Good morning, we are going to explore the life of Princess Alice, the mother of Prince Philip. I know when I started this blog I could potentially overdo the Royal documentaries because I am a royal watcher so I was trying to avoid too many royal documentaries. However, Princess Alice’s story is so fascinating that I thought I should share it. The Queen Mother’s story is very well documented, but not so much is known about the other Queen Mother: Princess Alice. This documentary finally gives this lady her due. The run time is 47:34.
Princess Alice was the mother of Prince Philip and the mother-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II. She was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria and was born Princess Alice. Her story begins when she is escaping an asylum. She is caught. Her family had locked her in the asylum. She was born a princess but turned her back on royal life. She had a strong personality. She overcame her mental illness and disability to become a hero of World War II.
Princess Alice was born in Windsor Castle and was raised as an English Princess. She was born deaf and her mother demonstrated tough love by instructing people never to repeat themselves. By the age of eighteen, she could lip-read in several languages. At the coronation of her uncle King Edward, she met the love of her life: Prince Andrew of Greece. They were married in 1903 and they set up a home in Greece.
Here four daughters would be born and she won over the Greek public. However, this life did not last. War broke out between the Greeks and the Turks. Alice left her children and organized battlefield hospitals. She worked on the frontlines of the battles. Wounded soldiers may have found themselves cared for by the princess. Then World War I started and there was more bloodshed. After the war, the Greeks overthrew the monarchy. Prince Andrew was put on trial and Princess Alice had just given birth to a fifth child: Prince Philip. He was born on a kitchen table. Eventually, the family would flee Greece and would sail into exile.
Life in exile would begin for Princess Alice and her family in France. They had lost much of their fortune and had to rely on the charity of others. Prince Philip recalled that they were a very happy family. However, there was strain behind the scenes. The pressures of exile were getting to both Prince Andrew and Princess Alice. Living off of rich relatives deeply hurt Prince Andrew and he was hurt to be cut off from Greece. Princess Alice was isolated and vulnerable. Dark thoughts started to prey and Alice decided to convert to the Greek Orthodox Church.
Princess Alice was becoming religious and preoccupied with the spiritual world. However, the language she used to describe her relationship with Jesus Christ was in graphic terms. She was hearing voices and also have relationships with other religious figures. Her family would eventually commit her to a sanitarium. She would be leaving behind her son Prince Philip when she was hospitalized. Even Sigmund Freud became involved in Princess Alice’s case.
Princess Alice would eventually discharge herself from the hospital and declared herself well. Her mother, Princess Victoria disagreed and had her committed again to the asylum. Princess Victoria took Prince Philip off for a picnic and Princess Alice was bundled into a car and taken away. She was committed to the Bellville Sanitorium in Switzerland. She was now a prisoner. It was all hushed up in the family. For two and half years Princess Alice was detained. She protested against the imprisonment.
Prince Andrew would abandon his wife. He renounced responsibility for his wife and moved to the south of France. The marriage was effectively over. Her four daughters would marry German princes while incarcerated. The hardest separation was from Prince Philip. Would Princes Alice ever see her son again? Would she manage to get out of the Asylum? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out.
This would be a good documentary to start research on the Royal Family and not necessarily to be shown in class. If you have a student working on a biography on Prince Philip then I would point them in this direction.
Good morning, we will continue to finish up September with documentaries on Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. This time we will look at the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. It is called a Very Royal Wedding. It is narrated by Alexander Armstrong. The run time for this documentary is 47:54. There is nothing like a royal wedding. It is something that brings the nation together.
The royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip set the trend for royal weddings to come. It was something that the British had never seen before. This film looks at how their royal wedding was pulled off. It happened at a time when a nation needed a moral boost. So from the wedding dress to the bouquet and the flowers, one historian looks at how the state pulled off this royal wedding. It was the marriage of a beautiful princess and a dashing prince.
The day had finally arrived. It was November 20, 1947, and a princess and her father are being taken to the church in a carriage. They were greeted by crowds. Over 200 million people listened on the radio. A small group was lucky enough to watch on television. Prince Michael of Kent recalls the crowds and felt their energy.
When Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip announced their engagement it caused a sensation. Their courtship was conducted through letters over the war. When their engagement was announced, it was clear that Prince Philip was not the only pin-up for Princess Elizabeth. Prince Philip had the film star good looks and was considered a Greek god. Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth were the glamour couple of the decade.
Even though Prince Philip had blue blood, he did not have a bank account to back him up. A bit of royal recycling had to take place and Prince Philip used his mother’s tiara to get prepare an engagement ring for his future bride. Prince Philip designed the ring so that the Princess could wear it all the time. Once engaged, the wedding planning began. However, the government thought the nation could not afford the wedding. Prime Minister Winston Churchill disagreed and felt the nation was due for a celebration. It had been a hard road for Britain during World War II and recovery from World War II. The royal family faced the hardships of World War II alongside the British people.
Every corner of the country pitched in to help with the wedding. Women sent in their clothing coupons so that Princess Elizabeth could get a wedding dress. However, Buckingham Palace returned the coupons. There were rumors that the silkworms came from Japan, which was an enemy nation. The public was assured that the silkworms came from China. One of the silk weavers spoke about her pride in working on the material for the dress and had an invite to the Royal wedding. The wedding dress design was kept under lock and key. Normal Hartnell, the designer, blacked out his windows and kept his manager in the studio with a gun. Betty Foster, a seamstress was one of the few people in on the secret. She would sew the button holes for the dress and she had never sown button holes before.
What else needed to be accomplished before the big day? Continue to watch this documentary to find out more.
This is a delightful documentary on the wedding of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. I thoroughly enjoyed Alexander Armstrong’s narration; he brought a lightness to the film. I also enjoyed hearing the stories from the people who witnessed those events from Prince Michael of Kent who was a page boy at the wedding to the silk weaver. This would be something that would be fun showing in a history class.
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