Funeral of Queen Victoria
The funeral of Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, occurred on 2 February 1901. It was one of the largest gatherings of European royalty to take place. In 1897, Victoria had written instructions for her funeral, to be military as befitting a soldier's daughter and the head of the army, white instead of black. On 25 January, Edward VII, the Kaiser and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, helped lift her body into the coffin, she was dressed in her wedding veil. An array of mementos commemorating her extended family and servants were laid in the coffin with her, at her request, by her doctor and dressers. One of Albert's dressing gowns was placed by her side, with a plaster cast of his hand, while a lock of John Brown's hair, along with a picture of him, was placed in her left hand concealed from the view of the family by a positioned bunch of flowers. Items of jewellery placed on Victoria included the wedding ring of John Brown's mother, given to her by Brown in 1883.
Her funeral was held on Saturday, 2 February, in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, after two days of lying-in-state, she was interred beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park. The state funeral of Queen Victoria took place in February 1901. Victoria left strict instructions regarding the service and associated ceremonies and instituted a number of changes, several of which set a precedent for state funerals that have taken place since. First, she disliked the preponderance of funereal black. Second, she expressed a desire to be buried as "a soldier's daughter"; the procession, became much more a military procession, with the peers, privy counsellors and judiciary no longer taking part en masse. Her pallbearers were equerries rather than dukes, for the first time, a gun carriage was employed to convey the monarch's coffin. Third, Victoria requested; this meant that the only event in London on this occasion was a gun carriage procession from one railway station to another: Victoria having died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, her body was conveyed by boat and train to Waterloo Station by gun carriage to Paddington Station and by train to Windsor for the funeral service itself.
The rare sight of a state funeral cortège travelling by ship provided a striking spectacle: Victoria's body was carried on board HMY Alberta from Cowes to Gosport, with a suite of yachts following conveying the new king, Edward VII, other mourners. Minute guns were fired by the assembled fleet as the yacht passed by. Victoria's body remained on board ship overnight before being conveyed by gun carriage to the railway station the following day for the train journey to London. Victoria broke convention by having a white draped coffin. Victoria's children had married into the great royal families of Europe and a number of foreign monarchs were in attendance including Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany as well as the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand; the King and Queen of the United Kingdom, the late Queen's son and daughter-in-law The Duchess of Cornwall and York, the late Queen's granddaughter-in-law The Duchess and Duke of Fife, the late Queen's granddaughter and grandson-in-law The Princess Victoria, the late Queen's granddaughter Princess and Prince Charles of Denmark, the late Queen's granddaughter and grandson-in-law The Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the late Queen's daughter-in-law The Crown Prince of Romania, the late Queen's grandson-in-law The Hereditary Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the late Queen's grandson-in-law and half-great-nephew Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the late Queen's granddaughter The Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn, the late Queen's son and daughter-in-law Princess Margaret of Connaught, the late Queen's granddaughter Prince Arthur of Connaught, the late Queen's grandson Princess Patricia of Connaught, the late Queen's granddaughter The Duchess of Albany, the late Queen's daughter-in-law Princess Alice of Albany, the late Queen's granddaughter The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the late Queen's grandson The Empress Frederick, Queen Mother of Prussia's family: The German Emperor, the late Queen's grandson The German Crown Prince, the late Queen's great-grandson The Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Meiningen, the late Queen's grandson-in-law Prince Heinrich XXX of Reuss-Köstritz, the late Queen's great-grandson-in-law Prince Henry of Prussia, the late Queen's grandson Princess and Prince Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe, the late Queen's granddaughter and grandson-in-law The Duke of Sparta, the late Queen's grandson-in-law Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse, the late Queen's grandson-in-law Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse and by Rhine's family: Princess and Prince Louis of Battenberg, the late Queen's granddaughter and grandson-in-law The Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, the late Queen's grandson Princess and Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, the late Queen's daughter and son-in-law Prince Albert of Schleswig-Holstein, the late Queen's grandson Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, the late Queen's granddaughter Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, the late Queen's granddaughter The Duchess and Duke of Argyll, the late Queen's daughter and son-in-law Princess Henry of Battenberg, the late Queen's daughter Prince Alexander of Battenberg, the late Queen's grandson The Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the late Queen's half-nephew Count Edward Gleichen, the late Queen's half-great-nephew Baron Alphons von Pawel-Rammingen, husband of the l
