The remarkable Princess Alice

I’ve just discovered the remarkable life of Princess Alice of Battenberg, who was Prince Philip’s mother, the current Queen’s mother-in-law.

She was deaf from birth, dedicated her life to charity work and nursing, became psychotic, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent two years in a psychiatric hospital, founded an order of nuns, and was declared one of the ‘Righteous among the Nations‘ for risking her life by hiding a Jewish family from the Gestapo when Greece was occupied.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography she was treated by the psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger, one of the founders of existential psychology.

Apparently, she was a patient in the same hospital as Vaslav Nijinsky, the legendary ballet dancer and choreographer who succumbed to schizophrenia in his 20s.

Ludwig’s uncle, Otto Binswanger was also a psychiatrist of some note, after whom Binswangers disease, a type of subcortical dementia, is named.

Link to Wikipedia biography of Princess Alice.

3 Comments

  1. Posted September 13, 2007 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Interesting.. thanx.

  2. Mark(p.s.)
    Posted September 15, 2007 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Vaslav Nijinsky’s doctor was Eugen Bleuler. Bleuler invented schizophrenia. Kind of coincidental he died of schizophrenia as well. What would Nijinsky have died of if schizophrenia had not been discovered?

  3. Posted September 15, 2007 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Blueler simply remained Kraepelin’s dementia praecox, so he really didn’t invent schizophrenia. Nijinsky lived for more than 30 years after his initial breakdown, so he had many doctors, and, so, I think, can hardly be described as dying from schizophrenia.


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