Author Topic: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife  (Read 139054 times)

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Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #225 on: February 12, 2010, 08:26:55 AM »
Margot, thank you so much for posting that wonderful & fascinating video of Princess Louise!! It brings her memory alive I think, she certainly does not appear shy!!

I looked up Denville Hall and it is still going today! Still  a home for retired actors. Very interesting to see this link and compare it to the footage!

http://www.denvillehall.org.uk/gallery.html
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Offline Margot

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #226 on: February 12, 2010, 02:15:17 PM »
Eddie it was a real pleasure for me to find the video of Louise! It is amazing to think that she opened Denville in mid July! Look at that wind and her clothes! Talk about an English summer!

Louise was a very keen patron of the theatre and used to go frequently to watch performances in the West End when in London! It was one of her most noticeable activities actually!

As well as Denville she was most closely associated with the Theatrical Ladies Guild. Her last engagement was presenting medals to members of the guild in December 1930 before she was taken ill for the last time.

The guild like Denville Hall is still going and has been doing good works since 1891.

I too did not find Louise's body language or general demeanor to appear to be that of someone who was supposed to be pathologically shy, perhaps she was just a very accomplished actress! If anything she appeared to be taking the whole 'centre of attention' bit in her stride and appeared to speak to everyone with what I thought appeared a semblance of ease and confidence not a shrinking violet speaking like a mouse from under her eye lashes with nervous eyes and shifting feet at all! I wonder what a psycho analyst would make of it!



Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #227 on: February 13, 2010, 02:28:33 AM »

I too did not find Louise's body language or general demeanor to appear to be that of someone who was supposed to be pathologically shy, perhaps she was just a very accomplished actress! If anything she appeared to be taking the whole 'centre of attention' bit in her stride and appeared to speak to everyone with what I thought appeared a semblance of ease and confidence not a shrinking violet speaking like a mouse from under her eye lashes with nervous eyes and shifting feet at all! I wonder what a psycho analyst would make of it!


I quite agree Margot

Where was she living when she died exactly? I know it was Portman Square, do we know which number? I have seen Fife House in Brighton (very lovely) and found pictures of Mar Lodge which I posted earlier. What happened to Sheen Lodge? I work in Sheen sometimes but have found no clues to it's existence!

I wonder if Louise lost many fine jewels in the shipwreck also? She wrote to George V that she lost her bag. Also I wonder how many servants they had with them?
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Offline Margot

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #228 on: February 13, 2010, 02:40:44 AM »
She died at 15 Portman Square....they lived briefly in a house at Cavendish Square before acquiring the lease on No 15!

East Sheen was sold before Duff House! It was later demolished to make room for a redevelopment! I think Macduff was keen to have ready capital hence the massive selling phase!

As to the wreck....they certainly had an entourage with them! What actually happened after they reached shore and transferred to Europa Point is a bit of mystery!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 02:42:48 AM by Margot »

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #229 on: February 13, 2010, 02:49:32 AM »
Fascinating stuff! Thank you Margot. I thought Sheen Lodge must have been bulldozed as could find no reference too it, shame for the poor frogs in the garden!

It would appear 15 Portman Square is a very large 1930s building so maybe the original was demolished too? "Demolished" - how i hate that word!!
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Offline Margot

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #230 on: February 13, 2010, 03:11:09 AM »
Interestingly the only one of Louise and Macduff's three principal marital homes still standing, as was so to speak is the house in Brighton! Mar Lodge was rebuilt after the fire when the Kluges owned it although it  was incredibly well done and one could hardly guess the fire even happened! Portman Square was all but swallowed up within years of Louise's death! Alexandra C. lived a bit further north!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 03:16:07 AM by Margot »

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #231 on: February 13, 2010, 11:26:53 AM »
I'm not familiar with Duff House, can you tell us, if possible, anymore about that one please Margot?

I would love to see some photos of Sheen Lodge but have found nothing!

I wonder if Louise ever made an insurance claim for her lost belongings? If so it might make interesting reading - like the ones some of the Titanic survivors completed!!!
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Offline Margot

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #232 on: February 13, 2010, 01:56:50 PM »
I am like you Eddie! I have spent years trying to get my paws on some pictures of East Sheen Lodge! I believe the house was sold in 1906. I did find some data once about the next owner but can not locate the papers at the mo!

As to Duff House....well I love it and think it a really beautiful house! William Adam, father of the famous Robert and James Adam designed the house for the 1st Earl Fife! Apparently the building work went on for much longer than it should as the Earl was neurotic about the costs and he dismissed Adam and had the work completed gradually! Originally the house was supposed to have corner pavillions to provide as service annexes and private apartments but these were never built due most probably to the costs involved. Hence perhaps the unusual height of the house!

The present house is charming and is lavishly decorated inside and the park was landscaped by the 2nd Earl Fife in the 1770s.

