Your great-grandmother saved mine from the Nazis, Prince William is told

Princess Alice of Greece, wife of Prince Andrew, and the mother of the Duke of Edinburgh. Credit: PA

Princess Alice already had a complicated life before the outbreak of war.

The great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria was living in Corfu when she gave birth to Prince Philip, her fifth child and only son, and future husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

Alice suffered from deafness. She had to flee Greece when the people rose up against the (Danish-descended) Greek Royal Family into which she married.

She was diagnosed was schizophrenia when her son Philip was barely 10 years old and Alice lost contact with much of her family when she was consigned to a sanatorium in Switzerland.

But the often untold story of Alice of Battenburg is what she did for a Jewish Family in the Second World War.

By the early 1940s, Alice had been released from hospital and was living in Greece again.

Hitler invaded Athens in 1943 and Nazi occupied Greece became a dangerous place to live for any Jew.

Alice was asked to hide a mother and daughter, Rachel and Tilde Cohen, in her home - and she agreed.

Prince Charles and his sister, Princess Anne, followed by their grandmother, Princess Andrew of Greece. Credit: PA

The Nazis came knocking.

But Alice was always able to send the suspicious soldiers away.

She was even interviewed by the Gestapo but she used her deafness to her advantage and the interrogation never got very far.

The result was that Alice saved the lives of the Cohens.

Rachel Cohen’s descendants acknowledge that she would have been sent to a concentration camp had she been caught.

Ninety per cent of Jews in Greece at that time were killed in the Holocaust.

Alice is now buried in a hilltop tomb on the Mount of Olives - the sacred burial ground overlooking old Jerusalem.

The Duke of Cambridge during a visit to the Mount of Olives. Credit: PA

Her body was moved here in 1988.

Princess Alice has been awarded with Israel’s highest honour for a non-Jew. She is recognised as ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ because she - like others with this honour - risked her life to save Jews from the Nazis.

This week on his tour of the Middle East, Alice’s great-grandson Prince William met Rachel’s great-grandson Philippe Cohen.

They spoke about Alice’s act of bravery.

Evy and Philippe Cohen relatives of the Jewish family that Princess Alice sheltered during the war Credit: PA

And they talked about how Rachel Cohen’s children and grandchildren would not be here had Alice not done what she did.

Prince William brought some flowers for Alice’s grave on the Mount of Olives at the end of his tour.

That he did so, would have meant a lot to the Queen but especially to Princess Alice’s youngest child, the Duke of Edinburgh.