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Princess Alice of Battenberg: the incredible true story of Prince Philip’s mother | USA

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She was born with congenital deafness, diagnosed with schizophrenia, committed to a sanatorium, she rescued Jews from the Nazis (despite her daughters being married to high-ranking members of the Nazi Party) and founded her own religious order of nuns. The life of Princess Alice of Battenberg is an embodiment of the old saying that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. The mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died on April 9 aged 99, makes her first appearance halfway through the award-winning Netflix drama The Crown and could easily be the subject for an entire series of her own.

Princess Alice of Battenberg in a portrait taken around 1910.
Princess Alice of Battenberg in a portrait taken around 1910. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The fourth episode of season three focuses on the inner traumas and insecurities the husband of Queen Elizabeth II harbored in his complicated relationship with his mother, who is portrayed in The Crown by English actress Jane Lapotaire. With a certain amount of creative license, the story picks up on the life of this largely unknown royal figure when she is attempting to sell a sapphire brooch in Athens to raise funds for her congregation. After the 1967 military coup in Greece, Alice of Battenberg moved into Buckingham Palace, in the fictional version occupying a small attic room where she shared cigarettes and secrets with her granddaughter, Princess Anne. “She ran her own religious order and was always seeking funding. She sold the majority of her possessions and, in times of war, she gave her food rations to orphans or anybody else who needed them,” says historian Hugh Vickers in his book, The Crown Dissected, a historical analysis of the first three seasons of the series.

“She did move into Buckingham Palace in 1967, but she wasn’t installed in a sad little room as The Crown suggests, instead she occupied a spacious apartment with views on the first floor. It is true that she was close to Princess Anne, with whom she developed a very personal relationship.” However, it is not true that she was the focus of a feature in the British daily The Guardian. “That’s ridiculous. She was a very private person. She didn’t give interviews. She was so reserved that she destroyed all her letters and, when she died, she only left three dresses,” Vickers told the British newspaper The Times.

Prince Philip with his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg on March 7, 1960.
Prince Philip with his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg on March 7, 1960.GETTY

Princess Alice of Battenberg was born at Windsor Castle in 1885 in the presence of her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. She was married at the age of 18 to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, with whom she had five children: four daughters and a son, Philip, who would later become consort to Elizabeth II. In 1922, when Philip was still an infant, the family were exiled from Greece and they swiftly became separated. Philip was educated at boarding schools in England and Scotland, while his father lived by his own means in Monte Carlo and Alice was interned at a Swiss sanatorium after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Further complicating family reunions, Alice and Andrew’s four daughters married into the German nobility, some of their husbands being fervent supporters of National Socialism, while Philip was joined the British Royal Navy.

In 1930, Princess Alice was put through the wringer by the experiments of Sigmund Freud. A 2012 documentary, The Queen’s Mother in Law, explained how the father of psychoanalysis diagnosed all of Alice’s problems as being down to her hormone levels and “sexual frustration.” Freud prescribed a course of X-rays to be applied to her ovaries to accelerate the menopausal process. The treatment was a failure and only served to condemn her to lifelong health problems. She fled the sanatorium and returned to Greece, where she founded an orthodox convent. Like something from a Greek tragedy, she was only reunited with her family in 1937 when they all attended the funeral of her daughter Princess Cecilie, who died with her husband and two sons in an airplane accident in Belgium on her way to attend her brother-in-law Prince Ludwig’s wedding in London.

The wedding day of Princess Elizabeth (c) and Prince Philip, attended by Alice of Battenberg (5th l).
The wedding day of Princess Elizabeth (c) and Prince Philip, attended by Alice of Battenberg (5th l). STR – / AFP

Rebecca Cope says in an article for Tatler that during World War II, Princess Alice worked for the Red Cross. She certainly had experience in the area. During the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, she had served as a nurse, setting up field hospitals and assisting surgeries on wounded soldiers. During the occupation of Athens by Italian and German forces, she helped to hide a Jewish family, the Cohens, who in 1913 had helped members of King George I’s family escape into exile. From that moment on, Alice became fully committed to charitable and humanitarian work through her convent, the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary, which she founded in 1949. A profoundly spiritual and religious person, she took an interest in various doctrines throughout her life. She attended the royal wedding of Philip and Elizabeth and her daughter-in-law’s coronation in 1953, arriving at the latter dressed in the nun’s habit of her order. She also had the engagement ring that Philip used to propose to the future Queen Elizabeth II made from the few jewels she had not sold during the 1940s.

Princess Alice of Battenberg was exiled from Greece again in 1967 in the aftermath of the Greek junta and lived at Buckingham Palace with her son and daughter-in-law until her death in 1969.

English version by Rob Train.

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Census 2022 – what difference does it make?

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Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.

But what it is it all about?

At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.

The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.

Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.

Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.

And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.

In this episode of In The News, the head of census administration Eileen Murphy and statistician Kevin Cunningham about what it all means for us.

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Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture

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Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.

At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.

During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.

When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”

He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.



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House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022

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House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.

Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.

The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.

Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.

Price

This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.

MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.

It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.

“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.

“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.

Soure: MyHome.ie

“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.

“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.

He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.

Homes

Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.

Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.

“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”


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