Victorian Brides - Queen Alexandra

Updated: Sep 15, 2019


Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) when Princess of Wales 1863, by HENRY CHARLES HEATH; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Alexandra of Denmark (b.1 December 1844 – d.20 November 1925) was Queen consort of the United Kingdom & the British Dominions & Empress of India as the wife of King Edward VII.


Her family had been relatively obscure until 1852, when her father, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, was chosen with the consent of the great powers to succeed his distant cousin, Frederick VII, to the Danish throne. At the age of sixteen, Alexandra was chosen as the future wife of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the heir apparent of Queen Victoria.


Albert Edward proposed to Alexandra at the Royal Castle of Laeken, the home of his great-uncle, King Leopold I of Belgium on 24 September 1861. A few months later, Alexandra travelled from Denmark to Britain aboard the royal yacht Victoria and Albert II & arrived in Gravesend, Kent, on 7 March 1863. Sir Arthur Sullivan composed music for her arrival & Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, wrote an ode in Alexandra's honour:


Sea King's daughter from over the sea,

Alexandra!

Saxon and Norman and Dane are we,

But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee,

Alexandra!


— A Welcome to Alexandra, Alfred, Lord Tennyson


The Landing of HRH The Princess Alexandra at Gravesend, 7th March 1863 © National Portrait Gallery, London
'Her voice, her walk, carriage & manner are perfect, she is one of the most ladylike & aristocratic looking people I ever saw!'

Victoria, Princess Royal to her mother, Queen Victoria, 1862


The queen's good wishes for her son & his bride were tinged with her own feelings of loss (her husband Prince Albert died in 1861): '

Here I sit, lonely & desolate, & Bertie has taken his lovely, pure, sweet Bride to Osborne, such a jewel whom he is indeed lucky to have obtained. How I pray God may ever bless them! '

© National Portrait Gallery, London

They married eighteen months later in 1863, the same year her father became king of Denmark as Christian IX & her brother was appointed to the vacant Greek throne as George I.


Sketch for the painting of ‘The Marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ drawn March 1863, by GEORGE HOUSMAN THOMAS; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

They married on 10 March 1863 at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The choice of venue was widely criticised. Due to the ceremony taking place outside London, the press complained that large public crowds would not be able to view the spectacle. Prospective guests thought it awkward to get to &, as the venue was small, some people who had expected invitations were disappointed.


King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra, 18 March 1863; © National Portrait Gallery, London

The marriage of the Prince of Wales to Alexandra of Denmark, by ROBERT CHARLES DUDLEY; 10 March 1863; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

The Wedding Dress;


Princess Alexandra of Denmark's wedding dress was the first in British royal history to be photographed while being worn. It was made by London dressmaker Mrs James of Belgravia. It's now part of the Royal Collection. In 2011, the dress was part of a display of royal wedding dresses at Kensington Palace.


The above image, which shows the Princess of Wales wearing her white bridal gown & wedding veil with an orange-blossom headdress, is close to several full-length photographs taken by John Edwin Mayall on the occasion of her marriage.


Queen Alexandra by John Jabez Edwin Mayall; © National Portrait Gallery, London

Her dress was made of white silk satin (the silk was woven at Spitalfields) trimmed with orange blossoms, myrtle & puffs of tulle & Honiton lace. It had a similarly trimmed 21-foot (6.4 m) silver moiré train, which was carried by eight young ladies aged 15 to 20.


The four lace flounces were designed by Miss Tucker & executed by Messrs. John Tucker & Co. of Branscombe, near Sidmouth; a matching lace veil, train trimming & handkerchief were also made.


© National Portrait Gallery, London

The pattern of the lace depicted cornucopias filled with English roses, Irish shamrocks & Scottish thistles.


Queen Alexandra by John Jabez Edwin Mayall © National Portrait Gallery, London

Princess Alexandra wore a wreath of orange blossom & myrtle, & she carried a bouquet of orange blossoms, white rosebuds, lily of the valley, orchids, & myrtle.


hand-coloured albumen carte-de-visite, 18 March 1863, by by John Jabez Edwin Mayall, © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Princess wore a pearl necklace, earrings & brooch that were given by the Prince of Wales; an opal & diamond bracelet from Queen Victoria, a diamond bracelet given by the ladies of Leeds; & an opal & diamond bracelet from the ladies of Manchester.


Group at Windsor, after the wedding of the Prince of Wales, April 1863; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Group photograph, taken at Windsor, after the wedding of the Prince of Wales, April 1863, gathered around a bust of the Prince Consort. From left to right, standing: Alexandra, Princess of Wales; the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII); Princess Helena; Prince Louis of Hesse. Seated: Princess Louise; Queen Victoria; Princess Beatrice; Prince Leopold; & Princess Alice, Princess Louis of Hesse in ornate cloak & bonnet.



© National Portrait Gallery, London

Bridesmaids;


Alexandra had eight bridesmaids, they wore white glacé silk dresses trimmed with tulle netting & roses, & wreaths of roses.


Her bridesmaids were; Lady Diana Beauclerk, later Lady Huddleston (1841-1905); Lady Eleanor Cecilia Hare, later Lady Heneage (1845-1924); Lady Elma Bruce, later Lady Thurlow (1842-1923); Lady Feodorowna Cecilia Wellesley, later Viscountess Bertie of Thame (1838-1920); Lady Georgiana Susan Hamilton, later Countess Winterton (1841-1913); Lady Agneta Harriet Yorke (1838-1919), later Lady Agneta Montagu; Lady Victoria Margaret Louisa Howard (1844-1906); & Lady Victoria Alexandrina Montagu Douglas Scott, future Marchioness of Lothian (and later Lady Talbot) (1844-1938).



