Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-HolsteinHer Highness Princess Helena Victoria (3 May 1870-13 March 1948), nee Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and a member of the British Royal Family. She was the elder daugther and the third child of HRH Princess Helena, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, Queen Victoria's third daughter, and her husband, HRH Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenberg.
Her Highness Princess Victoria Louise Sophia Augusta Amelia Helena of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenberg was born at Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle. She spent most of her childhood at Cumberland Lodge, her father's residence as Ranger of Windsor Great Park. Known to her family as "Thora," she officially used the names "Helena Victoria" out of her string of six Christian names.
Princess Helena Victoria never married. She followed her mother's example in working for various charitable organizations, most notably the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and Princess Christian's Nursing Home at Windsor. During World War I, she founded the YWCA Women's Auxiliary Force. As its president, she visited British troops in France and obtained the permission of the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchner, to arrange entertainments for them. Between the world wars, she and her younger sister, Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, were enthusiastic patrons of music in Shomberg House, their London residence. After a German air raid damaged the house in 1940, the two princesses moved to Fitzmaurice Place, Berkeley Square.
Princess Helena Victoria was created a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (G.B.E.) in 1919 and a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (D.G.C.V.O.). She was also a Lady of the Order of Victoria and Albert (V.A.) and of the Order of the Crown of India (C.I.).
In July 1917, when King George V changed the name of the British Royal House] from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the House of Windsor, he also relinquished, on behalf of himself and his numerous cousins and brothers-in-law who were British subjects, the use of their German titles, styles, and surnames. Princess Helena Victoria and Princess Marie Louise ceased to use the territorial designation "of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenberg." Instead, they became known simply as "Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria" and "Her Highness Princess Marie Louise." Although the two princesses had borne German titles, they were both quintessentially English.1
In ill health and wheelchair-bound after World War II, one of Princess Helena Victoria's last major appearances was at the 20 November 1947 wedding of her second cousin, the then-Princess Elizabeth, to then then-Lt. Philip Mountbatten, RN. Princess Helena Victoria died at Fitzmaurice Place, Berkeley Square. Her funeral took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor and she was buried at Frogmore Royal Burial Ground, Windsor Great Park.
1 As a male-line granddaughter of the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Helena Victoria would have been styled Serene Highness. However, in May 1866, Queen Victoria granted the style of Highness to any children born of the marriage of Prince and Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. The children were still Princes or Princess of Schleswig-Holstein and the style Highness was only in effect in Great Britain, not in Germany. In 1917, George V issued a Royal Warrant permitting his cousins to stop using the "of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg" part of their titles. He never formally granted them the titles of Princesses of Great Britain and Ireland.