private and sensitive passages in the final version because she felt there might be hurtful opinions toward any living person and then … she destroyed the original journals.  In the end, when Beatrice finished in 1931, there were 111 volumes of the edited journals that have now become part of the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle.  (This poses the question, what was in the original journals that Beatrice felt would be so detrimental to the history of England? It boggles the mind when you think of the important information that has been lost!)

As the years passed, Beatrice continued to make infrequent public appearances.  She lived mostly in her apartments at Kensington Palace and occasionally traveled to Osborne Cottage, her personal home on the Osborne Estate, until it was sold in 1913. On a personal note, Beatrice unfortunately passed on the hemophiliac disease onto future generations and those affected were her son Leopold and her grandson Alfonso.

Princess Beatrice - later

Beatrice died on October 26, 1944 at the age of 87 years old; she was the last of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s children to survive.  Her funeral took place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and she was initially buried in the Royal Vault before being moved a year later to the cemetery alongside her husband at St. Mildred’s Church in Whippingham, which was the site of her wedding to Henry 60 years earlier. 

              

Queen Victoria’s Sons

Much has been written about Queen Victoria’s long reign from June 20, 1837 to January 22, 1901 as Queen of England and Ireland and later Empress of India.  (Queen Victoria had been the longest reigning monarch for 63 years and 216 days until Queen Elizabeth II broke the record in 2015 at 64 years and still counting!)  Throughout the years numerous history books have been written about the reign of Queen Victoria and how she influenced British customs and traditions at a time that later would become known as the Victorian Era.  Several books, some historical and others romance novels, have also been written about her relationship with her beloved husband, Prince Albert.  (For more information on life of Queen Victoria, please click on the link)

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with their children

This two part series about Queen Victoria’s nine children will try to answer the following questions – what was the Queen like as a mother and what happened to her children?  Part One will discuss her four sons and Part Two will be about her five daughters.  It has been said that when her children were young she treated them coldly without any affection and with little interest in their daily lives with the exception of their education.  Later, as the children became older, she controlled their personal lives and was determined to arrange their marriages not based on finding the best possible love match but to further her personal and political plans for England.  Perhaps her most difficult and problematic child was her eldest son, Prince Albert Edward, who was the heir to the throne.

So, let’s start by discussing the sons of Queen Victoria …

Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII)
born – November 9, 1841 at Buckingham Palace, London, England
died – May 6, 1910 at Buckingham Palace, London, England

Prince Albert Edward was the second child and eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  He was christened at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and received the name Albert to honor his father and Edward for his maternal grandfather but in the family he was known as Bertie.  He was the heir apparent in the British line of succession and just a month after his birth the Queen bestowed on him the title of the Prince of Wales (Prince Albert holds the record as the longest-serving Prince of Wales at 59 years, 1 month and 14 days. Prince Charles, the current Prince of Wales, will surpass this record in September 2017)

At the age of seven the Queen and Prince Albert were determined that Bertie should receive the proper education to prepare him in his future role as monarch.  Prince Albert set a very difficult educational plan to be followed by Bertie’s tutors.  Unfortunately, Bertie proved to be a very poor student although he tried very hard to please both his mother and father by reaching their scholastic expectations.  In 1859, at the age of 18, Bertie went on a grand tour of Europe mainly studying the art and architecture of Rome before going to the University of Edinburgh for the summer.   He later went on to become an undergraduate at the Christ Church, Oxford and then transferred to Trinity College in Cambridge.  Bertie’s academic performance at college was much better than his education under his father direction and his attitude toward higher learning improved dramatically.

Prince Albert Edward - young

In 1860, his studies were interrupted briefly when he was sent to North America to represent the Queen on his first Royal tour as the heir to the British throne.  During the four month tour Bertie traveled to many parts of Canada and he visited the United States and went to Washington, D.C., nearby Mount Vernon and also New York City.  The tour was a great success and Bertie was praised by the media for his charming manner and his diplomatic skills which brought a new-found confidence and self-esteem to the nineteen year old Prince of Wales.

