Despite the health challenges of the age, all of Victoria and Albert’s children survived to adulthood. Of their children, Alice was the first to die, of diphtheria, in 1878. Diphtheria is a respiratory tract illness and is a very uncommon in the Western world due to the success of vaccination campaigns after World War II. When Princess Alice died, it was all too common, very contagious, and very deadly (about half who contract it will die without treatment). She lost her youngest daughter to the disease before contracting and dying of the illness.
Alice married a German prince, later Grand Duke of Hesse and the Rhine. While living in relative comfort compared to most people in the world at the time, Alice and her family in Germany were perpetually short of money. The Duchy of Hesse and the Rhine was not rich, and she never lived in the same style she had when she had been a princess of Great Britain.
Despite her lack of money, Alice became known for her charity and good works. She was particularly interested in education for girls and women, and nursing. All of Victoria’s daughters and many of her granddaughters were very interested in nursing, something that confused Victoria greatly. She frankly found it gross that any woman would want to learn about the body, and got mad when Alice had discussions about it with her younger sisters.
Alice’s parents and descendants are today much more famous than she is. Her second youngest daughter, Alix (a Germanized version of Alice, as Alice found Germans could not pronounce the name), married Nicholas II of Russia. She is known for her relationship with Rasputin, her hemophiliac son, Alexei (Alice was a carrier of hemophilia along with her youngest sister, Beatrice), and her murder by Soviet agents in 1918. Alix’s daughter, Anastasia, and her great nephew, the Duke of Edinburgh (Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip), are probably the most famous of Alice’s descendants.