Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany

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Prince Leopold
Leopoldalbany
Duke of Albany
SuccessorPrince Charles Edward
SpousePrincess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Issue
Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Full name
Leopold George Duncan Albert
HouseHouse of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
FatherAlbert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
MotherVictoria
Born(1853-04-07)7 April 1853
Buckingham Palace, London
Died28 March 1884(1884-03-28) (aged 30)
Cannes
BurialSt George's Chapel, Windsor
 
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Prince Leopold
Leopoldalbany
Duke of Albany
SuccessorPrince Charles Edward
SpousePrincess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Issue
Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Full name
Leopold George Duncan Albert
HouseHouse of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
FatherAlbert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
MotherVictoria
Born(1853-04-07)7 April 1853
Buckingham Palace, London
Died28 March 1884(1884-03-28) (aged 30)
Cannes
BurialSt George's Chapel, Windsor
British Royalty
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg
Descendants of Victoria & Albert
Victoria, Princess Royal
Edward VII
Princess Alice
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha
Princess Helena
Princess Louise
Arthur, Duke of Connaught
Leopold, Duke of Albany
Princess Beatrice

The Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (Leopold George Duncan Albert; 7 April 1853 – 28 March 1884) was the eighth child and fourth son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Leopold was later created Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence, and Baron Arklow. He had haemophilia, which led to his death at age 30.

Early life[edit]

Prince Leopold in 1868

Leopold was born on 7 April 1853 at Buckingham Palace, London. During labour, Queen Victoria chose to use chloroform and thus sanctioned the use of anesthesia in childbirth, recently developed by Professor James Young Simpson. The chloroform was administered by Dr. John Snow.[1] As a son of the British sovereign, the newborn was styled His Royal Highness The Prince Leopold at birth. His parents named him Leopold after his grand-uncle, King Leopold I of Belgium.

He was baptised in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace on 28 June 1853 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Bird Sumner. His godparents were his first cousin once removed, King George V of Hanover; his fourth cousin once removed, Princess William of Prussia; his first cousin once removed, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge; and his maternal uncle by marriage, Prince Ernst of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Leopold inherited the disease haemophilia from his mother, Queen Victoria, and was a delicate child. Evidence exists[citation needed] that Leopold also suffered mildly from epilepsy, like his grand-nephew Prince John of the United Kingdom.

Education and career[edit]

The Prince's intellectual abilities were evident as a boy; Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and his friend, philosopher Dr James Martineau, were familiar with the Queen's children and had noted that Leopold, who had often "conversed with the eminent Dr. Martineau, was considered to be a young man of a very thoughtful mind, high aims, and quite remarkable acquirements".[2]

Oxford University[edit]

In 1872, Prince Leopold, entered Christ Church at Oxford University where he studied a variety of subjects and became president of the Oxford University Chess Club. He left the university with an honorary doctorate in civil law (DCL) in 1876. Prince Leopold travelled in Europe. In 1880, he toured Canada and the United States with his sister, Princess Louise, whose husband John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne was the Governor General of Canada. He was a prominent chess patron, and the London 1883 chess tournament was held under his patronage.[3] Incapable of pursuing a military career because of his illness, Prince Leopold instead became a patron of the arts and literature, and served as an unofficial secretary to his mother. "Leopold was the favourite son, and through him her relations with the Government of the day were usually kept up."[4] Later he pursued vice-regal appointments in both Canada and Australia, but was rejected in part due to his health problems.

British Army[edit]

Despite his inability (through illness) to pursue an active military role, he had an honorary association with the 72nd Regiment, Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders, and from 1881 served as the first Colonel-in-Chief of the Seaforth Highlanders, when that regiment was formed through the merger of the 72nd regiment with the 78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot.[5] A portrait of Prince Leopold in military uniform is held in the Royal Collection.[6] The Seaforth Highlanders paraded at Prince Leopold's funeral, a fact recorded by William McGonagall in his poem "The Death of Prince Leopold".[7]

Freemasonry[edit]

Prince Leopold was an active Freemason, being initiated in the Apollo University Lodge, Oxford, whilst resident at Christ Church. He was proposed for membership by his brother, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales,[8] who was at the time the Worshipful Master of the Lodge,[9] and was initiated in a joint ceremony with Robert Hawthorne Collins, his friend and tutor, who later became Comptroller of his Household.[10] He served as Master of the Lodge from 1876-1877, and was later the Provincial Grand Master for Oxfordshire, still holding that office at the time of his death.[11]

Duke of Albany[edit]

Prince Leopold was created Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow on 24 May 1881.[12]

Marriage[edit]

Prince Leopold, stifled by the desire of his mother, Queen Victoria, to keep him at home, saw marriage as his only hope of independence. Due to his haemophilia, he had difficulty finding a wife. Heiress Daisy Maynard was one of the women he considered as a possible bride. He was acquainted with Alice Liddell, the daughter of the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford for whom Lewis Carroll wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and was godfather of Alice's second son, who was named for him. It has been suggested that he considered marrying her, though others suggest that he preferred her sister Edith (for whom he later served as pall-bearer on 30 June 1876).[13]

