Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife (1891-1959)


– Alexandra

Duchess of Fife

Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise was born at East Sheen Lodge, Richmond, on 17 May 1891 and was the daughter of Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife, and Louise, Princess Royal.

Since Alexandra’s only brother had been stillborn in 1890 and no other male heirs were likely, the dukedom and marquessate of Fife were heading for extinction as females were ineligible to inherit the titles. On 24 April 1900, Queen Victoria granted Alexander a second dukedom of Fife, along with the earldom of Macduff, stipulating the titles would jointly devolve to his daughters in the event no son was born. As a consequence, Alexandra would inherit the title of Duchess of Fife, however as a great-granddaughter in the female line, she was not eligible to be styled as a Princess of the United Kingdom or Her Royal Highness.

On 5 November 1905, Alexandra’s mother was granted the title of Princess Royal by her father, Edward VII, so both Alexandra and Maud were given the style of Highness and allowed to have the title of princess before their names, although they were ranked lower than those with the status of Royal Highness.

In 1910, Alexandra became secretly engaged to her cousin, Christopher of Greece and Denmark, a son of George I of the Hellenes, however neither set of parents approved of the match and the engagement was broken. Two years later, Alexandra’s father died and she became Duchess of Fife in her own right.

On 15 October 1913, Alexandra married another cousin, Arthur of Connaught, son of Queen Victoria’s third son, Arthur, Duke of Connaught, at St. James’s Palace, London. After the marriage, Alexandra became HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught and carried out a number of royal duties for her uncle, George V. After the war, Alexandra accompanied her husband to Pretoria after he was appointed Governor General of the Union of South Africa.

The couple’s only child, Alastair, was born on 9 August 1914, however he lost the ranking of prince when George V restricted the usage of the title and the style of Royal Highness to the immediate royal family. Afterwards, Alastair became known as the Earl of Macduff, a courtesy title bestowed on him as his mother’s heir, however he became the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn in 1942 after the death of his grandfather. Tragically, Alastair died in 1943 after falling out of a window whilst intoxicated and perished of hypothermia. Since Alastair had no heirs, his mother’s titles passed to her nephew, James, only child of her sister, Maud.

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