L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, February 23, 2018

King, Queen, Princess - three portraits by de László, 1907

Edward VII.
Queen Alexandra.
Princess Victoria.

Victoria Alexandra Olga Mary (6 July 1868 – 3 December 1935), granddaughter and namesake of Queen Victoria, fourth child and second daughter of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, younger, beloved sister of King George V. Born while her father was Prince of Wales, she and her siblings were very close - likewise close with their extended family in Denmark, Russia, and Greece - but known for their timidity outside of the family circle. Unlike both her elder and younger sisters, she never married or had a family of her own. Though there had been no shortage of suitors for her quite prestigious hand, every prospect for marriage had been strongly discouraged by her domineering mother; she would spend her life as Alexandra's constant companion. Known in the family as "Toria" - and later, too often, as "Poor Toria" - it was only in the last ten years of her life, after the death of her mother, and already plagued with a long list of illnesses, that Princess Victoria was able to have her own home and live as she wished. She died at Coppins, her country house in Buckinghamshire, at the age of sixty-seven.

Princess Victoria was thirty-nine in the year this portrait was painted.


  1. I find Queen Alexandra confounding. Although I've been looking at photographs and paintings of her for decades, I find it impossible to develop any fixed sense of what she really looked like. Her portraits are obviously idealized, and her photos very often doctored. László has caught her here at something like 63, and while she looks significantly older than in many other images, I still find it hard to catch the genuine sense of likeness that is so immediate with Edward and Poor Toria. It's such a contrast to, say, Queen Mary, who in even the roughest newspaper sketch always manages to look exactly like herself and no one else, if you know what I mean.

    1. I totally understand your frustration! There's something odd about her eyes as well; in photographs the light reflected in them always looks strange, and then she's a bit wall-eyed. For what Alexandra actually looked like in later life, unveiled and un-retouched, there's the image included in this post:


  2. The very regal Princess Victoria already looked sad and resigned to a lonely life of service to her mother in 1907. I suppose that was because her father Edward VII had always had a wonderful social life, and Queen Alexandra had been aware of all her husband's other women. de László was spot on.

    1. At thirty-nine - so out of range for marriage in that day and age - I'm sure she saw the writing on the wall....