Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

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For other people called Princess Alexandra, see Princess Alexandra (disambiguation).
Princess Alexandra
Princess consort of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Princess Alexandra of Hohenlohe.jpg
Princess Alexandra in 1905
Spouse Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Issue Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Marie Melita, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein
Princess Alexandra
Princess Irma
Prince Alfred
Full name
Alexandra Louise Olga Victoria
House House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (by birth)
House of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
(by marriage)
Father Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Mother Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
Born (1878-09-01)1 September 1878
Rosenau Castle, Coburg
Died 16 April 1942(1942-04-16) (aged 63)
Schwäbisch Hall, Germany

Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha,VA, CI, (Alexandra Louise Olga Victoria; 1 September 1878 – 16 April 1942), was the fourth child and third daughter of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. She was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom as well as of Tsar Alexander II of Russia.

Early life[edit]

Alexandra was born on 1 September 1878 at Rosenau Castle, Coburg.[1] Her father was The Duke of Edinburgh, the second eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her mother was Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia, a daughter of Alexander II of Russia and Marie of Hesse and by Rhine.[1]

The young princess was baptised on 2 October 1878 at Edinburgh Palace, Coburg, presumably by her mother's chaplain. Her godparents included her maternal uncle Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia.[2]

Princess Alexandra with her three sisters. From left to right, Princess Beatrice, Princess Victoria Melita, Princess Alexandra, and Queen Marie of Romania

Nicknamed 'Sandra' by her family, Alexandra spent her childhood first in England and between 1886 and 1889 in Malta, where her father was serving with the Royal Navy.[3] In 1889 the family moved to Coburg, Germany since her father, Alfred, was the heir apparent to the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. In 1893, her great-uncle, The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (brother of her paternal grandfather, Prince Albert) died without issue. Since Albert was dead, and her uncle, The Prince of Wales had renounced his claim to the ducal throne of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the vacant duchy fell to Alexandra's father, the Duke of Edinburgh. Thus, Princess Alexandra was both a British princess and a Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. She was a bridesmaid at the 1885 wedding of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter The Princess Beatrice to Prince Henry of Battenberg.[4]

She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York on 6 July 1893.[5] Throughout her life, Alexandra was usually overshadowed by her two eldest sisters, Marie and Victoria. Alexandra, less beautiful and more subdued than her sisters, was plain, placid and not as brilliant.[1]

Marriage[edit]

Princess Alexandra and her husband Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

During Alexandra's formative years, her father, occupied with his career in the Navy and later as a ruler in Coburg, paid little attention to his family. It was Alexandra's mother who was the domineering presence in their children's life. The duchess believed in marrying her daughters young, before they began to think for themselves.[6] At the end of 1895, she arranged Alexandra's engagement to Prince Ernst, of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (13 September 1863 – 11 December 1950). Alexandra's grandmother, Queen Victoria, complained that she was too young. Alexandra's father objected to the status of his future son-in-law.[6] The House of Hohenlohe-Lagenburg was mediatized - a formerly ruling family who had ceded their sovereign rights to others while (in theory) retaining their equal birth.[6] It was not considered a brilliant match, but they were also related. Ernst was a grandson of Princess Feodora of Leiningen, Queen Victoria's half-sister.[6] The wedding took place on 20 April 1896 in Coburg, Germany. Together, they had five children:

Later life[edit]

Alexandra lived for the rest of her life in Germany. At the death of her father in 1900, Alexandra's husband was appointed regent of the duchy of Saxe-Coburg during the minority of the new Duke. Alfred, Alexandra's only brother, had died in 1899.[6] During World War I, she worked as a Red Cross nurse. In February 1916 her eldest daughter was married at Coburg to Prince Friederich of Gluckburg and she became a grandmother when the couple's first child, Prince Hans of Glucksburg was born in May 1917.[7] On her thirty-fifth wedding anniversary in April 1931, her son Gottfried married Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark.[7] In the years preceding World War II, Alexandra was an early supporter of the Nazi Party, which she joined on 1 May 1937, together with several of her children.[8] She died in Schwäbisch Hall, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany in 1942.

Her eldest son, Gottfried, 8th Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, was named in an unsavory manner as part of the custody suit over Gloria Vanderbilt ("Little Gloria") between her mother Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan (1904–1965) and the child's aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.[9]

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Princess Alexandra's coat of arms

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 1 September 1878 – 23 August 1893: Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh
  • 23 August 1893 - 20 April 1896: Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
  • 20 April 1896 – 9 March 1913: Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
  • 9 March 1913 – 16 April 1942: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg

British arms[edit]

Alexandra's personal coat of arms was that of the British monarch, with an inescutcheon of the shield of Saxony, all differenced, as a male-line grandchild, with a label argent of five points, the central point bearing a cross gules, the inner pair anchors azure, and the outer pair fleurs-de-lys azure. In 1917, the inescutcheon was dropped by royal warrant from George V.[10]

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Zeepvat, p. 258
  2. ^ Yvonne's Royalty Home Page — Royal Christenings
  3. ^ Zeepvat, p. 259
  4. ^ NPG: Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg with their bridesmaids and others on their wedding day http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw145863/Prince-and-Princess-Henry-of-Battenberg-with-their-bridesmaids-and-others-on-their-wedding-day?LinkID=mp89748&role=art&rNo=2
  5. ^ "'The Duke and Duchess of York and Bridesmaids'". National Portrait Gallery, London. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Zeepvat, p. 260
  7. ^ a b Zeepvat, p. 261
  8. ^ Jonathan Petropoulos, Royals and the Reich: The Princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 382.
  9. ^ "Mrs. Whitney Ritzes Prince In Grand Way". The Pittsburgh Press. 16 October 1934. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  10. ^ Heraldica – British Royalty Cadency

Bibliography[edit]

  • Petropoulos, Jonathan, Royals and the Reich, Oxford University Press, New York, 2006, ISBN 0-19-516133-5
  • Zeepvat, Charlotte, "The other one: Alexandra of Hohenlohe- langeburg", in Royalty History Digest.[volume & issue needed]