Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife
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|Princess Arthur of Connaught|
|Duchess of Fife|
|Tenure||29 January 1912 – 26 February 1959|
17 May 1891|
East Sheen Lodge, Richmond, England
|Died||26 February 1959(aged 67)|
|Burial||Mar Lodge, Braemar, Scotland|
|Spouse||Prince Arthur of Connaught|
|Issue||Alastair, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn|
|Father||Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife|
|Mother||Louise, Princess Royal|
Princess Arthur of Connaught, 2nd Duchess of Fife, GCStJ (Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise; née Duff; Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife before marriage; 17 May 1891 – 26 February 1959) was a granddaughter of King Edward VII.
Lineage and early life
Alexandra's father was Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife. 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, the future Edward VII. Princess Louise accordingly became the Duchess of Fife.
Alexandra was born at East Sheen Lodge, Richmond on 17 May 1891. After ten years of marriage and the birth in 1893 of Alexandra's younger sister Maud, no more children would be born to Alexandra's parents and the dukedom and marquessate of Fife were headed toward extinction since only a male heir could inherit those titles. On 24 April 1900 Queen Victoria granted Alexander Duff a second dukedom of Fife, along with the earldom of Macduff, stipulating by special remainder that these two titles would jointly devolve, in default of sons born to him and the Queen's granddaughter, upon their daughters in order of seniority of birth, and upon their respective agnatic male descendants in the same order.
As a female-line granddaughter of the British monarch, Alexandra was not entitled to the title of "Princess of the United Kingdom Great Britain and Ireland", nor to the style of Her Royal Highness. Instead she was styled Lady Alexandra Duff, as the daughter of a duke, even though she was born fifth in the line of succession to the British throne.
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 eldest 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 the style of Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names, with precedence immediately after all members of the British Royal Family bearing the style of Royal Highness. From that point, Her Highness Princess Alexandra held her title and rank, not from her ducal father, but from the decree issued by will of the sovereign (her grandfather).
Around 1910, Alexandra became secretly engaged to Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, a son of King George I of the Hellenes. 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 King George V.
- Princess Mary of Teck and Princess Helena of Teck, daughters of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Teck, brother of Queen Mary.
- Princess May of Teck, daughter of Prince Alexander of Teck (brother of Queen Mary) and Princess Alice of Albany.
- Princess Maud, the bride's sister.
Prince Arthur of Connaught was the only son of the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria 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 referred to as HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught, in accordance with the tradition that a wife normally shares the title and style 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: Lady Alexandra Duff
- 5 November 1905 – 29 January 1912: Her Highness Princess Alexandra
- 29 January 1912 - 15 October 1913: Her Highness Princess Alexandra, 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|
References and notes
- Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser Band III. "Fife". C.A. Starke Verlag, 1955, pp. 336-337. (German).
- "Royal Wedding Group". National Portrait Gallery, London.
- "'H.R.H. Princess Arthur of Connaught (the Duchess of Fife) and her bridesmaids'". National Portrait Gallery.
- 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