Leopold also considered his second cousin Princess Frederica of Hanover for a bride; they instead became lifelong friends and confidantes.[14] Other aristocatic women he pursued included Victoria of Baden and Princess Karoline Mathilde of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg.[14]

After rejection from these women, Victoria stepped in to bar what she saw as unsuitable possibilities. Insisting that the children of British monarchs should marry into other reigning Protestant families, Victoria suggested a meeting with Princess Helene Friederike, the daughter of Georg Viktor, reigning Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont. On 27 April 1882, Leopold and Helena were married, at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Leopold and Helena enjoyed a happy (although brief) marriage. In 1883, Leopold became a father when his wife gave birth to a daughter, Alice. He died shortly before the birth of his son, Charles Edward.

Later life[edit]

Prince Leopold had haemophilia, diagnosed in childhood and in early years had various physicians in permanent attendance, including John Wickham Legg. In February 1884, Leopold went to Cannes on doctor's orders: joint pain is a common symptom of haemophilia and the winter climate in England was always difficult for him. His wife, pregnant at the time, stayed home but urged him to go. On 27 March, at his Cannes residence, the 'Villa Nevada', he slipped and fell, injuring his knee and hitting his head. He died in the early hours of the next morning, apparently from a cerebral haemorrhage. He was buried in the Albert Memorial Chapel at Windsor. His posthumous son, Prince Charles Edward, succeeded him as 2nd Duke of Albany upon birth four months later.

Having died six years after his older sister Alice, he was the second of Queen Victoria's children to die. His mother outlived him by seventeen years, by which time she had outlived a third child, Alfred.[15]

In 1900, Charles Edward succeeded his uncle Alfred as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

His passing was lamented by the Scottish "poet and tragedian" William McGonagall in the poem "The Death of Prince Leopold".

Through Charles Edward, Leopold is the great-grandfather of Carl XVI Gustaf, the current King of Sweden.

The haemophilia gene is carried on the X chromosome, and is normally passed through female descent, as in the past few haemophiliac men survived to beget children. Any daughter of a haemophiliac is a carrier of the gene. Leopold's daughter Alice inherited the haemophilia gene, and passed it to her son Rupert.

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Prince Leopold's coat of arms

Titles[edit]

Honours[edit]

Arms[edit]

In 1856, at the age of three, Prince Leopold was granted a personal coat of arms — the arms of the kingdom, with an inescutcheon of the shield of Saxony (representing his father), and all differenced by a label argent of three points, the first and third bearing hearts gules, and the second a cross gules.[18]

Ancestors[edit]

Legacy[edit]

In the romantic comedy film, Kate & Leopold, the latter is a British Duke who goes to New York. He also holds the title Duke of Albany. However, his family surname is Mountbatten, a surname which only entered the royal family through the husband of the present queen. However, it was first borne by Leopold's niece (ditto). The Leopold character is credited with having invented the passenger lift, and having a butler called Otis. Leopold is also frequently mentioned in stories based on Alice in Wonderland, such as the Looking Glass Wars trilogy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Queen Victoria: From her birth to the death of the Prince Consort by Cecil Woodham-Smith (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1972) pgs. 333-334
  2. ^ Greenwood, Grace. "Queen Victoria, her girlhood and womanhood". Queen Victoria, her girlhood and womanhood - Part 4 (out of 4). First published - 1883, Montreal, Dawson Bros. Retrieved Jan. 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ Winter, Edward (4 December 2005), "4044. Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany", Chess Notes, retrieved 13 August 2012 
  4. ^ "Topics of the Week". The Week : a Canadian journal of politics, literature, science and arts 1 (18): 273. 3 Apr 1884. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Colonels-in-Chief listed at this article.
  6. ^ Portrait description in the on-line catalogue.
  7. ^ Full text of poem available here.
  8. ^ "Apollo University Lodge No 357, History 1819 - 1969", privately published 1969, page 19.
  9. ^ "Apollo University Lodge No 357, History 1819 - 1969", privately published 1969, appendix page i.
  10. ^ "Apollo University Lodge No 357, History 1819 - 1969", privately published 1969, page 20.
  11. ^ The Oxfordshire Masonic Year Book, 2011-2012, (154th annual edition), privately published 2011, page 54.
  12. ^ "Yvonne's Royalty: Peerage". Mypage.uniserve.ca. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XI, Issue 233, 22 September 1876, P.4, quoting Home News, 1876". Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Zeepvat, Charlotte (1998). Prince Leopold: The Untold Story of Queen Victoria's Youngest Son. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-3791-2. 
  15. ^ "boys clothing: British royalty Victoria-the children". Histclo.com. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Reference here.
  17. ^ "The London Gazette". London-gazette.co.uk. 30 January 1877. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  18. ^ Francois R. Velde. "Heraldica – British Royalty Cadency". Heraldica.org. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 7 April 1853 Died: 28 March 1884
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New titleDuke of Albany
(creation of 1881)
1881-1884
Vacant
Title next held by
Prince Charles Edward