Since the inception of the State of Israel, not a single member of the British royal family has been to this country on an official visit. Each time, the Israeli Foreign Ministry explained the arrival of the royal persons with a private visit. Whatever it was, but still twice the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip visited Israel - he visited the grave of his mother.
At first glance, it seems rather strange that the mother-in-law of the Queen of Great Britain was buried in Jerusalem in a crypt on the Mount of Olives. But it really is. Prince Philip's mother, Princess Victoria Alice Elizabeth Battenberg, was born in England in 1885 at Windsor Castle. The girl was born deaf, and perhaps that is why, as an adult, she always felt compassion for the disadvantaged and unfortunate.
When Alice turned 18, she became the wife of Prince Andrew of Greece and a princess of Greece and Denmark. The family had four daughters and a son. But it so happened that after 20 years, the couple divorced. Alice had a nervous breakdown on this basis, and she even underwent treatment in Switzerland. And when the mental foolishness subsided, she took up charity work.
When World War II began, Princess Alice lived in Athens, in the palace of her brother-in-law, Prince George. In the situation, she turned out to be ambivalent: her sons-in-law served the Nazis, and her son went to serve in the British fleet. She herself at that time, too, did not sit idly by, but actively worked with the Swiss and Swedish Red Cross. Then she received a letter asking for help from the family of Haimaki Cohen, who at one time was a Greek parliamentarian.
Cohen himself died at the beginning of the war, and his widow Rachel remained in her arms with five children and, like all Greek Jews, was in great danger. Princess Alice was well acquainted with them and decided to help at all costs. All four of Rachel's sons planned to go to Egypt, to join the Greek government in exile there, to fight the Nazis.
For Cohen's sister and mother, the journey was a perilous one. Therefore, in the fall of 1943, Princess Alice took a risky step - she hid Rachel herself and her daughter in the basement of her own house. One of the sons did not manage to get to Yegit and after a while joined them.
When the Gestapo came to the house, Princess Alice took advantage of her deafness: she pretended not to hear questions and did not understand what they wanted from her. The Nazis left the house without being checked. So the Coens remained with Princess Alice until the liberation of Greece. It is worth saying that the Coens are lucky.
More than 45,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz from Thessaloniki, where the largest community in Greece was located. And by the end of the war, 65,000 of the 75,000 Jews living in Greece were killed.
After the end of the war, Princess Alice founded the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary, a women's Orthodox monastery, took a vow of celibacy and became Andrew's sister. From 1949 to 1967 she lived in isolation on the island of Tinos.
But when the turnaround took place in Greece, she moved to Buckingham Palace in London and lived next to her son and his family. Princess Alice died in 1969. She was 84 years old. Before her death, she wished to be buried in Jerusalem next to her own aunt.
She also gave up the title of princess for the sake of monasticism. Princess Alice's will was fulfilled only 19 years later, in 1988. Then her remains were reburied in a crypt on the Mount of Olives.Already in 1993, the Yad Vashem organization awarded Princess Alice the title of Righteous Woman of the World for the salvation of the Coen family.
But there was a completely different story in Great Britain - history lady courtesan who conquered the heart of the king of England and became the curse of the country.
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