Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone

Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone

Infobox British Royalty|royal
name =Princess Alice
title =Countess of Athlone

caption =As Viceregal consort of Canada
spouse =Alexander, Earl of Athlone
issue =Lady May Abel Smith
Rupert, Viscount Trematon
Prince Maurice of Teck
full name =Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline
titles ="HRH" Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
"HRH" Princess Alice, Lady Cambridge
"HRH" Princess Alexander of Teck
"HRH" Princess Alice of Albany
royal house =House of Windsor
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
father =Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
mother =Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont
date of birth =birth date|1883|2|25|df=y
place of birth =Windsor Castle, Berkshire
date of christening =26 March 1883
place of christening =St George's Chapel, Windsor
date of death =Death date and age|1981|1|3|1883|2|25|df=yes
place of death =Kensington Palace, London
place of burial =Frogmore, Windsor|

Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline; née Princess Alice of Albany; 25 February 1883 – 3 January 1981) was a member of the British Royal Family, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She has the distinction of remaining the longest lived Princess of the Blood Royal of the British Royal Family and last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria and the longest living member of the royal family to be a Princess of the blood. She also held the titles of Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duchess in Saxony from birth as well as a Princess of Teck by marriage until 1917 when she was commanded to relinquish them by the Letters Patent of George V.

Early life

Princess Alice was born on 25 February 1883 at Windsor Castle. Her father was Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her mother was Princess Helena of Waldeck-Pyrmont. She had one brother, Prince Charles, Duke of Albany, 1884-1954 and later reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1900-1918). As the granddaughter of the Sovereign, through the male line, she was a Princess of the United Kingdom and a Royal Highness. As the daughter of the Duke of Albany, she was, therefore, styled "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alice of Albany. She was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on 26 March 1883 and her godparents were Queen Victoria, the Empress and Crown Princess of Germany, the Princess of Waldeck-Pyrmont, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Hereditary Princess of Bentheim, the Prince of Wales, the King of the Netherlands, the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Prince Wilhelm of Württemberg.

Marriage and issue

On 10 February 1904, Princess Alice of Albany married her second cousin once removed, Prince Alexander of Teck, the brother of Queen Mary, in St George's Chapel, Windsor. Upon marriage Princess Alice was styled HRH Princess Alexander of Teck.

Prince and Princess Alexander of Teck had three children:

Like her grandmother Queen Victoria, Princess Alice was also a carrier of haemophilia, which she had inherited from her father who himself was a sufferer. Her eldest son Rupert inherited the disease from her and this led to his early death in a car accident.


When the British royal family abandoned all Germanic titles by Letters Patent issued by King George V in June 1917, Prince Alexander of Teck adopted the surname "Cambridge", became (briefly) Sir Alexander Cambridge, then the Earl of Athlone, relinquishing the title "Prince of Teck" in the Kingdom of Württemberg and the style "Serene Highness". As such, the two surviving children lost their Württemberg princely titles. Princess Alice relinquished her titles of Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duchess of Saxony, whilst her brother Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who held a commission in the German army, was stripped of his British titles. Alice remained, however, a Princess of Great Britain and Ireland and a Royal Highness in her own right, as granddaughter of Queen Victoria in the male-line. From June 1917 until her death, she was styled "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone.

World War II

Princess Alice accompanied her husband to Canada where he served as Governor General from 1940-1946. He had also served as Governor-General of South Africa from 1924-1931. During their time in South Africa, Lord and Lady Athlone had a coastal beach house constructed at Muizenberg, which still stands today and is one of South Africa's national monuments. The Cape Town Suburb of Athlone was named in honour of the Governor-General and, together with the beach house, is also the only physical reminder of the Athlones' residence at the Cape. At the end of World War II, the American Military Government in Bavaria, under the command of General George S. Patton, arrested and imprisoned Alice's brother, Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, (who served as a member of the Reichstag from 1937 to 1945), because of his Nazi sympathies. Alice, learning of her brother's incarceration, came to Germany with her husband to plead with his American captors for his release. They would not yield, and in 1946, he was sentenced by a de-nazification court, heavily fined and almost bankrupted. ["Hitler's Favourite Royal" (Channel 4 documentary) Dec 2007] [ [ "The Nazi relative that the Royals disowned" - Daily Mail - Dec 2007] ]

