The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

A carte-de-visite portrait of Princess Helena (1846-1923), the third daughter and fifth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Known as ‘Lenchen’ within the family, she grew up into a kindly, sensible but rather plain, dowdy, and ungainly girl. ‘Poor Lenchen,’ the Queen wrote, ‘though most useful and active and clever and amiable, does not improve in looks and has great difficulty with her figure and her want of calm, quiet, graceful manners.’

At the age of twenty she was married to Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg. The couple settled down at Windsor, 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.

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: 124055
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© Paul Frecker 2019