Once their grandmother, Queen Victoria, died in 1901, Ernie and Ducky were finally free to do what everyone sorta kinda understood they should: divorce. But sovereigns don’t divorce, so the situation became a scandal in the Royal Houses of Europe, and in Russia, Ernie’s sister, Empress Alexandra, blamed Ducky for it all. This became a significant issue for Ducky, who had rekindled her romance with Russian Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich (another first cousin), whose station and nationality meant that he required Tsar Nicholas II’s permission to marry, and Nicky’s wife was having none of it, at least until World War I broke out.
Ernie remarried into a happier union with Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich, but the decades that followed for Ernie and Ducky were marred by great tragedy, including the death of their daughter Elisabeth at just eight years old.
Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast.
Princess Victoria Melita: Grand Duchess Cyril of Russia, 1876-1936, by John Van Der Kiste (Amazon)
Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece, by Hugo Vickers (Amazon)
Grandmama of Europe: The Crowned Descendants of Queen Victoria, by Theo Aronson (Amazon)
Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe, by Deborah Cadbury (Amazon)
Marie of Romania: The Intimate Life of a Twentieth Century Queen, by Terence Elsberry (Amazon)
Queen Victoria’s Granddaughters: 1860-1918, by Christina Croft (Amazon)
Queen Victoria’s Grandsons (1859-1918), by Christina Croft (Amazon)