Saturday, October 27, 2018

DAY 87: A Princess Called Alix

She was an undeniably lovely woman, with a perfect face and figure; raised in fairly modest circumstances in Copenhagen, Denmark, until Prince Albert Edward appeared out of the blue and courted her in marriage. Alexandra of Denmark was only sixteen years old. Bertie was twenty-one. His mother, Queen Victoria, hoped marriage would settle him. 

Alix's youth and naivete seemed never really to leave her, regardless of age; whatever pain her marriage to the volatile prince may have caused, she rarely betrayed it. Kindness and inclusion were her enduring traits. She was an excellent friend to Jennie Churchill--a huge reason the breach between their husbands was healed. The two women, both pianists of the highest caliber, played duets together in the afternoons at Sandringham. 

It was Alix who recruited Jennie to study portrait-painting with a group of women at Marlborough House, unleashing Jennie's passion for the art. A similar love of painting would eventually seize Jennie's son, Winston.

The Princess's music room was ruled by her beloved grey parrot. Here she is with it perched on her walking stick.

The Princess of Wales was a major influence on the fashion of her day. The high, close-fitted collars she wore, both fabric and jeweled, became ubiquitous in Society. It was rumored they masked a significant scar or burn on her swanlike neck which only Bertie had ever seen. Alix was also afflicted with an unexplained chronic condition that caused stiffness, semi-paralysis, and pain in her legs, as well as increasingly deafness. By her mid-thirties, she was almost profoundly deaf, a secret to most of her British subjects, although recognized by her friends.

Alix's younger sister, Minnie (who was known as Dagmar of Denmark and then Maria Feodorovna after her marriage to Alexander of Russia), eventually became the Russian Czarina, and mother of the doomed Nicholas II. Alix adored Minnie and invited her often to visit in England.  The two sisters liked to dress identically, which was known at the time as "twinning." Here they are--Alix is on the right.

For more images from THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN, visit the  Pinterest board behind the novel.

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