In the UK court precedence dictated that after the Queen only the Princess of Wales went before the daughters of the Queen. The wives of her younger sons only preceded their husband's sisters when they appeared with their husband. Without the Dukes the Duchesses of Edinburgh, Connaught and Albany had to let the daughters of the Queen go before them.
The current monarch also changed court precedence, giving the Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra precedence over the Duchesses of Cornwall, Cambridge, Sussex, Gloucester and Kent as well as the countess of Wessex if those ladies appear without their husband.
Maria Alexandrovna wanted precedence over her sisters-in-law as she was HIH the daughter of an Emperor/Tsar and, by the time of her wedding, Victoria was a mere Queen.
Through her marriage to Pr.Alfred, who outranked all his sisters, wouldn't she have the same status of her husband, and be outranked only by the Princess of Wales ?
Although princesses have traditionally been expected to marry foreign royals (three of the five daughters born to King Ludwig I and Queen Therese of Bavaria did just that), it has been said that over the years, members of large and reigning royal houses became increasingly resistant to leaving their native countries.
Indeed, after the marriage in 1862 of Princess Alice to the future Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse-Darmstadt, Queen Victoria of Great Britain was determined not to send any more of her daughters to Germany (or anywhere outside the UK, for that matter). If they married, it had to be men who were willing to settle in the UK. As it was, Princess Helena married a minor German prince; Princess Louise married a British nobleman; and Princess Beatrice married a German morganaut. As many are aware, the latter wasn't even supposed to marry at all: her mother was determined to keep her youngest child constantly at her side. So a compromise was reached, whereby Prince Henry of Battenberg consented to live in the palace with his mother-in-law.
Consider Russia, where Czar Nicholas I approved the marriage of his eldest daughter of a prince of Leuchtenberg (who was willing to settle in her country), Grand Duchess Xenia (elder daughter of Czar Alexander III) married a fellow Romanov; and Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (younger daughter) married a duke of Oldenburg (this German grand ducal house was known to be a homegrown Russian dynasty), as her first husband.
Spain witnessed a similar situation (consider the daughters of Queen Isabel II and later on, King Alfonso XII). But things seem to have been different for smaller kingdoms (e.g. Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hanover, Saxony, Württemberg). I'm less certain about Prussia ...
Anyhow, this trend could not but change the dynamics of royal courts, impacting the relationships amongst the various members and raising the question of rank. After all, a woman can be a princess of a country by birth or marriage. I would imagine a lot of tension and conflict to arise in royal courts, precisely for this reason.
The Duchess of Edinburgh (born Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia), for instance, was outranked by all her sisters-in-law, for reasons that they were born princesses of Great Britian and had succession rights. Because she was a British princess by marriage only, the duchess derived her rank in court only through her husband: indeed, when in his presence, she did outrank her sisters-in-law.
Anyhow, I was wondering about the situation in other royal courts (notwithstanding the fact that each had its own rules)? Was it a general principle that a princess by birth outranked a princess by marriage? I believe that the Duchess of Edinburgh enjoyed a high pre-marital rank in the imperial court of her father, Czar Alexander II, as she was his only daughter. As such, she suffered a major demotion in her status after marriage.
And I hear that there was great tension in the Belgian royal court, to which Princess Louise (eldest daughter of King Leopold II) returned after divorce. Conflicts over rank arose, with the arrival in 1900 of Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, who married Louise's cousin, the future King Albert I.
As for Bavaria: between 1889 and 1913, the country was a kingdom with a number of princesses, but no queen. And it seems that quite a few were born princesses who never married, much less left the country so to do. Examples include Therese, Clara, Pilar, and some daughters of the future King Ludwig III. Alexandra never married, and Elvira married a nobleman who settled in Bavaria.
Does anybody know if those women outranked the women who married into the house of Wittelsbach? In particular, I've wondered about the relationships between the daughter and daughters-in-law of Luitpold (who in 1886 was named prince regent). I still haven't gotten a clear answer as to just who exactly was the first lady of the kingdom, between the death in 1889 of Queen Marie and the accession in 1913 of King Ludwig III ....