† November 16, 1878 – Death of Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine
Tragedy strikes again upon the Hessian family when on 16 November 1878, the youngest child of the Ducal couple died from diphtheria at the age of four. Following a joyful summer in England, Princess Victoria the eldest began to feel pain in her throat and neck, soon the children (except Ella who was sent to Queen Victoria) and the Grand Duke himself fell ill. Princess Alice nursed them all with great care but Princess May passed away few days after catching the disease. Princess Alice came down with the disease herself and died on 14 december, she is buried beside her daughter, a statue by Joseph Boehm was placed on the tomb of Alice holding Marie in her arms.
‘A very dreadful day. — After breakfast, a telegram was brought to me, which said, that precious little May was gone! This is too dreadful. How my darling child, adored that little angel. Westerweller telegraphed the news. The sweet child died suddenly at ½ p. 12. Alice terribly grieved but brave. Louis better, Ernie less satisfactory, & the others better, especially Alicky. Telegraphing to poor dear Alice, & all the family. To think of all this misery, & all, whilst the others are still so ill! — Resting on the sofa. Telegram from dear Alice herself: “Our sweet little one is taken, broke it to my poor Louis this morning. He is better, Ernie still very ill. In great anguish”. — Endless telegrams. All so distressed & grieved. — Can think of little else, am so anxious. — A telegram from poor dear Alice in the afternoon: “the pain is beyond words, but God’s will be done”.’ Queen Victoria’s Diary