The members of Aboyne & District Probus club were taken back to a time and society long gone by last Tuesday’s speaker Professor Peter Reid. Professor Reid, who is Professor of Librarianship at Robert Gordon University, spoke about some of Queen Victoria’s grand daughters, their lives, marriages, husbands and their children.
Speaking without referring to his notes and with many splendid period pictures, he covered the lives of six of Victoria’s grand daughters most of whom are unknown to us today. Queen Victoria had nine children over a period of seventeen years and eventually forty grandchildren.
This large brood married into most of the Royal Houses of Europe, which up until the First world war were nearly all Kingdoms, Princedoms or Dukedoms. Victoria played a leading part in arranging what she considered suitable marriages, even those of many of her grandchildren, not all of which were happy or successful,
Professor Reid covered the lives and loves, successes and disasters, of six of the grand daughters. Princess Maud, daughter of Edward VII and Alexandra, who although married into the Danish Royal house became the first Queen of Norway. Princess Ella, after being courted by cousin William (later Kaiser Bill) married Grand Duke Sergei, brother of the Czar. He was a very cold and cruel man, eventually to be blown up by an anarchist bomb and although Ella renounced all grandeur and founded a convent, it did not prevent her being murdered by the Bolsheviks.
Louie, daughter of Princess Helen, had a marriage arranged for her to an impoverished German Prince (there was a steady supply of these) and settled in Berlin. Whilst alone on a visit to New York her father-in-law dissolved her marriage, without telling her first, to cover up the scandal of her husband’s affair with a footman. She returned to live with her aged parents in England.
Daisy was the fourth grand daughter to be considered. A talented artist, she fell in love with and married the Crown Prince of Sweden. They had a happy married life in Sweden but she died aged only thirty eight when expecting her sixth child.
Princess Ena was not so lucky having first been married to Henry of Battenberg, he died on an expedition to Ghana. She was courted by the future King Alphonso of Spain, became a Roman Catholic, and was nearly killed by a bomb at her wedding in Madrid. Life in Spain was awful, with a tyrannical Mother in Law, and in spite of having six children had to put up with her husband’s mistress living with them. Eventually the coming Spanish Civil War caused Alphonso to abdicate. He went to Paris and Ena lived in Switzerland.
Finally Professor Reid spoke about Alice who may be remembered by some of the Probus members. She lived to be almost a hundred, still able to translate into fluent German for visitors to Windsor when 97 and still climbing Lochnagar, with a limp, in her 90’s.
In his vote of thanks member John Parkes, complimented Professor Reid on the amazing way he had covered such complex inter -relationships between his cast of Princesses and giving us all an insight into another world. The final meeting of the season is on 30th April when Ian Jessiman of Aberdeen Harbour Board is the speaker. All retired gentlemen are welcome.