Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (Leopold George Duncan Albert) (7 April 1853 – 28 March 1884), was a member of the British Royal Family, a son of Queen Victoria. Leopold was later created the Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow. He was diagnosed with haemophilia as a baby, which later killed him as an adult.
Leopold was born on April 7, 1853 at Buckingham Palace, London. His mother was Queen Victoria, the reigning British monarch. His father was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. During labor, Queen Victoria chose to use chloroform and thus sanctioned the use of anesthesia recently developed by James Young Simpson. As a son of the British sovereign, the newborn was styled His Royal Highness The Prince Leopold at birth. His parents named him Leopold after his great uncle, King Leopold I of the Belgians.
He was baptised in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace on 28 June 1853 by John Bird Sumner, Archbishop of Canterbury and his godparents were the King of Hanover, Princess Augusta of Prussia, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge and the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
Leopold inherited the disease of haemophilia from his mother, Queen Victoria, and spent most of childhood as a semi-invalid.
Education and career
In 1872, Prince Leopold, entered Christ Church, Oxford where he studied a variety of subjects. He left the university with an honorary doctorate in civil law (DCL) in 1876. Prince Leopold travelled in Europe and 1880, he toured Canada and the United States with his sister, Princess Louise, whose husband John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne was the Governor General of Canada. Incapable of pursuing a military career because of his illness, Prince Leopold instead became a patron of the arts and literature. In 1878, he became president of Royal Society of Literature and in the following year became vice president of the Royal Society of Arts. From 1876 until his death, he served as Queen Victoria's private secretary.
Prince Leopold, stifled by the desire of his mother, Queen Victoria, to keep him at home, saw marriage as his only hope of independence. The heiress, Daisy Maynard, was one of the women he considered as a bride. Due to his haemophilia he had a difficult time finding a wife, and enlisted the help of his reluctant mother. She suggested a meeting with Princess Helene Frederica, daughter of George Victor, reigning Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont. On 27 April 1882 Leopold and Helen were married at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle,
They had two children:
- Princess Alice of Albany (1883–1981), later HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (sister-in-law to Queen Mary).
- Leopold Charles Edward George Albert (known as 'Charlie'), Prince Charles, Duke of Albany and later reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1884–1954). Born four months after his father's death.
Prince Leopold had haemophilia and went to Cannes on doctor's orders in February 1884: joint pain is a common symptom of haemophilia and the winter climate in England was always difficult for him. His wife, pregnant at the time, stayed home but urged him to go. On March 27 he slipped and fell in the Yacht Club in Villa Nevada Cannes, in France, injuring his knee and he died in the early hours of the next morning, apparently from the effects of the morphine he had been given and the claret that was served with his supper. He was buried in the Albert Memorial Chapel at Windsor. His posthumous son, Prince Charles, succeeded him as 2nd Duke of Albany upon birth.
Titles and honours
Titles from birth to death
- His Royal Highness The Prince Leopold
- His Royal Highness The Duke of Albany
- Knight of the Garter
- Knight of the Thistle
- Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George
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