Author Topic: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain  (Read 146544 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2004, 10:45:28 PM »
From everything I've read the marriage was a pretty happy one, especially in the early years before tragedy started to take it's toll on Alice's spirit. In the book of her letters published in 1888, there are many where Alice goes into great detail about her love for her "beloved husband"--his kindness, how much joy she derived from his presence, how much she missed him when he was off on military duties. However, as she was so much more inquiring and intellectual than her husband, there were periods, especially when she was questioning her faith and purpose/role in life, where Louis's more practical and simplistic outlook was at odds with hers. She often expressed a wish he was more of an intellectual bent, someone she could share her interests with. Whereas A was conflicted for years over life's twists and turns, L seemed to just plod on along, accepting God's will. While this was difficult for Alice, it doesn't seem to have affected her overall love for her husband as letters right up to the last she sent to QV are full of affection and love. It was definitely a love match--a Hessian prince in line for a dukedom wasn't THAT great a catch for the 2nd daughter of QV. The search may have been limited by eligible princes, but the heir to the Dutch throne was considered but they didn't suit and QV didn't push it. She may have often meddled and suggested, but I don't think she would've outright forced her children into an unwanted marriage and often battled more "snobbish" royals who considered some of her choices (i.e. Marquis of Lorne) as too low.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline DOMOVOII

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2004, 11:10:51 AM »
I'm not so sure that they were love's young dream as such, their relationship started with all the romance you'd expect from the period, gushingly sentimental notes and messages, but it became evident that their interests were different,he was loud, bluff, she, quiet, sensitive. They did'nt have a great deal in common, and after the tragedies of their family they quietly grew apart. I remember reading a transcript of a letter sent by Pss Alice to L, (unfortunately lost) explaining that she'd come to the realisation that, unfortunately they weren't perhaps the best choice that could have been made for either of them, but that she loved him and would remain to all intents and purposes "happily married" to him.

A testament to the wonderful benevolent and kind nature this woman had.
A stand can be taken against an army of men, but no stand can be made against an invasion of an idea          V Hugo

Offline Louise

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2004, 11:46:03 AM »
There is a letter that Princess Alice wrote to Louis from Balmoral. I checked my book on Alexandra by Greg and there is a letter of the princess telling her husband of her unhappiness. The letter is in Chapter One, An English Princess

Louise
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Offline jfkhaos

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2004, 12:28:35 PM »
I have also read this letter and it has always seemed to me that this disappointment in her married life further contributed to her melancholia throughout the later part of her life.  Considering who she was and the stature she held, I highly doubt she would have even comtemplated separating etc, and would have remained with Louis as she did in fact love him....perhaps if she was spared to a longer life this relationship would have gotten back on track.

Offline DOMOVOII

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2004, 12:31:33 PM »
Thank you Louise, that sounds most likely the source I was thinking of,  when I said it was lost I meant that I couldn't find it here in my study... sorry if I implied the letter had vanished.

Pardon my ignorance but who they hey is Gerald Noel?
A stand can be taken against an army of men, but no stand can be made against an invasion of an idea          V Hugo

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2004, 02:31:29 PM »
Just some quotes from Pss Alice's letters:

4/24/65: ...I hope my beloved Louis will arrive tonight, and be with me again--such cause for joy and thankfulness. When I have _him_ all sorrow is turned into peace and happiness.

6/27/66: (after many letters lamenting Louis's absence and fear for his safety): ..the anxiety about Louis gives me no peace...I can scarcely write; this anxiety is killing me, and my love has been so exposed. All are in admiration of his personal bravery and tender attention to the suffering and want of all around. He never things of himself and shares all the dangers and privations...my beloved husband still in danger...Anything might have happened to hiim and I can't hear it or know it! I could not go to him were he wounded...the sleepless nights of anxiety, the long days without news--_how_ I pray...dear darling Louis be spared me!

12/9/67:When Louis is at home and free...then I have _all_ that this world can give me, for I am indeed never happier than at his dera side; and time only increases our affection and binds us closer to each other.

2/17/68: (while suffering a painful & debilitating ailment)...during his (Louis's) free time in the afternoon he sat, like the best nurse in the world, near my bed in the dark room, putting wet rags on my head and trying by every possible means to alleviate my pains. He was touching in the great care he took of me...and I could bear no one else about me.

10/3/69:...(about being parted)..which is, of course, no small trial for us, who are so unaccustomed to being separated.

10/11/69...My own dear, tender-hearted Louis...does not like leaving his children, his home, and me, and really there are but few such husbands and fathers as he. To possess a heart like his, and to call it my _own_, I am ever prouder and more grateful for from year to year. Nowadays young men like Louis are rare enough, for it is ocnsidered fine to neglect one's wife...We sisters are singularly blessed in our husbands.

(throughout 1870 references to Louis's supporting her correspondence with Strauss--a controversial theologian--and full of her worries about her "dear" and "beloved" during the latest war, expressing her pride in him and singing his praises which "one hears all round")

2/2/71:...I can scarcely imagine what it will be when my beloved Louis is at home again; it seems _too great_ a joy!

2/11/71:...now I have every reason to hope--please God--that I shall have the joy of seeing Louis come home, and of placing his baby [whom he'd never seen] in his arms. My heart is full...the emotion will be so great, and the long pent-up feelings find vent.

8/20/72:...Gratitude seems barely enough to express the intense depth of what I feel when I think of that time [during the war]....dear Louis...he is all that is good and true and pure.