Penny Venetian Red
The Penny Venetian Red was a British postage stamp equal to the value of one penny. Issued in 1880, it was surface-printed by security printing company De La Rue, it superseded the Penny Red, used in Great Britain since 1841, was the third one-penny stamp to enter regular usage in the country. The Venetian Red was aesthetically similar to the Penny Red and Penny Black that had come before it, but was instead coloured a venetian red and had a square framing. Close to 1.5 million Venetian Reds were printed during the stamp's run. Like its predecessors, the Venetian Red sported individual letters in each of its corners to identify its position on the plate; the Venetian Red had a short run, was replaced by the Penny Lilac in July 1881. Its displacement is attributed to a change in government postal policy: the Customs and Inland Revenue Act 1881 necessitated the creation of a new provision of revenue stamps. A new inscription was therefore needed, the new Penny Lilacs featured the words "POSTAGE AND INLAND REVENUE" and "ONE PENNY", instead of "POSTAGE" and "ONE PENNY" that its predecessors bore.
It was decided that a new colour would be desirable to defend against improper re-use. The Lilacs broke the tradition of using corner letters and instead had either fourteen or sixteen dots in each corner. Postage stamps and postal history of Great Britain
Albert, Prince Consort
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the husband of Queen Victoria. He was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, to a family connected to many of Europe's ruling monarchs. At the age of 20, he married Queen Victoria, he felt constrained by his role of prince consort, which did not afford him power or responsibilities. He developed a reputation for supporting public causes, such as educational reform and the abolition of slavery worldwide, was entrusted with running the Queen's household and estates, he was involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851, a resounding success. Victoria came to depend more on his support and guidance, he aided the development of Britain's constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to be less partisan in her dealings with Parliament—although he disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston's tenure as Foreign Secretary. Albert died at the young age of 42. Victoria was so devastated at the loss of her husband that she entered into a deep state of mourning and wore black for the rest of her life.
On her death in 1901, their eldest son succeeded as Edward VII, the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, named after the ducal house to which Albert belonged. Albert was born at Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg, the second son of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, his first wife, Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Albert's future wife, was born earlier in the same year with the assistance of the same midwife, Charlotte von Siebold. Albert was baptised into the Lutheran Evangelical Church on 19 September 1819 in the Marble Hall at Schloss Rosenau with water taken from the local river, the Itz, his godparents were the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In 1825, Albert's great-uncle, Frederick IV, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, died, his death led to a realignment of Saxon duchies the following year and Albert's father became the first reigning duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Albert and his elder brother, spent their youth in a close companionship marred by their parents' turbulent marriage and eventual separation and divorce.
After their mother was exiled from court in 1824, she married her lover, Alexander von Hanstein, Count of Polzig and Beiersdorf. She never saw her children again, died of cancer at the age of 30 in 1831; the following year, their father married his sons' cousin Princess Marie of Württemberg. The brothers were educated at home by Christoph Florschütz and studied in Brussels, where Adolphe Quetelet was one of their tutors. Like many other German princes, Albert attended the University of Bonn, where he studied law, political economy and the history of art, he played music and excelled at sport fencing and riding. His tutors at Bonn included the poet Schlegel; the idea of marriage between Albert and his cousin, was first documented in an 1821 letter from his paternal grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, who said that he was "the pendant to the pretty cousin". By 1836, this idea had arisen in the mind of their ambitious uncle Leopold, King of the Belgians since 1831. At this time, Victoria was the heir presumptive to the British throne.
