Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by RhinePrincess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine
(25 April 1843
- 14 December 1878
) was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
and her consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
. She was a maternal grandmother of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
and a great grandmother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II
Her Royal Highness The Princess Alice Maud Mary of Great Britain and Ireland was born at Buckingham Palace. She was educated with her elder sister, Victoria, Princess Royal, was especially attached to her elder brother, Albert Edward, the Prince Wales. After the marriage of the Princess Royal to the-then Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia in 1858, Queen Victoria came to rely on Princess Alice's support as the eldest daughter at home. The eighteen year-old Princess Alice nursed Prince Albert during his final illness in December 1861.
On 1 July 1862, Princess Alice married His Grand Ducal Highness Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine (12 September 1837-13 March 1892), the son of Prince Karl of Hesse and by Rhine (23 April 1809-20 March 1877) and Princess Elizabeth of Prussia (18 June 1815-21 March 1855) and the nephew of Ludwig III, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine (9 June 1806-13 June 1877), at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. On the day of the wedding, Queen Victoria issued Letters Patent granted her new son-in-law the style Royal Highness. This style was in effect in Great Britain, not Hesse.
Prince and Princess Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine went to live in Darmstadt. The couple had seven children:
- Princess Victoria (5 April 1863-24 September 1950) m. her cousin HSH Prince Louis of Battenberg, later 1st Marquess of Milford-Haven (24 May 1854-11 September 1921), and had issue.
- Princess Elizabeth (1 November 1864-17 July 1918), took the name Elizabeth Feodorovna on her baptism into the Russian Orthodox Church, m. HIH The Grand Duke Sergei (11 May 1857-17 February 1905, the fifth son of Tsar Alexander III of Russia and had issue.
- Princess Irene (11 July 1866-11 November 1953) m. her first cousin HRH Prince Heinrich of Prussia 14 August 1862-20 April 1929), the second son of Victoria, Princess Royal and the German Emperor Friedrich III and had issue.
- Prince Ernst Ludwig (25 November 1868-9 October 1937), succeeded his father as Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, 13 March 1892, forced to abdicate 9 November 1918; m. 1st (divorced 1901) his first cousin HRH Princess Victoria Melita of Great Britain and of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (25 November 1876-2 March 1936), the second daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and later reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; m. 2nd HH Princess Eleonore zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich (17 September 1871-16 November 1937), and had issue.
- Prince Friedrich (Frederick) (7 October 1870-29 May 1873), a hemophilic
- Princess Alix (6 June 1872-17 July 1918), took the name Alexandra Feodorovna on her baptism into the Russian Orthodox Church, m. HIM Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (18 May 1868-17 July 1918).
- Princess Marie (24 May 1874-16 November 1878).
Princess Alice's concern about the poor nursing conditions for wounded soldiers during the 1866 Austro-Prussian War
, led her found the Alice-Frauenverin
, or Women's Union, to train nurses and auxiliary workers. On 13 June 1877
, Prince Ludwig succeeded his uncle as the reigning Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Alice became the Grand Duchess. However, in November 1878
, the Grand Duke and all but one of the children, Princess Elizabeth, fell issue with diphtheria
; Princess Marie died of the disease. Exhausted by nursing all of them, the Grand Duchess succumbed to the disease and died at the Neues Palais in Darmstadt on 14 December
, the anniversary of her father's death. Princess Alice of Great Britain, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine is buried at Rosenhöhe, the mausoleum for the Grand Ducal House of Hesse outside of Darmstadt.