We take a closer look at the life and history of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, daughter to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

If there’s one thing that people from across the globe tend to find fascinating about the United Kingdom, is it’s Royal Family. The Monarchy of the UK can be traced back centuries, and is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the more interesting aspects of the history of the UK.

When we think of the monarchy, it’s often the kings and queens that we have seen over the years, that tend to gain the most exposure. When you delve a little deeper, though, it is equally as interesting to learn about some of the lesser-known figures of the monarchy.

Take Princess Alice of the United Kingdom for example. Her story is fascinating, yet is largely unknown by many. Here’s a look at the life and times of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom.

Who was Princess Alice?

Alice Maud Mary of the Royal House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was once a princess of the UK. Later on in life, through marriage, she went on to become the Grand Duchess of Hesse and By Rhine. She was the third child and the second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

What’s most memorable about Alice, though, is the fact that she is mostly remembered for standing up for, and advocating for women’s rights. She also campaigned tirelessly for healthcare during the Anglo-Prussian War.

When her father fell ill with typhoid fever, Alice nursed him and took care of him in 1861 until he sadly passed away. Afterwards, she actually stepped in as the unofficial Queen’s secretary.

Early Life

Alice was born on the 25th of April, 1843, in Buckingham Palace. She was christened Alice Maud-Mary on the 2nd of June, and, because she was female, the reaction from the general public was quite hostile, as many were hoping for a prince.

From an early age, it was clear that Alice had a connection with the general public. She would regularly visit tenants living in the royal estates she grew up in and would often watch people going about their days as normal.

At 11 years of age, she accompanied her mother and her sister to the hospital. Here, they visited soldiers injured during the Crimean War. In 1861 her father was diagnosed with Typhoid Fever. She was his primary caregiver and stayed by his bedside until he died on the 14th December 1861.

Marriage

Alice married Prince Louis of Hesse, arranged, in part, by their parents. Upon meeting one another, the two formed a connection right away. With the approval from Queen Victoria, the two were engaged to be wed on the 30th April 1861.

Sadly, after the death of her father, his death cast a shadow over the wedding, which dampened the atmosphere somewhat. The two wed on July 1st, 1862, in a private ceremony.

Later Life and Death

The couple had six children together and were largely happy. Sadly, her youngest son Prince Friedrich of Hesse and by Rhine passed away in a tragic accident after falling 20-feet out of a window.

Alice never fully recovered from his death, as he was regarded as her favourite son. She grew closer to her last remaining son, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, as well as her new-born daughter Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine.

She campaigned heavily for women’s rights and was very much a princess of the people. Sadly, an outbreak of diphtheria struck her family, including her children. For years she vowed no contact with her children for fear of infection. But Alice broke her own rule and kissed her son to console him, and contracted the illness herself.

On December the 14th 1878, she passed away from the illness. She died on the very same day that her father had died years before! She left a legacy behind her, that people still marvel at to this day.