Her father, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III, had died when she was a baby, her elderly uncle, King William IV, had no legitimate children. Her mother, the Duchess of Kent, was the sister of both Albert's father—the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—and King Leopold. Leopold arranged for his sister, Victoria's mother, to invite the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his two sons to visit her in May 1836, with the purpose of meeting Victoria. William IV, disapproved of any match with the Coburgs, instead favoured the suit of Prince Alexander, second son of the Prince of Orange. Victoria was well aware of the various matrimonial plans and critically appraised a parade of eligible princes, she wrote, " is handsome. Alexander, on the other hand, she described as "very plain". Victoria wrote to her uncle Leopold to thank him "for the prospect of great happiness you have contributed to give me, in the person of dear Albert... He possesses every quality that could be desired to render me happy."
Although the parties did not undertake a formal engagement, both the family and their retainers assumed that the match would take place. Victoria came to the throne aged eighteen on 20 June 1837, her letters of the time show interest in Albert's education for the role he would have to play, although she resisted attempts to rush her into marriage. In the winter of 1838–39, the prince visited Italy, accompanied by the Coburg family's confidential adviser, Baron Stockmar. Albert returned to the United Kingdom with Ernest in October 1839 to visit the Queen, with the objective of settling the marriage. Albert and Victoria felt mutual affection and the Queen proposed to him on 15 October 1839. Victoria's intention to marry was declared formally to the Privy Council on 23 November, the couple married on
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke and the King died in 1820, Victoria was raised under close supervision by her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, she inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held little direct political power. Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria avoided public appearances.
As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, political and military change within the United Kingdom, was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire, she was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, initiated the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father. Victoria's father was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of the reigning King of the United Kingdom, George III; until 1817, Edward's niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales, was the only legitimate grandchild of George III. Her death in 1817 precipitated a succession crisis that brought pressure on the Duke of Kent and his unmarried brothers to marry and have children.
In 1818 he married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a widowed German princess with two children—Carl and Feodora —by her first marriage to the Prince of Leiningen. Her brother Leopold was Princess Charlotte's widower; the Duke and Duchess of Kent's only child, was born at 4.15 a.m. on 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace in London. Victoria was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, on 24 June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace, she was baptised Alexandrina after one of her godparents, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, Victoria, after her mother. Additional names proposed by her parents—Georgina and Augusta—were dropped on the instructions of Kent's eldest brother, the Prince Regent. At birth, Victoria was fifth in the line of succession after the four eldest sons of George III: George, the Prince Regent; the Prince Regent had no surviving children, the Duke of York had no children. The Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Kent married on the same day in 1818, but both of Clarence's legitimate daughters died as infants.
The first of these was Princess Charlotte, born and died on 27 March 1819, two months before Victoria was born. Victoria's father died in January 1820. A week her grandfather died and was succeeded by his eldest son as George IV. Victoria was third in line to the throne after York and Clarence. Clarence's second daughter was Princess Elizabeth of Clarence who lived for twelve weeks from 10 December 1820 to 4 March 1821 and, while Elizabeth lived, Victoria was fourth in line; the Duke of York died in 1827. When George IV died in 1830, he was succeeded by his next surviving brother, Clarence, as William IV, Victoria became heir presumptive; the Regency Act 1830 made special provision for Victoria's mother to act as regent in case William died while Victoria was still a minor. King William distrusted the Duchess's capacity to be regent, in 1836 he declared in her presence that he wanted to live until Victoria's 18th birthday, so that a regency could be avoided. Victoria described her childhood as "rather melancholy".
Her mother was protective, Victoria was raised isolated from other children under the so-called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by the Duchess and her ambitious and domineering comptroller, Sir John Conroy, rumoured to be the Duchess's lover. The system prevented the princess from meeting people whom her mother and Conroy deemed undesirable, was designed to render her weak and dependent upon them; the Duchess avoided the court because she was scandalised by the presence of King William's illegitimate children. Victoria shared a bedroom with her mother every night, studied with private tutors to a regular timetable, spent her play-hours with her dolls and her King Charles Spaniel, Dash, her lessons included French, German and Latin, but she spoke only English at home. In 1830, the Duchess of Kent and Conroy took Victoria across the centre of England to visit the Malvern Hills, stopping at towns and great country houses along the way. Similar journeys to oth
Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, was the eighth child and youngest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Leopold was created Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence, Baron Arklow, he had haemophilia, which led to his death at the age of 30. Leopold was born on 7 April 1853 at Buckingham Palace, the eighth child and youngest son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. During labour, Queen Victoria chose to use chloroform and thus sanctioned the use of anesthesia in childbirth developed by Professor James Young Simpson; the chloroform was administered by John Snow. As a son of the British sovereign, the newborn was styled His Royal Highness The Prince Leopold at birth, his parents named him Leopold after their common uncle, King Leopold I of Belgium. He was baptised in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace on 28 June 1853 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Bird Sumner, his godparents were King George V of Hanover. Leopold inherited the disease haemophilia from his mother, Queen Victoria, was a delicate child.
