Program Details

Princess Alice and Princess Margaret: Cinderellas in Reverse

René Silvin
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's only sibling, the once second-in-line of succession to the British throne, had several failed relationships, led a lonely life, rife with illness, and died at age 71. Queen Elizabeth's mother-in-law, the recently deceased Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg. As Queen Victoria's great-granddaughter, Alice was born in Windsor Castle (1885) and died in Buckingham Palace (1969). Misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, she was hospitalized against her will and subjected to horrific experimentation. Both women started their lives as glamorous royals but had very different ends and very different paths to get there. Silvin, the ultimate raconteur,  describes these tragic stories in his inimitable fashion, using dozens of glamorous shots and newsreel clips.

About the Instructor

  • Born in New York, René Silvin, MBA grew up in Swiss boarding schools. After earning his bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in 1970 and two master's degrees in business from Cornell University in 1972, he spent 25 years in the investor-owned hospital industry. Since retiring, Silvin has published five books, including a memoir about his friendship with the late Duchess of Windsor, as well as a history of Palm Beach, Florida seen through the eyes of the famous society architect, Addison Mizner, and a coffee table book titled “Normandie: The Tragic Story of the Most Majestic Ocean Liner," which is a historical novel that brings to life the magnificent flagship of the French line, Normandie, which met its tragic end during WWII. He continues to add lecture topics, through offering well-researched, glamorous stories with historical significance, infused with personal experiences, including a history of transatlantic ocean liner travel, the history of Mar-a-Lago, and a series of presentations about the pitfalls of being too rich. Silvin is the former chairman of the Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission.