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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

The life of Prince Christian Victor of Schleswig-Holstein

Born at Windsor Castle on 14th April 1867, Prince Christian Victor was the eldest child of Princess Helena and her husband, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. He was christened in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on 21st May, when he received the names Christian Victor Albert Louis Ernst Anton. His godparents included: Queen Victoria; Christian August II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg; Albert Edward, Prince of Wales; Ernst II, Duke if Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; and Princess Feodora of Leiningen.

Prince Christian Victor in April 1879 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

Known as 'Christle' by his family and 'Kicky' by his siblings, the prince had a relatively modest upbringing and became the first member of the British Royal Family to attend school. He first attended Lambrook Preparatory in Berkshire and then, in 1881, Wellington College, which had been established in 1853 with the aid of Oueen Victoria and Prince Albert. Upon his arrival, he joined Mr Penny's House, later known as the Picton, and he eventually became Head of House. After years playing cricket with children local to his home in Windsor, the Prince had become a talented cricket player and in 1885 became Captain of collages Cricket team. As he got older, his talent continued to shine and he was created cricket captain at his next two collages: Magdalen College in Oxford and the Royal Military College in Sandhurst. In 1887, Christian made a first class appearance for I Zingari, making him the only royal to play cricket at such a high level.

Upon leaving Sandhurst in 1888, the Prince served in the 4th Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps. In 1891 the Prince was serving in India when he participated in the Hazara and Miranzi exhibitions. The following year he also joined the Isazi exhibition. In 1895, he was stationed in South Africa when he took part in the Ashanti exhibition on the Gold Coast. Following this, he was promoted to the rank of Major before serving under Lord Kitcherer in the 1898 Battle of Omburman.

Prince Christian Victor of Schleswig-Holstein by Alexander Bassano, 1899 © National Portrait Gallery, London

In 1899, during the second Boer War, Christian served as a staff officer and participated in the relief of Ladysmith under General Sir Revers Buller and later under Lord Roberts in Pretoria. It was here that the Prince contracted malaria. Soon his condition developed into enteric fever, which tragically took his life on 29th October 1900. He was aged just 33.

Initially preparations began to return his body to the United Kingdom but Queen Victoria believed Christian should be buried in a soldiers grave where he died. As a result, he was buried at Pretoria Cemetery on

1st November 1900.

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