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.
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