Princess Helena of the United Kingdom

Noble person

1846 – 1923

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Who was Princess Helena of the United Kingdom?

Princess Helena was the third daughter and fifth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Helena was educated by private tutors chosen by her father and his close friend and adviser, Baron Stockmar. Her childhood was spent with her parents, travelling between the variety of royal residences in Britain. The intimate atmosphere of the royal court came to an end on 14 December 1861, when her father died and her mother entered a period of intense mourning. In the early 1860s, Helena began a flirtation with Prince Albert's German librarian, Carl Ruland. Although the nature of the relationship is largely unknown, Helena's romantic letters to Ruland survive. After the Queen found out in 1863, she dismissed Ruland, who returned to his native Germany. Three years later, on 5 July 1866, Helena married the impoverished German Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. The couple remained in Britain, in calling distance of the Queen, who liked to have her daughters nearby, and Helena along with her youngest sister, Princess Beatrice, became the Queen's unofficial secretary. However, after Queen Victoria's death on 22 January 1901, Helena saw relatively little of her surviving siblings.

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