Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife
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|Duchess of Fife|
|Spouse||Prince Arthur of Connaught|
|Issue||Alastair, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn|
|Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise|
|House||House of Windsor (by marriage)
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
|Father||Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife|
|Mother||Louise, Princess Royal|
17 May 1891|
East Sheen Lodge, Richmond, London, England
|Died||26 February 1959(aged 67)|
|Burial||Mar Lodge, Braemar, Scotland|
Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife, GCStJ (Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise; née Duff; later Princess Arthur of Connaught; 17 May 1891 – 26 February 1959) was a member of the British Royal Family, a granddaughter of King Edward VII. Alexandra and her younger sister Maud had the distinction of being two of only five female-line granddaughters of a British Sovereign to receive the style Highness. (Three of Queen Victoria's female-line granddaughters had previously been styled as Highness, albeit holding the style from birth: Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein and Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg.
Lineage and early life
Alexandra's father was The Duke of Fife (10 Nov 1849 – 12 January 1912), the son of the 5th Earl of Fife (1814–1879) and his wife, the former Lady Agnes Hay. Having succeeded his father as the 6th Earl of Fife, he was elevated to Duke of Fife and Marquess of Macduff in the Peerage of the United Kingdom two days after his marriage in 1889 to Princess Louise of Wales, the eldest daughter of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Alexandra of Denmark. Princess Louise accordingly became the Duchess of Fife.
Alexandra was born to them at East Sheen Lodge, Richmond on 17 May 1891. When it became apparent that the couple were unlikely to have a son, Queen Victoria renamed Alexander Duke of Fife and Earl of Macduff in the peerage of the United Kingdom in 1900, giving the second dukedom of Fife a special remainder in default of male issue to the Duke's daughters and their agnatic male descendants.
As a female-line great-granddaughter of the British monarch, Alexandra was not entitled to the title of a Princess of the United Kingdom Great Britain and Ireland or the style Royal Highness. Instead she was styled Lady Alexandra Duff, as the daughter of a Duke. She was fifth in the line of succession at the time of her birth.
Alexandra and her sister were unique among British princesses in that they were descended from both William IV (through his mistress, Dorothea Jordan), and William IV's niece, Queen Victoria, who succeeded him because he had no legitimate issue.
On 5 November 1905, King Edward VII declared his daughter Princess Royal. He further ordered Garter King of Arms to gazette Lady Alexandra Duff and her sister Lady Maud Duff with the style and attribute of Highness and precedence immediately after all members of the British Royal Family bearing the style of Royal Highness. From that point, Her Highness Princess Alexandra of Fife held her title and rank, not from her father (a Duke), but rather from the will of the Sovereign (her grandfather).
Around 1910, she became secretly engaged to Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, a son of George I of Greece and Olga Konstantinovna of Russia. The engagement was terminated when their disapproving parents learned of the liaison. As Prince Christopher's father was a younger brother of Princess Alexandra's maternal grandmother, the hopeful couple were first cousins once removed.
|House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
The bride's attendants were:
- Princess Mary, daughter of George V.
- Lady May Cambridge daughter of the Earl of Athlone and Princess Alice of Albany.
- Lady Mary Cambridge and Lady Helena Cambridge, daughters of the Marquess of Cambridge.
- Princess Maud, the bride's sister.
Prince Arthur of Connaught was the only son of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, the third eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and thus a younger brother of her maternal grandfather King Edward VII. As such, Arthur and Alexandra were first cousins once removed.
After their marriage, Alexandra was generally referred to as HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught. This followed the tradition of a wife taking the style and title of her husband.
With her husband, Alexandra also carried out royal engagements on behalf of her uncle, King George V, and later for her cousin, King George VI. She also served as a Counsellor of State between 1937 and 1944.
During World War I, Princess Arthur of Connaught served as nurse at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington. When Prince Arthur was appointed governor general of the Union of South Africa in 1920, she accompanied him to Pretoria and worked on behalf of local hospitals. Upon the couple's return to Britain, she continued to carry out royal duties. She died at her home near Primrose Hill, London in 1959 and was buried at Mar Lodge chapel.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 17 May 1891 – 5 November 1905: The Lady Alexandra Duff
- 5 November 1905 – 22 January 1912: Her Highness Princess Alexandra of Fife
- 22 January 1912 – 15 October 1913: Her Highness The Duchess of Fife
- 15 October 1913 – 26 February 1959: Her Royal Highness Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife
- Royal Red Cross, 1st Class
- Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem (elevated from Dame of Justice)
- Royal Family Order of King Edward VII
- Royal Family Order of King George V (4th class)
Honorary military appointments
- Colonel-in-chief, Royal Army Pay Corps
|Prince Alastair of Connaught||9 August 1914||26 April 1943||later styled Earl of Macduff and 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn|
- Ronald Allison and Sarah Riddell, eds., The Royal Encyclopedia (London: Macmillan, 1991), ISBN 0-333-53810-2
- Marlene A. Eilers, Queen Victoria's Descendants (New York: Atlantic International Publishing, 1987), ISBN 91-630-5964-9
- Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: the Complete Genealogy, rev. ed. (London: Pimlico, 1996), ISBN 0-7126-4286-2
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|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|Duchess of Fife