Grand Duke Ernest of Hesse Childhood Signed Letter to his Nanny & Pressed Flowers

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Charming childhood letter sending kisses and dried flowers to his sisters from Grand Duke Ernest Louis Charles Albert William (25 November 1868 – 9 October 1937). He was the last Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine from 1892 until 1918. His nickname was "Ernie" and he was also the only surviving maternal great-uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Ernest Louis was the fourth child and eldest son of Grand Duke Louis IV and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, daughter of Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was an older brother to Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna(née Alix of Hesse), empress consort of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

Ernest Louis's early life was shrouded with death. When he was five, his younger brother Friedrich died. The two boys had been playing a game when the younger boy fell through a window onto the balcony twenty feet below. At first, Friedrich seemed only shaken. However, Friedrich suffered from haemophilia, and had begun bleeding in the brain. He lapsed into unconsciousness that afternoon and died.

In 1878, an epidemic of diphtheria swept through Darmstadt. All the children (except Princess Elisabeth who was sent to stay with their paternal grandmother Princess Elizabeth of Prussia) and their father fell ill.

Princess Alice cared for her sick husband and children, but on 16 November, the youngest of them, Princess May, died. Alice kept the news from her family for several weeks, until Ernest Louis, who was devoted to little May, asked for his sister. When his mother revealed May's death, Ernest Louis was overcome with grief. In comforting her grieving son, Alice kissed him, and within a week, she fell ill and soon died, on 14 December. Her death affected Ernest Louis for the rest of his life.

He was one of seven children:

Victoria Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven (Victoria Alberta Elisabeth Mathilde Marie; 5 April 1863 - 24 September 1950)
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia (Elisabeth Alexandra Louise Alice; 1 November 1864 – 18 July 1918)
Princess Irene of Prussia (Irene Louise Marie Anne; 11 July 1866 – 11 November 1953)
Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse (Ernest Ludwig Charles Albert Wilhelm; 25 November 1868 – 9 October 1937)
Prince Friedrich Wilhelm August Victor Leopold Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine (7 October 1870 – 29 May 1873)
Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress of All the Russias (Victoria Alix Helena Louise Beatrice; 6 June 1872 – 17 July 1918)
Princess Marie Victoria Feodore Leopoldine of Hesse and by Rhine (24 May 1874 – 16 November 1878)

The letter is addressed to his nanny:

"Dear Ninny
I send you some pressed flowers & kisses to sisters

Size: 23 x 14.5 cm approx

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