Item - BSL - Darmstadt 1903

 

1903 - 17 ROYAL AUTOGRAPHS ON ONE ROYAL WEDDING PAGE
THE DARMSTADT WEDDING OF PRINCE PHILIP'S PARENTS

Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses,
 Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses, and a Saint!

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Back side of Page

THE END OF EMPIRE AND THE AGE OF INNOCENCE

Edward VII was, mainly through his mother and his father-in-law, related to nearly every other European monarch and came to be known as the "Uncle of Europe." The German Emperor Wilhelm II, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, King Alphonso XIII of Spain, and Carl Eduard, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha were Edward's nephews; King Haakon VII of Norway was his son-in-law and nephew by marriage; King George I of the Hellenes and King Frederick VIII of Denmark were his brothers-in-law; and King Albert I of Belgium, Manuel II of Portugal, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, and Prince Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, were his cousins.

In October, 1903, many of these royal families traveled to Darmstadt, Germany. It was a stellar gathering, and the Princess Victoria, daughter of King Edward VII, obtained autographs of many of the attendees on the pages of her album. On this particular page, signing with their family names were: King Constantine's mother Queen Olga (as Aunt Olga the ancient one),  King Constantine of Greece (as Tino) and his wife Queen Sophie (as Sophie), a sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Constantine's brothers: Prince George (as Georgie) who had saved Tsar Nicholas II's life with his cane, Prince Andrew of Greece (as Andrea) as the Groom, and Princess Alice of Battenberg (as Alice) as the Bride (the parents of Prince Philip later husband to Queen Elizabeth II), Prince Christopher (as Christo) and Prince Nicholas of Greece (as Nicky), and his wife the Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna (as Ellen), finally followed by the Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna, nee Princess of Greece (as Minny) and her husband the Grand Duke Georgij Michaelovitch of Russia (He has signed his name in cyrillic as "Георгий").

On the verso appear the signatures of an as yet unconfirmed "Margherita" and then Prince Ernst of Hesse, (as Ernie), Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse (as Fischy), Princess Margaret Beatrice Feodora of Prussia (as Mossy), Grand Duke Sergei (as Serge), Tsar Nicholas II's uncle, and his wife, Elizabeth of Hesse (as Ella), called Ella in the family. She was a sister of Russian Empress Alix, wife of Tsar Nicholas II. After her husband's death Ella became an Orthodox nun and a mother superior in a convent in Moscow, giving away her jewels and wealth she concentrated on helping the poor in Moscow. On July 18, 1918, the Bolsheviks hurled her alive down a mine shaft and left her to die a cruel and lingering death. She has been canonized and is now a Russian Orthodox saint. Her autograph is extremely scarce.

Princess Victoria Alexandra Olga Mary was the second daughter of King Edward VII and his wife Queen Alexandra of Denmark. She never married and was a constant companion to her mother in her travels until the queen’s death in 1925. Victoria kept an autograph album and, from 1902 to 1933, collected signatures when receiving visitors at court, in the royal country homes, at the great houses of England and on travels throughout Europe. Most of the pages contain the dates and place names, so that they often provide historical evidence of meetings of state or royal family gatherings. She had access to people outsiders couldn’t reach, and they obligingly signed her book, often using their family nicknames. In her album were autographs of 51 monarchs, including Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra and all of their children, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor Hirohito of Japan and six Kings and Queens of England, plus hundreds of other family members. Non-royal notables of the day also signed the album, such as Enrico Caruso, Marconi, Lawrence of Arabia and Woodrow Wilson. This is one of those pages, a page from history as the young Princess Victoria wandered amongst the powerful and inter-married elite of Nineteenth Century Europe. People who within the next years would come to ignite and be ignited by an even more powerful forces than they could ever imagine. But this was still the Twilight of Empire, the final chapter of the Great Colonial Powers, the last moment of hereditary conviviality, the end of the Age of Innocence.


