Originally from Greece, Prince Philip renounced his Greek citizenship when he became British in his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II. But he was already a Brit thanks to his mother, who was Princess Alice of Battenberg. It is through his matrilineal ancestry that he is related to Queen Victoria and thereupon also distantly related to his wife.
Princess Alice of Battenberg was born as Princess Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie in Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom in 1885. She married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and they had five children — four girls followed by the birth of their one boy, who would later become the Duke of Edinburgh, says Biography. But she would have a pretty tragic and sad life story, as it turned out. The Princess was born deaf but she learned several languages by the time she was 8 years old, and because of her deafness, she had the ability to read lips (via Harper’s Bazaar).
A DOWNWARD SPIRAL FOR PRINCESS ALICE
She married Prince Andrew in 1903 and after the couple had all of their five children, life would drastically change for the English princess. It all happened in the aftermath of World War I. During a coup in Greece in 1922, the family was banished and had to flee Greece and exile in Paris (via Reuters). It is said that having to uproot their family out of fear had a mentally devastating impact on Princess Alice, which likely led to the personal choices she made later in life.
She would find religion as a result and joined the Greek Orthodox Church. She even did charity for Greek refugees, says CNN. But in 1930 she suffered a breakdown and was committed to a mental institution in Switzerland because she was having some “delusions.” One of the doctors who treated her was none other than Sigmund Freud, who diagnosed her with schizophrenia and sexual frustration, says Harper’s Bazaar. During this time she was estranged from her family and didn’t have much of a relationship with anyone. She wouldn’t reunite with them until the death of her daughter Princess Cecilie in 1937.
After she left the asylum she returned to Greece and took her faith a step further by founding a nunnery in 1949. But a military coup in Greece forced Prince Philip to make his mother return to England in 1967. The reunion between the mother and son was short, though — she died in 1969 at 84 years old.