Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1900-1974) and Princess Alice (1901-2004)

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Princess Alice equals Queen Mother's record
By Caroline Davies (Filed: 19/08/2003)

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, is about to overtake the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother this week by becoming the oldest member of the Royal Family in history.

The dowager Duchess, who lives at Kensington Palace, will tomorrow equal the age to which the Queen Mother lived, 101 years and 238 days.

Princess Alice pictured in July 2001
Although frail and sometimes forgetful, Princess Alice continues to carry out royal engagements - albeit very few - but is rarely seen in public.

Her last official photograph was taken just before her 100th birthday when she posed with members of her family including her two bridesmaids - the Queen and Princess Margaret.

Recently she took over as Colonel in Chief of the Royal Anglians, an appointment that surprised many given her great age. And the duties she has performed in recent years have been restricted to granting audiences in her apartment for members of the organisations with which she remains associated.

As the only member of the Royal Family alive during the First World War, she has retained strong links with the Somme Association, and one of her most recent engagements was to hold an audience for its officials in May, where they found her to be "bright, alert and interested in what we are doing".

The following month she also received the retiring chairman of the Queen's Nursing Institute.

But these days Princess Alice is most frequently spotted being wheeled around the gardens of Kensington Palace, where she lives with her son, the present Duke of Gloucester and his family.

The widow of Prince Henry, the late Duke of Gloucester and third son of George V, Princess Alice is often dubbed the most reluctant of Royals. She only accepted Prince Henry's marriage proposal at the age of 34, having devoted much of her young life to travel.

Like Prince William, she fell in love with Kenya and, like him also, she began learning Swahili. She also travelled in India. The third daughter of eight children of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch, the young Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott was seen as the perfect addition to George V's family, despite her self-confessed "horror" of society life.

But first she was determined to experience a life away from the house parties, and financed her travels by painting watercolours and selling them through a Bond Street gallery. She recorded her adventures in detail in her autobiography published some years ago.

Once the Duke had ensnared her, however, she settled down to royal life and produced two sons, Prince William, born in December 1941 and then, after two miscarriages, Prince Richard, the present Duke of Gloucester.

Soon after the latter's birth the Duke replaced Lord Gowrie as Governor General of Australia, and the family decamped there for two years. On their return they settled at her beloved Barnwell Manor, the Northamptonshire home bought for her by the Duke in 1938. It was to remain her home until the 1990s when, due to her infirmity, she moved to Kensington Palace.

She has been touched by the deepest of tragedies during her long life. In 1972 her elder son, Prince William, was killed taking part in an airshow in Staffordshire.

"I was completely stunned and have never been the same since," she wrote in her autobiography, "though I have tried to persuade myself that it was better to have known and lost him than never to have had him at all".

Two years later, her husband the Duke, who had become too ill for public duties since collapsing at the wheel of their car on the way back from Sir Winston Churchill's funeral in 1965, died too. Her younger son became Duke of Gloucester.

Princess Alice has always believed her life of public duty was pre-ordained, and cited an incident when she almost drowned at the age of 14 and made a covenant with God to make use of her life if He spared it.

"So when, through a set of unforeseen circumstances I one day found myself allotted a life of public duty in service of my country, a very secret pledge was honoured," she wrote.

She still holds several honorary appointments and ranks in the Armed Services, as well as being associated with many medical and health charities.
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Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (1901-2004)

From Hello

20 AUGUST 2003
The Queen's aunt, Princess Alice, has raised the bar on royal longevity, becoming the oldest-ever member of the British monarchy.

On Wednesday, the royal centenarian broke the record set by the Queen Mother, who passed away in March of last year. Born Lady Alice Christabel Montagu Douglas Scott on Christmas Day 1901, Princess Alice has lived for 101 years, seven months and 26 days.

In her younger years, Princess Alice, who is the widow of the Queen's grandfather's third son, was well-known in royal circles for her adventurous and independent spirit. After meeting the man would become her future husband – Prince Henry, a family friend and the son of King George V and Queen Mary – the aristocrat put thoughts of marriage aside in order to travel.

