Nottingham Hospitals History


Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein

Princess Victoria Louise Sophia Augusta Amelia Helena of Schleswig-Holstein (3 May 1870 – 13 March 1948), known as Princess Helena Victoria, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Early life

Princess Helena Victoria 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 of Danneskjold-Samsøe. Her mother was The Princess Helena, the fifth child and third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her parents resided in the United Kingdom, at Cumberland Lodge, and the Princess was considered a member of the British Royal Family. She was a bridesmaid at the 1885 wedding of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Princess Beatrice, to Prince Henry of Battenberg. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York (future George V and Queen Mary) on 6 July 1893.

Under letters patent of 1866, she was styled Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.

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, she officially used the names "Helena Victoria" out of her string of six Christian names.

World War I

In July 1917, King George V changed the name of the British Royal House from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the House of Windsor. He also relinquished, on behalf of himself and his numerous cousins and brothers-in-law who were British subjects, the use of their German titles, styles, and surnames. Princess Helena Victoria and Princess Marie Louise 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," giving them the odd distinction of being princesses but not princesses of any family or monarchy. Although the two had borne German titles, they were both quintessentially English.

Royal Duties

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 younger 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