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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

The life of Patricia of Connaught, later Lady Patricia Ramsay

In the early hours of St Patrick's day (17th March) 1886, a new Princess was born at Buckingham Palace. Described as 'a dear pretty little thing' by Queen Victoria, Princess Patricia was the youngest child of Prince Arthur and his wife, Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. She was christened on the 1st May at St Anne's Church in Bagshot and was given the names Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth, although she was known by the public as Princess Patricia. Her godparents included: Queen Victoria; Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; Princess Elizabeth Anna of Prussia; Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (later Kaiser Wilhelm II); Princess Helena of Schleswig-Holstein; and Prince Albert of Prussia.

Princess Patricia of Connaught (3rd February 1891) © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

Growing up Patsy, as she was known by close family, lived with her family at Bagshot Park in Surrey but often travelled depending on where her father had been stationed in the Army. By the time Patricia and her sister, Margaret, had reached adulthood, they were become deemed as two of the most beautiful - and therefore most eligible - Princesses in Europe. As a result, their uncle, the Prince of Wales, was determined that they would marry either a European king or Crown Prince.

Princess Patricia in 1901. Source: Pinterest

With this in mind, in 1905 the family headed to Portugal to meet King Carlos I and his two sons, Louís Filipe and Manuel. While the plan had been for at least one of three Connaught sisters to fall in love, their parents were left disappointed. Next they headed to Sudan and Egypt, where Patricia and Margaret were to meet Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden. Without the princes knowledge, he had originally been intended for Patricia but it was Margaret that he fell in love with and the two had become engaged by the end of the visit.

Lady Patricia Ramsay. Lallie Charles, published by J. Beagles & Co (1910’s) © National Portrait Gallery

Patricia continued travelling the world with her parents and spent a period of time living in India. In

1911 Prince Arthur was created Governor General of Canada. While living here Patricia became extremely popular amongst the Canadian people. She enjoyed Canadian pastimes and also worked with charities. On 22nd February 1918 she became the Colonel-in-Cheif of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, a title she held for the rest of her life. Funded by Andrew Hamilton Gault, the regiment was the last privately raised regiment in the British Empire.

Princess Patricia of Connaught, later Lady Patricia Ramsay (1919) © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

As time passed pressures grew for Patricia to marry. Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Grans

Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia (brother of Tsar Nicholas II) were suggested, but Patricia remained insistent that marriage wasn't for her.

However, this changed when she met her father's aide-de-camp and Navy officer, Sir Alexander Ramsay.

Patricia and Sir Alexander Ramsay on their wedding day, 27th February 1919. Source: Pinterest

The two were married at Westminster Abbey on 27th February 1919 and that same day Patricia voluntarily relinquished her royal titles and styles, instead becoming known as Lady Patricia Ramsay. Although she was no longer officially a Princess, Patricia continued with royal duties and attended royal events, including: weddings, funerals and coronations. Ten months after their wedding Patricia gave birth to the couples only child, Alexander Ramsay of Mar.

Lady Patricia Ramsay with her husband, Captain Alexander Ramsay and their son (1921) © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

When she wasn't busy doing charity work or with her family, Patricia enjoyed art and went on to become an honorary member of the Royal Institute of painters, specialising in watercolours. Many pieces she created had been inspired by her visits to tropical countries.

Lady Patricia Ramsay by Hay Wrightson © National Portrait Gallery

On the 8th October 1972, Sir Alexander Ramsay died at the couples home, Ribsden Holt in Windlesham, Surrey, which had had been bequeathed to them by Patricia's aunt, Princess Louise. It was here that Patricia, too, died just over a year later on 12th January 1974. She was aged 84. Patricia was buried alongside Alexander in the Royal Burial Ground, Windsor, on 21st January. Their graves reside directly behind Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's mausoleum.

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