Author Topic: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany  (Read 52319 times)

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Offline basilforever

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2007, 11:57:06 AM »
Maybe we can compare Leopold and Helena's wedding to that of Edward and Sophie - not as big as when the Prince of Wales got married (I mean Charles's first marriage) but still a big event that interested the nation very much and was still very newsworthy.
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2007, 02:47:41 PM »
It seems harder in general to find photos of grooms on their wedding day. There are many photos of all the royal brides in QV's family, those who were her daughters and those who became so through marriage. There are less of the men, save for the Prince of Wales, and even then he's usually seen in conjunction with Alexandra.
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Offline XJaseyRaeX

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2007, 02:59:10 PM »
heres one i found of Leopold....


I am.

Offline eejm

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2007, 08:04:15 PM »
I think that, had Prince Albert lived another twenty or even ten years, Leopold would have become his protege.  Vicky was his prime student until she left home to marry Fritz; Alice somewhat took over in her absence.  Leopold was only about eight when his father died, but he ended up being extremely intellectual and cultured, perhaps the most of Victoria's and Albert's children.  I think Albert would have recognized this in Leopold and encouraged his love of learning.  Leopold's illness would have likely been less of an obstacle in his adolescence and young adulthood; as Victoria thought everything Albert thought and said was gold, she'd have likely set less restrictions on Leopold due to his health.

I wonder if Leopold would have lived longer under his father's tutelage, and what he would have accomplished?  He seemed to learn to deal with his mother fairly well and have a very full life despite her wanting to keep him cloistered, but what would he have done as his father's pet?  Would he have still married Helena?  Travelled more?  Would he have realized his dream of an ambassadorship or Governor General of a colony?

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2008, 01:24:45 PM »
This beautiful item was for sale in the William Tallon auction. He originally brought it in 1964 for 20! It made over 2,000 on Saturday.



It's a trinket box with Leopold's picture on it. From memory the inscription read "To Alma Breadalbane from Leopold, Windsor Castle 1877"

Alma was the Duchess of Albany's lady-in-waiting.

They made such lovely things!! :):)
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Offline eejm

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #35 on: July 09, 2008, 07:06:38 PM »
Lady Breadalbane was Leopold's first love.  She was married, and it sounded as though it was an innocent crush more than anything. 

Offline Luc

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2008, 12:35:38 PM »
http://fotocollectie.huisdoorn.nl/HuDF-1104

This is maybe a rare photo (I've never seen it before) of Prince Leopold and Prince Arthur made in July 1859 on the terrace of Osborne House. It's from the collection of Huis Doorn.

Offline Luc

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2008, 08:28:17 AM »
Princess Helen of Waldeck was born in 1861 as one of the daughters of Prince Georg Viktor of Waldeck-Pyrmont and Princess Helena of Nassau-Weilburg. She married the fourth son of Queen Victoria', Prince Leopold, in 1882 and became Duchess of Albany. In 1883 a daughter was born, the late Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone and in 1884 a son, Prince Charles, was born. One of her sisters was Queen Emma of The Netherlands.
What's more known about this young widow with two children ? She seems to be not quite popular to yours... ;D

Offline eejm

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2008, 11:08:15 AM »
Helen came from a family that married quite well, despite their rather humble status as the royal family in a small, quiet principality.  Her sister Emma became Queen of the Netherlands, of course, and another sister, Marie, became the Crown Princess of Wurttemberg.  She unfortunately died before she became queen.  Helen's marriage to Leopold, however, was looked at as the most advantageous match - her mother-in-law was the most powerful monarch in the world.  The sisters' mother, Helene of Nassau, was quite insistent on making prestigious matches for her daughters and by in large, she did quite well.

Helen came from a very intelligent, well-educated family.  Her five sisters and one brother were all quite clever.  Helen's daughter, Alice of Athlone, noted that Helen loved to read philosophy and solve math problems.  She enjoyed a healthy debate and had her sense of duty was paramount. 

Helen came to Prince Leopold's attention during the summer of 1881.  Leopold had had little success in finding a bride, in part due to his health problems (hemophilia and mild epilepsy).  At least two of his potential wives had fallen in love with other men before Leopold had had a chance to propose.  He was determined to find a bride, but frustrated at the process. 

Leopold's mother, Queen Victoria, began speaking with Prince William of Wurttemberg (husband of Marie) about his in-laws during that summer.  Victoria had met Helene of Waldeck years earlier on an official visit to Britain.  The family was well-liked in Prussia, which was crucial to being a choice of a British prince or princess.  Victoria knew about Emma's recent marriage to William of the Netherlands, but inquired about other unmarried daughters.  William suggested Helen, who was twenty at the time and had had few prospective suitors.  Victoria in turn suggested that Leopold visit Helen and see what he thought.  Though anxious to find a wife, Leopold was tired of disappointment and put off the visit as long as he could.  Finally, on a trip to Darmstadt to see the Hesse family, Leopold saw Helen for the first time during a visit chaperoned by her mother and younger sister.

Both parties were pleased with what they saw.  Oxford-educated Leopold was impressed by Helen's also considerable intelligence.  The Waldeck family began to inquire about Leopold's medical issues, a point of contention in Leopold's earlier potential matches.  Leopold tried not to get his hopes up.  In October of 1881, however, the Waldecks gave their consent.  The way was clear for Helen and Leopold needed to decide for themselves if they wanted to marry.  Leopold quietly began making preparations to visit Arolsen, the Waldeck capitol, the following month.

Leopold made the trip lasting about two weeks.  He met several times with various members of the Waldeck family, including Helen, when he sang her a love song.  The couple became engaged after about a week and began making wedding plans.  Members of Leopold's family were quite surprised at Helen, as the match was not exactly politically advantageous.  However, he'd finally achieved his goal of finding a suitable royal bride whom he liked personally.  Well-liked within his large family, Leopold was congratulated and supported.  Even Queen Victoria, who'd been initially reluctant to let Leopold marry due to his health, gave her consent.

The couple was married in St. George's Chapel on April 27, 1882.  They settled immediately at Claremont, a royal residence that Queen Victoria had given Prince Leopold the year before.  The marriage started off with tragedy, as Helen's sister Marie died in childbirth just days after the wedding.  Leopold helped a devastated Helen through her sadness, and the two had a happy first summer together.  By July or August, it was clear that Helen was already pregnant.  Alice, the couple's first child, was born the following February.

Leopold was both surprised and overjoyed at being a father.  His mother was similarly shocked, as she thought Leopold's health prevented him from having children.  ("I can scarcely believe Leopold's got a child!" she wrote to a friend.)  The couple were quite happy in their life together, and Leopold began pushing for an overseas assignment in Australia or Canada.  Helen quickly became pregnant again after Alice's birth, but unfortunately miscarried.  She became pregnant once more near the end of 1883. 

The British winters had long given Leopold trouble with his health.  His joints became stiff and painful from his hemophilia, and internal bleeding was always a concern.  His doctors suggested in February 1884 that he go to Cannes, France for relief.  Helen, experiencing a difficult pregnancy, could not make the trip.  The couple parted for what was to be a few weeks, writing one another letters almost daily. 

On March 27, 1884, Leopold slipped on a staircase in a casino.  Bumping his knee, the injury did not seem serious.  Leopold had time to write a letter to Helen explaining what had happened and that he was laid up.  Helen began making preparations to send baby Alice to Cannes to see her father.  Early the next morning, however, Leopold died.  He appeared to have a seizure, but it may have been a reaction to the morphine he was given.  Leopold's brother Bertie went to France to retrieve his brother's body.

to be continued...

Offline Luc

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #39 on: August 17, 2008, 12:27:31 PM »
Very interesting story, thank you so much ! Is she a favourite of you ?
I've read while they were celebrating Helen's wedding in London, their sister Marie was dying in Stuttgart... :(
Who were Leopold's other potential wives, as you said ?

Offline eejm

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #40 on: August 17, 2008, 03:15:17 PM »
Very interesting story, thank you so much ! Is she a favourite of you ?
I've read while they were celebrating Helen's wedding in London, their sister Marie was dying in Stuttgart... :(
Who were Leopold's other potential wives, as you said ?
Thank you, Luc.  Yes, Helen is a favorite of mine.  :)

Leopold considered several other possible brides.  He came closest to Calma of Schleswig-Holstein, niece of his brother-in-law, Christian.  Calma was also the sister of Empress Dona, wife of Emperor Wilhelm II.  Christian and his wife, Leopold's sister Helena, seemed to be very supportive of the marriage, but when the union looked more likely, the more distant they became.  Finally, some letter surfaced which Calma's father (who'd died years before) forbade a match between Calma and Leopold - odd, considering a marriage between the two was never discussed during his lifetime.  It was pretty obvious that the Schleswig-Holsteins were backing out because of Leopold's health problems.  He was understandably pretty upset with his sister and brother-in-law at the whole situation, but relations improved over time.  In a strange twist of fate, Leopold and Helen's son, Charles Edward, married Calma's daughter!

Leopold also seriously considered his second cousin, Frederica of Hanover.  Before he proposed, however, Frederica told Leopold that she was secretly in love with her father's equerry.  Leopold encouraged Frederica to pursue the equerry (I forget his name), and the two later married with Queen Victoria's blessing.  Frederica and Leopold stayed very close friends, and she later became friends with Helen by association. 

Ironically, yet another of Leopold's potential brides also fell in love and married an equerry, this time a close friend of Leopold's.  Leopold was about to propose to Daisy Maynard, a British heiress, when she told him she was in love with Lord Brooke.  The two later married, with Leopold serving as best man. 

