Waldeck Grove, SE27

Place Name

Commemorating the marriage of Queen Victoria’s youngest son Leopold, the Duke of Albany, to Princess Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont (February 17, 1861 – September 1, 1922). She was the fifth daughter of George Victor, Prince of the German state of Waldeck and Pyrmont, and his first wife, Princess Helena of Nassau. Leopold had struggled to find a suitable bride on account of his haemophilia. The pair married on April 27, 1882, and had a happy – but ultimately brief – marriage. Shortly before her son’s birth Leopold died, after banging his head following a fall while convalescing at his home in Cannes. She continued to live at their Surrey home Claremont House with her children. She devoted her time to maintaining her husband’s old university friendships and social work. In 1899, her 16-year-old son, who had inherited his father’s titles, was selected as the new heir to the German duchy, and was taken from his mother and sister in order to take up residence there. He later took up arms against the British, fighting as a General for his adopted nation, and in 1919 having been labelled a “traitor peer” he was stripped of his British peerages. Helen died of a heart attack in Hinterriss in Tyrol, Austria, while visiting him. For his part Charles Edward later joined the Nazi Party as well as the Sturmabteilung (Brownshirts), where he reached the position of Obergruppenführer. After surviving the Second World War he was heavily fined by the denazification courts and had his lands taken by the Soviet army. He died of lung cancer in 1954. Pyrmont Grove was laid out at the same time.

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