Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

History

Supervisor(s)

Brock Millman

Abstract

For many years the notion of Princess Alexandra of Denmark’s political sympathy with Ireland has persisted among her biographers, while historians have been much more reserved in their endorsement and aware that the historical basis for Alexandra’s image as a supporter of Ireland is very tenuous. Nevertheless, Alexandra’s supposed feelings toward Ireland have never been discussed in-depth and have rather been taken for granted as having been useful to her husband for a time. The origin of this affinity has never been fully explained, short of suppositions concerning her political sensibilities and similarities between Denmark and Ireland. What follows is an attempt to discover the roots of the affinity between Alexandra and Ireland by looking at it in a different way; as being a construct of the 19th century popular press in Britain.

As a bride in 1863 Alexandra was subjected to different portrayals in the media, but was presented as an influential figure set to play a significant part upon the national stage. When she visited Ireland in 1868, questions were raised as to whether or not her presence or her actions were her greatest asset in aid to the faltering Irish polity. In the midst of the fiery visit of 1885 she became a model for a more active relationship between the Irish populace and the Crown. As Queen in 1903, press writers looked to bind her image together and twin the successes of previous visits with her superb conduct most recently. The image created by the reporting of her actions in Ireland was such that upon her death in 1925 she was remarked as having been unique in the dynasty and proclaimed a true friend of Ireland.


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