Olga Queen of Greece
Mother of Groom
"Aunt Olga"

Queen Olga of Greece (1851-1926), born Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna of Russia, she was the queen consort of King George I of Greece and in 1920, Regent of Greece. A granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and cousin of Tsar Alexander III of Russia and Tsar Nicholas II, Olga was the daughter of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia and Alexandra Iosifovna, a Princess of Saxe-Altenberg. She met the young King George during his trip to Russia to meet with his sister Dagmar, the Danish wife of Tsar Alexander III. They fell in love and married in 1867, when she was sixteen years old.


King Constantine I of Greece
Brother of Groom
"Tino"

King Constantine I of the Hellenes (1868-1923) ruled Greece from 1913-1917 and from 1920-1922. Born 2 August 1868 in Athens, he was the eldest son of George I of Greece and Olga, Queen of Greece. As Crown Prince, Constantine was instrumental in the organization of the 1896 Summer Olympics, appointing a committee to prepare Athens for the Games and keeping a close watch to ensure that their tasks were completed. He succeeded to the throne of Greece on 18 March 1913 following his father's assassination in Salonika. Prior to the start of World War I in 1914 Constantine, as Crown Prince, led the Greek forces during the successful Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. He was educated in Germany, time spent serving in the Prussian army, then married Kaiser Wilhelm II's sister, Princess Sophie of Prussia, (in 1889).


Sophie Queen of Greece
Sister-in-law of Groom
"Sophie"

Queen Sophia of Greece (1870-1932) was queen consort of King Constantine I of Greece. She was born Princess Sophie Dorothea Ulrika Alice of Prussia in Potsdam, Germany in 1870 to Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Victoria, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom, herself the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria. She was the sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. On October 27, 1889, she married Crown Prince Constantine of Greece in Athens, Greece. They had six children. During World War I Queen Sophie had been wrongly seen in Greece as very pro-German because her brother was Kaiser Wilhelm II. Like her mother, she was passionately pro-British. Granddaughter of Victoria.



Prince George
Brother of the Groom
"Georgie"

Prince George of Greece and Denmark (24 June 1869–25 November 1957) was the third child of King George I of Greece and Grand Duchess Olga. He accompanied Tsar Nicholas II on his trip to Asia as Tsarevich, and saved him from an assassination attempt in Japan but using his cane to deflect a second fatal sword attack. He acted as high commissioner of Crete during its transition towards independence from Ottoman rule and union with Greece. Prince George was married in 1907 to Princess Marie Bonaparte, daughter of Prince Roland Bonaparte. They had two children - Petros and Evgenia. Peter (1908-1980) was an anthropologist, while their daughter Eugenie (1910-1989) married Prince Dominic Radziwill (1939) and then with Prince Raymundo von Thurn und Taxis (1949). Living to the age of 88, Prince George was the longest living of the House of Oldenburg of his generation. Georgioupolis, a coastal resort between Chania and Rethimno, was named after Prince George. Prince George, along with his brothers Constantine and Nicolas, was involved with the organization of the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens.


Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark - The Groom
"Andrea"

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (January 20, 1882 - December 3, 1944), of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, was the son of George I (1845-1913), King of the Hellenes, and of Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinova (1851-1926) of Russia. As he grew up he was taught English by his caretakers, but in conversations with his parents he refused to speak anything but Greek, which he was better at learning to speak than his siblings. Prince Andrew married HSH Princess Alice of Battenberg in a civil wedding on October 6, 1903 at Darmstadt and in a religious wedding the next day in the Russian Chapel, Darmstadt. Princess Alice was a daughter of His Serene Highness, Prince and Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Louis of Battenberg. As such Princess Alice was a great grand-daughter of Queen Victoria  After a coup d'état in Greece in 1922 Prince Andrew faced charges of treason and his family fled into exile in France. During this time the family became more and more torn apart, Alice and her daughters eventually settling in Germany separated from Andrew, and Philip (later Prince Phillip who married the current Queen Elizabeth) wound up being taken care of by his relatives in the United Kingdom. Andrew went to Monte Carlo, Monaco and died there, twenty years later.


Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark - The Bride
"Alice"

Princess Alice of Battenberg, later Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark (1885- 1969) was a great-granddaughter of the British Queen Victoria and in the line of succession to the British throne who married into the royal house of Greece. She was the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who became consort of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie of Battenberg was born at the Tapestry Room in Windsor Castle in Berkshire under the supervision of her great-grandmother Queen Victoria. She was the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854-1921) and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and the Rhine (1863-1950). Her mother was the eldest daughter of Princess Alice, the second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her father was eldest son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine through his morganatic marriage to Julia, Countess von Hauke. She was christened in Darmstadt on 25 April 1885. Her godparents were The Grand Duke of Hesse, Prince Alexander of Hesse and the Rhine, Princess Battenberg, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna of Russia, Countess Marie of Erbach-Schönberg, and Queen Victoria of Great Britain. Princess Alice of Battenberg spent most of her childhood in London. She was diagnosed with congenital deafness, but learned to lip-read in English, French, and German. Later, she learned to lip-read in Greek. Alice became a Greek Orthodox nun in 1944 following her husband's death. She suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized in Switzerland, emerged and founded (in 1949) the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary, an order of nuns tending the poor and sick on the island of Tinos in Greece. She sheltered Jewish families in Greece and was posthumously honored for heroism by Israel.


Prince Christopher
Brother of Groom
"Christo"

Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark (1888-1940) was a member of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Royal House. He was born at Pavlovsk, Imperial Russia; his parents were George I of Greece and Olga, Queen of Greece; he was the youngest of their eight children (twenty years younger than their oldest child, Constantine), and was called "Christo" by the family. His older brothers included Constantine, George, Nicholas and Andrew.


 


Brother to the Groom
"Nicky"

Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark (1872-1938), of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, was the third son of George I (1845-1913), King of the Hellenes, and of Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna (1851-1926) of Russia. He was known as "Greek Nicky" in the family to distinguish him from his cousin Nicholas II of Russia (1868 - 1918). Nicholas was a talented painter, often signing his works as "Nicolas Leprince." He married Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia (1882-1957), daughter of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia and Maria Pavlovna of Mecklenburg, and the only sister of the future Russian imperial pretender, Grand Duke Kyril Vladimirovich, in 1902 in Russia. They had three daughters.


Princess Helena Vladimirovna
Aunt to the Groom
"Ellen"

Grand Duchess Helena Vladimirovna of Russia, later Her Imperial & Royal Highness the Princess Nicholas of Greece & Denmark (1882-1957). Helena Vladimirovna was the daughter of His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia (1847–1909) and Her Royal Highness the Princess Marie Alexandrine Elisabeth Eleonore von Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Her paternal grandparents were His Imperial and Autocratic Majesty the Tsar Alexander II and Her Imperial Majesty the Tsarina Marie (Princess of Hesse and by Rhine) of all the Russias. Her maternal grandparents were His Grand Ducal Highness the Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta of Reuss-Köstritz. Helena (known as Ellen in the family) married His Royal Highness the Prince Nicholas of Greece & Denmark (House of Slesvig-Holsten-Sønderborg-Lyksborg), the third son of His Majesty the King George I of the Hellenes and Her Majesty, the Queen Olga (Olga was a daughter of the Russian Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and Alexandra Iosifovna) on the 29 August 1902 at Tsarskoe Selo.


Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna
Aunt to the Groom
"Minny"

Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna, Princess of Greece and Denmark (1876-1940), was the fifth child and second daughter of George I of Greece and Olga Konstantinovna of Russia and thus a family member of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. She was born in Athens as a younger sister to Constantine I of Greece, Prince George of Greece, Alexandra Georgievna of Greece and Prince Nicholas of Greece. She was an older sister of Prince Andrew of Greece and Prince Christopher of Greece. On April 30, 1900, Maria was married to Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia in Corfu. The couple had two daughters: Princess Xenia Georgievna Romanova of Russia and Princess Nina Georgievna of Russia. She became a widow on January 30, 1919 when the Bolsheviks killed her husband by firing squad. On December 16, 1922, Maria was remarried to Pericles Ioannides in Wiesbaden. She died in her native Athens during the Greco-Italian War (1940-1941). Her daughter Xenia lived for years in Long Island, New York, with her alleged cousin Anna Anderson. Anna claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, a daughter of Nicholas II of Russia and granddaughter of Alexander III.


Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov
"Георгий"

Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov, (1863-1919), was a first cousin of Emperor Alexander III of Russia and a General in the Russian army. He was the second surviving son of Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaievich of Russia and Olga Fedorovna of Baden. His paternal grandparents were Nicholas I of Russia and Empress consort Charlotte of Prussia. His maternal grandparents were Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden and Sophie of Sweden. In 1900, Grand Duke George married Princess Maria Georgievna of Greece , daughter of George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia. He has signed his name in cyrillic as "Георгий". On January 29, 1919, the Grand Duke was moved to Peter and Paul Fortress in Petrograd, and in the early hours of the following day, he was shot there by a Bolshevik firing squad, along with his brother, Grand Duke Nicholas Mihailovich, and his cousins Grand Dukes Paul Alexandrovich and Dmitri Konstantinovich.


Queen Margherita of Italy

?

Margherita Maria Teresa Giovanna di Savoia (1851-1926)
Daughter of Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Genoa and Princess Elisabeth of Saxony. Buried in the Pantheon, Rome. She was the Queen consort of the Kingdom of Italy during the reign (1878-1900) of her husband, Umberto who was assassinated in 1900


She signs here as "Margherita - 22 September 1903 Fredensborg" - Royal Danish Palace.

As we have not found a signature exemplar nor been able to place Queen Margherita at Flensbourg Palace at this date, this identification is still tentative.


Grand Duke Ernest of Hesse
Uncle to the Bride
"Ernie"

Grand Duke Ernst of Hesse and by Rhine (1868-1937). Ernest Louis Charles Albert William (de: Ernst Ludwig Karl Albert Wilhelm) was the last Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine from 1892 until his abdication in 1918. His nickname was Ernie. Ernest Louis was the fourth child and eldest son of Grand Duke Louis IV and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, daughter of Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was an older brother to Alexandra of Hesse, consort of Nicholas II of Russia. Throughout his life, Ernest Louis was a patron of the arts, founding the Darmstadt Artists' Colony, and was himself an author of poems, plays, essays, and piano compositions. Ernest Louis served in the German military during World War I, and was forced to abdicate along with the other German ruling princes at the end of the war in 1918. In October 1937, Ernest Louis died at Schloß Wolfsgarten, near Darmstadt in Hesse. Although he had not reigned in Hesse for nearly twenty years he received what amounted to a State funeral on November 16 1937. He was buried in the Rosenhohe, the traditional burial place of the Hesse family.
 


King of Finland
"Fischy"

Prince and Landgrave Frederick of Hesse (1868–1940), officially Friedrich Karl Ludwig Konstantin, Prinz und Landgraf von Hessen-Kassel (in German), (Frederick Charles Louis Constantin, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel), (Fredrik Kaarle or Fredrik Kaarlo in Finnish), (Fredrik Carl in Swedish), (Frederik Carl in Danish), was the brother-in-law of the German Emperor Wilhelm II and was the elected King of Finland from October 9 to December 14, 1918. Frederick (known as "Fischy" in the family) was born in Panker Castle, a castle on the Baltic Sea which belonged to his family. He was the third son of the then Prince Frederik of Hesse, and his wife Anna of Prussia, daughter of Prince Charles of Prussia and Marie Louise of Saxe-Weimar. Eighteen days after his own birth, the baby Frederick's first cousin, the then Grand Duchess Maria Fyodorovna, daughter of his aunt Louise Queen of Denmark, gave birth in Saint Petersburg to Nicholas II of Russia who would become Frederick Charles' predecessor as the monarch of Finland (1894–1917).