Royal duties

In her lifetime, Princess Alice carried out many royal duties. She attended the coronations of four monarchs: Edward VII, George V, George VI, and Elizabeth II. She was also the Colonel in Chief of two British army units and one Rhodesian army unit. In 1950, she became the first Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (then the University College of the West Indies).

Later life

The Earl of Athlone died in 1957 at Kensington Palace in London. Princess Alice lived on there until 1981, when she died at age 97 years and 312 days. At her death she was the longest-lived British Princess of the Blood Royal and the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria. However The Queen Mother later became the longest-lived member-by-marriage of the British Royal Family until her sister-in-law Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester broke the record, living even longer beyond her 100th birthday.

Her funeral took place in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, attended by all members of the Royal Family. She is buried alongside her husband and son in the private British royal burial grounds at Frogmore, directly behind the mausoleum of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, in Windsor Great Park. Her daughter and son-in-law are also buried close by.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

infobox hrhstyles

royal name=Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
dipstyle=Her Royal Highness
offstyle=Your Royal Highness

Titles and styles

*25 February 188310 February 1904: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alice of Albany
*10 February 190414 July 1917: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alexander of Teck
*14 July 1917 – July 1917: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alice, Lady Cambridge
*July 1917 – 3 January 1981: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alice of Albany, Countess of Athlone


* GCVO: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
* GBE: Dame Grand Cross of the British Empire
* VA: Lady of the Order of Victoria and Albert
* Royal Family Order of King Edward VII
* Royal Family Order of King George V
* Royal Family Order of King George VI
* Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II


As a granddaughter of Queen Victoria in the male line, Princess Alice was entitled to use the Royal Arms, with a 5 point label as a difference, the central point bearing a cross gules, the others hearts gules.

Until George V's warrant of 1917, her arms, like all those of Prince Albert's British royal descendants, bore an inescutcheon for Saxony. [ [ Heraldica – British Royalty Cadency] ]


She was godmother to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

In 1953 when visiting Eastbourne, she was conveyed around in a Rolls Royce owned by suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams. [Surtees, John "The Strange case of Dr John Bodkin Adams, 2000]

She was the last grandchild of Queen Victoria to pass away, doing so in January 1981, almost 115 years after Queen Victoria's first grandchild, Prince Sigismund of Prussia, passed away in June 1866.


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boxstyle_2=background-color: #fb9;
boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;
boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;
1= 1. Princess Alice of Albany
2= 2. Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
3= 3. Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont
4= 4. Albert, Prince Consort
5= 5. Victoria of the United Kingdom
6= 6. George Victor, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
7= 7. Princess Helena of Nassau
8= 8. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
9= 9. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
10= 10. Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
11= 11. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
12= 12. George II, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
13= 13. Princess Emma of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym
14= 14. William, Duke of Nassau
15= 15. Princess Pauline of Württemberg
16= 16. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
17= 17. Princess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
18= 18. Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
19= 19. Duchess Louise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
20= 20. George III of the United Kingdom
21= 21. Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
22= 22. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (= 16)
23= 23. Princess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf (= 17)
24= 24. George I, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
25= 25. Princess Auguste of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
26= 26. Victor II, Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym
27= 27. Princess Amelie of Nassau-Weilburg
28= 28. Frederick William, Duke of Nassau
29= 29. Louise Isabelle of Kirchberg
30= 30. Prince Paul of Württemberg
31= 31. Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Hildburghausen

External links

* [ listing of honours and military titles]



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