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Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein

Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein

British princess
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro British princess
Gender female
Birth May 3, 1870 (Frogmore House, Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead, Berkshire)
Death March 13, 1948 (London, Greater London, London, England)
Mother: Princess Helena of the United Kingdom
Father: Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
Siblings: AlbertDuke of Schleswig-HolsteinPrince Christian Victor of Schleswig-HolsteinPrincess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein
The details

Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (Victoria Louise Sophia Augusta Amelia Helena; 3 May 1870 – 13 March 1948) was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Early life

Princess Helena Victoria (always known to her family as Thora) was born at Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle. Her father was Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, the third son of Christian, Duke of Augustenburg and Countess Louise af Danneskjold-Samsøe. Her mother was Princess Helena, the fifth child and third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her parents resided in Britain from marriage.

She was baptised in the private chapel at Windsor Castle on 20 June 1870. Her godparents were Queen Victoria, the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Louise, Prince Arthur, Prince Leopold, Prince Valdemar of Denmark, Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, Princess Louise Auguste of Schleswig-Holstein and Princess Caroline Amelie of Schleswig-Holstein (the latter two represented by the Duchess of Roxburghe).

She was a bridesmaid at the 1885 wedding of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Princess Beatrice to Prince Henry of Battenberg and also at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York (future George V and Queen Mary) in 1893.

She spent most of her childhood at Cumberland Lodge, her father's residence as Ranger of Windsor Great Park. Known to her family as "Thora", or sometimes "Snipe", in reference to her sharp facial features, formally she used the names "Helena Victoria" from among her string of six given names.

World War I

In July 1917, King George V changed the name of the British royal family to the House of Windsor. He also relinquished, on behalf of himself and his numerous cousins who were British subjects, the use of their German titles, styles, and surnames. Princess Helena Victoria and her younger sister, Princess Marie Louise, thereupon ceased to use the territorial designation "of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg". Instead, they became known simply as "Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria" and "Her Highness Princess Marie Louise". Although the two had borne German titles, their upbringing and domicile were entirely English.

Later life

Princess Helena Victoria never married. She followed her mother's example in working for various charitable organizations, most notably the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and Princess Christian's Nursing Home at Windsor. During World War I, she founded the YWCA Women's Auxiliary Force. As its president, she visited British troops in France and obtained the permission of the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, to arrange entertainments for them. Between the world wars, she and her sister, Princess Marie Louise, were enthusiastic patrons of music at Schomberg House, their London residence. After a German air raid damaged the house in 1940, the two princesses moved to Fitzmaurice Place, Berkeley Square.

In ill health and using a wheelchair after World War II, one of Princess Helena Victoria's last major appearance was at the 20 November 1947 wedding of her first cousin twice removed Princess Elizabeth, to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.

Princess Helena Victoria died at Fitzmaurice Place, Berkeley Square. Her funeral took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor and she was buried at the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore, Windsor Great Park. She died at the age of 77, the same age at which her mother, Princess Helena, had also died.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 1870–1917: Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein
  • 1917–1948: Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria

As a male-line granddaughter of the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Helena Victoria would have been styled Serene Highness (Durchlaucht). In May 1866, Queen Victoria had conferred the higher style of Highness upon any children to be born of the marriage of Princess Helena and Prince Christian, although the children were to remain Prince or Princess of Schleswig-Holstein. In June 1917, a notice appeared in the Court Circular that a Royal Warrant was to be prepared by George V dispensing with his cousins' use of the "Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg" part of their titles. However no warrant was issued, nor were they formally granted the titles of Princesses of Great Britain and Ireland nor of the United Kingdom.


British honours

  • VA: Lady of the Order of Victoria and Albert 1883
  • CI: Lady of the Order of the Crown of India 1889
  • RRC: Decoration of the Royal Red Cross 16 March 1900
  • GBE: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire 1918
  • GCStJ: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St John 1928

Foreign honours

  • Restoration (Spain) Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa


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Early life World War I Later life Titles, styles, honours and arms Ancestry
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