The ultra rich fascinate me in the same way that looking at amoebas through a microscope fascinates me. What makes them tick? How do creatures that are so foreign to my existence live their lives? (I don’t envy them, though, and I’m not only referring to the amoebas.)
Having buckets of money is quite liberating in that you don’t have to concern yourself with the daily sturm und drang of survival. If your food and shelter is assured, you can focus on allowing your true nature to come out and play. Most of the time, unfortunately, this does not yield positive results. (See also: Jeff Bezos and Donald Trump.)
It amazes me that wealth seems to increase greed, not diminish it. That makes no sense to me. When do you feel like you’ve got enough?
Fortunately, there are a few examples, here and there, of a rich person’s better angels of their nature coming to the forefront. They could be as bad as they want to be, but they choose to be good. These people are my heroes.
Case in point: Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg. I wish the British Royals spoke more of her instead of sweeping her to the attic of their history. Yes, her daughters married Nazis, but she didn’t. In fact, when she was living in Greece in World War II, she told a visiting German general to take his troops out of her country. That alone would make me love this woman, but there’s so much more to her.
For a start, I strongly urge you to check out a blog called History Undusted, and especially a post entitled The Deaf Princess Nun. That talented blogger will go into a lot more detail about Princess Alice than I will.
Suffice it to say that Princess Alice devoted her life to helping the less fortunate. She helped Greek refugees while she herself was exiled in Paris, all while being abandoned by her husband and raising 4 children on her own. That would be difficult at the best of times, but then add the extra layer of complexity that she was deaf, and one wonders how she managed at all. She did have a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized against her will for a time, and a weaker person might have called it a day at that point, but she didn’t.
After she was released from the institution, she eventually returned to Athens, even though many of her royal relatives had fled the country because of the war. During that time, she hid a Jewish family in her home. She also worked in soup kitchens, delivered medicine, and established orphanages.
When the war was over, she founded a religious order called the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary. A picture of her in her nun’s habit, with Prince Philip by her side, is below. She lived with her son in Buckingham Palace for the last two years of her life.
She was a formidable woman with an unwavering moral compass. She demonstrates that it is possible to allow your decency to flow freely despite all temptations. That’s why I’m thrilled to know that Princess Alice is now considered one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” by the people of Jerusalem. She definitely deserves that honor.
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