Who was Prince William's great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg?

He will visit her grave in Jerusalem on Thursday


Prince William will pay his respects on Thursday to his Great Grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, at her grave at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

She was born in 1885 at Windsor Castle. She was diagnosed as deaf at a young age and became an excellent lip reader by age eight. In 1903, she married Prince Andrew of Greece and went on to have five children. The youngest was Prince Philip, born in 1921.

The family were exiled the following year to Paris. She grew more devout and suffered under intense mental strain. In 1930, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and admitted to Berlin clinic after saying she could hear voices and believed she had physical relationships with Religious figures. After two and a half years at a Swiss Sanatorium she was released to go back home. She lived in Athens Palace and worked with the Swedish and Swiss Red Cross during the Second World War.

Her time in Athens saw her become close to the family of Haimaki Cohen, a Jewish former MP, who fled to Athens when the Nazis began to seize control of Greece.

But when the time came to flee Athens, Haimaki Cohen was dead and his wife Rachel and family needed sanctuary. Princess Alice did everything she could to keep her and two of her children hidden. At one point, she was even interviewed by the Gestapo but managed to turn them away.

After the war in 1949, she became a nun and founded a nursing order of Greek Orthodox nuns on the island of Tinos. She went to England in 1947 for the wedding of her son, Prince Philip, to the future queen Elizabeth. She returned to the country in 1967 to be close to him and his family and died in 1969 aged 84.

She was buried at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle but her final wish was to be buried at the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives to be close to her aunt Elizabeth who had also become a nun and founded a covenant.

Her remains were moved there in August 1988.

Diplomatic sensitivities around Israel and Palestine kept the Royal Family from making any official visit for decades but Prince Phillip visited the site for the first time in 1994.

A year earlier, Yad Vashem gave her the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Planting a tree in his mother’s honour, Prince Phillip said: She was a person with a deep religious faith, and she would have considered it to be a perfectly natural human action to fellow beings in distress.”

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