The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein

Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein

A carte-de-visite portrait of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (1831-1917), husband of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Helena.

On 5 July 1866 the impecunious Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg was married to Queen Victoria’s third daughter, Princess Helena, the Queen making it a condition of her permission that the couple would make England their principal home. The bridegroom was fifteen years older than the bride and was generally acknowledged to be very boring. He smoked incessantly, which made him cough, and his teeth were bad. He had very little hair and hardly any money. He had only one eye and at dinner parties would order a footman to bring a tray containing his glass eyes, the history of each he would then explain at great length – his favourite being a blood-shot one he wore when he had a cold.

The couple settled down at Windsor, at first at Frogmore and then at Cumberland Lodge. The arrangement did not prove to be a satisfactory one. The Queen found Helena – who was addicted to laudanum – ‘difficult to live with’ and Prince Christian proved quite as tedious in the Queen’s opinion as he did in everyone else’s. His idleness irked her and one day, glancing out of her window, she saw him lounging around the garden, smoking. She sent him a note telling him to find something more constructive to do. In spite of his smoking, he lived to be eighty-six.

Photographed by Robert Bingham of 58, rue de la Rochefoucauld, Paris.

Of British origin, Robert J. Bingham (1825-1870) established himself as a photographer in Paris in the middle of the 1850s. His backplate rather inaccurately claims that he was ‘the inventor of the collodion process’. On his death in 1870, the studio was taken over by Ferrier et Lecadre.


Code: 124072
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© Paul Frecker 2019