Author Topic: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife  (Read 139053 times)

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Offline Grace

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #120 on: November 21, 2007, 02:30:51 PM »
Porphyria. I'm sure of it. Toria too. PS Anyone know a way of keeping an over-affectionate 18lb tomcat off the keyboard?

Yes.  Try feeding him.  If he weighs 18lb, he's probably tucking in hourly anyway, what?  If that doesn't work, what about getting him his own keyboard and making him a member here?  He could start off in the OTMA threads somewhere, or check out links about Beatrice's latest parties and Harry's most recent drinking escapades...

Offline Grace

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #121 on: November 21, 2007, 02:39:28 PM »
I am mystified by the near chronic nature of Louise's frail health! Even as early as 1890 her well being seems to have been a hot topic and at this date, she and Fife would migrate to the continent for the benefit of her health in the depths of winter. I know that everyone is different, but Louise seems to have endured a pretty poor constitution, unlike any other amongst her siblings or cousins! I confess I am not a medical expert at all, but I do find it quite fascinating that at the age of twenty two Louise was suffering from neuralgia, though I tend to wonder at the accuracy of this Victorian diagnosis. If it be the case that she did have neuralgia this early on in her life, then from what I have read about really bad neuralgia, she may well have suffered from depression also.

David Duff put forward a very interesting case as to why the Wales children may have been less robust then their cousins which is plausible, but I still wonder why out of all of them, Louise seems to have suffered the most severely. In Toria's case, I often wonder if Lord Dawson did not have a point when he hinted at hypochondria, perhaps caused by her general unhappiness with her lot. Maud on the other hand probably didn't help herself with her near starvation diet, which I suspect she adhered to, in order to maintain her figure to the end. But of all the Wales children, it is Louise who emerges first publicly as the one with the poorest health. I wonder whether she suffered from Porphyria or even ME. There have been numerous anecdotes about her 'mental upset' which I find most intriguing. I would love to know more about why it was necessary for a physician to be in near constant attendance upon her from the 1900s onwards!     

Regarding David Duff - do you mean the supposed blood incompatibility between Alix and Bertie?  This is most interesting, though I've never heard it discussed by anyone else. 

I also wonder about that good old Victorian term 'neuralgia'.  In Louise's case, it could have been something as simple (but painful) as a tooth problem, such as undiagnosed decay or a damaged tooth nerve - pain which can linger for a long time if not treated.

It's interesting that all three of the Wales girls seemed to give in to their various physical woes more than others of the time did.  Their parents didn't nor, it seems, did their brothers.

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #122 on: November 21, 2007, 02:57:55 PM »
What's interesting too is that none of them lived past 70. Compare that to Beatrice, Louise and Arthur!
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #123 on: November 21, 2007, 08:09:05 PM »
Yes, George made it the longest--70 years and about 6 mos. Were it not for his smoking (which exacerbated his lung ailments) he probably would've lived at least a few more. Maud died just a week before her 70th birthday.

I believe it was because of Louise's weak health that the family went on the trip to Egypt which resulted in the death of the Duke of Fife.
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Offline Terence

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #124 on: November 22, 2007, 01:11:02 AM »
Regarding David Duff - do you mean the supposed blood incompatibility between Alix and Bertie?  This is most interesting, though I've never heard it discussed by anyone else. 

Could you expand on this Grace, you've got me curious. :)

T

Offline Grace

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #125 on: November 22, 2007, 03:03:52 AM »
Regarding David Duff - do you mean the supposed blood incompatibility between Alix and Bertie?  This is most interesting, though I've never heard it discussed by anyone else. 

Could you expand on this Grace, you've got me curious. :)

T

Hi Terence.  I quote David Duff in his book Queen Mary:  "...the Wales girls had grown up to become difficult young ladies.  All three - Louise, Victoria (Toria) and Maud (Harry) - suffered from poor health, and neuralgia, fevers, abscesses, influenza and cysts succeeded one another with regular monotony.  This was not their fault, but an inherited weakness which also afflicted their brothers, Albert Victor and George.  All the children of Bertie and Alexandra (Alix) had been born prematurely.  Their father's blood was rhesus positive, their mother's rhesus negative, the consequences of which were not understood in those days.  Queen Victoria could not fathom it and dubbed them a 'puny lot'.  It indeed seemed strange that while Bertie and Alix were full of high spirits, brimming with energy and able to dance all night, their offspring were lethargic and backward".

What his sources were for this information I don't know.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2007, 03:05:57 AM by Grace »

Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #126 on: November 22, 2007, 08:13:08 AM »
Hi,

Wasn't Princess Louise the child who was born when Princess Alexandra had rheumatic fever?

If the Princess of Wales was suffering from rheumatic fever while pregnant, then her child would be affected greatly.
I have personal knowledge of this disease as one of my brothers suffered from it all his life.  Lethargy and being prone to any and every afflication are common with it.  My brother died when he was 22, but never 'had a life' anyway, so it was a blessing, I guess....

If Princess Louise was a double victim of her family's already ill health & rheumatic fever, then perhaps that is why she was more "sickly" than her siblings....

Just a thought and possibly a theory!!

