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The best of the lot had to go first
am 30. Oktober 2008
The best of the lot had to go first - this line said after the death of Princess Diana came into my mind when reading the biographie on Prince Leopold.
Prince Leopold George Duncan Albert, Duke of Albany, was the youngest son and secong youngest child of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort. Born at Buckingham Palace 7 April 1853 he died already in Cannes 28 March 1884, only two years after his marriage to Helene Princess zu Waldeck and Pyrmont (1861-1922). They had two children: Princess Alice (later the Countess of Athlone) was born 1883 and a son Prince Charles( later to be the sovereign Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha)was born after his father' s death in July 1884.
One might be tempted to say that not much can be written about one of the younger princes who only happen to live 31 odd years.
And indeed it seems that most of his siblings have a much higher profile as the Duke of Albany: Edward VII. as King, Victoria as the Empress Frederick, Alice as Grand Duchess of Hesse, Alfred as Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and the Duke of Connaught as the Queen's favorite son. Only his sisters Helena and Beatrice - like him - seem to less well known. The only thing setting him apart: He was the first member of the royal family suffering from haemophilia.
The well-known author on royalty, Charlotte Zeepvat, has in this excellent rediscoverd this "lost prince". Only too often Leopold was reduced to somebody being sick, to be shield and over-protected by his royal mother. He had too struggle to lead a normal life. Step by step Charlotte Zeepvat let an emerge an interesting and interested, an artistic, a political thinking personality, a prince who became the unofficial private secretary of his mother at a time when his elder brother, The Prince of Wales, could only dream of having political influence.
He was a man of substance, fighting the odds and even achieving to marry. However, the happiness of that was only short-lived.
Charlotte Zeepvat has a unique style how she presents the reader the life of this long-lost prince. The biography is well-written, lively, elegant and with knowledge and sympathie without being too loyal. I immensely enjoyed it and can only recommded it by giving 5 stars