Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Daughters of Queen Victoria

The five daughters of the famous sovereign, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, who gave her name to an era. Queen Victoria, the last Hanoverian monarch of Britain, ruled for sixty-three years from 1837 to her death in 1901. Her love for her husband, Albert, Prince Consort, was legendary, as well as her offspring. Her five daughters and four sons married into noble and royal families across Europe, as well as their numerous descendants. Known as the “Grandmother of Europe”, Queen Victoria’s blood still runs deep in almost every European monarchy of the present-day. 

* Click each daughter's name to read their individual biographies *

The Daughters:

Victoria, Princess Royal (1840-1901) was the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She shared her mother’s fate of having a loving and happy marriage with Prince Frederick William of Prussia, who became the German Emperor Frederick III and the King of Prussia in 1888. She was only the “Empress Frederick” for three months, as her husband’s reign was only three months long due to his death from throat cancer. She had a troubled relationship with the oldest half of her eight children, due to her strict and rigid parenting style, but the six of her offspring that survived infancy did make impressive marriages into royal and noble houses. Two of her children even became sovereigns, as her eldest, Wilhelm II (who is infamous for his role in advancing World War I), ascended to the German and Prussian thrones, and one of her younger daughters, Sophie, married the King of the Hellenes (present-day Greece).


Princess Alice (1843 – 1878) was the second daughter and third child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She was known as the most supportive, caring, and kind-hearted of the Queen’s daughters. She married Prince Louis of Hesse and had seven children, five daughters and two sons, two of whom died young. In 1877, Alice’s husband became the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, making her a Grand Duchess. She was the first of the Queen’s children to die, as she fell ill from diphtheria after the disease plagued her family. She cared for her family for over a month before she tragically caught the illness and died. Like her mother, she was a hemophilia carrier and passed the disease on to one of her sons, who died from the illness after an accident at a young age, and two of her daughters, whose children also suffered from the disease. Her offspring included Alexandra Feodorovna, the last Empress Consort of Russia as the wife of Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Russia, and Princess Irene, who married her Prussian cousin, Prince Henry.


Princess Helena (1846 – 1923) was the third daughter and fifth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Although she was regarded as the least attractive, intelligent, and talented of the Queen’s daughters, she was known as a strong-willed woman who spoke her own mind. She was also the most active member of the royal family, and, along with making many public appearances, she took control of a wide-ranging program of royal appointments. She had a happy marriage with Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, who she had six children with (four sons and two daughters). Her youngest surviving son died after just eight days of life while her last child was stillborn. Helena’s only descendant was an illegitimate granddaughter who died without children.  


Princess Louise (1848-1939) was the fourth daughter and sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She was perhaps the most unconventional royal daughter of the Queen, as she was a strong supporter of the feminist movement and had an interest in political affairs, unlike most royal women of her time. Her marriage was a controversial one within the royal family, as she was the first royal to officially marry a subject, John, Duke of Argyll, for more than three centuries. She was the only child of the Queen’s not to have children herself. Since her husband served as Governor General of Canada for a period of time, she became his viceregal consort and lived in Ottawa for a few years.


Princess Beatrice (1857 – 1944) was the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She was undoubtedly the favorite of her parents and was known for her loyalty, dedication, and kindness. Her mother was extremely attached to her and, as a result of her dependence on her, she made Beatrice her official companion. Although the Queen never wanted Beatrice to marry, she eventually gave in and allowed Beatrice to marry the man she fell in love with, Prince Henry of Battenberg. The couple had four children together, three sons and one daughter. Beatrice was a hemophilia carrier and passed the disease to one of her sons, who died as a result of it, and her daughter, Victoria Eugenie, Queen of Spain. Beatrice was the last of the Queen’s children to die, sixty-six years after the first, her sister Alice.

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