Larry
« Last Edit: November 22, 2007, 08:15:06 AM by Vecchiolarry »

Offline Tdora1

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #127 on: November 22, 2007, 12:25:07 PM »
Regarding David Duff - do you mean the supposed blood incompatibility between Alix and Bertie?  This is most interesting, though I've never heard it discussed by anyone else. 

Hi Terence.  I quote David Duff in his book Queen Mary:  "...the Wales girls had grown up to become difficult young ladies.  All three - Louise, Victoria (Toria) and Maud (Harry) - suffered from poor health, and neuralgia, fevers, abscesses, influenza and cysts succeeded one another with regular monotony.  This was not their fault, but an inherited weakness which also afflicted their brothers, Albert Victor and George.  All the children of Bertie and Alexandra (Alix) had been born prematurely.  Their father's blood was rhesus positive, their mother's rhesus negative, the consequences of which were not understood in those days.  Queen Victoria could not fathom it and dubbed them a 'puny lot'.  It indeed seemed strange that while Bertie and Alix were full of high spirits, brimming with energy and able to dance all night, their offspring were lethargic and backward".

         The Rhesus factor was not discovered until 1937 and not confirmed for another 3. How on earth David Duff (or anyone) could have known this of Alexandra and Bertie I have no idea. Unless this was extrapolated from a highly unlikely sequence of descendants' blood groupings and then predicated on a wild guess. I cannot give this theory any credence.                                                                                        Approx. 15% of Caucasians are Rhesus Negative (ie their blood lacks the antigen known as Rhesus, usually written as Rh - or Rh Neg, so blood is usually grouped for example A Rh- or O Rh+) and where a mother is Rh Neg and the father is Rh Positive, the fetus is therefore more likely to inherit the Rh Pos factor. The mother's body then produces antigens in the blood in response which causes problems for the newborn. During subsequent pregnancies, the mother's antigen response lessens and these days a pregnant Rh Neg woman will recieve an injection of anti-immunoglobulin after each delivery to prevent the antigen response in her future pregnancies. The health problems for the newborn vary in severity but anaemia, jaundice, enlarged spleen and/or liver are the most recognised. These problems are likely to cause the sort of ill-health throughout later life as experience by the Wales girls.                                                                                                                                (I remember after being hospitalised for a miscarriage in my 20's being chased through in the carpark by the Head Nurse of the unit - they'd just seen my blood group written on the about-to-be-filed-away medical chart (A Rh Neg) and realised they'd discharged me without the essential enormous needlefull of anti-immunoglob in the bum!)
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alixaannencova

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #128 on: November 22, 2007, 01:03:03 PM »
How awful about your brother Larry! I am sorry!

I had no idea that Rheumatic fever or at least some bacteria from it can be transmitted to babies during birth! Now it seems to be treated with penicillin but back in 1867, heaven knows what they did for Louise. I guess she was lucky to have survived if she did receive some of the  Streptococcus bacteria, and perhaps that would explain her later health problems. It reaaly is a new avenue to explore and makes sense too!

Offline Tdora1

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #129 on: November 22, 2007, 01:59:49 PM »
My sympathies too, Larry. Rheumatic fever is sort of a forgotten illness these days, it seems...however, I can't think of how it may specifically affect the fetus. The general debility caused to the mother may well have caused Louise to be born underweight and generally not considered thriving (QV compared reports she had regarding baby Louise to her contemporary Princess May of Teck and the former was thought to be somewhat feeble and ailing) but many factors both pre and ante natal could be involved. The physiological process would have been for the growing fetus to be as protected as much as possible from maternal infection, even to the detriment and further weakness of the mother. Possibly there may have been some problem for the baby Louise developing an adequate childhood immune system of her own, and sometimes severe childhood illness - especially the viral ones like chickenpox - can contribute to later ill-health, especially with regards to infections and auto-immune disorders - in ways not yet clarified.                                                                                                                              Yet the suspicion of porphyria for both Louise and Toria is the one I think most likely. It would explain the secrecy surrounding their health problems - all those hints and euphemisms - as well as QV's anxiety other both of them. It was in the family still, of course, Prince William of Gloucester was reliably diagnosed and it seems almsot certin that his father the Duke of Gloucester had symptoms. Porphyria can remaim latent, only for the illness to resurface in future generations, and it varies enormouslty in the range and severity of the symptoms.
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Offline Tdora1

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #130 on: November 22, 2007, 02:02:23 PM »
Sorry my post re the rhesus factor (aboce) has been 'quoted' when ...erm..it isn't. Dunno how that happened. Oh yeah, it was the 18lbcat of course. Anyway, he's gone out to inspect Princess Beatrice's shows for an article for The Sun....
Acts of injustice done
Between the setting and the rising sun
In history lie like bones, each one.

W.H. Auden The Ascent of F6

Offline Ex-Princess Lisa

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #131 on: November 22, 2007, 03:52:19 PM »

T
[/quote]

Their father's blood was rhesus positive, their mother's rhesus negative, the consequences of which were not understood in those days. 

[/quote]

I am interested to hear that Alexandra was rhesus negative. Is it true?

I know a bit about it because I am rhesus negative and so is my daughter.

