Alice von Battenberg

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Philip Alexius de László : Alice von Battenberg, later Princess of Greece and Denmark (1907)

Princess Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie von Battenberg (born February 25, 1885 in Windsor Castle , † December 5, 1969 in Buckingham Palace , London ) was the mother of Philip Mountbatten and thus after his marriage the mother-in-law of the future Queen Elizabeth II.


Princess Alice von Battenberg was the daughter of Prince Ludwig von Battenberg (later Louis Mountbatten) and Princess Viktoria of Hessen-Darmstadt . Her father was most recently a British naval admiral and at times First Sea Lord . The family of Prince von Battenberg also adopted an English name, Mountbatten , at the request of King George V in 1917, when the British royal family gave up their German surnames Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha during the First World War and since then have been called Windsor . Princess Alice was deaf from birth and learned to lip read in several languages .

Marriage to Prince Andrew of Greece

Princess Alice von Battenberg

On October 7, 1903, Princess Alice married Prince Andrew of Greece , the fourth son of King George I of Greece and his wife Olga Konstantinovna Romanova and grandson of Christian IX. of Denmark, the "father-in-law of Europe". The wedding in Darmstadt took place three times. First there was the civil wedding in the Altes Palais on Luisenplatz , then the Protestant wedding in the Castle Church and finally the Orthodox in the Russian Chapel . For the Orthodox ceremony, valuable crowns were brought from Russia by Catherine II , which, as is customary in the Orthodox rite, were held over the couple. The bride is told that she mixed up the yes and no and made the wedding guests laugh because she replied that she was already taken and did not want to marry Prince Andreas.


The connection with Andrew of Greece resulted in five children:

⚭ 1930 Christoph Prince of Hesse (killed in 1943)
⚭ 1946 Georg Wilhelm Prince of Hanover, Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneburg , (1915-2006)

Princess Alice lived with her family first in Athens , later in Corfu , before wars and revolutions changed her life decisively.

Decades of exile

Philip Alexius de László: Princess Alice, oil on canvas, 1922

In 1922, Prince Andreas was expelled from the country after the Greek army was defeated by the Turks under Kemal Ataturk . The now impoverished family went to Paris and Princess Alice opened an art shop selling hand embroidery, lace and pictures. In 1930 she was diagnosed with schizophrenia by Sigmund Freud and Ernst Simmel . This was followed by several years of unsuccessful treatment, first in Berlin and then in the Bellevue sanatorium ( Kreuzlingen , Switzerland ), to which she was taken against her will. There and in other boarding houses and sanatoriums she lived permanently separated from her husband, who lived as a privateer in Monaco , where he died in 1944.

In 1937 her daughter Cäcilie died together with her son-in-law Georg Donatus von Hessen-Darmstadt and two grandsons in a plane crash near Ostend . Nevertheless, Alice von Battenberg recovered from her mental illness by 1938 and returned to Athens, where in 1935 the monarchy, which had been abolished eleven years earlier, had been restored.

During the Second World War , Princess Alice lived in the Greek capital. Their son Philip was in the Royal Navy, and any communication with his mother was made difficult by the fact that Nazi Germany had occupied Greece and each of their four daughters had married a Nazi . On the other hand, she worked for the Red Cross and hid the Jewish Cohen family from the Nazis .

In 1949 Princess Alice founded an order based on the model of her aunt, Elisabeth von Hessen-Darmstadt (1864–1918), who was murdered in Soviet Russia , but kept her title. She designed her habit herself, but wore it after her stay in the sanatoria. The order finally failed because of the fact that Alice was hardly present, often visiting her relatives, especially in England. Her fellow sisters then also left, so it wasn't a particularly effective order. The princess did not live an ascetic life either, she smoked, drank alcohol and was only able to organize her everyday life through donations or financial help from relatives.

In 1967 she had to leave the country after the Greek military coup and moved to Buckingham Palace with her son and daughter-in-law, where she died on December 5, 1969. She was first buried in the royal tomb of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, but on August 3, 1988, she was transferred to the Church of Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, as she had wished.

Posthumous honor

On October 31, 1994, the surviving children took part in a ceremony in Yad Vashem , Israel, at Princess Alice's premises for helping the Cohen family in Athens during World War II as a Righteous Among the Nations with a tree planting was honored.

See also


  • Alice , in: Internationales Biographisches Archiv 41/1953 of September 28, 1953, in the Munzinger Archive ( beginning of article freely available)
  • Hugo Vickers: Alice. Princess Andrew of Greece , Hamish Hamilton, London 2000, ISBN 0-241-13686-5 .
  • Silke Ellenbeck: Freedom in silence. Volume 1: The eventful life of Princess Alice of Greece, Princess von Battenberg, mother of Prince Philip, Duke […] Childhood, youth and the years until 1922. DeBehr Publishing, Radeberg 2019, ISBN 978-3957537140 and Freedom in the Silence . Volume 2: The eventful life of Princess Alice of Greece, Princess von Battenberg, mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1885–1969. The years 1923 to 1969. DeBehr Verlag, Radeberg 2019, ISBN 978-3957537157 .


  • Film documentary: The law of the Queen . 2013, 40 min ( transmitter information ).
  • TV series The Crown, Netflix, 2016-, Season 3 (2019), Episodes 3 (Bubbikins) and 4 (Coup); Jane Lapotaire as Alice.

Web links

Commons : Princess Alice of Battenberg  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Silke Ellenbeck: Freedom in the Silence Volume 1 - The eventful life of Princess Alice of Greece, Princess of Battenberg, mother of Prince Philip, Duke ... Volume 1 and Volume 2 . Verlag DeBehr, Radeberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-95753-714-0 .
  2. Frank Thadeusz, DER SPIEGEL: When Sigmund Freud mutilated the Queen's future mother-in-law - DER SPIEGEL - history. Retrieved August 26, 2020 .
  3. a b Daniel Zylbersztajn: A forgotten helper. August 24, 2016, accessed September 2, 2019 .
  5. ^ The grave of Alice von Battenberg
  6. Alice von Battenberg on the website of Yad Vashem (English)