From nobility to the monastery

Prince Philip's Mother Princess Alice Lived Her Final Years As A Nun

Prince Philip's Mother Princess Alice Of Battenberg

Prince Philip's mother experienced many ups and downs in her lifetime. Born into German royalty, Princess Alice of Battenberg became a Princess of Greece and Denmark at her wedding and initially lived a splendid life. But years later, she renounced all possessions and founded an order of nuns.

Prince Philip lived a turbulent life. Childhood was not easy for The Queen's future husband, and his mother Princess Alice shared in that experience. She led a difficult but fascinating life first as a royal and later as a religious figure.

Prince Philip's mother: Princess Alice

The princess was born deaf, had to flee Greece in 1922 after the Greco-Turkish War when Philip was just 1 year old, was abandoned by her husband, and had to make ends meet in Paris with no money and five children.

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Princess Alice ca. 1910, later Princess of Greece and Denmark and mother of Prince Philip.

In the mid-1930s, Princess Alice lost her daughter Cecilie in a plane crash. She also developed schizophrenia and was admitted to a psychoanalytic clinic when Philip was a child. During this difficult time, she found support in religion and joined the Greek Orthodox Church.

Princess Alice founded an order of nuns

Princess Alice continued to live a very simple life and became involved in society after her return to Greece. The princess organized a soup kitchen for children, looked after orphanages, and organized visits to nurses in slums.

At the end of the 1940s, she decided to take a drastic step: Princess Alice gave up her titles and her secular clothes and founded an order of nuns, the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary, on the Greek island of Tinos.

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Princess Alice in London in 1960

From then on she only appeared in grey nuns' clothing. Alice spent 10 years building the monastery before declaring her retirement. When she had to leave her Greek home again after a military coup, she moved to live with her son at Buckingham Palace and stayed there until her death in 1969.

Her son Prince Philip has now also passed away at age 99. He died on April 9, 2021, at Windsor Castle, where his late mother was herself born in 1885.