Are any other subsequent members of the Royal family who are known to be rhesus negative?

Not a serious condition anymore luckily.

Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #132 on: November 22, 2007, 04:44:13 PM »
Hi Alixaannenova & Tdora,

Thank you for your sympathetic comments about my brother.  Appreciated!!

I don't actually know whether rheumatic fever could or did affect a fetus or specifically Louise;  I'm just suggesting that maybe it could have had something to do with her future symptums.....
I certainly am no expert on medical aspects but I'm merely advancing a theory...  Who know???

Larry

alixaannencova

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #133 on: November 27, 2007, 05:52:15 AM »
In 1890 after the delivery of a still born son, the RF was forced, by 'alarmist' speculation to release a counter offensive bulletin stating that Louise was recovering.

Her recovery from the births of Alexandra and Maud was unexceptional, if a little protracted! Through Court circulars I have established that until 1899 her health seems to have been fine, then she missed Young Affie's memorial due to 'indisposition.' This was followed by statements in September and November 1900 about her improved health. 1901 seems to have been a good year for Louise health wise, but in 1902 she was taken ill in October and was unable to travel back to London from Mar Lodge until the latter half of November. Thereafter until 1906 her health is of no concern. Then, she missed the Braemar gathering and had an operation on the 10th September, returned to London on the 13th November, and had a second operation in the first week of December. Thereafter I can find no reference to real indisposition of even a bout of 'influenza' or cold, until she suffered the gastric haemorrhage in 1925. Subsequently, I tend to believe that though her constitution was not robust, Louise was hardly languishing during this nineteen year period. In 1907 she and Macduff began their annual migration to the south of Europe for the benefit of her health. On February 1st 1907 they and the girls left for Gibraltar aboard the SS Moldavia and remained there for nearly two months,staying at the Governor's cottage, Europa Point, with trips to Tangier and Malaga. They arrived back in the UK 5th April. In addition to such sojourns, Macduff annually chartered the steam yacht Catania for summer cruises around Norwegian waters. The first occasion was in June 1907 for just over a month with subsequent cruises in the summers of 1908 and 1909. The couple returned to Gibraltar in December 1907 and stayed again at Europa Point with a trip to Algeciras and Rondo in March, embarking for England on 30th March 1908.  In December of the same year, Louise and Macduff and the girls took their fist trip to Egypt, and went up the Nile in their own chartered dehabeah. This trip was repeated annually until 1911/12 and then ceased all together.

I find it quite interesting that after Macduff's death, Louise never appears to have left British shores again. Why? Did her health improve, or was she unwilling to go! I do find this rather strange! Another revealing statistic is the increase in Louise's public engagements after Macduff's death. On average during the 1890s/1900s Louise's public engagements never seem to have amounted to more than eight a year! Furthermore these appearances at such functions were generally in a 'supportive' role of her husband, who was generally the Patron/President of the charity concerned in most cases! One particular case comes to mind, Macduff was President of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for sick Children and annually he and Louise visited and she distributed toys etc, but after his death, she never again had such a prominent role supporting  the hospital. I wonder whether Macduff was a little bit domineering, as after his death Louise seems to have been far more individual in her choice of engagements and the general pattern of her life.

During the Great War the number of her annual engagements hit a high, which would have been quite natural  in the circumstances averaging nearly thirty a year. Admittedly many of these were in the form of fund raising matinĂ©e performances, but the statistics show that Louise was an 'active' member of the RF regularly visiting hospitals, depots and factories as well.

Looking through the still incomplete list of charities to which Louise gave her patronage I am struck by her particular attachment to two, the Theatrical Ladies Guild and the Church Army. The former regarded her as 'beloved' and her last public engagement was to have been a visit to distribute stars to the members on the day she fell ill for the last time in December 1930. I am still trying to confirm whether she did actually attend the award ceremony or not.

A partial list of charities with which she was linked follows for any one who may be interested:-

Vice President - The RSPCA
Vice Patron - The British and Foreign Sailors Society
Patron - The Church Army's Medical Mission and Alexandra Club
President - The Church Army's Recreational Branch
Patron - The Lotus Ladies Orchestra
Joint Patron - The Scottish Home Industries Association
President - The London British Red Cross Society
Patron - The Theatrical Ladies Guild
Patron - The Greater London Fund for the Blind
Patron - The Ladies Association in aid of Princess Christian's fund for the Deaf and Dumb
President - The Queen Alexandra League to support the Lord Mayor Treloar Cripples' Hospital and College

Even after the war, Louise continued to appear at engagements and although I do not know what tallies other members of the RF scored in comparison, she, Louise notched up an average of seventeen public/state engagements a year inclusive between January 1919 and December 1929. It must be noted that 1925 - 26 were years of particular ill health when Louise only seems to have managed six and four appearances each. Furthermore, I must point out that I am a little concerned that the 'Times' search engine is not exactly perfect for refined searches but the stats are still of some value. 

   

alixaannencova

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #134 on: November 27, 2007, 05:57:35 AM »
I am also pretty sure that Louise was a de facto patron within the organisation of the Braemar Gathering, but have yet to find definitive documentation of this!