Lot Archive


№ 104


16 October 1996

Hammer Price:

The important Naval Brigade group to Admiral H.S.H. Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, G.C.B., Royal Navy, nephew of Queen Victoria, and Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle, decorated for gallantry in the Crimea and recommended for the Victoria Cross in China

The Most Honourable Order of The Bath, G.C.B. (Civil) 18 carat gold sash badge, hallmarked London 1886, and breast star in silver with gold and enamel appliqué centre, with length of original sash; Jubilee 1887, gold, privately named (H.S.H. Prince Victor of Hohenlohe) complete with gold pin brooch; Baltic 1854-55, unnamed as issued; Crimea 1854-55, 1 clasp, Sebastopol (H.R.H. Prince Victor Hohenlohe, H.M.S. Leander) contemporary engraved naming; China 1857-60, 1 clasp, Fatshan 1857, unnamed as issued; Order of the Medjidie, 5th class breast badge in silver, gold and enamels; Al Valore Militare, silver (Comr. H.S.H. Prince Victor of Hohenlohe, Naval Brigade); Turkish Crimea 1855, Sardinian issue, unnamed, these last six mounted on contemporary Hunt & Roskell wearing bar as worn, generally very fine or better (9)

This lot was sold as part of a special collection, The Douglas-Morris Collection of Naval Medals.

View The Douglas-Morris Collection of Naval Medals


See colour plate II.

Prince Victor Ferdinand Franz Eugen Gustaf Adolph Constantin Friedrich of Hohenlohe-Lengenburg was the third and youngest son of Prince Ernest of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and of Princess Féodore, only daughter of Emich Charles, reigning Prince of Leiningen, by Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, afterwards Duchess of Kent. His mother was therefore half-sister to Queen Victoria. Born at the castle at Langenburg in Wütemberg on 11 November 1833, Prince Victor was sent to school at Dresden, from which he ran away. Through the interest of Queen Victoria he was put into the British navy as a fourteen year old boy.

He joined the POWERFUL as a Midshipman in September 1848, and took part at the blockade of Athens in 1848-49. He next served in H.M.S. CUMBERLAND, the flagship of Admiral Sir George Seymour on the North American station, and accompanied that ship with the expedition to the Baltic in 1854. He was landed there with the Naval Brigade and was slightly wounded when in charge of field-guns at the capture of Bomarsund. He served aboard LEANDER in the Black Sea during the Crimea war and was present at the capture of Kertch and Anapa, being next appointed to H.M.S. ST JEAN D’ACRE off Sebastopol. With the Naval Brigade he did duty as A.D.C. to Sir Harry Keppel before Sebastopol, being present at the battle of the Tchernaya, and was distinguished for his bravery under fire when he was wounded in the batteries at the taking of Sebastopol. In 1856 he was appointed Flag-Lieutenant to Sir Harry Keppel in China and took a prominent part in the fighting, being present at operations in the Canton river, and at the destruction of a flotilla of war junks in Fatshan creek. For his services in China, Prince Victor was mentioned in despatches
London Gazette 1 August 1857, and recommended for the Victoria Cross.

Repeated illness, however, undermined his constitution and prevented him from earning fresh distinction in the navy. He was compelled for this reason to retire on half-pay in 1866. He was created a K.C.B. in 1867, and appointed by the Queen to be Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle. On 26 January 1861 Prince Victor married Laura Williamina, youngest daughter of Admiral Sir George Seymour. By an old law in Germany, relating to reigning families, Prince Victor’s wife, not being of equal rank, was disqualified from using her husband’s title. In consequence Prince Victor assumed the title of Count Gleichen, the second title in the family, by which he was known until 1885 when he and his wife were permitted by the Queen to revert to the names of Prince and Princess Victor of Hohenloe-Langenburg. In 1887 he was promoted to be G.C.B., as an additional member of the Civil division, on the occasion of the celebration of the completion of the fiftieth year of Her Majesty’s reign. In the same year he was promoted to Admiral on the retired list.

After his retirement from the navy in 1866, Count Gleichen devoted himself to an artistic career, for which he had considerable talent. Being fond of modelling, he studied for three years under William Theed, and after a loss of fortune, owing to the failure of a bank, he was obliged to look to sculpture as a serious profession. He had been granted by Queen Victoria a suite of apartments in St James’s Palace where he set up a studio and entered into regular competition as a working sculptor. He executed several imaginative groups, as well as monuments and portrait busts. Some of the busts were very successful, notably those of the Earl of Beaconsfield, the Marquis of Salisbury, and Sir Harry Keppel. His most important work, however, was a colossal statue of Alfred the Great, executed for the town of Wantage, where it was erected. He was enabled by his success to build himself a small house near Ascot.

Prince Victor died on 31 December 1891. The Queen, whose nephew he was, and with whom he had been a great favourite, was much grieved at his death and sent a beautiful wreath, with the inscription “A mark of love, esteem, and regard, from his loving aunt, Victoria R. and I.,” to be laid on his coffin. His funeral was also attended by the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family.