15. Princess Alice of Battenberg lost much of her wealth and privilege, but still found it in her to help those less fortunate than herself during the Second World War
Princess Alice of Battenberg is perhaps best-known now for being the mother of Prince Phillip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II of England. In her own time, however, she was well-known across Europe – and not always for the right reasons. Born into the British royal family in 1885, she married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark in 1903. For more than 20 years, Alice played the dutiful wife. However, in 1930, her princess lifestyle came to an abrupt end. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, she was sent to a sanatorium in Switzerland. Her husband left her and her children went overseas.
While Princess Alice made a recovery, having spent more than two years committed and in the private clinic, by 1938, she was living in a two-bedroom flat in the center of Athens. According to the British politician Harold Macmillan, who visited Alice in 1944, she resided in “humble, not to say somewhat squalid conditions”, with little food and even less money. Despite her own hardships, she spent the war helping others, including Jews on the run. For her selflessness and bravery, Princess Alice was named as “Righteous Among the Nations” by the state of Israel. In 1967, her son, Prince Phillip, invited her to live with him and his wife, the Queen, in England. She died in Buckingham Palace just two years later.