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Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife: Wikis


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Princess Alexandra
Princess Arthur of Connaught
Duchess of Fife; Countess of Macduff
Predecessor Alexander Duff
Successor James Carnegie
Spouse Prince Arthur of Connaught
Alastair Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Full name
Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise
Father Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife
Mother Louise, Princess Royal
Born 17 May 1891(1891-05-17)
East Sheen Lodge, Richmond
Died 26 February 1959 (aged 67)
Burial Mar Lodge, Braemar

Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife (Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise; née Duff; later Princess Arthur of Connaught; 17 May 1891 – 26 February 1959) was a member of the British Royal Family, a granddaughter of King Edward VII. Alexandra and her younger sister Maud had the distinction of being the only female-line granddaughters of a British Sovereign to receive the title of Princess of Great Britain and Ireland and the style Highness.


Lineage and early life

Alexandra's father was Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife (1840–1912), the son of the 5th Earl Fife (1814–1879) and his wife, the former Lady Agnes Hay. Having succeeded his father as the 6th Earl of Fife, he was elevated to Duke of Fife and Marquess of Macduff in the Peerage of the United Kingdom two days after his marriage in 1889 to Princess Louise of Wales), the eldest daughter of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Alexandra of Denmark. Princess Louise accordingly became the Duchess of Fife.

Alexandra was born to them at East Sheen Lodge, Richmond on 17 May 1891. When it became apparent that the couple were unlikely to have a son, Queen Victoria renamed Alexander Duke of Fife and Earl of Macduff in the peerage of the United Kingdom in 1900, giving the second dukedom of Fife a special remainder in default of male issue to the Duke's daughters and their male descendants.

As a female-line great-granddaughter of the British monarch, (Queen Victoria), Alexandra was not entitled to the title of a Princess of Great Britain or the style Royal Highness. Instead she was styled Lady Alexandra Duff, as the daughter of a Duke. She was fifth in the line of succession at the time of her birth.

Princess Alexandra

On 5 November 1905, King Edward VII declared her mother Princess Royal. He further ordered Garter King of Arms to gazette Lady Alexandra Duff and her sister Lady Maud Duff as Princesses of Great Britain and Ireland with the style and attribute of Highness and precedence immediately after all members of the British Royal Family bearing the style of Royal Highness. From that point, Her Highness Princess Alexandra of Fife held her title and rank, not from her father (a Duke), but rather from the will of the Sovereign (her grandfather).

Around 1910, she became secretly engaged to Prince Christopher of Greece, a son of George I of Greece and Olga Konstantinovna of Russia. The engagement was terminated when their disapproving parents learned of the liaison. As Prince Christopher's father was a younger brother of Princess Alexandra's maternal grandmother, the hopeful couple were first cousins once removed.

Duchess of Fife

In December 1911, the Fife family were shipwrecked off the coast of Morocco. Although they escaped unharmed, Alexandra's father fell ill with pleurisy, probably contracted as a result of the shipwreck. He died at Assuan, Egypt on 22 January 1912 and Princess Alexandra succeeded to his Dukedom, becoming the Duchess of Fife and Countess of Macduff in her own right.


British Royalty
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
UK Arms 1837.svg
Edward VII
   Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence & Avondale
   George V
   Louise, Princess Royal
   Princess Victoria
   Maud, Queen of Norway
   Prince Alexander John
Maternal grandchildren
   Alexandra, Duchess of Fife
   Maud of Fife

On 15 October 1913, Princess Alexandra married Prince Arthur of Connaught at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, London. Prince Arthur of Connaught was the only son of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, the third eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and thus a younger brother of her maternal grandfather King Edward VII as. As such, Arthur and Alexandra were first cousins once removed. This was only the second marriage to occur between a Prince and Princess of the United Kingdom (the first being Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh and the Princess Mary).

After their marriage, Alexandra was generally referred to as HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife. This followed the tradition of a wife taking the style and title of her husband.

With her husband, Alexandra also carried out royal engagements on behalf of her uncle, King George V, and later for her cousin, King George VI. She also served as a Counsellor of State between 1937 and 1944.


During World War I, Princess Arthur of Connaught served as nurse at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington. When Prince Arthur was appointed governor general of the Union of South Africa in 1920, she accompanied him to Pretoria and worked on behalf of local hospitals. Upon the couple's return to Britain, she continued to carry out royal duties. She died at her home near Primrose Hill, London in 1959 and was buried at Mar Lodge chapel.

Her only son and the heir apparent to the Dukedom of Fife, Alastair Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, died in Ottawa in 1943, a year after succeeding his paternal grandfather as 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. When Princess Arthur of Connaught died, the Dukedom of Fife passed to her nephew, James George Alexander Bannerman Carnegie, Lord Carnegie, the only son of her late sister Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


Titles and styles

  • 17 May 1891 – 5 November 1905: The Lady Alexandra Duff
  • 5 November 1905 – 22 January 1912: Her Highness Princess Alexandra of Fife
  • 22 January 1912 – 15 October 1913: Her Highness Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife
  • 15 October 1913 – 26 February 1959: Her Royal Highness Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife


Honorary military appointments


Name Birth Death Notes
Prince Alastair of Connaught 9 August 1914 26 April 1943 later styled Earl of Macduff and 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn



  • Ronald Allison and Sarah Riddell, eds., The Royal Encyclopedia (London: Macmillan, 1991), ISBN 0-333-53810-2
  • Marlene A. Eilers, Queen Victoria's Descendants (New York: Atlantic International Publishing, 1987), ISBN 91-630-5964-9
  • Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: the Complete Genealogy, rev. ed. (London: Pimlico, 1996), ISBN 0-7126-4286-2
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alexander Duff
Duchess of Fife
2nd creation
1912 – 1959
Succeeded by
James Carnegie


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