Lady Alice lived in Kenya, spent time in India and famously made an illegal visit to Afghanistan, disguising herself in traditional garb. News of her father's ill health brought her back to Britain in 1935, and the debutante married Prince Henry that same year, aged 34. She was to outlive both her elder son, Prince William, who died in a 1972 plane accident aged 30, and her husband, who passed away two years later.

Princess Alice spent much of her life at the 2,500-acre Barnwell Manor estate near Oundle, Northamptonshire, which she and Prince Henry bought in 1938. In 1995 the elderly widow moved into Kensington Palace to be with her younger son, the Duke of Gloucester.

Three years ago, the Duke announced his mother, described as "frail" but "in good spirits", would be withdrawing from public life. "She does, however, receive family and friends in the comfort of her home and, occasionally, representatives from her charitable organisations," he said.
Queen Elizabeth II's aunt has lived for 101 years, seven months and 26 days, overtaking the record set by the late Queen Mother
Photo: ©


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The monarch was among the guests at the Princess' 100th birthday celebrations in 2001
Photo: ©


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Beautiful and adventurous, Princess Alice married Prince Henry, the son of King George V and Queen Mary, in 1935
Photo: © PA


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It still amazes me how long people are living these days. Can you image all of the changes Princes Alice has seen in the world, and in the monarchy as well...

Congrats to her and her family it really is amazing how long people live to day. ;) It is an unbelieveable milestone. She has experienced so much it's probably great just to sit down and talk with her. Well again Congrats to Princess Alice. ;)

:flower: HB

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester is the widow of the late Duke of Gloucester, third son of George V.

Lady Alice Christabel Montagu Douglas Scott was born on Christmas Day, 1901 at Montagu House, London. She was the third daughter of the seventh Duke of Buccleuch, who had been a fellow midshipman of the future king George V.

Lady Alice was educated at home until the age of 12. She then went to school at West Malvern, spending a year in Paris before returning home to be presented at Court in 1920. Lady Alice has greatly enjoyed outdoor pursuits, including skiing, and has been an accomplished watercolourist. She also travelled widely, living for many months in Kenya and also spending time in India on a visit to her brother.
Here is an interesting photo [circa 1980] which has great historical significance. Here are two different Princesses named Alice. On the left is HRH Princess Alice, Dowager Duchess of Gloucester on the right is the late HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Althlone.

What is so historical about this photo is the fact that Princess Alice, Dowager Duchess of Gloucester is the oldest lived member of the British Royal family, bar none. [on Christmas day of this year she will be 102 years old].

As for the other, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, she is the longest lived British Royal of all time who was BORN a Royal Highness. She was born 25 February 1883 and died 3 January 1981, making her 97 years and 312 days old at her death. She was the daughter of Queen Victoria's youngest son Prince Leopold, the Duke of Albany. She was also the longest lived grandchild of Queen Victoria.

So here you have a photo that has the two record holders for longevity within the British Royal Family in the SAME photo! :flower:


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Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, celebrates her 102nd birthday today. She was born Lady Alice Christabel Montagu-Douglas-Scott. She lives with her only surviving son, the present Duke of Gloucester, and his family at Kensington Palace. She is the oldest royal in British history.
Photo from BBC.
Do you have any pics of the life of HRH Princess Alice of Gloucester from 1990 to 2004?

Yes she still alive and 101 year old now...

Originally posted by karla64@Jun 22nd, 2004 - 2:24 pm

Yes she still alive and 101 year old now...

Actually, as she was born on December 25, 1901, she is 102, approaching her 103rd birthday
I think it is lovely that Lady Davina Windsor is holding her wedding at Kensington Palace so her Gran can attend and not have to leave her palace, she attended Lord Ulsters wedding in St James's Palace in 2002 but unfortunatly no official pictures released of her and the family
i hope so Princess Alice would feels or not but she still as 102 year old like as Queen Mother who is 101 year old as long lived woman but Princess Alice very strong woman.