There was speculation during his life that Leopold suffered mildly from epilepsy, like his grand-nephew Prince John. The Prince's intellectual abilities were evident as a boy. In 1872, Prince Leopold entered Christ Church, where he studied a variety of subjects and became president of the Oxford University Chess Club. On coming of age in 1874, he had been made a privy councillor and granted an annuity of £15,000, he left the university with an honorary doctorate in civil law in 1876 travelled in Europe. In 1880, he toured Canada and the United States with his sister, Princess Louise, whose husband John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, was Governor General of Canada, he was a prominent patron of chess, the London 1883 chess tournament was held under his patronage. Incapable of pursuing a military career because of his haemophilia and the need to avoid minor injuries, Leopold instead became a patron of the arts and literature and served as an unofficial secretary to his mother. "Leopold was the favourite son, through him her relations with the Government of the day were kept up."
He pursued vice-regal appointments in Canada and the Colony of Victoria, but his mother refused to appoint him, to his great unhappiness. Despite his inability to pursue an active military role, he had an honorary association with the 72nd Regiment, Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders, from 1881 served as the first Colonel-in-Chief of the Seaforth Highlanders, when that regiment was formed through the merger of the 72nd regiment with the 78th Regiment of Foot. A portrait of Prince Leopold in military uniform is held in the Royal Collection; the Seaforth Highlanders paraded at Prince Leopold's funeral, a fact recorded by William McGonagall in his poem "The Death of Prince Leopold". Prince Leopold was an active Freemason, being initiated in the Apollo University Lodge, whilst resident at Christ Church, he was proposed for membership by his brother, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, at the time the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, was initiated in a joint ceremony with Robert Hawthorne Collins, his friend and tutor, who became Comptroller of his Household.
He served as Master of the Lodge from 1876-1877, was the Provincial Grand Master for Oxfordshire, still holding that office at the time of his death. Prince Leopold was created Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow on 24 May 1881. Prince Leopold, stifled by the desire of his mother, Queen Victoria, to keep him at home, saw marriage as his only hope of independence. Due to his haemophilia, he had difficulty finding a wife. Heiress Daisy Maynard was one of the women, he was acquainted with Alice Liddell, the daughter of the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford for whom Lewis Carroll wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, was godfather of Alice's second son, named after him. It has been suggested that he considered marrying her, though others suggest that he preferred her sister Edith. Leopold considered his second cousin Princess Frederica of Hanover for a bride. Other aristocratic women he pursued included Victoria of Baden, Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, Princess Elisabeth of Hesse-Kassel, Princess Karoline Mathilde of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg.
Leopold was fond of Mary Baring, daughter of Lord Ashburton, though she was fond of him too, at 19, she felt she was too young to marry. After rejection from these women, Victoria stepped in to bar what she saw as unsuitable possibilities. Insisting that the children of British monarchs should marry into other reigning Protestant families, Victoria suggested a meeting with Princess Helena Friederike, the daughter of Georg Viktor, reigning Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont, one of whose daughters had married King William III of the Netherlands. On 27 April 1882, Leopold and Helena were married, at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, his income was raised by parliament to £25,000. Leopold and Helena enjoyed a happy (although bri
A revenue stamp, tax stamp, duty stamp or fiscal stamp is a adhesive label used to collect taxes or fees on documents, alcoholic drinks and medicines, playing cards, hunting licenses, firearm registration, many other things. Businesses purchase the stamps from the government, attach them to taxed items as part of putting the items on sale, or in the case of documents, as part of filling out the form. Revenue stamps look similar to postage stamps, in some countries and time periods it has been possible to use postage stamps for revenue purposes. Revenue stamps are stamps used to collect fees, they are issued by governments and local, by official bodies of various kinds. They take many forms and may be gummed and ungummed, perforated or imperforate, printed or embossed, of any size. In many countries, they are as detailed in their design as banknotes; the high value of many revenue stamps means that they may contain security devices to prevent counterfeiting. The Revenue Society has defined revenue stamps as "...stamps, whether impressed, adhesive or otherwise, issued by or on behalf of International, National or Local Governments, their Licensees or Agents, indicate that a tax, duty or fee has been paid or prepaid or that permission has been granted."
