Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Princess Alice of Battenberg

From Harper's Bazaar:
Born in 1885 at Windsor Castle, and growing up in the UK, the German Empire, and Greece, Alice was at odds with her royal status, preferring to live without a title and focus her time and efforts on her religion and charity work. Alice, who was born deaf, married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark in 1903, and when Philip was around 10 years old, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and sent to a hospital where she was treated by Sigmund Freud.

She had become deeply religious and converted to the Greek Orthodox Church, proclaiming to be receiving divine messages and have healing powers. Freud claimed her so-called delusions spurred from sexual frustration, and recommended she undergo x-rays of her ovaries in order to stave off her libido, and induce an early menopause.

Princess Alice pleaded her sanity, and tried to leave the sanatorium countless times, before eventually being released in in the mid-30s. Meanwhile, Philip was separated from his four older sisters, Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie and Sophie, and was sent to live in England with his uncles, Lord Louis Mountbatten and George Mountbatten, and his grandmother, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven. After convalescing, Princess Alice ensconced herself in an itinerant existence, travelling around Europe incognito. Tragedy struck the family again in 1937, when her daughter Cecilie, who was 26, son-in-law Georg Donatus, and two of her grandchildren were killed in an air accident at Ostend. (Read more.)

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