Alexandra of Denmark
was born in 1844, the daughter of Christian IX, who was named Prince of Denmark when Alexandra was eight. Her family moved to Bernstorff Palace where, although their status had risen, the family remained relatively poor. The young Alexandra made her own clothes, and lived in the attic along with her sister, Dagmar. In September of 1861 Alexandra was introduced to Prince Albert Edward, as she had been selected as the best possible wife for the Prince by his sister and his mother, Queen Victoria
. The pair became engaged slightly less than a year later. In March of 1863 she left her home in Denmark and travelled by yacht to the United Kingdom, and three days after she arrived the pair was married in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
In 1864 her father acceded to the Danish throne and the German Confederation had invaded Denmark. Alexandra and her husband irritated the Queen by supporting the Danes. Alexandra retained her dislike of Germany
for the rest of her life. That same year she gave birth to her first child, Prince Albert Victor
. She would go on to have five more children, George, Louise, Victoria, Maud and John. All of them were apparently born prematurely, though it has been suggested that she lied to the Queen about her due dates so as to prevent her from being present at the births. During the birth of Louise, Alexandra had rheumatic fever, which led her to have a limp for the rest of her life. She was reportedly an excellent and caring mother, and an affectionate and happy wife. Though her husband had several semi-public affairs, they remained close and she herself remained faithful; there is no evidence of a serious split between the two. She was an avid sportswoman and socialite, both of which caused bad feelings between her and the Queen, which were only exacerbated by the Queen's continued support for the Prussians.
In 1868 Alexandra, recovering from her complicated third pregnancy, travelled with her husband to Ireland
, then on a world tour that lasted until 1869 in which they travelled to Austria
. During this time Alexandra was going deaf due to hereditary otosclerosis, and she spent much of her time with her children. Her final pregnancy ended in tragedy when her son, John, died a day after birth. The Queen refused to allow the mourning Princess privacy, and the tragedy was widely reported on in the press. Between 1875 and 1876 the Princess was caught up in a divorce scandal revolving around two acquaintances, the Aylesfords and the Blandfords, who attempted to drag her into the controversy. She extricated herself by going to the Queen, and her husband refused to speak to the people involved for several years. In 1877 she went to Greece where her brother, George, was king, in order to recuperate from an illness. During the Russo-Turkish War that same year she came down on the side of Russia
, where her sister Dagmar was wife of the Tsarevitch. Also in 1877 her two sons, Albert and George, were sent on a world tour with the Royal Navy
, during which she missed them immensely. A few years later, in 1881, she travelled to Russia to spend time with her sister, now the Tsarina in the wake of the assassination of Alexander II of Russia.
During her time as Princess of Wales
, Alexandra was heavily involved in charities and social functions, many of which she undertook in the stead of the Queen who was unable to attend for various reasons. The Queen herself noted that Alexandra never complained about her duties, and often claimed to enjoy them. She spent a great deal of her time at the London
Hospital, where Joseph Merrick
, also known as the Elephant Man, was in residence. She was a favourite of the English public, who adored her, but was less popular with the Irish public, many of whom booed her and her husband when they visited the country in 1885. The Princess took it in stride, however, and smiled throughout the ceremony they were attending. She was glowingly endorsed by the press in England
. Also in 1885 she received a Doctorate of Music from Trinity College, Dublin. In 1892 her eldest son, Prince Albert Victor, died suddenly of influenza, which dealt a heavy blow to Alexandra. Two years later her brother-in-law, the Tsar of Russia, also died, which devastated her sister.
In 1901 Queen Victoria died. Alexandra's husband succeeded to the throne as King Edward VII. She became queen-empress consort. Her duties remained basically the same, as did her household. In 1906 her father, Christian IX died. In 1907 she and her sister, the Dowager Empress of Russia, purchased a summer home in their native Denmark. In 1910 she visited the House of Commons during a debate, the first queen consort to do so. Shortly afterwards she travelled again to Greece to visit her brother. While there she was told that her husband was ill. Returning to England, she sat by his side in his last hours and cared for him. He died on May 6th. After his death she became the Queen Mother, and her son George was crowned George V. During this time she remained devoted to her social and charitable works. During the First World War she supported her son against the Germans, against whom she had always borne a hatred. In 1917 her nephew, Tsar Nicholas II
, was deposed, and he and his family were murdered in the summer of 1918. In 1919 her sister the Dowager Empress escaped Russia and came to reside in England with Alexandra.
She lived at Sandringham for most of her remaining years and never travelled abroad again. In her last years Alexandra suffered from increasing bad health. In 1920 she went partially blind temporarily after a blood vessel burst in her eye. She began to lose bother her memory and her speech. On November 20th, 1925 she suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 80.
The "Royal Conspiracy"
The "royal conspiracy" is a name given to a theory revolving around the 1888 Jack the Ripper
murders. According to the first proponent of this theory, Dr. Thomas E A Stowell, who published his beliefs in 1970, the Ripper was in fact Alexandra's son Prince Albert Victor who had been driven mad by syphilis. In this theory the royal family, including Alexandra, conspired in keeping this information from the public. In the second royal conspiracy theory, published in 1976 by Stephen Knight in his book Jack the Ripper: the Final Solution
, the killer was William Gull
, who had been asked to commit the murders in order to cover up the Prince's illegitimate child. This theory, most prominently used in Eddie Campbell
and Alan Moore's From Hell
, suggests that Alexandra asked her friend Walter Sickert
to take care of her son and introduce him to the realities of life outside the palace. Supposedly several prostitutes blackmailed Sickert about the illegitimate child, and Sickert turned to Alexandra, who herself turned to the Queen who ultimately ordered Gull to commit the murders. However, there is no proof that Alexandra ever knew Sickert, and the theory as a whole has been widely discredited.