Sunday, February 28, 2010

Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany

Leopold George Duncan Albert was born at Buckingham Palace in 1853, the 8th child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Prince Leopold was diagnosed with hemophilia as a baby. He lived to be 30 years old.

Queen Victoria used chloroform during Leopold's birth, and women used the drug widely after she thus "sanctioned" it.

Leopold attended Oxford and received an honorary doctorate in civil law. He traveled to Canada to visit his sister Louise (who was wife of Canada's Governor-General) and toured there, and in the United States.

Leopold couldn't pursue a military career so he became a patron of the arts. He served as unofficial secretary to his mother, as did his sisters. He wanted to be appointed to a governorship in either Canada or Australia, but was rejected because of his health.

Prince Leopold became understandably stifled by his mother's desire to keep him close to her. He began to see marriage as a way out of that situation. Of course, he had difficulty finding a wife, due to his hemophilia. Alice Liddell, daughter of the vice-chancellor at Oxford (and the subject of the book Alice in Wonderland) was one prospect, but that didn't work out.

After this and several other rejections, Leopold's mother stepped in and procured (suggested, I mean) Princess Helene Frederike of Waldeck and Pyrmont. The couple were married in 1882. They had a happy, though brief, marriage. They had a daughter Alice (I find that insulting to the Princess, but that is only my opinion) and a son, Charles Edward, born a few month's after Leopold's death.

Royal hemophiliacs often are surrounded by resident doctors (and even guards) to make sure they don't get hurt, but they always do anyway. Leopold was no different, and suffered many childhood (and later) bleeding episodes. In the end, he slipped on a yacht (in Cannes, France) and fell, injuring his knee. He died the next morning, though some say it was from the overzealous amount of morphine he was given. Other stories say it was his head that was injured and that he died of a brain hemorrhage.

Leopold is the great-grandfather of the current king of Sweden.


  1. Can't we be charitable and assume the name Alice was chosen for his daughter not because of Alice Liddell but after his sister? Or am I missing some other insult?

  2. You may be right. I jump to conclusions. Still poor taste since it would be a reminder for his wife. He should have picked a different sister just to be safe.



Related Posts with Thumbnails