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The Crown season 3: What is the real story about Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice?

Princess Alice is introduced in The Crown season three

Emmy Griffiths

The Crown season three finally landed on Netflix on Sunday, and one episode of the show focuses on Prince Philip's remarkable mother, Princess Alice. In the episode, the Duke of Edinburgh is concerned when Princess Alice comes to live at Buckingham Palace, as her delicate mental health might have spoiled a documentary based on the royal family and also contributed to his very difficult childhood. In the episode, Princess Alice of Battenberg gives an interview to a newspaper, who wrote a "love letter" about her incredible life. So how much of this was the case?

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Princess Alice lived at Buckingham Palace until her death in 1969, aged 84

Princess Alice did indeed life an amazing life. After the family were exiled from Greece, she suffered a nervous breakdown and received outdated treatment, was committed to an asylum and received treatment from Sigmund Freud, who ordered her to have X-rays on her ovaries to kill off her libido. She became deeply religious and following her release, returned to Athens to live in a two-bedroom flat where she spent all of her time helping the poor. While living in Nazi-occupied Greece, she helped rescue Jews from the Nazis. She also founded a nursing order; the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary, and often raised funds for the order.

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Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies play the Queen and Prince Philip in The Crown season 3

Like in the show, Princess Alice left Greece following the 1967 Colonels' Coup, and moved into Buckingham Palace for the last three years of her life. While it isn't clear whether Prince Philip disapproved of his mother in reality, following her death, he did pay tribute to her by attending a ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem in which she was made 'Righteous Among the Nations' for her contribution to helping Jews during World War II. Speaking about her heroinism, he previously said: "I suspect that it never occurred to her that her action was in any way special. She was a person with a deep religious faith, and she would have considered it to be a perfectly natural human reaction to fellow beings in distress."

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