Alexandra, The Duchess of Fife wearing the Fife tiara.
Alexandra was allowed to become the The Duchess of Fife in her own right by Queen Victoria when it became apparent that her parents, The Duke and Duchess of Fife, were not going to have a son to carry on the title. Alexandra’s only son died in 1943 before he could inherit his mothers title, so when Alexandra died in 1959, the title passed to her nephew, the current Duke of Fife.
“Princess royal” is the title given to the eldest daughter of the British Sovereign, once bestowed it is for life. It is Queen Henrietta wife of King Charles I who created the title for their daughter Princess Mary in 1642. The English Queen, née Princess of France wanted to bring in Engand, the French tradition of naming the eldest daughter of the King “Madame Royal”. “Princess Royal” was chosen as its equivalent. Princess Mary the first to hold this title died in 1660 and it is only until 1727 that the title was again used, it was for the eldest daughter of King George II and Queen Caroline, Princess Anne who married William Prince of Orange, granted at the age of 18 she hold it until her death in 1759. Next was Princess Charottedaughter of King George III and Queen Caroline, who died in 1828. The fourth Princess Royal, was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert first child, Princess Victoria, bestowed by the title at the age of one year old, she died from cancer in 1901. And it is her niece who became Princess Royal in 1905, Princess Louise also Duchess of Fife, passed away in 1931 the year after Princess Maryonly daughter of King George VI and Queen Mary, was became Princess Royal, until her death in 1965. Princess Anne currently holds the title conferred it in 1987 by her mother Queen Elizabeth II.
The Five Children of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra
1. Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864 - 1892)
“Eddy took more after his mother. He was taller, more diffident, lethargic, and lacked his brother’s healthy complexion. Not surprisingly he was his mother’s favourite, and she seemed to regard him with greater sympathy than did his father, who tended to be impatient with his apathetic manner ”
2. King George V (1865 - 1936) “Georgy was stronger and more high-spirited. He was amusing, inquisitive and hot-tempered, took the initiative in pranks, and showed himself a born leader in the nursery. Although shy, he had an easy-going manner and was naturally neat and orderly.”
3. Louise, The Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife (1867 - 1931)
“ Louise could hardly be regarded as a great catch. The plainest-looking of the trio, she was so tongue-tied that strangers considered conversation – or efforts at same – to be a penance. ”
“Married life had a remarkable effect on Louise. Relations and neighbours who had known her as a shy, tongue-tied princess, overshadowed by her mother hardly recognized the vivacious Duchess of Fife, ‘looking so mischievous and happy.”
4. Princess Victoria of The United Kingdom (1868 1935)
“Victoria was the sister who remained most in the public eye at home. Increasingly a victim of her mother’s selfishness, she grew ever more sharp-tongued, bitter and more of a hypochondriac. Her health had not improved, and in January 1905, like her father before her, she caused some anxiety prior to undergoing an operation for appendicitis. At almost every royal visit, reception, or cruise, it was duly noted that Princess Victoria accompanied Their Majesties like a faithful servant, or as her Russian cousin Grand Duchess Olga expressed it, ‘just a glorified maid to her mother.’13 Olga saw how many a conversation or game between cousins would be interrupted by a message from the Queen, and Toria would run like lightning, only to find out that ‘Motherdear’ could not remember why she had sent for her in the first place.”
5. Queen Maud of Norway (1869 - 1938)
“ It was Maud who inherited a measure of their Mama’s striking looks (instead of their father’s bulging eyes) and vivacity, and she had the most personality. Others would laugh at her cheery schoolboy slang; people were ‘rotters’, ‘bounders’, or ‘funks’. Not surprisingly, she was always her father’s favourite daughter, and perhaps he could foresee that she was the one most suited to play a role in public life as an adult.”
From the Book: Edward VII’s Children by John Van Der Kiste (1989).
The Marriage of Princess Louise of Wales and the Duke of Fife, Buckingham Palace, 27th Juky 1889
The Duke of Fife and Princess Louise are seen from behind, standing at the altar in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace. Also present, Queen Victoria, the Prince and Pss of Wales, Louis IV G/Duke of Hesse. The chapel adorned w. flowers.
Includes: Princess May of Teck; Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, Duchess of Teck; Queen Alexandra when Alexandra, Princess of Wales; Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom; Princess Maud of Wales; The Princess Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife; with Lady Gosford; Lady Salisbury; and the Duke and Duchess of Manchester.