Leopold also considered Elizabeth of Hesse-Cassel and Victoria of Baden, but nothing seemed to come of these pairings.  I think Victoria was considered too young at the time Leopold inquired about her.

Offline eejm

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2008, 03:58:31 PM »
...continued from above

Helen was understandably devastated by Leopold's death.  While always a possibility due to his health, his death was completely unexpected.  The couple had been married just shy of two years and Helen was pregnant.  She took it well, however, and even Queen Victoria praised her daughter-in-law's strong reserve.  The journey of Leopold's body back to Britain took several weeks, and Helen was upset by this.  Because of it, she later told her children to bury her wherever she died to avoid such problems.  She died at her son's hunting lodge in Austria and was buried nearby. 

Alice of Athlone speaks of financial strain during her childhood.  Parliament suspended Leopold's annual income of 25,000 pounds after his death; it was due a little over a week later on his birthday.  Instead, Helen received less than a quarter of this at 6000 pounds annually.  I believe even receiving this amount took some fight on her part.  She stayed with the children at Claremont for many years.  While she did not own the property, Leopold had made provisions in his will that she was to live there as long as she liked.

Helen gave birth to Leopold's posthumous son in July 1884.  Named Leopold in honor of his father, he was later known as Charles Edward.  Alice remembered her mother wearing her mourning clothes for a long time after Leopold's death, and constantly reminding her children that they needed to live up to their father's good name.  Alice also remembered her mother as a wonderful storyteller, and fueling both children's interest in literature. 

Helen stayed close to Leopold's friends, particularly a circle at Oxford that he had introduced her to during the early part of her marriage.  Helen also remained close to her sister-in-law, Beatrice, becoming the latter's confidant after the death of her husband Henry of Battenberg.  Beatrice often praised Helen's patience and understanding during that time, as the two were both young widows. The two later coordinated some of their charitable activities together.  Helen was particularly interested in hospital charities, and those dedicated to improving work conditions.  She had been interested in similar types of social work during her youth in Waldeck.  Helen was the founder and patron of the Deptford Fund, which helped young women employed in the dangerous cattle slaughter business to find alternative work.  Alice worked with the Deptford Fund after her mother's death, and it is still in existence today. 

Helen and her sister-in-law Louise, Duchess of Connaught apparently did not get along.  I've found a mention of this in Roger Fulford's Beloved Mama, but he does not mention why.  I can't find any other mentions of their problems with one another. 

After the death of her nephew Prince Alfred, Charles Edward was chosen as the heir to the duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  In 1899, Helen and her teenage children went to live in Germany in preparation for Charles Edward's accession.  Helen returned to Britain a few years later.  Claremont was sold a few years before WWI, and Helen moved to Kensington Palace.  She remained active in her social work, and close to her family.  Her visits with her sister, Dowager Queen Emma, increased over the years. 

Alice married the Earl of Athlone in 1904 and had three children.  Her youngest son, Maurice, died in infancy.  Elder son Rupert died in his 20s in a car accident.  Having a hemophiliac father, Alice was guaranteed to be a carrier, the only one of Queen Victoria's granddaughters to inherit it from the male line.  She passed the disease onto Rupert, which almost certainly hastened his death.  Alice and her husband travelled around the world in service to Britain; as the brother of Queen Mary, the two were especially active during the reign of George V.  Alice died in 1981, the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria. 

Charles Edward married Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein and had five children.  He succeeded his uncle as Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1900 and consequently fought on the German side of WWI.  Following his loss of title and property after the war, Charles Edward later became closely affiliated with Hitler and the Nazi party.  He was imprisoned after WWII and heavily fined.  Charles Edward died in 1954.  Through his daughter Sibilla, Charles is the grandfather of Carl XVI Gustaf, the current king of Sweden. 

Helen had long had problems with her heart, and died very suddenly in 1921 at her son's hunting lodge in Austria.  Per her request, she was buried nearby.  Helen never remarried after her brief marriage to Leopold, although she was rumored to be involved with Lord Rosebery around the turn of the century. 

Offline Luc

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #42 on: August 24, 2008, 09:08:04 AM »
Eejm, maybe this is interesting for you:
http://www.koninklijkhuis.nl/content.jsp?objectid=25963

I'll translate it:
"Emma's younger sister Helen married in 1882 at Windsor Castle Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, youngest son of Queen Victoria.
Queen Emma's collection fans included a black-silk fan set in an ebony frame with a photo of Helen with Leopold and their daughter on it."

Offline eejm

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #43 on: August 24, 2008, 12:06:59 PM »
Thanks, Luc.  I wish there was a close up picture of the fan.  The picture on it looks like it was taken in the same sitting as one included in Leopold's biography, in which Helen is looking down at Alice and smiling.  In the picture on the fan, however, it appears she is looking up at the camera. 

Does anyone know why Helen and Louise, Duchess of Connaught (Arthur's wife) did not get along?

Offline Luc

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Re: Leopold and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Albany
« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2008, 09:41:55 AM »