A History Of Royal Weddings At Windsor: Princess Alice of Albany & Prince Alexander of Teck
On February 10, 1904 Her Majesty Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Her Royal Highness Princess Alice of Albany married His Serene Highness Prince Alexander of Teck at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Princess Alice was daughter of Victoria and Albert’s son Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany and his wife Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont (who were themselves married at Windsor in 1882). Prince Alexander was the youngest son of Prince Francis, Duke of Teck and Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, making him the younger brother of The Princess of Wales (Princess Mary of Teck) who had married Alice's cousin George, Prince of Wales and the future King George V. The wedding date was a bittersweet one as Queen Victoria had married her beloved Prince Albert sixty-four years earlier on the same day.
As had become the norm for Royal Windsor brides, Princess Alice wore white - a luxurious satin charmeuse bridal gown trimmed with delicate, priceless lace and decorated with garlands of white chiffon roses and love knots of white velvet ribbon. The train was embroidered with more roses and overlaid with heirloom lace previously worn by her new sister-in-law, The Princess of Wales, as well as the groom's mother, the late Duchess of Teck. A garland of orange blossoms and clematis festooned her left shoulder and ran along her waist before dipping down the right side of her skirt, and more orange blossoms and clematis adorned her hair. She also wore the Teck Ears of Wheat Tiara to secure her lace veil along with a diamond riviere that was a wedding gift from her groom. Because her father had died twenty years previously, Princess Alice’s brother Charles Edward, The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, escorted her down the aisle and her uncle King Edward VII gave her away.
The ceremony was attended by many illustrious guests including Her Majesty Queen Charlotte of Württemberg, the bride's maternal aunt Her Majesty Queen Emma of the Netherlands, The Prince and Princess of Wales, and, of course, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The service was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randell Davison. The Royal families and their guests then repaired to the state dining room at Windsor Castle for a luncheon that was subsequently followed by a fourteen-course banquet in St. George's Hall. Pretty much everything went without a hitch except for one peculiar incident where an alleged lunatic, who was flourishing a sword stick and molesting guests from London, was arrested.
The couple spent the first part of their honeymoon at Brocket Hall and then journeyed to Cannes, where they spent the rest of their "winter of content" (as Alice called it) at the Villa Nevada. The Villa had been given to Princess Alice’s mother Princess Helena as a memento Prince Leopold, who had died there in 1884. When the British Royal Family abandoned all German titles in 1917, Prince Alexander adopted the surname Cambridge and became The Earl of Athlone, relinquishing the title "Prince of Teck" and the style "Serene Highness", making Alice The Countess of Athlone, though she remained a Princess of Great Britain and Ireland and retained the style "Royal Highness" as a granddaughter of Queen Victoria in the male line. They also hold a connection with Canada as The Earl was appointed Governor General there, and Princess Alice accompanied him. Together they galvanized the war effort, playing host to the Quebec Conference where Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill all gathered.
The couple returned to The UK in 1946, retiring at Kensington Palace, though they both still carried out engagements on behalf of the Royal Family. The Earl died in 1957, but Princess Alice lived on until 1981 when she too passed away, the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her funeral took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.
- Written by Heidi Retzer
(Top Image: Wedding portrait of Prince Alexander of Teck and Princess Alice of Albany, Windsor Castle, 10 February 1904 from The Royal Collection Trust; Bottom: Postcard of The Wedding Party)