9/7/73: Soon I shall have my Louis back. I long for him very much....[after Frittie's death]

[the next few years are most devoted to her grief, various travels and relatives and her growing brood of children]

11/22/78:[during diptheria attacks]...I finish these lines at my dear Louis' bed...Thank God he is doing well.

Conclusion, upon her own illness: [it was noted that] when the Grand Duke entered her room her joy was most evident.

It seems, in the gap after Frittie's death and her preoccupation with her overwhelming grief is when any estrangement may have occured. Louis was certainly devastated by not in the deep, soul-searing way Alice was. However, as time went on, the deep bond seemed to have been restored as much of her spiritual searching seems to have ended and she was able to understand better those around her with their faults and frailties. I believe she loved him until the end, devotedly if not blindly. On a personal note, I believe myself happily married, yet in times of grief, including the loss of 3 unborn children, I have yelled at my husband and swore I wanted a divorce. Perhaps this letter is similar to that--women often feel these things more deeply or at least express them differently--but then, hopefully, things are righted. So many letters express her love for Louis, I don't know if 1-2 letters should outweigh over a decade's worth.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2004, 03:47:31 PM »
It's very possible--indeed, probable!--to be in love but occasionally feel disappointment or a lack of connection. In fact, it's my feeling that the current "ideal" of "soul mates" is so overplayed that even the closest of couples may sometimes wonder where they went wrong.   ::)

Alice was certainly possessed of a more probing and intellectual mind than Louis, but he seems to have been very loving and supportive of her and was no doubt bewildered by her occasional frustration with him. All of this does not necessarily add up to an unhappy marriage, but a marriage between two people who initially didn't know each other very well, and were gradually working out their differences during the course of their lifetime together.

Several people have found fault with the tempermental exchanges depicted between Nicholas and Alexandra in the 1971 film. However, in my opinion such dialogue realistically represents the sort of exchange that can exist between even the most bonded of couples . . . especially if that couple has concerns regarding the inherited and possibly life-threatening condition of a child. Just ask my friends who recently celebrated the 19th birthday of their Downs Syndrome son. After going through a period where they kept asking themselves why this had happened to them and if they were being punished for any previous "sins," they have experienced and survived a number of rocky periods, realizing the truth of the saying that in Life, as in cards, it's up to you to work with the hand you're dealt.

Offline Louise

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2004, 06:03:51 PM »
Janet, you hit the nail on the head with the "soulmate" theory. Way over played. Every relationship/marriage/partnership has it fair share of problems, and road bumps. The Grand Ducal couple like every couple in the world then and now were not perfect and neither was their relationship at times. They were like us, mere mortals.

Of course like Princess Alice, I'm the perfect one in my relationship. Just ask me.

Louise
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Offline nerdycool

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2004, 01:35:20 PM »
Here's the letter Alice wrote to Louis from Balmoral in 1876:

"I longed for a real companion, for apart from that life had nothing to offer me in Darmstadt. I could have been quite happy and contented living in a cottage, if I had been able to share my intellectual interest, and intellectual aspirations with a husband whose strong, protective love would have guided me around the rocks.... so naturally I am bitterly disappointed with myself when I look back, and see that in spite of great ambitions, good intentions, and real effort, my hopes have nevertheless been completely shipwrecked... " -- Victoria's Daughters pg. 164

She also wrote to him that "natures like your are the happiest in themselves, but are not made to help, comfort and advise others, nor to share with others the heat of life's noon-day or the cool of the evening, with insight, understanding and sympathy..." --Victoria's Daughters pg. 165

Offline gem_10

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2004, 04:58:09 AM »
hi there! i'm currently looking MORE informations about Grand Duchess Alice's work as a nurse. I'm actually taking up nursing so I want to know about her contributions in improving the health system in Germany. I know she was a follower of Florence Nightingale.

Offline Lisa

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2004, 10:40:29 AM »
Quote



A letter written by Grand Duchess Alice



I just realised that the letter is in French! Here what I could read:

"Windsor Castle
7 (...)1859

Ma chère bonne (...)

Je te remercie mille fois pour ta chère lettre que j'ai reçue il y a deux ou trois jours. Je continue de penser constament à toi avec la même affection  et je n'oublierai jamais tout ce que je (...)"

Offline Martyn

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #26 on: August 03, 2004, 07:02:35 AM »
In his book "Victoria's Daughters", Jerrold Packard refers to a photo of Pss Alice in her wedding dress.
Does anyone know of this photo or does anyone have a copy that they might be kind enough to post?
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Martyn

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2004, 07:30:08 AM »
I certainly will copy the quote when I get home and am able to refer to the book (which I was just rereading last night)
I was a little puzzled at the idea of photographs of Alice and Ludwig on their wedding day as it was such a low key affair; apparently, on the day of the wedding her three sisters had to change out of mourning for the ceremony and then back again;Alice's own going away toilette was black.  I wouldn't have thought that there would necessarily be photos taken.
Having said that, some 19thc wedding photos were taken after the event, so there might be some of Alice in her wedding clothes....................
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Angie_H

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2004, 07:37:52 AM »
This shows an engraving of Alice's Wedding
http://www.btinternet.com/~sbishop100/alice3.jpg.

Both her wedding and her daughter Alix's wedding were shadowed by death

Angie

Offline jfkhaos

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Re: Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain
« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2004, 12:43:17 PM »
I believe the photo above was taken after the Prince of Wales' wedding, not her own.