|Prince Alfred. From the National Portrait Gallery.|
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s fourth child was born on August 6, 1844. He was their second son and so, second in line to the throne after his older brother. His parents named him Prince Alfred Ernest Albert. Alfred was known as “Affie” in the family. He wanted to enter the Navy and was allowed to at a young age. Victoria granted him the title Duke of Edinburgh in 1866 and in 1867, Alfred took a journey around the world. He was the first royal to visit Australia, where he was shot (but recovered). He also became the first royal to visit New Zealand, went to Hawaii and met their royals, and was the first European prince to visit Japan in 1869. He also traveled to India, Sri Lanka, and Hong Kong.
Alfred married Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, the only daughter of the Russian tsar Alexander II, in St. Petersburg. They had five surviving children together.
Alfred was stationed on Malta for a few years–their third child, Victoria Melita, was born there. He rose to be Admiral of the Fleet in the Navy before inheriting the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha from his uncle Ernest. His only son shot himself in 1899 and died some time later; Alfred died in 1900, the third of Victoria’s children to predecease her.
Alfred’s descendants include deposed Romanian and Yugoslavian royals, German nobles, Spanish nobles, and exiled Russian nobles.
Princess Helena Augusta Victoria was born on May 25, 1846, the day after her mother’s twenty-seventh birthday. Helena was affected greatly by her father’s death, reportedly unable to not burst into tears every so often. She later became a sort of unofficial secretary to her mother.
As a teen, Helena had a flirtation with a royal servant; the servant was dismissed. Not long after, she was married off to a minor German duke fifteen years older than her. Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein was a younger son, so he was able to come live in England–that was one of the requirements Victoria sought for the husbands of her younger daughters–and the couple lived in Windsor Great Park. Helena continued her secretarial duties to her mother. She was also involved in nursing, charities, and represented her mother in public sometimes.
Helena, who was officially known as Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, was a bit sickly. She often complained of headaches and pains. Queen Victoria complained that Helena was a hypochondriac.
Helena gave birth to six children. Four survived to adulthood. Her eldest son died serving in the Boer War. Of the remaining three, only one married–and then divorced–and there are no descendants of Christian and Helena.
Helena died in 1923.
Princess Louise Caroline Alberta was born on March 18, 1848. Her mother got to use chloroform for the first time with this birth! Louise turned out be a very artistic girl and was allowed to study art at the National Art Training School.
When Prince Albert died and Queen Victoria and the court were plunged into mourning, Louise found the excessive mourning to be too much–she grew bored and argumentative with her mother. When her older sisters married and left home, Louise took on the part of her mother’s secretary and turned out to be good at it. Victoria began looking around at the available princes of Europe, but Louise had other ideas. She wanted to marry John Lorne Campbell, the Marquess of Lorne. She got her way in 1871. Louise was the first daughter of a British monarch to marry a British subject in about three hundred years.
In 1878, Lorne was appointed as the Governor General of Canada, so Louise went to Canada with him. Her husband performed duties like opening the Canadian Parliament. They founded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. They returned to Britain in 1883, where they were given apartments at Kensington Palace. Louise would live there for the rest of her life.
She and Lorne grew apart. There are rumors that he was a homosexual. Back in her mother’s circle, Louise did not get along with her sisters Helena and Beatrice. There seemed to be a lot of squabbling.
Louise performed public duties for her mother, but unlike the queen, Louise was a feminist and suffragist and supported women in the professions. She continued to sculpt, which was her main artistic medium.
Lorne inherited his father’s title of Duke of Argyll in 1900, making Louise a Duchess. The Duke died in 1914.
Louise died in December 1939 at Kensington Palace, aged 91. She and Lorne did not have any children.