Despite the many privileges of her life, the woman who was born Princess Alexandra of Schleswig Holstein Sonderburg Gluckburg also faced many challenges. Some of these were common to many women of her day, some were inherent in her royal status at a time of great international turmoil, and some were specific to her.Share
Although she became incredibly wealthy and is remembered today as a glamorous figure dripping in jewels, Alexandra was born into a relatively poor and minor branch of the Danish royal family. She and her sisters shared a chilly room in the attic and even made their own clothes. Then, when she was eight, she underwent an incredible change of fate when the vagaries of succession laws made her father heir to the throne and future King Christian IX of Denmark. This raised his six children to the top of the royal European marriage market; Alexandra's siblings made brilliant marriages with the royal families of Sweden, France, Hanover, and Russia. One of her younger brothers was even selected to be the King of Greece, and one of her nephews was presented with the throne of Norway.
Admired for her beauty and quiet charm, Alexandra caught the attention of the Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia who was on the hunt for a bride to help curb her brother's "wild" ways. The Crown Princess arranged a meeting for the couple, and within no time, Alexandra was on her way to England to become the Princess of Wales in a wedding ceremony where the gloomy widow Queen Victoria and the ghost of Prince Albert loomed over the limited festivities.
Despite her new mother's funereal spirit, Alexandra soon found herself caught up in the exuberant and exciting whirlwind lifestyle of her groom, Prince Albert Edward, better known as Bertie and she as Alix in the family. Their first child was born 10 months after the wedding and seven more babies followed within five years. With the arrival of her last child, Prince Alexander John, Alix suffered like so many other nineteenth century mothers with the loss of her baby before she had even recovered. Twenty-one years later, she lost her firstborn to influenza. Then, 23 years later, her beloved youngest grandson, also named John, died at the age of 13. (Read more.)