Prince Albert Edward - 1861

At this point in his life Bertie had received the reputation as a playboy carousing with women of character, gambling and drinking.  All these activities upset both his parents and the Queen felt that the solution to quickly ending Bertie’s scandalous behavior was to find him a suitable wife with the hopes that it would force him to settle down.  Queen Victoria thought that she had found the perfect wife for Bertie; it was Princess Alexandra who was the eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark.  On the recommendation of Bertie’s eldest sister, Princess Victoria, a meeting was quickly arranged to introduce them and Bertie was very impressed with Alexandra’s beauty, charming ways and mild manner. (For more information about the fashion style of the future Queen Alexandra, please click on the link)

Of course, the Queen was very wrong in thinking that the prospect of a wife and children would put a stop to Bertie’s wild ways!  When Bertie was sent to Ireland to continue his military training he became involved in a brief sexual relationship with a local actress.  Upon returning to Cambridge, word of his indiscretions reached the Queen and she sent her husband, Prince Albert, to have a serious talk with their son.  A short time later, Prince Albert became seriously ill and died in December 1861.  Wrongfully, the Queen claimed that the stress of dealing with Bertie’s affair weakened Prince Albert’s health and she unjustly blamed Bertie for the death of her beloved husband and she became lost in her grief and depression over the loss and completely withdrew from public life.  (The initial cause of death was believed to be typhoid fever but recent history indicates that Prince Albert had been ill for at least two years and the probable cause of death was possibly abdominal cancer)

On March 10, 1863 Prince Albert Edward and Princess Alexandra were married at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.  (For more detailed information about the wedding, please click on the link to British Royal Weddings – Part Two)

Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra 1863

The young couple moved to Marlborough House, their official London residence, and they also spent time at Sandringham, their country home in Norfolk.  Bertie and Alexandra had six children – Albert Victor, George (the future King George V), Louise, Victoria, Maud and Alexander John who died in infancy.  (For more information about the history of Sandringham, please click on the link)

Prince Albert Edward - his children

The couple entertained lavishly with elaborate balls and dinners in London and large weekend “house parties” at Sandringham where their guests enjoying horseback riding, fishing and hunting.  Despite the appearance of domesticity, Bertie continued his playboy lifestyle having numerous affairs with married women and he also enjoyed gambling at the horse races and private illegal card games.  Bertie also began to cultivate both British and International political alliances with prominent leaders while the Queen remained in seclusion and away from London for her extended period of time.  The Queen, always disapprovingly aware of Bertie’s indiscretions, tried to control him by not relinquishing any of her political power to him during the remainder of her long reign.  This situation did not go unnoticed by both the British government and the British public who absolutely adored the Prince of Wales.

Ultimately, upon the death of Queen Victoria on January 22, 1901, Bertie was crowned King Edward VII.  Due to an appendicitis and subsequent surgery, his coronation was postponed while he recovered.  The rescheduled coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on August 9, 1902.  The newly crowned King proved to be a popular monarch and immediately sold Osborne House, refurbished the other Royal Palaces and reintroduced many of the traditional British ceremonies, such as the State Opening of Parliament, that the Queen had discontinued after the death of Prince Albert and her self-imposed removal from public life.  He also modernized the British Navy and reorganized the British Army.  Being related to many of the Kings and Queens of numerous European countries, King Edward became known as being just and fair in negotiating differences although he had a very hard and poor relationship with his nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm II.  During his brief reign, it was barely nine years, the Edwardian era at the turn of the century brought significant advancements in technology.  In the final year of his reign, King Edward was intent on solving a constitutional crisis which would ultimately be resolved after his death and would restrict the power of the House of Lords with the Parliament Act of 1911.

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra- coronation

King Edward smoked incessantly averaging numerous cigarettes and cigars each day for most of his adult life.  He developed an ulcer and later bronchitis and as his medical condition continued to deteriorate in his final days he suffered from several heart attacks.  King Edward died on May 6, 1910 at Buckingham Palace in London and he is buried at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Prince Alfred Earnest (later the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha)
born – August 6, 1844 at Windsor Castle, England
died – July 30, 1900 at Rosenau Castle near Coburg, Germany

Prince Alfred was the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, to his family he was known as Affie.  He was christened at Windsor Castle in the Private Chapel and at that time second in the British line of succession.  Alfred was tutored alongside his older brother, Albert Edward.  In 1856 his parents decided that he join the Royal Navy, later he was promoted to lieutenant in 1863 and then captain in 1866.