In the Ottoman empire, Damga resmi was in use by the sixteenth century. Records of tax revenue from stamps for silk provide evidence of changes in silk production over time; the use of revenue stamps goes back further than that of postage stamps. Their use became widespread in the 19th century inspired by the success of the postage stamp, motivated by the desire to streamline government operations, the presence of a revenue stamp being an indication that the item in question had paid the necessary fees. Revenue stamps have become less seen in the 21st century, with the rise of computerization and the ability to use numbers to track payments accurately. There are a great many kinds of revenue stamps in the world, it is that many remain unrecorded. Both national and local entities have issued them. Governments have sometimes combined the functions of revenue stamps. In the former British Empire, such stamps were inscribed "Postage and Revenue" to reflect their dual function. Other countries have allowed revenue stamps to be used for postage or vice versa.
A revenue stamp authorized subsequently for postal use is known as a postal fiscal. Bhutan, for instance, authorized the use of revenue stamps for postal purposes from 1955 until the first proper postage stamps of the country were issued in 1962. In the Stanley Gibbons catalog, this type of stamp has an F prefix. While revenue stamps resemble postage stamps, they are not intended for use on mail and therefore do not receive a postal cancellation; some countries such as Great Britain have issued stamps valid for both postage and revenue, but this practice is now rare. Many different methods have been used to cancel revenue stamps, including pen cancels, inked handstamps, embossing, hole punching or tearing. From around 1900, United States revenue stamps were required to be mutilated by cutting, after being affixed to documents, in addition to being cancelled in ink. A class of office equipment was created to achieve this which became known as "stamp mutilators". Revenue stamps were once collected by philatelists and given the same status as postage stamps in stamp catalogues and at exhibitions.
After World War One, they declined in popularity due to being excluded from catalogues as the number of postage stamps issued rose and crowded revenues out. The lowest point in revenue philately was during the middle years of the twentieth century. A Stanley Gibbons children's stamp album from the 1950s warned in its introduction: "Since Philately is the collecting of stamps that are employed in connection with the Posts, do not put in your album fiscals, telegraph stamps, tobacco-tax labels and other such strange things as are found in some collections." This is not a definition of philately. More revenue philately has become popular again and now has its own FIP Commission and is an approved category in FIP endorsed stamp exhibitions. Many catalogues have been issued by specialist publishers and dealers but revenue stamps still do not feature in some of the most popular catalogues, for instance by Stanley Gibbons and Michel, unless they are revenue and postage stamps. However, both the standard Scott and the Scott Specialised United States catalogue feature US revenue stamps.
The leading catalogue for revenue stamps of the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth and several European countries is the Barefoot Catalogue. One of the earliest uses of revenue stamps was to pay Court Fees. Stamps were used in the Indian feudal states as early as 1797 50 years before the first postal stamps. Although India is only one of several countries that have used tax stamps on legal documents, it was one of the most prolific users; the practice is entirely stopped now due to the prevalence of forgeries which cost the issuing government revenue. The tax on documents commonly known as stamp duty, is one of the oldest uses of revenue stamps being invented in Spain, introduced in the Netherlands in the 1620s reaching France in 1651 and England in 1694. Governments enforce the payment of the tax by making unstamped documents unenforcable in court; the tax has been applied to contracts, tenancy agree
Princess Helena of the United Kingdom
Princess Helena of the United Kingdom 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 a 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. Afterwards, in the early 1860s, Helena began a flirtation with Prince Albert's German librarian, Carl Ruland. Although the nature of the relationship is unknown, Helena's romantic letters to Ruland survive. After the Queen found out in 1863, she dismissed Ruland. Three years on 5 July 1866, Helena married the impoverished Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein; the couple remained in Britain, in calling distance of the Queen, who liked to have her daughters nearby. Helena, along with her youngest sister, Princess Beatrice, became the Queen's unofficial secretaries.
