Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece
by Hugo Vickers
"In 1953, at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Alice was dressed from head to foot in a long grey dress and a grey clock, and a nun's ... Show synopsis "In 1953, at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Alice was dressed from head to foot in a long grey dress and a grey clock, and a nun's veil. Amidst all the jewels, and velvet and coronets, and the fine uniforms, she exuded an unworldly simplicity. As one who witnessed her process alone up the long aisle of the abbey put it, "she looked as though she were walking into eternity". Seated with the royal family, she was a part of them, yet somehow distanced from them. In as much as she is remembered at all today, it is as this shadowy figure in grey nun's clothes..." Princess Alice, mother of Prince Philip, was something of a mystery figure even within her own family. She was born deaf, at Windsor Castle, in the presence of her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, and brought up in England, Darmstadt and Malta. In 1903 she married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, and from then on her life was overshadowed by wars, revolutions and enforced periods of exile. By the time she was 35, virtually every point of stability was overthrown. Though the British royal family remained in the ascendant, her German family ceased to be ruling princes, her two aunts who had married Russian royalty came to savage ends, and soon afterwards Alice's own husband was nearly executed as a political scapegoat. The middle years of her life, which should have followed a conventional and fulfilling path, did the opposite. She suffered from a serious religious crisis and at the age of 45 was removed from her family and placed in a sanatorium in Switzerland, where she was pronounced a "schizophrenic paranoid". As her stay in the clinic became prolonged, there was a time when it seemed that she might never walk free again. How she achieved her recovery is just one of the remarkable aspects of her story.