Alice Liddell

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Alice Pleasance Liddell (4 May 1852 – 16 November 1934), known for most of her adult life by her married name, Alice Hargreaves, inspired the children's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, whose protagonist Alice was named after her. Her family surname Liddell is pronounced /ˈlɪdəl/.

Contents

Biography

Alice Liddell was the fourth child of Henry Liddell, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and his wife Lorina Hanna Liddell (née Reeve). She had two older brothers, Harry (born 1847) and Arthur (born 1850, died of scarlet fever in 1853), and an older sister Lorina (born 1849). She also had six younger siblings, including her sister Edith (born 1854) with whom she was very close.

At the time of her birth, Liddell's father was the Headmaster of Westminster School but was soon after appointed to the deanery of Christ Church, Oxford. The Liddell family moved to Oxford in 1856. Soon after this move, she met Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who encountered the family while he was photographing the cathedral on 25 April 1856. He became a close friend of the Liddell family in subsequent years (see Relationship with Lewis Carroll below).

Liddell grew up primarily in the company of the two sisters nearest to her in age: Lorina, who was three years older, and Edith, who was two years younger. She and her family regularly spent holidays at their holiday home Penmorfa, which later became the Gogarth Abbey Hotel, on the West Shore of Llandudno in North Wales.

When Alice Liddell was a young woman, she set out on a grand tour of Europe with Lorina and Edith. One story has it that she became a romantic interest of Prince Leopold, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, during the four years he spent at Christ Church, but the evidence for this is sparse. It is true that years later, Leopold named his first child Alice, and acted as godfather to Alice's second son Leopold. (A recent biographer of Leopold suggests it is far more likely that Alice's sister Edith was the true recipient of Leopold's attention.[1]) Edith died on 26 June 1876,[2] possibly of measles or peritonitis (accounts differ), shortly before she was to be married to Aubrey Harcourt, a cricket player.[3] At her funeral on 30 June 1876, Prince Leopold served as a pall-bearer.[4]

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