Veteran of 5 Coronations!
After such a very long reign as the one just ended, not many of us can remember even one Coronation and are beginning to get excited about the upcoming Coronation of King Charles III.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in one of her Jubilee interviews, marvelled that she had been lucky enough to attend two – her father’s and her own.
However, she had nothing on her late great aunt by marriage and distant cousin, Princess Alice of Albany, Countess of Athlone, who holds the distinction of having attended no less than five Coronations! How can that be possible? Wait and see – all will be revealed.
Princess Alice of Albany was born in 1883. She was the only daughter of Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. She had a similar status to the York Princesses today.
Alice was 18 years old when her Grandmother the Queen died, and her uncle, oldest brother of her father, became King Edward VII. Naturally, she attended his Coronation the following year. Here she is dressed for that occasion.
Two years later, in 1904, Princess Alice married. However, instead of marrying out of the royal family like Beatrice and Eugenie have, Alice married Prince Alexander of Teck, the brother of the then Princess of Wales Princess Mary, later Queen Mary. So she remained close to the main royal family.
In 1911 the Tecks attended her second Coronation – that of her first cousin George V and sister-in-law Queen Mary. Here they are at that event.
In 1917, at the height of World War 1, King George decided to remove all German titles from the Royal family. The House was renamed Windsor. The Teck family were given the surname Cambridge. Alexander’s older brother became 1st Marquess of Cambridge, whilst he and Alice became Earl and Countess of Athlone. Alice, as male line granddaughter of a monarch, retained her title of Princess. She became Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone.
It was as the Countess of Athlone that Princess Alice attended the Coronation of her nephew by marriage King George VI in 1937 – her third Coronation.
The Athlones, like the Wessexes today, often represented the King overseas. They did this in 1948, when they were part of a group of British royals who went over to the Netherlands to attend Alice’s “bonus” fourth Coronation – that of Queen Juliana. Here is the British deputation amongst other royals at that event.
Then in 1953, Princess Alice attended her fifth and final coronation – that of Queen Elizabeth II.
Princess Alice lived to a great age and died in 1981 weeks before her 98th birthday. At that time, she was the longest lived member of the Royal family, and something of a national treasure. I don’t think anyone will beat her record of five Coronations!