Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Etiquette and a New Royal for 1910

Alexander William George Duff, and Princess Louise Victoria, the Duke and Duchess of Fife, photographed in period costumes for a fancy dress ball. ~ The Duchess of Fife expressly desired that after her marriage she should not be under the necessity of having a “household” in the sense that the word is understood at Court, and she did not appoint a Lady-in-Waiting. But it would be contrary to etiquette for the daughter of the Sovereign to attend any public or even large social function unattached, but she can ask one of her friends to act as Lady-in-Waiting for the occasion. –Photo by James Lauder for the Lafayette Company

England’s New Princess Royal...
Unostentatious Life of Louise Victoria, Duchess of Fife

The late King Edward VII, was especially fond of his oldest daughter, Louise Victoria, Duchess of Fife, who, with the ascent of her brother to the throne becomes the Princess Royal of England, succeeding her aunt, Princess Victoria Adelaide. Though the English royal family have been singularly happy and fortunate in their marriages none has proved happier than the marriage between the King's eldest daughter and the Duke of Fife, despite the fact that the Duke is nigh 17 years the senior of her Royal Highness. 

The Cincinnati Enquirer says: The marriage was the outcome of the most spontaneous affection; the Duke of Fife had known the Princess since she was a baby, for he was an intimate friend of the royal family, and was especially well liked by his Majesty. As the young Princess grew from childhood into girlhood it became evident to those in the immediate entourage of the Prince of  Wales’ household that there was a probability of the then Earl of Fife becoming more closely related to the royal family than by more ties of friendship, and the Prince frankly welcomed the prospect. But an engagement between a member of the royal family and a subject cannot be lightly entered into, or ratified all at once. It was necessary that the sovereign should consent to the engagement and the Princess and her lover were kept in hot water some little while before Queen Victoria finally decided that the engagement between them might be announced. 

There was no question at all about the personal feeling with which the royal family regarded the Duke of Fife, but the point that had to be considered was how far the marriage of the heir apparent’s eldest daughter to a subject, might prove generally acceptable to the public. As a matter of fact, when the engagement was announced, it became at once evident that there was no need to fear for its popularity. All sections of the community seemed to think it far more fitting that the Princess Royal should ally herself in marriage with the head of an ancient and noble house, who was also enormously wealthy, than become the consort of some foreign, and perhaps needy, Prince. 

The Duke’s best man was, by the way, Lord Farquhar, then Mr. Horace Farquhar, a solitary commoner amidst a crowd of titled personages, most of whom were royalties. The Duchess of Fife ever since her marriage has led a singularly simple and very happy life. When a Princess marries it is customary for her to have an official household of her own and to appoint a certain number of Ladies-in-Waiting. But the Duchess of Fife expressly desired that after her marriage she should not be under the necessity of having a “household” in the sense that the word is understood at Court, and she did not appoint any Lady-in-Waiting. It would be, however, contrary to etiquette for the daughter of the Sovereign to attend any public or even large social function unattached, but when the Duchess of Fife does so, she gets over this difficulty quite easily by asking some one of her friends to act as Lady-in-Waiting for the occasion. 

The Duchess spends a great deal of her time at Mar Lodge, where her two children, the Princesses Alexandra and Maud, lived almost altogether until they had reached the ages of 7 and 8. The Princesses have been brought up in quite a simple manner; they both occupied the same sleeping apartment for many years and had only the services of one maid. The Duchess of Fife has traveled a great deal with her children of late years, for she is a strong believer in the educational value of travel for young people. Both of her children are clever and extremely good linguists, but more especially the Princess Maud, who can speak quite fluently in French, German and Italian. – Mill Valley Independent, 1910

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia