Victor Ferdinand Franz Eugen Gustaf Adolf Constantin Friedrich of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (DNB01)

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VICTOR FERDINAND FRANZ EUGEN GUSTAF ADOLF CONSTANTIN FRIEDRICH of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Prince, for many years known as Count Gleichen (1833–1891), admiral and sculptor, was 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 of Langenburg in Würtemberg on 11 Nov. 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, entering as a midshipman on H.M.S. Powerful in 1848. He served in H.M.S. Cumberland, the flagship of Admiral Sir George Seymour on the North American station. During the expedition to the Baltic in 1854 he was slightly wounded at Bomarsund. He was next appointed to H.M.S. St. Jean d'Acre off Sevastopol, and afterwards transferred to the naval brigade, doing duty in the trenches. As aide-de-camp to Sir Harry Keppel he was present at the battle of the Tchernaya, and was distinguished for his bravery under fire. In 1856 he was appointed flag-lieutenant to Sir Harry Keppel in China, and took a prominent part in the fighting, being 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 Jan. 1861 Prince Victor married Laura Williamina, youngest daughter of Admiral Sir George Francis Seymour [q. v.] 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 for many years. After he retired from the navy 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 [q. v.] Loss of fortune, owing to the failure of a bank, caused him 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 as a sculptor to build himself a small house near Ascot. In 1885 Count and Countess Gleichen were permitted by the queen to revert to the names of Prince and Princess Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Prince Victor died on 31 Dec. 1891. He had in 1887 been promoted to be G.C.B. and an admiral on the retired list.

He left one son, Count Albert Edward Wilfred Gleichen, C.M.G., major in the grenadier guards, and three daughters, of whom the eldest, Countess Féodore Gleichen, has inherited her father's skill in sculpture.

[Private information.]

L. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.299
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
388 ii 15f.e. Victor, F. F., Prince Gleichen : for 1867 read Jan. 1866