Prince Alfred 1860

Upon the abdication of King Otto of Greece in 1863 the British government was influenced by the Queen to block the plans for Alfred to succeed him.  It seems that the Queen and Prince Albert wanted Alfred to eventually inherit the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg.  Meanwhile, Alfred position in the line of succession was pushed back further when his elder brother, Albert Edward, had a son.  Then, in May 1866, the Queen’s bestowed on Alfred the title of Duke of Edinburgh and a month later he was granted a seat in the House of Lords.

Prince Alfred

At the beginning of the year 1867, Alfred embarked on a Naval voyage aboard the HMS Galatea.  He left Plymouth in January and then Gibraltar in June reaching Cape Town in July and finally landing in Australia in October.  This five month historical visit to Australia was the first by a member of the Royal Family and Alfred received an enthusiastic welcome in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Tasmania.   On his return trip to England, Alfred stopped in New Zealand, Hawaii and Japan before continuing on to India.

On January 23, 1874, Prince Alfred married the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia the daughter of Emperor Alexander II at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.  Alfred’s new wife, who was used to an elevated status in Russia, had a difficult time adjusting to the higher precedence of not only the Queen and her daughters but also the Princess of Wales.  After much fuss, the Queen denied Maria’s request for special treatment being the daughter of the Tsar but eventually she granted her precedence before her daughters but after the Princess of Wales.  Alfred and Maria had one son and four daughters – Alfred, Marie, Victoria, Alexandra and Beatrice.  

Prince Alfred - engagement photo

In regards to Alfred’s naval career, while stationed in Malta, he was promoted to rear-admiral in 1878, then vice-admiral and finally Commander-in Chief of the Channel Fleet in 1882 and the Mediterranean Fleet in 1886.  Finally in June 1893 Alfred was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet. 

Prince Alfred - in uniform

Upon the death of his uncle, Ernest II the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on August 22, 1893 Alfred inherited the duchy.  To accept the title, Alfred was required to relinquish his seats in the House of Lords and the Privy Council to avoid a conflict of interest.  He also was also denied his British allowance but he was allowed to keep the money used to maintain Clarence House, his London residence.

Sadly, although the people of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha came to accept a “foreign” ruler, Alfred did not hold the duchy long.  He died of throat cancer on July 30, 1900 at the Rosenau Castle and is buried at the ducal mausoleum in the Friedhof am Glockenberg in Coburg.  The duke’s only son had died a year earlier and the next in the succession, his nephew Prince Arthur of Connaught had previously renounce their right and his other Prince Charles Edward the son of his brother Prince Leopold, inherited the title.  

Prince Arthur William (later Duke of Connaught and Strathearn)
born – May 1, 1850 at  Buckingham Palace, London, England
died –  January 16, 1942 at Bagshot Park in Surrey, England

Prince Arthur was the third son and seventh child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  He was christened in the Palace’s Private Chapel and has been reported that he was the Queen’s favorite son.  Like his other siblings, Arthur received his education for private tutors until he was 16 years old.  Much later in 1874 the Queen, much like she had previously done with her other children, she bestowed an honorary title on Arthur and he became the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and the Earl of Sussex.   

Prince Arthur 1864

Arthur was enrolled for military service and he was sent to the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in 1866.  After two years Arthur graduated and received a commission as a lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers.  Then in 1869 Arthur transferred to the Royal Artillery Regiment and had a long career in the Army serving in South Africa and Canada in 1869, Egypt in 1882 and India in 1886.

Prince Arthur - in uniform

Meanwhile, in regards to his personal life, Arthur married Princess Louise of Prussia at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Chapel on March 13, 1879.  Louise was the great-niece of the German Emperor Wilhelm I who was not only Arthur’s cousin but also his godfather.  The couple had three children – Margaret, Arthur and Patricia.  They had a London residence at Clarence House and a country home of Bagshot Park in Surrey.

Prince Arthur - wedding to Alexandra Fife  Prince Arthur - children

During Arthur’s time in Canada he had attended state functions and social events leaving a very favorable impression and becoming extremely popular with the Canadian people.  Then, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister Asquith, he was appointed by his nephew, now King George V, as the Governor General of Canada in 1911 and served until 1916.  His wife and children moved from England to be with him in Canada during the length of this service.

Prince Arthur - govenor general of Canada

When Arthur returned to England he continued his military, briefing serving in both World War I and II.  He also represented the King and his country by continuing to perform his royal duties and he served as president of the Boy Scouts Association which had officially formed in 1910.  Princess Louise died in March 1917 of influenza and bronchitis, she was the first member of the British Royal Family to be cremated and her ashes were buried at Frogmore.  Her husband, Arthur, survived her by almost twenty-five years and he died on January 16, 1942 at Bagshot Park and he is also buried at Frogmore.

Prince Leopold George (later the Duke of Albany)
born – April 7, 1853 at Buckingham Palace, London, England
died – March 28, 1884 in Cannes, France

Prince Leopold was the fourth son and the eighth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; he was given the name in honor of King Leopold I of Belgium who was the uncle to both his parents (remember that the Queen and her husband were first cousins).  The birth of Leopold was different than the labor she experienced with her other children; it was the first time that chloroform was used as an anesthesia for a royal birth.

Unfortunately, this was not the only medical condition that was to affect Leopold’s life.  As a young child he was diagnosed with hemophilia, a hereditary genetic disorder that impairs the human body’s ability to control blood clotting.  As a result of his disease, it was decided by his parents that Leopold would be under constant watch and that his physical activities would be severely restricted.  (Historical Fact:  The hemophilia disease has been traced back to Leopold’s mother, Queen Victoria.  Besides affecting not only her son, she unknowingly passed the disease onto future generations through her daughters, Alice and Beatrice, children eventually affecting several of members of the Royal families of Spain, Germany and Russia)

Prince Leopold - young

Despite his health problems, Leopold proved to be a good student studying under with private tutors appointed by Prince Albert.  In 1872, Leopold enter Christ Church in Oxford and through his interest in the game of chess became the president of the Oxford Chess Club.  While at university, Leopold was initiated into the local Freemason lodge in Oxford after being recommended for membership by his older brother, Prince Albert Edward.   After leaving university with an honorary doctorate in civil law, he spent time traveling in Europe and then Canada.   In 1881, the Queen bestowed on him the tile of Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow.

As a young man, Leopold was upset about not being able to pursue an active military career like his brothers because of the risk of injury would cause him to bleed uncontrollably.  The Queen, who was constantly worried about her son’s health, eventually allowed Leopold to receive an honorary position as the Colonel-in-Chief of the Albany Highlanders 72nd Regiment which later combined with the Seaforth 78th Regiment.

Prince Leopold - in uniform

In regards to Leopold’s personal life, unlike her other children, Queen Victoria did not pursue arranging a marriage for her son because the life expectancy of someone with hemophilia was rarely beyond childhood.  Leopold did consider several women as possible brides, one of those was Alice Liddell (it was said that a friend of her family, Lewis Carroll used her as the inspiration for his classic novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”).  Eventually, Leopold married Princess Helene Friederike on April 27, 1882 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.  The couple had a truly happy marriage and soon became parents to a daughter, Alice.

Prince Leopold and his wife  Prince Leopold - with his child

Then, while his wife was expecting their second child, Leopold went to Cannes to recover from severe joint pain brought on by his hemophilia which the harsh winter in England exacerbated while Helene stayed at home.  Unfortunately, during his time in Cannes Leopold fell hitting his head and injuring his knee.  He died the next morning from a possible cerebral hemorrhage and his body was returned to England and he is buried in the Albert memorial Chapel at Windsor.  Helene gave birth four months later to a son named Charles Edward.  (Historical Fact:  Since the hemophilia gene is carried on the X chromosome and passed through a female, Leopold’s daughter Alice inherited the gene and her oldest son, Rupert, had hemophilia)

Prince Leopold children 1