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Prince Phillip's Mother, Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie who became a Greek Princess
There are an increasing number of people who have turned to spirituality rather than religion as a source of solace and to find sanctuary from the busy world we are living in. People are eager to express their spirituality and to promote spirituality in society. What people mean when they use that word varies enormously. Spirituality is also the relationship people have with a force or power that is beyond themselves and helps them feel connected, to enrich their lives. Religion is a specific set of beliefs or practices connected to an organized group. Some people find spirituality by practising their religious beliefs while others find it outside of an organized religion. People believe that the spiritual journey of our lives demands outward and inward wandering often not knowing where it will lead us to, giving away all of our personal possessions. This story is about a princess who found spirituality and put it first and foremost in her life. Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie was born February 25th 1885. She was to be known as Princess Alice of Battenburg while growing up, she was named Victoria, after Queen Victoria who was her Great Grandmother. One of her many ancestors was Mary, Queen of Scots. Princess Alice wasborn in Windsor, England. She learned to lip read at an early age because she suffered from congenital hearing loss. She also spoke 4 languages. Princess Alice was married to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark at a civil ceremony on October 6th 1903. She took the name Princess Andrew which was the name she was to be known by. She had five children, four daughters and one son.Her son Philip, who was to be known as Prince Philip, married Princess Elizabeth who was later to be crowned Queen Elizabeth II. After her marriage, Princess Andrew’s husband, Prince Andrew, continued on with his military career while she acted as a nurse assisting at operations and setting up field hospitals. This took her away from home, as she was very devoted to her work. Her efforts were recognized by King George V, who awarded her the Royal Red Cross in 1913
Princess Andrew visited Russia in 1908. While there she visited her aunt, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fydorovna (who was later to become a Russian Orthodox Saint). The Grand Duchess was making plans for the foundation of a religious order of nurses. Princess Andrew attended the laying of the foundation stone for her aunt’s new order. Later in the year the Grand Duchess began giving away all her possessions in preparation for a more spiritual life. During the year 1930, Princess Andrew was estranged from her husband Prince Andrew. Her son Philip was sent to stay with his Uncle Lord Mountbatten, who was Princess Andrew’s brother, and who was raised in their household in England. During Word War II Princess Andrew again went to work for the Red Cross. She helped organize soup kitchens for the starving population and often flew to Sweden to bring back medical supplies on the pretext of visiting her sister. She organized two shelters for orphaned and homeless children and a nursing circuit for poor neighbourhoods. It was also during the war that Princess Andrew hid a Jewish widow and two of her five children who sought to evade the Gestapo, and deportation to the death camps. Princess Andrew did this because the Jewish widow’s husband had done a service for King George I of Greece and, in return, King George I had offered him any service that he could perform should he ever be in need of it. One of the son’s remembered this and appealed to Princess Andrew to help them. Princess Andrew honoured the promise and saved the family with no regard to the consequences that could have happened to her if she had been caught.
In 1944, when Athens was liberated, and there was turmoil going on, she ignored the curfews and would go around the streets distributing rations to policemen and children. When it was mentioned that she could have been shot by a stray bullet she replied “They tell me that you don’t hear the bullet that kills you, and I am deaf so why worry about that.” She had also sent a letter to Prince Philip in it she admitted that in the last week before liberation she had no food except bread and butter and had no meat for several months. Princess Andrew found out that, in 1944, her estranged husband Prince Andrew had died of a heart attack in Monte Carlo. In November 1947, Princess Andrew returned to Britain to attend the wedding of her only son Philip to Princess Elizabeth. She had some of her remaining jewels used in Princess Elizabeth’s engagement ring. In January 1949, Princess Andrew founded a nursing order of Greek Orthodox Nuns. The Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary modelled after the convent her Aunt the Grand Duchess had founded. Princess Andrew made several trips to the United States to raise money for this order. Unfortunately it did not last long and had to be closed. In 1952, Princess Andrew attended the coronation of her daughter-in-law Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Philip was then given the title Duke of Edinburgh. For this, Princess Andrew wore a two-tone grey dress and wimple (a cloth headdress covering the head and neck and the sides of the face formerly worn by women and still worn by some nuns). In 1960, Princess Andrew visited India for her own spiritual quest. She had to cut the trip short as she later explained and she did claim “She had an out of body experience.” Princess Andrew was becoming increasingly deaf and her health was failing, she was invited to live at Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Princess Andrew died at Buckingham Palace on December 5, 1969. Following her spirituality journey she had no possessions left having given them all away.