The QARANC Association has been researching the recipients who appear on page 1 of the Register of the Royal Red Cross. The first page lists 16 recipients with “The Queen” being added to the top of the list of names. The first 16 are:
- The Princess of Wales
- The Crown Princess of Germany
- The Princess Christian of Schleswig Holstein
- The Princess Beatrice
- The Duchess of Connaught
- The Duchess of Teck
- Miss Nightingale
- Lady Strangford
- The Hon. Lady Wantage
- Mrs. J.C. Deeble
- Miss A.E. Caulfield
- Miss H. Stewart
- Miss M.A. Fellowes
- Miss J.A. Gray
- Miss H. Campbell Norman
- Miss J. Jerrard
1. The Princess of Wales
The Princess of Wales at this time was Alexandra of Denmark who married Queen Victoria’s son Albert Edward (Bertie) in 1863. Her mother Louise was Queen of Denmark and had a great interest in the care of the sick. Queen Louise’s most known project, and one which she herself referred to as her most important, was the Diakonissestiftelsen (The Deaconess Foundation) in 1863, which introduced the Deaconess profession in Denmark. The Deaconesses were the forerunners of the Danish nursing profession.
Princess Alexandra became Queen Alexandra when her husband ascended the throne as King Edward VII, and it is as Queen Alexandra she became the patron of Army nursing and after whom the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) was named, as was the current Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC). Queen Alexandra chose the cross of the Order of Dannebrog as the basis of the badge of the QAIMNS and which now also forms the badge of the QARANC.
2. The Crown Princess of Germany
The Crown Princess of Germany was Victoria, Princess Royal, the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Price Albert. Victoria was married at age 17 to Prince Frederick of Prussia, with whom she had eight children.
3. The Princess Christian of Schleswig Holstein
Princess Christian was Helena, the third child of Queen Victoria and Price Albert. Helena married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. Helena was the most active member of the royal family, carrying out an extensive programme of royal engagements. She was also an active patron of charities, and was one of the founding members of the British Red Cross. She was founding president of the Royal School of Needlework, and president of the Workhouse Infirmary Nursing Association and the Royal British Nurses’ Association. As president of the latter, she was a strong supporter of nurse registration against the advice of Florence Nightingale. She took great interest in Army nursing, especially during the Boer War (1899-1902). The Army nursing reserve was named Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve), and in South Africa there was a Princess Christian’s Ambulance Train, and a Princess Christian’s Hospital.
4. The Princess Beatrice
Princess Beatrice was the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
5. The Duchess of Connaught
Princess Luise Margarete of Prussia was a member of the House of Hohenzollern. She married Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, who was the seventh child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her name was Anglicised as Louise Margaret. The maternity hospital adjacent to the Cambridge Military Hospital at Aldershot was named in her honour as the Louise Margaret Maternity Hospital.
6. The Duchess of Teck
7. Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale is well known and her life is documented very well in other places. Her impact on Army nursing is less well known. For the Florence2020 conference we presented the history of Army nursing and Nightingale’s impact through the eyes of 3 women. This includes some extracts from reports she wrote about Army nursing and military hospitals.
8. Lady Strangford
Lady Strangford was a British illustrator, writer and nurse. There are streets named after her and permanent museum exhibits about her in Bulgaria. She established hospitals and mills to assist the Bulgarians following the April Uprising in 1876 that preceded the re-establishment of Bulgaria. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross by Queen Victoria for establishing another hospital in Cairo.
Following her husband’s death she volunteered to serve as a nurse in (probably) University College Hospital in London. In 1874 her studies led her to advocate a change in the way that nurses were trained. She published Hospital Training for Ladies: an Appeal to the Hospital Boards in England. She advocated that nurses should be allowed to train and work part-time. She believed that training to be a nurse would benefit many women in their role within a family.
9. The Hon. Lady Wantage
Lady Wantage was the sole heiress to the fortune of her parents Harriet Wright and Samuel Jones-Loyd, 1st Baron Overstone, who gave her Lockinge House near Wantage as a wedding present when she married Robert Loyd-Lindsay in 1858. She was a benefactor to many causes, most notably nursing, for which she founded the National Aid Society (later the British Red Cross Society)