Queens of England, Alexandra of Denmark, 1844 - 1925
Alexandra was born at the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen, on 1st December 1844. She was born into a royal family, although they were not particularly wealthy. When Alexandra was eight, her father became next in line to the throne of Denmark and the family’s position rose, although their income did not increase. Alexandra was called Alix by her family and friends and had a happy but strict childhood.
Alexandra was considered, with other princesses, as a potential bride for Prince Albert Edward, Queen Victoria’s oldest son, who was known to the family as Bertie. After some consideration, it was decided that Alix was the most suitable option, and the couple were introduced through Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in September 1861. It was a year later when Bertie proposed and the couple were eventually married on 10th March 1863 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
The couple’s first child was born prematurely on 8th January 1864 and was named Albert, after his father and grandfather. Alix and Bertie would go on to have another five children, all of whom were apparently born prematurely, although it has been speculated that this was because false due dates were given out to avoid Queen Victoria attending the birth. During one pregnancy Alix had rheumatic fever which left her with a permanent walking problem. Despite all of these problems, Alix was very close with all her children and enjoyed spending time with them, which was considered very unusual in a royal mother.
In the first year of her marriage, Alix also faced conflict in her new family, as Denmark was invaded by Germany. Whilst Queen Victoria supported her eldest daughter on the German side, Alix and Bertie supported the Danish members of Alix’s family, which caused much friction in the family. Later the couple’s lifestyle of socialising at Sandringham House and hunting lead to some further arguments with Queen Victoria. There were also problems within the marriage, with Bertie having had numerous affairs throughout. Alix seems to have been deeply upset by this, but continued to forgive him and the pair remained close despite a series of scandals, particularly after Bertie suffered a bout of typhoid fever.
Alix remained religious and devoted to her family throughout her life. She began to perform more public duties to spare Queen Victoria from having to carry out as many and smiled at all occasions, even when booed. Alix’s health became worse and she began to grow deaf, which lead to her being unable to participate in the social events that she was used to attending. In 1892 tragedy hit the family, with Alix and Bertie’s eldest son dying. Alix was distraught and claimed that she had ‘buried my angel and with him my happiness.’
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, Bertie and Alix became the King and Queen of England. Not much changed for the pair, who continued to live similar lifestyles. Alix then spent much time happily looking after her grandchildren, as her son George and his wife Mary went on tours away. In 1910, Alix was the first Queen Consort to attend the House of Commons during a debate. Later in the year she went to Greece to visit her brother, whilst there she received the news that Bertie had fallen seriously ill. She rushed home and arrived the day before he died, looking after him at his bedside.
After her husband’s death, Alix retired to Marlbrough house, where she continued to perform public and charitable duties. The First World War had a bad effect on Alix who already despised the Germans. In 1917, her nephew, Tsar Nicholas II, was overthrown and later he and his family were murdered. Alix’s sister escaped Russia and lived with her in England for a time. By now Alix had began to look old and to hide this she wore heavy make up and veils, which lead to much gossip about her appearance. Toward the end of her life, Alix lost sight in one of her eyes and her memory and speech deteriorated. She died of a heart attack on 20th November 1925 and was buried beside her husband in St Georges Castle.
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