Saturday, 11 February 2012

Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein.‏

                      She inspired the creation of Queen Mary's Dolls' House 
 Princess Marie Louise was born at Cumberland Lodge, in Windsor Great Park. Her father was Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, the third son of Duke Christian of Schleswig-Holstein and Countess Louise of Danneskjold-Samsøe. Her mother was The Princess Helena, the fifth child and third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Her parents resided in the United Kingdom, and the Princess was considered a member of the British Royal Family. Under letters patent of 1866, she was styled Her Highness Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein. She was christened on 18 September 1872. Her godparents were The Emperor of Austria and The Queen of Hanover.

On 6 July 1891, Princess Marie Louise married Prince Aribert of Anhalt (18 June 1866 – 24 December 1933) at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. Prince Aribert was the third son of Frederick I, Duke of Anhalt, and his wife, Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg. The bride's first cousin, the German Emperor Wilhelm II, had been instrumental in arranging the match.
The marriage, however, was unhappy and childless. (Years after the fact, it was debated that Aribert was homosexual and had been caught in bed with a servant, either by Marie Louise or his father.) In December 1900, her father-in-law used his prerogative as reigning Duke of Anhalt to annul the marriage. Princess Marie Louise, on an official visit to Canada at the time, immediately returned to Britain. According to her memoirs, she regarded her marriage vows as binding, so she never remarried. Her memoirs do, however, indicate rage over her marital experience and an obvious dislike of her former husband.

After the annulment, Princess Marie Louise devoted herself to charitable organizations and patronage of the arts. She inspired the creation of Queen Mary's Dolls' House to showcase the work of British craftsmen. She established the Girl's Club in Bermondsey that served as a hospital during World War I. She was also active in the work of the Princess Christian Nursing Home at Windsor.
World War I

In July 1917, when George V changed the name of the British Royal House from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to House of Windsor, he also requested that his numerous cousins and in-laws who were British subjects discontinue using their German titles, styles, and surnames. Never taking other titles or surnames, Princess Marie Louise and her unmarried sister, Princess Helena Victoria, became known simply as "HH Princess Marie Louise" and "HH Princess Helena Victoria," giving them the odd distinction of being Princesses but not, apparently, members of any particular Royal Family. This approach differed from the one accepted by George V's other relatives, who relinquished all Princely titles, not just their German designations, and acquired British titles of nobility. Under that precedent, Marie Louise and her sister likely would have been known as "Lady Marie Louise New Surname" and "Lady Helena Victoria New Surname." Though their titles as derived from their parents' designations, as bestowed by Queen Victoria, were essentially British, they were not officially Princesses of the United Kingdom. However, their unmarried status and their right to be styled Highness rendered their situations awkward, so that it was easier to allow them to retain their status as Princesses while avoiding the question of immediate family membership altogether.

Princess Marie Louise attended four coronations in Westminster Abbey, those of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1901; George V and Queen Mary in 1911; George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937; and Elizabeth II in 1953. In 1956, she published her memoirs, My Memories of Six Reigns. She died at her London home, 10 Fitzmaurice Place, Berkeley Square, a few months later and is buried at the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore at Windsor Great Park.
Princess Marie Louise was a frequent visitor to the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham before the Second World War. A report comes in from a London Vicar saying when she visited that church she saw a shrine of Our Lady and exclaimed “Oh! Our Lady of Walsingham”. Fr. X said: “Have you been there?” “Of course I have! And I am the first of our family to visit it since Henry VIII.”

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