Monday, January 30, 2006

On Alexandra of Denmark - by Claude de Bigny

Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who married Edward Prince of Wales and became Queen of England upon the death of Queen Victoria, has had a mixed press, writes Claude de Bigny, the blog's historical correspondent.

Her beauty may have had something to do with that - as it appears to have obsessed not merely the men who surrounded her, but also herself.

I am writing about her today because a malicious rumour has been circulating that she was unfaithful to her husband - a rumour which is not only unfounded, but appears to have been made up quite recently. Certainly no credit has ever been given it before. Hero, who is a distant cousin of Alexandra's through Hero Oomkens von Esens (who married Irmgard von Oldenburg, niece to Christian I and first cousin to Frederik I of Denmark) as well as through the Prussian von Quooß and von Gaudecker families, has asked me to set the record straight.

For over 25 years Princess Alexandra enjoyed the chaste and exalted love of her husband's equerry, Oliver Montagu, younger son of Lord Sandwich. This was well known to all, including the Prince of Wales, and was widely seen as a purely platonic affair of the heart. As Louisa, Lady Antrim wrote:

"The Princess floated through the ballroom like a vision from fairyland.She went out a great deal, and chief among her cavaliers was Oliver Montagu. Her husband by this time was living in a very fast set, indulging in many flirtations. It is surprising that, young and lovely as she was, the Princess never gave any real occasion for scandal. I think it must have been due to Oliver Montagu's care for her. He shielded her in every way, not least from his own great love, and managed to defeat gossip."

Claude de Bigny

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