Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein

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Princess Helena Victoria
Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein
Pss Helena Victoria.png
Princess Helena Victoria, in 1920
Full name
Victoria Louise Sophia Augusta Amelia Helena
House House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
Father Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
Mother Princess Helena of the United Kingdom
Born (1870-05-03)3 May 1870
Frogmore House, Windsor
Died 13 March 1948(1948-03-13) (aged 77)
Berkeley Square, London
Burial Frogmore, Windsor

Princess Victoria Louise Sophia Augusta Amelia Helena of Schleswig-Holstein (3 May 1870 – 13 March 1948), known as Princess Helena Victoria, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Early life[edit]

Princess Helena Victoria (always known to her family as Thora) was born at Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle. Her father was Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, the third son of Christian, Duke of Augustenburg and Countess Louise of Danneskjold-Samsøe. Her mother was The Princess Helena, the fifth child and third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her parents resided in the United Kingdom, at Cumberland Lodge, and the Princess was considered a member of the British Royal Family. She was a bridesmaid at the 1885 wedding of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Princess Beatrice, to Prince Henry of Battenberg. [1] She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York (future George V and Queen Mary) on 6 July 1893. [2]

Under letters patent of 1866, she was styled Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.

She spent most of her childhood at Cumberland Lodge, her father's residence as Ranger of Windsor Great Park. Known to her family as "Thora", or sometimes "Snipe", in reference to her sharp facial features. She officially used the names "Helena Victoria" out of her string of six Christian names.

World War I[edit]

In July 1917, King George V changed the name of the British Royal House from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the House of Windsor. He also relinquished, on behalf of himself and his numerous cousins and brothers-in-law who were British subjects, the use of their German titles, styles, and surnames. Princess Helena Victoria and Princess Marie Louise ceased to use the territorial designation "of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg." Instead, they became known simply as "Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria" and "Her Highness Princess Marie Louise," giving them the odd distinction of being princesses but not princesses of any family or monarchy. Although the two had borne German titles, they were both quintessentially English.[3]

Royal Duties[edit]

Princess Helena Victoria never married. She followed her mother's example in working for various charitable organizations, most notably the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and Princess Christian's Nursing Home at Windsor. During World War I, she founded the YWCA Women's Auxiliary Force. As its president, she visited British troops in France and obtained the permission of the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, to arrange entertainments for them. Between the world wars, she and her younger sister, Princess Marie Louise, were enthusiastic patrons of music at Schomberg House, their London residence. After a German air raid damaged the house in 1940, the two princesses moved to Fitzmaurice Place, Berkeley Square.

In ill health and using a wheelchair after World War II, one of Princess Helena Victoria's last major appearance was at the 20 November 1947 wedding of her first cousin twice removed Princess Elizabeth, to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. [4]

Princess Helena Victoria died at Fitzmaurice Place, Berkeley Square. Her funeral took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor and she was buried at the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore, Windsor Great Park. She died at the age of 77, the same age at which her mother, Princess Helena, had also died.

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Royal styles of
Princess Helena Victoria
Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Reference style Her Highness
Spoken style Your Highness
Alternative style Ma'am

Titles[edit]

  • 1870–1917: Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein
  • 1917–1948: Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria

Honours[edit]

British honours

Foreign honours

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ "'The Duke and Duchess of York and Bridesmaids'". National Portrait Gallery, London. 
  3. ^ As a male-line granddaughter of the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Helena Victoria would have been styled Serene Highness. However, in May 1866, Queen Victoria granted the style of Highness to any children born of the marriage of Prince and Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. The children were still Princes or Princess of Schleswig-Holstein and the style Highness was only in effect in the United Kingdom, not in Germany. In June 1917, a notice appeared in the Court Circular that a Royal Warrant was to be prepared permitting his cousins to stop using the "of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg" part of their titles. However no warrant was prepared and they were never formally granted them the titles of Princesses of Great Britain and Ireland. This led to their being mockingly referred to as 'The Princesses of Nothing' by Victoria Milford Haven, mother of Lord Louis Mountbatten, as her granddaughter Pamela Hickes records in her memoir Daughter of Empire (London 2012), p. 161.
  4. ^ Royal Collection: Seating plan for the Ball Supper Room http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/microsites/royalwedding1947/object.asp?grouping=&exhibs=NONE&object=9000366&row=82&detail=magnify

Sources[edit]

  • Ronald Allison and Sarah Riddell, eds., The Royal Encyclopedia (London: Macmillan, 1992).
  • "Obituary: Princess Helena Victoria, Charity and Social Services," 15 March 1948, p. 7.
  • "Royal Titles: German Names Dropped, British Peerages for Princes," The Times 20 July 1917, p. 7.