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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine
Born on July 15, 1823.
The two were married in Breslau in 1851.
Alexander's older brother Louis III, Grand Duke of Hesse, allowed him to re-patriate to Hesse with his bride, although he did not recognize their marriage as dynastic. He granted her the new, hereditary title of Countess von Battenberg (Battenberg was a small town and ruined castle in the north of the grand duchy which, according to the memoirs of their eldest child Marie, the family visited once during her youth, although it never became their residence).
Alexander's wife would deliver his first child barely six months after their elopement. Nonetheless, Julia Hauke was a countess in her own right, as well as a former ward of the tsar whose husband retained, despite exile from Russia, the sympathetic support of the tsarevich and tsarevna. Grand Duke Louis III therefore chose to distinguish her from several non-royal wives of other Hessian princes by conferring upon her, along with the Battenberg countship, the style of Erlaucht (Illustrious Highness), usually reserved in Germany for counts of mediatized (i.e., dynastic) rank.
Although Prince Alexander retained his own dynastic rights and appanage, his morganatic wife lived a quiet life. Their family lived primarily at Heiligenberg Castle, in southern Hesse. In 1858 Grand Duke Louis III raised his sister-in-law from "Countess" to "Princess" (Prinzessin) von Battenberg, her children sharing in the princely title, and accorded them the style of Serene Highness (Durchlaucht).
Alexander of Hesse and Julia of Battenberg had five children. The children were:
Prince Alexander of Hesse died of cancer in 1888; Princess Julia of Battenberg, having converted to Roman Catholicism, died at Schloss Heiligenberg in 1895 at the age of 70.
They lived to see four of their five children, who had no rights of succession to the Hessian throne, mount a throne or marry dynastically, and to become welcome in-laws to Queen Victoria, whose correspondence reflected a consistent respect and fondness for the Battenberg family.
Prince Alexander's children formed marital ties with several reigning families.
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