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Princess Alice married Prince Louis of Hesse and by Rhine at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight on Tuesday, 1 July 1862.


While looking for a suitable husband for Princess Alice, her sister, Vicky, suggested one of the Hesse brothers, Louis or Henry. Both brothers were invited to Windsor Castle in 1860 to give Queen Victoria an opportunity to assess the brothers.

Alice was very taken with Louis and the feeling seemed to be mutual as Louis requested a photograph of the princess before his departure home.

The engagement was announced on 30 April 1861 and Alice was given a dowry of £30,000, while Queen Victoria made it known she expected a new palace to be built for her daughter’s comfort.


The wedding plans were overshadowed by the death of Prince Albert in December 1861, however Queen Victoria insisted it would go ahead on a smaller scale. The ceremony took place on 25 January 1858 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight where the dining room was converted into a temporary chapel.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds dined in private with Queen Victoria while the guests attended a separate luncheon in the Drawing Room.


While Alice was allowed to wear a white wedding dress, she was expected to wear mourning clothes before and after the ceremony and the photos show a very solemn bride.

Alice’s wedding dress was designed by Mrs Clarke of Cavendish Square and was crystalline silk with a deep flounce of Honiton guipure lace and was trimmed with rose, myrtle and orange blossoms. The matching lace veil was held in place with a wreath of orange blossom and myrtle. The lace was designed by Ruth Coxeter, a pupil of the School of Design, Bloomsbury.


Under normal circumstances, Alice would have been attended by the unmarried daughters of peers but due to the circumstances they were unable to attend and Alice sent them gifts instead.

The princess had to make do with her three younger sisters and future sister-in-law who wore white lace silk dresses trimmed with grey ribbons with flared sleeves.


The whole affair was concluded by 5 pm and the guests returned to London, while Alice and Louis left for St Clair, Ryde, a house lent to them by the Vernon Harcourt family, where they stayed for two days.

Wary of her mother’s feelings, Alice tried not to appear too happy but the Queen was jealous of her daughter’s happiness and it was the start of a rift that would deepen over time.