However, after Queen Victoria's death on 22 January 1901, Helena saw little of her surviving siblings, including King Edward VII. Helena was the most active member of the royal family, carrying out an extensive programme of royal engagements, she was an active patron of charities, was one of the founding members of the British Red Cross. She was founding president of the Royal School of Needlework, president of the Workhouse Infirmary Nursing Association and the Royal British Nurses' Association; as president of the latter, she was a strong supporter of nurse registration against the advice of Florence Nightingale. In 1916 she became the first member of her family to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary, but her husband died a year later. Helena outlived him by six years, died aged 77 at Schomberg House on 9 June 1923. Helena was born at Buckingham Palace, the official royal residence in London, on 25 May 1846, the day after her mother's 27th birthday, she was the third daughter and fifth child of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria, her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Albert reported to his brother, Ernest II, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, that Helena "came into this world quite blue, but she is quite well now". He added that the Queen "suffered longer and more than the other times and she will have to remain quiet to recover." Albert and Victoria chose the names Helena Augusta Victoria. The German nickname for Helena was Helenchen shortened to Lenchen, the name by which members of the royal family invariably referred to Helena; as the daughter of the sovereign, Helena was styled Her Royal Highness The Princess Helena from birth. Helena was baptised on 25 July 1846 at the private chapel at Buckingham Palace, her godparents were the Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Helena was a lively and outspoken child, reacted against brotherly teasing by punching the bully on the nose, her early talents included drawing. Lady Augusta Stanley, a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, commented favourably on the three-year-old Helena's artwork. Like her sisters, she could play the piano to a high standard at an early age.
Other interests included science and technology, shared by her father Prince Albert, horseback riding and boating, two of her favourite childhood occupations. However, Helena became a middle daughter following the birth of Princess Louise in 1848, her abilities were overshadowed by her more artistic sisters. Helena's father, Prince Albert, died on 14 December 1861; the Queen was devastated, ordered her household, along with her daughters, to move from Windsor to Osborne House, the Queen's Isle of Wight residence. Helena's grief was profound, she wrote to a friend a month later: "What we have lost nothing can replace, our grief is most, most bitter... I adored Papa, I loved him more than anything on earth, his word was a most sacred law, he was my help and adviser... These hours were the happiest of my life, now it is all, all over."The Queen relied on her second eldest daughter Princess Alice as an unofficial secretary, but Alice needed an assistant of her own. Though Helena was the next eldest, she was considered unreliable by Victoria because of her inability to go long without bursting into tears.
Therefore, Louise was selected to assume the role in her place. Alice was married to Prince Louis of Hesse in 1862, after which Helena assumed the role—described as the "crutch" of her mother's old age by one biographer—at her mother's side. In this role, she carried out minor secretarial tasks, such as writing the Queen's letters, helping her with political correspondence, providing her with company. Princess Helena began an early flirtation with her father's former librarian, Carl Ruland, following his appointment to the Royal Household on the recommendation of Baron Stockmar in 1859, he was trusted enough to teach German to Helena's brother, the young Prince of Wales, was described by the Queen as "useful and able". When the Queen discovered that Helena had grown romantically attached to a royal servant, he was promptly dismissed back to his native Germany, he never lost the Queen's hostility. Following Ruland's departure in 1863, the Queen looked for a husband for Helena. However, as a middle child, the prospect of a powerful alliance with a European royal house was low.
Her appearance was a concern, as by the age of fifteen she was described by her biographer as chunky and double-chinned. Furthermore, Victoria insisted that Helena's future hu