Princess Margaret of Prussia
"Mossy"

Princess Margaret Beatrice Feodora of Prussia (1872-1954) was the daughter of the future Frederick III, German Emperor (1831-1888) and his wife, Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom (1840-1901), daughter of Queen Victoria. Margaret, or "Mossy" as she was known in the family, was the youngest of eight children. Together with her sisters, Princess Viktoria and Princess Sophie of Prussia, Mossy was very close to her mother and embraced English ways. On January 25, 1893 Mossy married Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse ('Fischy'), future head of the Hesse-Cassel dynasty and future elected king of Finland. He was a relative of hers, his mother having also been a Prussian princess. The marriage was very happy. Margaret's family was a unique one among the descendents of Queen Victoria; she bore six children with four pregnancies, having two sets of twins.


Grand Duke Sergei
Grand Uncle to the Bride
"Serge"

Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia (1857-1905) was the seventh child and fifth son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and his first Empress consort Marie of Hesse and by Rhine. He was a younger brother to Alexander III of Russia and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia, consort of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and uncle to Tsar Nicholas II. In 1884, Sergei married Elizabeth of Hesse (Yelisaveta Fyodorovna), a daughter of Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom. He was killed by a bomb in 1905 and his remains were found beneath a parking lot in Moscow in 1995 and were reburied on 17 September 1995 in the chapel of the Novospassky Monastery.


Grand Duchess Elizabeth
Grand Aunt to the Bride
Later Canonized
"Ella"

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna of Russia, née Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Elisabeth Alexandra Luise Alice of Hesse and by Rhine (1864-1918), was the wife of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, the fifth son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and Maria Alexandrovna (née Princess Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt). She was the second child and daughter of Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, a daughter of Queen Victoria. She was an older sister of both Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Alexandra of Hesse (Alexandra Fyodorovna, Princess Alix of Hess and by Rhine), Empress consort of Nicholas II of Russia. Elizabeth was affectionately called Ella by her family.

After Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia was assassinated on February 18, 1905 by a bomb, Grand Duchess Elizabeth became a nun, and gave away her jewelry and sold her most luxurious possessions. With the proceeds she opened the Convent of Martha and Mary an Order of Mercy home in Moscow, and for many years helped the poor and the orphans in Moscow to foster the prayer and charity of devout women. Here there arose a new vision of a diaconate for women, one that combined intercession and action in the heart of a disordered world. In April 1909 Elizabeth and seventeen women were dedicated as Sisters of Love and Mercy. Their work flourished: soon they opened a hospital and a variety of other philanthropic ventures arose. In 1918, the Communist government exiled her to Yekaterinburg and then to Alapaevsk, where she was killed by the local Bolsheviks on July 18, 1918, along with Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich Romanov; the Princes Ioann Konstantinovich, Konstantin Konstantinovich, Igor Konstantinovich and Vladimir Pavlovich Paley; Grand Duke Sergei's secretary, Fyodor Remez; and Varvara Yakovlevna, a sister from the Grand Duchess Elizabeth's convent. Her remains were buried in Jerusalem, in the Church of Maria Magdalene. She was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2001. Her principal shrine is the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent she founded in Moscow. She is one of the ten 20th-century martyrs from across the world who are depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, London.

As a final Note it is fitting to observe that the Bride of this Wedding Alice of Battenberg, later Princess Alice of Greece, the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, re-founded Ella's Order of Mercy in 1949, completing a very sad but poignant cycle in history.

1 page Document – Signed and Dated on both sides: various dates 1903

Document Specifications:  This is an autograph album page from HRH Princess Victoria and bearing 17 signatures of aristocratic nobility. It measures approximately 5¼" wide and 7" tall (135mm x 175mm). It is on batonne laid paper with a partial watermark of crest and "Mill". Likely Turkey Mill Paper used by the Royal Family. Please note that we have done our best to identify the "familial" nicknames and connect them to the proper signatories. However, it is possible that we have misidentified some signatures. In some cases we have seen exemplars of the nicknames or know that these nicknames were used. Our guarantee of authenticity on this document relates to its authenticity as an original document which was signed at the Darmstadt wedding. We hope you will enjoy further research and discoveries and perhaps write a book on The Darmstadt Wedding and the End of Imperial Europe.

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