The bridesmaids of Alexandra of Denmark © National Portrait Gallery, London

Alexandra brought glamour to the royal family, & the new couple became the focus of high society. The advent of photography & illustrated magazines meant that images of the stylish princess were in high demand; her clothes & hairstyles were widely copied by fashion-conscious women.


Portraits of Alexandra fulfilling various roles, as royal consort, leader of fashion, devoted mother & patron of charities, created a blueprint for images of modern royal women, in particular 'Diana, Princess of Wales'.


She was Princess of Wales from 1863 to 1901, the longest anyone has ever held that title.


Alexandra was highly popular with the British public. After she married the Prince of Wales in 1863, a new park & "People's Palace", a public exhibition & arts centre under construction in north London, were renamed the Alexandra Palace & park to commemorate her.


There are at least sixty-seven roads & streets in the Greater London area alone called Alexandra Road, Alexandra Avenue, Alexandra Gardens, Alexandra Close or Alexandra Street, all named after her.


Funds that she helped to collect were used to buy a river launch, called Alexandra, to ferry the wounded during the Sudan campaign, & to fit out a hospital ship, named The Princess of Wales, to bring back wounded from the Boer War. During the Boer War, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, later renamed Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, was founded under Royal Warrant.


Alexandra had little understanding of money. In the words of her grandson, Edward VIII (later the Duke of Windsor), "Her generosity was a source of embarrassment to her financial advisers. Whenever she received a letter soliciting money, a cheque would be sent by the next post, regardless of the authenticity of the mendicant & without having the case investigated." She would brush off protests about her heavy spending with a wave of a hand or by claiming that she had not heard.


The Queen hid a small scar on her neck, which was probably the result of a childhood operation, by wearing choker necklaces & high necklines, setting fashions which were adopted for some fifty years. Alexandra's effect on fashion was so profound that society ladies even copied her limping gait, she had a serious illness in 1867 that left her with a stiff leg.This came to be known as the "Alexandra limp!". She preferred the London fashion houses; her favourite was Redfern's, but she shopped occasionally at Doucet & Fromont of Paris.


Here are some more amazing portraits & photos of possibly our most beautiful Queen.


Princess Alexandra, published 31 Mar 1863, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Queen Alexandra (1844-1925), when Princess of Wales Inscribed 1864, WILLIAM CORDEN THE YOUNGER (1819-1900); Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Without a doubt the above portrait is my favourite, absolutely amazing, what do you think? login or register to voice your opinions.

Her Royal Highness THE PRINCESS OF WALES by FRANCIS HOLL 1864, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Queen Alexandra, 1865 Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Alexandra, Princess of Wales, later Queen Alexandra, circa 1880 - 1890, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Portrait photograph of the Princess of Wales (1844-1925), later Queen Alexandra, 1880's; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Alexandra, Princess of Wales, c.1887; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Alexandra, Princess of Wales with her sons, Prince Albert Victor & Prince George, 27th July 1889; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Queen Alexandra in 1921 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Alexandra in 1891 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Alexandra, Princess of Wales, with her daughters, July 1893 Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

The Above portrait; Photograph of the Princess of Wales, later Queen Alexandra & her three daughters. From left to right: Princes Maud, standing; Princess Victoria, standing behind her mother's chair; the Princess of Wales, seated, fan on her lap, wearing ornate necklace, tiara; Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife, standing.


Queen Alexandra, when Princess of Wales, 1893 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Alexandra, Princess of Wales, later Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) 1896-98, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

The above portrait is one of my favourites, what do you think?

Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) 9 Aug 1902; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

DID YOU KNOW? The Queen was an avid photographer; a book of her work was released in 1908; below is one of her photos. Grand Duchess Marie, Princess Victoria, Empress Alexandra, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, Tsarveitch Alexis & Grand Duchesses Olga, Anastasia, & Tatiana, Jun 1908 in Talliin



The Queen was also a talented artist, she also combined her art with photo collages, below are some examples of her work.


Collage design by Alexandra, Princess of Wales with photographs, c. 1866-69; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

A collage design drawing of the interior of a drawing room with red curtains & furniture by Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) when Alexandra, Princess of Wales, including portrait photographs pasted onto the design, including King Edward VII (1841-1910) when Albert Edward, Prince of Wales in the foreground of the collage. Other individuals include Alexander III of Russia (1845-94); Maria Feodorovna, Dagmar of Denmark (1847-1928) both standing by a window; with small portraits of Christian IX of Denmark (1818-1906) & Louise of Hesse-Kassel (1817-98) incorporated in frames on the wall of the room. The other individuals are unidentified but are possibly members of the Danish Royal Family.



c. 1866-69 Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

A collage design of an outdoors scene by Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) when Alexandra, Princess of Wales, including single portrait photographs of members of the Royal Family, pasted among the scenery. Photographs include the Princess of Wales on horseback, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1900) & Oliver Montagu (1844-93) in the montage of photographs.



A view of Windsor Castle dated 1887, by Queen Alexandra; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

A river landscape by Queen Alexandra, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

A Monk by Queen Alexandra, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018


Further interest;


https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/


https://www.npg.org.uk/


UK: www.amazon.co.uk/shop/britishmonarchy

Canada: www.amazon.ca/shop/britishmonarchy

USA: www.amazon.com/shop/britishmonarchy

India: www.amazon.in/shop/britishmonarchy


Book Depository http://tidd.ly/270d72cf

English Heritage Shop: http://tidd.ly/e52bf47d

English Heritage Membership: http://tidd.ly/f93e793d

The Poppy Shop: http://tidd.ly/8310d077

MediaStoreHouse for Royal wall art: http://tidd.ly/7c091858