Royal of the day: Princess Victoria of Wales

Last updated 05:00 04/04/2014
Victoria
Wikimedia Commons
ROYALLY BRIGHT: Princess Victoria was reportedly the cleverest of her parents' six children.

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Twice a bridesmaid but never a bride, Princess Victoria of Wales was something of a kept woman - by her mother, Alexandra of Denmark.

Born on July 6, 1868, the princess was known as "Toria" by her nearest and dearest so as to distinguish her from innumerable familial namesakes.

Though she was allegedly born premature like all Alexandra's children, there is cause to believe the latter lied about her babies' due dates so her mother-in-law, reigning Queen Victoria, would not be present at the births. (The two had a fraught relationship - the Queen particularly disapproved of Alexandra's penchant for hunting.)  

Toria's early life was spent at Marlborough House in central London where she was born and christened one month later.

Her godparental cohort was United Nations-like in both diversity and scope, totalling 11 members and including other royals such as Tsar Alexander II of Russia and Queen Olga of Greece.

Toria was the fourth child and second daughter of Alexandra (also princess of Wales) and Edward VII, the future king.

She was particularly close to her elder brother George V with whom she would speak every morning on the telephone and address as "you old fool."

When their father died, George acceded the throne and Toria became increasingly possessive of her brother and disparaging of his wife, Mary of Teck, whom she found "deadly dull."

When Toria died in December 1935, George was heartbroken. He followed his beloved sister to the grave the following month.  

Though the fashionable Alexandra actively discouraged all her three daughters from marrying, Toria alone failed to escape her mother's vice-like mollycoddling.

Called Alexandra's "twin", Toria accompanied her mother on her extensive travels until the latter's death in 1925.

Embittered by a life of obligatory companionship, Toria outlived her by only 10 years.

Reportedly the cleverest of her parents' six children, Toria was highly sought-after by eligible bachelors of the time.

It would seem her mother spent a good deal of energy batting them away, despite grandmother Queen Victoria's protestations.

Notable would-be suitors included former British prime minister Lord Rosebery and Carlos I, King of Portugal who was eventually shot and killed by republicans as he rode through the streets of Lisbon.

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Variously described as sharp-tongued, lively, shy and a hypochondriac, Toria filled the romantic chasm in her life with an extensive autograph collection.

Famous signatories in her album included Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor Hirohito of Japan, Lawrence of Arabia and former United States president Woodrow Wilson.

Toria died at age 67. A traveller until the end, she was buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castleonly to be reinterred at the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore, Windsor Great Park a month later.

- Stuff

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