Louise and Macduff would come to Duff House annually. Like a medieval feudal couple they would be feted when they arrived and would be installed at Duff House with due ceremony. Due to their year long absences the towns of Banff and Macduff would come out to celebrate the return of their Lord and his Royal wife! The Fifes would stay at Duff House for a week or so and always hosted a garden party for the locals and a children's party with entertainers and what not! But in 1905 Macduff sold a selection of paintings from the house and in the following year he dispensed with the house and park giving it as a present to the towns of Banff and Macduff!

It is important to remember here that Mar Lodge and its estate had only become a proper home for the Duff family in the 1860s after the Duke of Leeds sold the estate. After this the family began to spend more and more time there and less time at Duff House.

As to an insurance claim from the Delhi ship wreck! I had never really thought about that Eddie! Maybe I should have a bit of a rootle!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 02:19:17 PM by Margot »

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #233 on: February 13, 2010, 09:34:19 PM »
I do believe that Louise was very shy--there are so many contemporary reports (both by observers and family members) of her nature. I don't know that it was 'pathological'. Even when she enjoyed better health, she was still extremely loath to carry out public events, despite her very visible title of Princess Royal. That's not to say that when she did carry out a (very) few, she couldn't turn on the royal demeanor and act in a professional manner and how one would expect. I don't believe it was something that she enjoyed, however. Didn't someone once write about the epidemic of shyness amongst Queen Victoria's family, including the Queen herself? Some were just better than others at 'faking it until making it'.
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Offline Margot

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #234 on: February 14, 2010, 03:49:24 AM »
I only used the term pathological in a 'tongue in cheek' way Ella! You know what I am like with my great big spoon in a cauldron!

I remember last year I mentioned the peculiar nature of Louise's shyness and how Lillie Dehn compared Louise's affliction to  Alexandra Feodorovna's shyness and how unusual it appeared to be! I also remember pointing out that Queen Victoria herself was terribly shy too! Princess Beatrice was also another who suffered agonies due to shyness as well! But duty and obligation came before personal proclivities in both cases.

What I find so very interesting is that Louise, Victoria and Maud were known rather cynically as their 'Royal Shynesses' and yet only Louise remains the one who today is really labelled as such! Whether this is simply because we know so little about her, is I feel, the most interesting and pertinent point for consideration. Victoria's life and personality have been 'pawed' over and discussed at great length in the last twenty odd years as has that of Maud. Both made a far bigger impact, whether intentionally or not than Louise. Victoria's role as a shadow to her mother made her a relatively familiar figure to the public regardless of what the press of the time said. During the reign of her parents, Victoria was generally always with them at public engagements, hence she was far more of a familiar member of the family than her elder sister. As for Maud, well we all know that she was thrust upon a throne and found herself duty bound to fulfill her destiny in the best way she knew how. She subsequently did it admirably as we all know!

Only Louise really lingers in the shadows! I dare say she preferred this and wished it so! As I have said over again here, I find it fascinating that an individual born into the purple could have been able to lead such a 'private' life! It is also relevant to take into account the very valid point made by several posters here,which is that that neither Edward VII nor Queen Alexandra appeared to have encouraged or instilled an ethos of Royal duty into any of their children! It is a curious issue as George, Maud and to a point Victoria all grew into perfectly able working members of the Royal Family although none shone! George proved himself a reasonably able sovereign even though he was never trained for such a role, Victoria spent years traipsing around after her mother and although she was never very good at PR relations did not retire into obscurity post 1925 but in fact if anything did become a Princess with an 'indentity' of her own albeit on a local level! Maud as we all know proved herself with elan, maybe not perfect or easy going, but goodness did she surprise those who may have doubted her ability to cope!

As for Louise....well that is just it.....she never seems to have had to confront and face up to her position as a Princess let alone that as 'Princess Royal'. If one looks at every single one of the six women who have been Princesses Royal, Louise alone is the only one who never seems to have had to fulfill a significant role. I remember saying that I thought Louise was guilty of Sloth and although I am fascinated by her, I still think that in the Royal sense of that word she was guilty of failing to fulfill her duty! It does not matter now and I am sure it was easy enough for her to fade into the background primarily because she had aunts like Helena, Louise Argyll and Beatrice as well as cousins like Helena Victoria, Marie Louise, Alice Athlone and Patricia Connaught who all carried out engagements (that last significantly less so after 1919). Why Louise was such a shrinking violet or was allowed to be so during the 1890s, which then lead to her being more or less side lined, always leaves me wondering why she was allowed to flout her responsibilities and duties in the first place? It always seems to go back to the issue of her 'delicate' health and shyness! Well looking at the Denville Hall footage....although it may only be one single reel of footage shot when she was fifty eight, I think that it shows that there must be more complex issues here that require further consideration than just the simple excuse of 'shyness' and what not!
  
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 03:55:45 AM by Margot »

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #235 on: February 14, 2010, 08:52:18 PM »
Very interesting post, Margot. I had requoted the word pathological because some people really are pathologically shy and cannot overcome it. I don't find it a character fault as it is psychological in nature rather than a behavioral issue and thus deserving of consideration.

I think Louise had health problems, without a doubt, but I also think that she used them to hide behind. Maud was similar while she was Princess Maud and Princess Charles but dutifully put it behind her once she became Queen of Norway. I think Louise was more selfish in that respect--her personal comfort (physical and emotional) came before her duty as, not just a royal princess, but the Princess Royal. She should have been the most visible Princess of her generation given her status. Her aunt Louise married a peer of the realm as well but didn't retreat from her royal life.

Nonetheless, I still find her 'interesting' (for lack of a better word) mostly because I enjoy studying royals who still maintain an element of the unknown. Royals whose lives have been so dissected and picked over for the most part don't interest me as much. I still feel that element of surprise with royals such as Louise, even if that's mistaken, because you always get the feeling that there could be more there that just hasn't been uncovered for whatever reason.

On a side note, I find George as interesting as a subject for a second historical look much in the way you view Louise. I would view him as the most successful monarch of the 21st century (more than just reasonably able) given the time he lived in, the level he rose to despite, as you point out, not having been expected to be monarch until he was almost 30, and his own nature. I find his dealings with Ramsey MacDonald and David Lloyd George very interesting for instance. I think there are a lot of preconceived notions out there that just aren't born out by facts. But that's for his own thread. : )
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Offline Margot

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #236 on: February 15, 2010, 03:31:42 AM »
Omigod Ella you have soo hit the nail on the head!!!!

It is about digging a little bit deeper with regards to the unknowns that adds to our 'piquant' interest in cetrain members of the Royal Family! I wish I had your way with words!!!!!

I totally see your point about George V! There is so much more about his character and how he dealt with life that I feel needs further attention! I guess that is what we call revisionist historical theory! Personally, I feel the same thing applies to George VI who is for some reason the 20th century monarch to whom I feel most drawn!

As for Louise, well I will await the day some bright 'spark' decides to rootle around the Royal archives in a quest to find out who she was, what she was all about and why she is perceived and 'labelled' as she is to this day! I am not clever enough to be such a person but I am sure that one day someone will be fired by a similar gnawing curiosity and will take up a search light and do it!

 

Offline ashdean

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #237 on: February 16, 2010, 08:32:08 AM »

I too did not find Louise's body language or general demeanor to appear to be that of someone who was supposed to be pathologically shy, perhaps she was just a very accomplished actress! If anything she appeared to be taking the whole 'centre of attention' bit in her stride and appeared to speak to everyone with what I thought appeared a semblance of ease and confidence not a shrinking violet speaking like a mouse from under her eye lashes with nervous eyes and shifting feet at all! I wonder what a psycho analyst would make of it!


I quite agree Margot

Where was she living when she died exactly? I know it was Portman Square, do we know which number? I have seen Fife House in Brighton (very lovely) and found pictures of Mar Lodge which I posted earlier. What happened to Sheen Lodge? I work in Sheen sometimes but have found no clues to it's existence!

I wonder if Louise lost many fine jewels in the shipwreck also? She wrote to George V that she lost her bag. Also I wonder how many servants they had with them?
I doubt she lost many important peices apart from perhaps pearls....Royalties travelling abroad on private visits rarely took huge amounts of jewels with them...

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #238 on: February 16, 2010, 11:19:18 AM »
Wasn't there some talk about her losing on of her tiaras? Obviously not one of her 'best' ones ala the Fife but one of her smaller ones--perhaps for any dinners with the local dignitiaries or fellow royals/nobility who might be in the area.
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Offline Margot

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Re: Princess Louise,Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
« Reply #239 on: February 16, 2010, 03:15:12 PM »
I tend to wonder about the lovely Forget me not pieces that could be worn as a tiara! I have only ever seen one photograph of Louise wearing the forget me nots in this way at Margaret Connaught's wedding! Where the Forget me nots went is a real mystery! We know the whereabouts of the Fife and the Fringe was worn by Louise in the twenties too! As to other pieces that may have been in a jewel case which was lost is anyone's guess!

It seems perfectly feasible that she would take at least one tiara with her on trips abroad! Although I am not certain that during a voyage the Fifes might not have dined alone in their suite, I do nonetheless ponder whether or not they may have been obliged to sit at the Captain's table  at least once outbound and inbound! In which case I would have thought that tiaras would have been worn by those who could get their paws on them. I may be quite wrong about this, but it would make sense that Louise took at least one tiara as a contingency!