prince-leopold

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Princess Charlotte of Nassau, only daughter of Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg made her official debut into society as one of the debutantes at the Bal des Debutantes in Paris. Her partner for the night was her twin brother Prince Leopold. Prince Paul-Louis was partnered with Princess Gauravi Kumari of Jaipur for the evening.

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Albert, you are upset, I understand that, but behaving like Ernest is not going to help. At least Ernest knows who his father is. Albert you must not speak like this. You know, I always felt something. Thank you for making it so clear to me.

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In mid-February, when the birth was imminent, Leopold, Helen and the Princess of Waldeck, settled into Windsor Castle. At half-past six, on the evening of 25 February 1883, Helen gave birth to a healthy baby girl, with tick, dark air. Leopold had always loved children, and was the kindest uncle and godafther. Now he was a father himself and his pleasure was boundless, even though he had hoped for a boy; he wrote to everyone, describing “the young Stranger…. a very large child, & said to resemble very much the old Royal Family, though it has the dark brown hair, & a great deal of its Mother.” The christening did take place as planned, in the private chapel at Windsor, though the Queen was in a wheelchair having hurt her leg, and Leopold was on crutches, but Louisa Knightley noticed how happy he looked. It would be the last happy moment at Windsor for some time. 

Queen Victoria’s youngest son : the untold story of Prince Leopold by Charlotte Zeepvat. 

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Queen Victoria’s Bracelet

Gold-chain bracelet given to Queen Victoria by her husband, Prince Albert, after the birth of their first child in November 1840. An enamel locket was added for each subsequent child, each one containing a lock of the child’s hair and inscribed with the name and date of birth. 

The hearts record the birth of the children as follows: pink for Victoria, Princess Royal; turquoise blue for Albert, Prince of Wales; red for Princess Alice; dark blue for Alfred; translucent white for Helena; dark green for Louise; mid blue for Arthur; opaque white for Leopold and light green for Beatrice.

(Royal Collection)

Dearest Mamma,

I have long wanted to speak to you about a subject, which I have very much at heart, & which I have thought much about for some time past. I have always expected & for years cherished the hope of being of use to you as far as would possibly in my power, - and for the affectionate care bestowed on my education up to this time to more or less fit me for such a position I must ever feel most grateful. But beyond a certain point it is impossible that one’s intellectual, moral, or social powers should be properly developed by a continual residence at home… I would most earnestly & with all the emphasis in my power strongly urge, that the time has arrived when (both for you own sake & for mine) residence for a period at a University would be an inestimable benefit & boon. Oxford is close to Windsor, so that I should never be removed in reality more than a short distance from you; the terms too are short… To Modern Literature & to History, to German, French & Italian, to art & to science I would chiefly desire (following dear Papa’s footsteps as much as possible) to direct my attention. Socially besides it cannot but be evident to you, dearest Mamma, what an advantage such a life would be to me. To meet with such companions of my own age as would be carefully selected would tend to take away shyness of manner & general dullness of spirit in conversation & at all times indeed, of which you now so naturally & so much complain, & which must of necessity belong to one who has for so long led such a comparatively solitary life… With all a child’s duty and respect I put these, my very dearest wishes, before you & entreat you, dearest Mamma, to consider them as such…”

Prince Leopold’s letter to his mother Queen Victoria. She was strongly against Leopold attending University, because of his hemophilia she thought her youngest son was happy alone with her and Beatrice, after months of struggle she eventually agreed. Leopold loved Oxford it was one of the happiest time of his short life. 

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Prince Leopold and Alice Liddell

What follows is one of my favourite titbits of history. Prince Leopold is my second favourite prince and I am very fond of Alice in Wonderland

Prince Leopold was the sickly youngest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. He positively repulsed his mother but she was overbearing and possessive of him. Alice Liddell was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. What’s marvellous is, the two were good friends!

Leopold, eventually managing to escape the clutches of his mother, and Alice, her father the Dean of Christ Church College, met at Oxford in 1872. Like princes before and after him, Leopold was drawn to the warm family life the Liddell’s shared and they quickly became a part of his inner circle.

Some have speculated that there was some level of romantic involvement between the pair; whilst others insist Leopold’s interests actually lay with Alice’s younger sister Edith. When Edith died in 1876, Leopold was a pallbearer at her funeral. Documents in the Royal Archives, such as the Queen’s correspondence regarding Leopold, mention no names, but there seems to be no doubt that Leopold was in love with someone, and a number of the pair’s Oxford acquaintances alluded to a link between the prince and one of the Liddell girls.

Some accused Alice’s ambitious mother of orchestrating the relationship. Lewis Carroll himself, whose own relationship with the Liddell’s had long since deteriorated, wrote a satirical piece called The Vision of Three T’s in which he characterised Mrs. Liddell as a ‘King-fisher’, suggesting that she was ‘angling for a royal son-in-law’. Whatever the truth, it is highly unlikely that Queen Victoria would have ever consented to her son marrying a commoner anyway. As Charlotte Zeepvat, Leopold’s biographer suggests, the ‘disappointed romance between Alice Liddell and Leopold has become a part of Alice [in Wonderland] mythology’, and indeed Leopold is often mentioned in Alice reboots, such as The Looking Glass Wars trilogy.

In the spring of 1873, any notions of marriage quashed, Leopold went to Balmoral with his mother and from then on saw the Liddells with increasing infrequency. Later Leopold married Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont and they named their daughter Alice, whilst Liddell, having married cricketer Reginald Hargreaves, called her second son Leopold. Leopold the prince was his godfather.

[Sources: Prince Leopold: Queen Victoria’s Youngest Son by Charlotte Zeepvat | Prince Leopold | Alice Liddell]