Sara Boyce
Yes,Princess Alice is a strong woman.The Duke of Gloucester said that his mother had a strong spirit.
Allowing for the positive spin put on things to do with the royal family by the press office, it sounds as though she's having serious memory problems. I hope she's able to understand what's happening with her grandchildren's weddings. It's like history repeating itself - the present duke was married in his local church rather than in Copenhagen so that the old duke could participate in the wedding since he was too frail to travel.
I don't think so. The photo taken on her 100th birthday didn't look like a person who was capable of attending major public functions.

Someone on another thread said that she isn't seen out in her garden any more like she used to be, with her carer, a couple of years ago. Sounds as if she's desperately frail.
Well, the woman is almost 103 years old...

I wonder how well Princess Alice and the Queen Mother got along...

The picture of the two Princesses named Alice is quite extraordinary.
Elizabeth and Alice were two very different people. Elizabeth came from an old scottish family who were rich but not mega rich and where as she enjoyed parties and clothes and jewells Alice did not not as she prefered the countryside and travelling in africa and came from a family with several houses with private train to take them and all of their staff from houses to house depending on the season, and her nephew is still the largest private landowner in the uk( his wealth is all in trust for future generations which includes a fabuous art collection rumured to be worth over £600m). i think they had an understanding and i know the queen mother was most upset that she had a cold and unable to attend Alices 100th birthday celebration at kensington palace, but maybe she wanted Alice to have her day and not over shadow as when ever the late queen made an appearence in public it tended to be the main focus of attention.
It sounds as if the Queen Mother and Princess Alice got along a lot better with each other than either did with Princess Marina, if the story is true about Princess Marina calling them "those common little Scottish girls" because she was a princess and they were just daughters of a duke and an earl. The Queen Mother and Princess Alice both seemed to enjoy country life whereas Princess Marina was much more cosmopolitan. Whether the Queen Mother and Princess Alice were particularly friendly is another matter; they'd probably have known each other as youngsters, though.
Interestingly it was the then Duke and Duchess of Gloucester that went to visit the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in France not that long after the Windsors wed there. I think Alice Gloucester may have wanted to make her point about her opinion of that situation, while almost everyone else at court or in British society were shunning the Windsors by that time. I think she may have been better liked within the royal family and among the public that knew them than the late Duke who was said to be the least likable of all his siblings. Anyway, I felt quite sorry for both of them losing their son William, the Duke was said to have never been himself again after that. The way in which William died and the details in the media of the crash were quite awful.
Mary, Princess Royal & Countess of Harewood also visited her brother the Duke of Windsor in Paris shortly after his marriage.

I always thought both visits a little hypocritical. If they could visit him and his wife then why didn't they attend the wedding. There is nothing so sad as adults who are still so terrified of their mother that the can't follow their consience.
"On the way back to England [from Kenya] we stopped off in Paris for one night to see the Windsors. It was Neville Chamberlain's idea, not ours. The Government were still undecided whether to assign the Duke an official role or not, and before reaching a conclusion they wanted some guidance in the form of public reaction in England to news of our visit. The Windsors took us out to dine in some smart restaurant. I did not feel in the least chic, with the red dusts of Kenya hardly out of my hair, but the Duke and Duchess were more than kind. By today's standards there was virtually no Press interest; nevertheless some mention of the meeting did appear in the English papers and a lot of old ladies duly wrote furiously disapproving letters, whcih I found quite upsetting.

Nothing we ever did in the years to come was to prove as controversial as this exploratory visit to the Windsors [...]."

--The Memoirs of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (1983), p. 117

From this it's clear that Alice wasn't attempting to show her opinion of the matters, she was merely a pawn in the government's game. It also shows to me, though, that she was sympathetic towards the Windsors and their situation.

And Princess Marina flat refused to meet the Windsors at all, probably causing some problems for her husband, who was the Duke's favourite brother. I suppose that if she considered the Duchess of Gloucester (and the then Queen) common, it's easy to understand why she refused to meet the Duchess of Windsor after her marriage.

The Gloucesters seem to have been more low-profile than the Kents for several generations now.
Princess Alice dies at 102

HRH Prince Alice, Dowager Duchess of Gloucester dies today at the age of 102. My condolences to her family. May she rest in peace.
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