Queen Alexandra’s wartime Red Cross bag
1914-1918 Audio tour
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Queen Alexandra had a long involvement with the British Red Cross. In February 1885, as Princess of Wales, she formed her own branch of the Society to help raise money for medical aid to the sick and wounded. Under the guidance of her and her husband, King Edward VII, in 1905 the Society underwent a reorganisation and reconstitution. She became President whilst her husband became Patron. In 1908, she signed the petition for the granting of the Royal Charter, which was approved by the Privy Council. Her continued involvement included the purchase of a building for what would become the Star and Garter Home for Disabled Sailors and Soldiers in Richmond.
The bag is a simple object but knowing the context of how it was used and by whom makes it quite special. It is a reminder of the important humanitarian work carried out by Queen Alexandra. It shows how seriously she took her work with the British Red Cross and how deep her involvement was.
As Curator of the British Red Cross Museum collection, I am fascinated by the objects we have in the collection in relation to the Royal Family’s involvement with the British Red Cross. The Royal Family has a long history of supporting the work of the organisation from its foundations in 1870; Queen Victoria was the first Patron of the British Red Cross. Today the Patron is the Queen and Prince Charles is the President.
Audio recording by Mehzebin Adam (Curator, British Red Cross Museum & Archives).
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