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The lost prince

It’s in the middle of the night and I couldn’t sleep, so I thought for myself, why not write? Sitting in front of my window and looking out on the clear sky with the moon illuminating the snow outside. Sitting alone made me think about loneliness. Then I remembered the story about a little boy who was hidden away from public eyes because of his illness. How difficult it must have been for a child in this age to be isolated to prison life when his father was King of England. What did he think? Did he at all understand why he was placed at the farm with only the staff as friends?

When Prince John died in 1919 only 13 years old, many British people didn’t remember that he had ever existed even if he was the son of the royal couple, King John and Queen Mary. He lived such a mysterious life that, after his death, very few people could tell his story. The reason was that the royal couple’s son suffered from epilepsy which in those days was considered as shameful. When King John was crowned as King George V in 1911, John was about 6 years old and did not participate in the ceremony.

Prince John was born at York Cottage, on the Sandringham Estate, Norfolk, England. His father was then Prince George, Prince of Wales (later King George V), the eldest living son of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. His mother was The Princess of Wales (later Queen Mary), the eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Teck. At the time of his birth, he was sixth in the line of succession.

As the years past, the little Prince got more and more ill. He was so ill at one point that his mother, Queen Mary considered to send him to a mental institution, but was persuaded by the Prince’s old nanny, Charlotte “Lalla” Bill to let her take care of him.

The illness

Prince John had his first epileptic seizure at age four and at age 12, his condition was deteriorated. He was looked after by his nanny, Charlotte Bill, known in the family as “Lalla”, Thomas Haverly, a coachman from Windsor Castle, chosen to drive John because he was known to be reliable and would take the Prince on outings in the country or to the sea and to the “big house” at Sandringham when any members of the family were in residence. Wood Farm also had its own cook and a live-in maid. John had a tutor, Henry Peter Hansell (1863–1935), as well. An area of the garden was set aside for him with a plaque, “Prince John’s garden”, and gardeners who helped him tend it. Indoors, he had his books, a pedal car and a ride-on train. Family photos show him riding a bicycle and a horse without assistance.

In 1916 he was moved to Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate. Some say he lived a lonely and isolated life there, and that Queen Mary kept a cool distance. Other sources tell of experiences and journeys to the sea, and that he had company in Winifred Thomas, niece of coachman at Sandringham. Winifred was the same age as Prince John, and was sent to live with her uncle and aunt in the country because of her asthma problems. Soon after Winifred’s arrival, the Strattons received a visit from Queen Mary and the nanny (a role Victorians referred to as a nurse), who were looking for a friend for John. Winifred’s delicacy probably recommended her to them and after the visit she played with the Prince almost every day. When he was ill, she sat by his bed while the nanny read to them. They went on nature walks together and worked in the garden. No date is given for Winifred’s arrival but it must have happened long before the move to Wood Farm in 1917.

Winifred Thomas remembered John’s mother, Queen Mary, as a loving and interested parent who spent a lot of time with her son. A passage of the Queen’s diary, written some days after John’s death reads: “Miss the dear child very much indeed.”

The Prince’s death

Neither of John’s parents was present at the Wood Farm when the little Prince passed away suddenly January 18th, 1919 only 13 years old. He got a powerful attack and never woke up again.

Later Queen Mary wrote:

Lalla Bill called from Wood Farm and said that our poor darling Johnnie had died suddenly after one of his seizures. The news came as a shock, but for that poor little boy, death came as a relief.

The Queen wrote that she told the news to George, and that they were then driven by car to Wood Farm. Little Johnnie looked very peaceful out there he lay, Mary writes, adding that she believes it was a relief for her son, who had experienced getting increasingly powerful attacks the older he became. He was spared much suffering.

Prince John was buried in a private ceremony at the church at Sandringham January 21, 1919. Queen Mary wrote; Tuesday, January 21st 1919. Canon Dalton & Dr Brownhill conducted the service, which was awfully sad and touching. Many of our own people and the villagers were present. We thanked all Johnnie’s servants, who have been so good and faithful to him. She was genuinely moved by their loyalty and went further than thanking them. Thomas Haverly’s daughter was given John’s blackboard, which in time passed on through her own family, and Winifred was given a number of his books with Queen Mary’s own hand-written inscription, “In memory of our dear little Prince.” The Queen also treasured photographs of him, her own diary notes of their time together, and letters. One of these, written by John to Winifred’s uncle who had broken his arm in a riding accident, reads: “Dear Mr. Stratton, I hope your arm is better. Are you going to church? With my love from John.”

In 1935 the celebrated King George had spent 25 years on the throne but he was killed by his own doctor later.

Award-winning film
The British filmmaker Stephen Poliakoff made a few years back of interest for Prince John’s story, and completed in 2003 toepisoders television series – “The Lost Prince.” Poliakoff has said that he almost gave up the project. “There really is very little source material, and much of what is written is incorrect. I had to puzzle together the pieces I found,” he said. The film received three Emmy awards, and Poliakoff gained praise from various quarters for his portrayal of the prince, who in addition to epilepsy, suffered from learning disabilities, speech difficulties and possibly autistic traits.

The name John

The name “John” has been considered unlucky by the royal family and its use avoided since the death of the prince. The popularly negative historical view of the only English monarch to bear the name — King John (reigned 1199–1216) — especially his fictionalization as the villainous Prince John in the Robin Hood stories has no doubt compounded concerns about the name. It was reported that Diana, Princess of Wales, wished to name her elder son John after her own father, but was prevented from doing so by royal tradition.

Languages of Poor in The Diamond Kingdom – Scottish and Irish

The language heritage which both Irish & Scottish owns have lots of differences which makes them distinct from one another even though they are a beads of a single kingdom The UK where these spoken forms are treated as inferior.

There are a range of differences between the Scottish and the Irish. There are differences in the people themselves, their literature, their heritage, their food and their culture, to name just a few things. Both countries have left colorful marks on the pages of world history and are both qualified to be called ’great’ nations. Unfortunately Scotland and Ireland have never reached the status of other great nations such as England and Germany and tend to be lesser known.

You’re certainly already aware of their geography, and no doubt you know something of their histories, and their people. There is still one more thing you need to learn about the Scottish and Irish. You’ve heard the way they speak: their accent and intonation. Their “English” may have sounded indecipherable. That “English” however, just so you know, is their own language. It is one of the most remarkable languages in the whole world. It depicts both of the country’s deep culture and rich history. It is ancient yet it’s still living.

Gaelic is an adjective which means “pertaining to Gaels”. It includes its culture and language. If it is used as a noun, Gaelic would refer to a group of languages spoken by the Gaels. Gaels, by the way, are speakers of Goidelic Celtic languages. Although Goidelic speech originated in Ireland, it spread to Scotland long ago.

Scottish Gaelic, is still spoken actively in the northern most regions of Scotland. Some say that this language was first spoken in Argyll and was established way before the Roman Empire. But most people don’t know the exact period when the Scottish people first started to speak it. However, what is certain is that Scottish Gaelic spread across Scotland when the ancient province of Ulster was linked to Western Scotland during the 4th century. It was even made popular in the language of the Scottish church. By the 5th century, place name evidence showed that Gaelic was spoken in the Rhinns of Galloway. It was in the 15th century that Gaelic was known in English as Scottish. But after that, the highland and lowland boundary line started to emerge and Gaelic slowly lost its status as Scotland’s national language.

Irish Gaelic, on the other hand, is widely spoken on the western part of Ireland these days. In fact, you can see plenty of signage and street guides in Ireland that are written in two languages: English and Gaelic. It was taught to them by the fierce and conquering tribesmen known as Celts. However, sometime during the 8th century A.D., Ireland became the target of the Vikings. When the Vikings successfully conquered Ireland, a new set of language and learning was introduced. This marks the significant difference of the grammatical and phonetic aspects of both Scottish and Irish languages.

The root of Irish Gaelic is the same with the Scottish’. Irish or Erse, referring to the people, was once called Gaelic and was classified by the English conquerors as the lowest class of people. These people spoke Gaelic even when the Anglo-Saxons expected their language to slowly die. On and on the language evolved and it almost died, but a few Irish lads and lassies have kept it alive despite the odds. Now, about 60,000 people in Ireland can speak fluent Gaelic.

Queen Victoria – Empress of India

Born on May 24 1819 Alexandrina Victoria was the only child of the fourth son of King George III: Edward, duke of Kent. Her mother was Victoria Maria Louisa of Saxe-Coburg, sister of King Leopold of the Belgians.

About Queen Victoria

Victoria became heiress-apparent of the British crown on the death of her uncle George IV, and when her uncle William IV died childless in 1837, she became Queen of Great Britain. She was crowned the next year. Her Era was the longest of all in the Royal History of Great Britain. She tested the limits of her royal powers when the government of Lord Melbourne, the Whig who had been her mentor, fell the next year. She refused to follow precedent and dismiss her ladies of the bedchamber so that the Tory government could replace them. Her refusal brought back the Whigs until 1841. The Queen’s first language was German. German was the language of her mother and governess. She also spoke English, French and Hindustani.

Marriage: She’d met her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, when they were both seventeen. When they were twenty, he returned to England, and Victoria, in love with him, proposed marriage. They were married on February 10, 1840.Their first child, a daughter, was born in November 1840, and the Prince of Wales, Edward, in 1841. Three more sons and four more daughters followed. Victoria had traditional views on the role of the wife and mother, and though she was Queen and Albert was Prince Consort, he shared government responsibilities at least equally.

Indian Attraction: After the victory of British East India Company in the Revolt of 1857, She got the title of Empress of India which later on became the most popular title of Victorian Era. She was the first to use the title Empress of India. Queen Victoria had an affinity with  India and all things Indian. This was probably why she took an instant liking to an Indian manservant Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim. Abdul Karim was from the Taj Mahal city Agra and had come to Victoria as a gift on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of her reign in 1887. He was to serve the queen as a waiter but soon this personable young man of 24. with suave manners became her special favorite. Victoria and Abdul Karim often talked in Urdu, foiling the attempts of those who would very much have liked to eavesdrop on what was going on between them. With the change in his status, came the change in Abdul Karim’s residence. The Queen moved him from the servants quarters, giving him cottages in the ground of royal palaces at Balmoral, Windsor and Osborne House. She assisted him in bringing his family to Britain where they lived at the royal expense. In 1878 Victoria had founded the Order of Indian Empire to honor people of outstanding merit who had served in India.

Widowhood: Death of Prince Albert in 1861 devastated her; her prolonged mourning lost her much popularity. Eventually coming out of seclusion, she maintained an active role in government until her death in 1901. Her reign was marked by waxing and waning popularity — and suspicions that she preferred the Germans a bit too much always diminished her popularity somewhat. By the time she had assumed the throne, the British monarchy was more figurehead and influence than it was a direct power in the government, and her long reign did little to change that.

Death: It was a winter time in Great Britain & every one was enjoying the first month of the New Year of 1901 when the entire British Empire was fallen into mourning & was paying homage to the Great Queen Victoria. On Tuesday 22nd January 1901 at 6:30pm at the age of 81 when the dusk was falling on the sky The angels of death were busy taking the soul of the Empress of India leading to an end of a Victorian Era & the rule of House of Hanover in the UK.The Queen was suffering from Rheumatism in her legs which had rendered her lame and her eyesight was bearing the shades of cataract. She was laid to rest in peace near the grave of her beloved husband Price Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park . Her Funeral was the only White Funeral where everyone was dressed in whites as requested by her.

Assassination Attempts: Five attempts were made to assassinate Queen Victoria during here lifetime which she survived with no serious injuries.

Legacy: Herself written Letters, Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands and More Leaves. Biographies of Victoria: Lytton Strachey’s Queen Victoria, are now considered out of date.The biographies written by Elizabeth Longford and Cecil Woodham-Smith, in 1964 and 1972 respectively, are still widely admired. Victoria Memorial in Calcutta – India, Victoria Memorial – London, State of Victoria in Australia & Victoria Waterfalls in Africa are named after her.

Children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert:

  • Victoria: Princess Royal, married Frederick III of Germany and mother to Kaiser Wilhelm
  • Albert Edward: Prince of Wales, later king as Edward VII
  • Alice: married the Duke of Hesse
  • Alfred: Duke of Edinburgh and of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
  • Helena: married Prince Kristian of Schleswig-Holstein
  • Louise: married the Marquis of Lorne
  • Arthur: Duke of Connaught
  • Leopold: Duke of Albany
  • Beatrice: married Prince Henry of Battenber

Also read about Victoria’s Life with Prince Albert in our blog on Prince Albert

Prince Albert

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel; 26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. 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 his first cousin, Queen Victoria, with whom he had nine children. At first, Albert felt constrained by his position as consort, which did not confer any power or duties upon him. Over time he adopted many public causes, such as educational reform and the abolition of slavery, and took on the responsibilities of running the Queen’s household, estates and office. He was heavily involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Albert aided in the development of Britain’s constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to show less partisanship in her dealings with Parliament—although he actively disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston’s tenure as Foreign Secretary.

He died at the early age of 42, plunging the Queen into a deep mourning which lasted for the rest of her life. Upon Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, their son, Edward VII, succeeded as the first monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, named after the ducal house to which Albert belonged.

Consort: The position in which the prince was placed by his marriage, while one of distinction, also offered considerable difficulties; in Albert’s own words, “I am very happy and contented; but the difficulty in filling my place with the proper dignity is that I am only the husband, not the master in the house.” The Queen’s household was run by her former governess, Baroness Lehzen. Albert referred to her as the “House Dragon”, and manoeuvred to dislodge the Baroness from her position.

Legacy: Albert’s body was temporarily entombed in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.The mausoleum at Frogmore, in which his remains were deposited a year after his death, was not fully completed until 1871. The sarcophagus, in which both he and the Queen were eventually laid, was carved from the largest block of granite that had ever been quarried in Britain. Despite Albert’s request that no effigies of him should be raised, many public monuments were erected all over the country, and across the British Empire.The most notable are the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial in London. The plethora of memorials erected to Albert became so great that Charles Dickens told a friend that he sought an “inaccessible cave” to escape from them. All manner of objects are named after Prince Albert, from Lake Albert in Africa to the city of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to the Albert Medal presented by the Royal Society of Arts. Four regiments of the British Army were named after him: 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars; Prince Albert’s Light Infantry; Prince Albert’s Own Leicestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry, and The Prince Consort’s Own Rifle Brigade. He and Queen Victoria showed a keen interest in the establishment and development of Aldershot in Hampshire as a garrison town in the 1850s. They had a wooden Royal Pavilion built there in which they would often stay when attending reviews of the army. Albert established and endowed the Prince Consort’s Library at Aldershot, which still exists today.

Biographies published after his death were typically heavy on eulogy. Theodore Martin’s five-volume magnum opus was authorised and supervised by Queen Victoria, and her influence shows in its pages.

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