Princess Kingdom
Member of the British Royal Family and daughter of Queen Victoria
Princess Kingdom
The Princess Beatrice was a member of the British Royal Family. She was the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Juan Carlos, King of Spain, is her great-grandson. Beatrice has the distinction of being the last of Victoria's children to die, 66 years after the first, Beatrice's sister, Princess Alice.
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Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom's personal information overview.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1944
    Age 86
    There, Beatrice died peacefully in her sleep on 26 October 1944, aged eighty-seven (the day before the 30th anniversary of her son, Prince Maurice's death).
    More Details Hide Details After her funeral service in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, her coffin was placed in the royal vault on 3 November. On 28 August 1945, her body was transferred and placed inside a joint tomb, alongside her husband, in St. Mildred's Church, Whippingham. Beatrice's final wish, to be buried with her husband on the island most familiar to her, was fulfilled in a private service at Whippingham attended only by her son, the Marquess of Carisbrooke, and his wife. Beatrice was the shyest of all of Queen Victoria's children. However, because she accompanied Queen Victoria almost wherever she went, she became among the best known. Despite her shyness, she was an able actress and dancer as well as a keen artist and photographer. She was devoted to her children and was concerned when they misbehaved at school. To those who enjoyed her friendship, she was loyal and had a sense of humour, and as a public figure she was driven by a strong sense of duty. She was Patron of the Isle of Wight Branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution from 1920 until her death. Music, a passion that was shared by her mother and the Prince Consort, was something in which Beatrice excelled, and she played the piano to professional standards. Like her mother, she was a devout Christian, fascinated by theology until her death. With her calm temperament and personal warmth, the princess won wide approval.
  • 1941
    Age 83
    She published her last work of translation in 1941.
    More Details Hide Details Entitled "In Napoleonic Days", it was the personal diary of Queen Victoria's maternal grandmother, Augusta, Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She corresponded with the publisher, John Murray, who greatly approved of the work. She made her last home at Brantridge Park in West Sussex, which was owned by Queen Mary's brother, Alexander Cambridge, the first Earl of Athlone, and his wife, Princess Alice, who was Beatrice's niece; the Athlones were at the time in Canada where the Earl was Governor-General.
  • 1936
    Age 78
    Even in her seventies, Beatrice continued to correspond with her friends and relatives and to make rare public appearances, such as when, pushed in a wheelchair, she viewed the wreaths laid after the death of George V in 1936.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1914
    Age 56
    Her presence at court further decreased as she aged. Devastated by the death of her favourite son, Maurice, during the First World War in 1914, she began to retire from public life.
    More Details Hide Details In response to war with Germany, George V changed the family surname from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor to downplay their German origins. Subsequently, Beatrice and her family renounced their German names; Beatrice's style reverted from HRH Princess Henry of Battenberg to her birth style, HRH The Princess Beatrice. Her surname was anglicised to Mountbatten. Her sons gave up their courtesy style, Prince of Battenberg. Alexander, the eldest, became Sir Alexander Mountbatten and was later given the title Marquess of Carisbrooke in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Her younger son, Leopold, became Lord Leopold Mountbatten and was given the rank of a younger son of a marquess. He was a haemophiliac, having inherited the "royal disease" from his mother, and died during a knee operation in 1922 one month short of his 33rd birthday. Following the war, Beatrice was one of several members of the royal family who became patrons of The Ypres League, a society founded for veterans of the Ypres Salient and bereaved relatives of those killed in fighting in the Salient. She was herself a bereaved mother, as her son, Prince Maurice of Battenberg, had been killed in action during the First Battle of Ypres. Rare public appearances after his death included commemorations, including laying wreaths at the Cenotaph in 1930 and 1935 to mark the 10th and 15th anniversaries of the founding of the League.
  • 1913
    Age 55
    During her time as Queen of Spain, Ena returned many times to visit her mother in Britain, but always without Alfonso and usually without her children. Meanwhile, Beatrice lived at Osborne Cottage in East Cowes until she sold it in 1913, when Carisbrooke Castle, home of the Governor of the Isle of Wight, became vacant.
    More Details Hide Details She moved into the Castle while keeping an apartment at Kensington Palace in London. She had been much involved in collecting material for the Carisbrooke Castle museum, which she opened in 1898.
  • FORTIES
  • 1906
    Age 48
    Nonetheless, the couple wed on 31 May 1906.
    More Details Hide Details The marriage began inauspiciously when an anarchist attempted to bomb them on their wedding day. Apparently close at first, the couple grew apart. Ena became unpopular in Spain and grew more so when it was discovered that her son, the heir to the throne, suffered from haemophilia, a disease for which Alfonso held Beatrice responsible for having brought the disease to the Spanish royal house and turned bitterly against Ena.
  • 1901
    Age 43
    Beatrice's life was overturned by the death of Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901.
    More Details Hide Details She wrote to the Principal of the University of Glasgow in March, " you may imagine what the grief is. I, who had hardly ever been separated from my dear mother, can hardly realise what life will be like without her, who was the centre of everything." Beatrice's public appearances continued, but her position at court was diminished. She, unlike her sister Louise, was not close to her brother, now King Edward VII, and was not included in the King's inner circle. Although their relationship did not break down completely, it was occasionally strained, for example when she accidentally (but noisily) dropped her service book from the royal gallery onto a table of gold plate during his coronation. After inheriting Osborne, the King had his mother's personal photographs and belongings removed and some of them destroyed, especially material relating to John Brown, whom he detested. Queen Victoria had intended the house to be a private, secluded residence for her descendants, away from the pomp and ceremony of mainland life. However, the new King had no need for the house and consulted his lawyers about disposing of it, transforming the main wing into a convalescent home, opening the state apartments to the public, and constructing a Naval College on the grounds. His plans met with strong disapproval from Beatrice and Louise. Queen Victoria had bequeathed them houses on the estate, and the privacy promised to them by their mother was threatened.
    Beatrice remained at her mother's side until Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901.
    More Details Hide Details Beatrice devoted the next 30 years to editing Queen Victoria's journals as her designated literary executor and continued to make public appearances. She died at 87, outliving all her siblings, two of her children, and several nieces and nephews including George V and Wilhelm II. Beatrice was born at Buckingham Palace. She was the fifth daughter and youngest of the nine children of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria, and her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (later The Prince Consort). The birth caused controversy when it was announced that Queen Victoria would seek relief from the pains of delivery through the use of chloroform administered by Dr John Snow. Chloroform was considered dangerous to mother and child and was frowned upon by the Church of England and the medical authorities. Queen Victoria was undeterred and used "that blessed chloroform" for her last pregnancy. A fortnight later, Queen Victoria reported in her journal, "I was amply rewarded and forgot all I had gone through when I heard dearest Albert say 'It's a fine child, and a girl!'" Albert and Queen Victoria chose the names Beatrice Mary Victoria Feodore: Mary after Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester, the last surviving child of King George III of the United Kingdom; Victoria after the Queen; and Feodore after Feodora, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the Queen's older half-sister.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1896
    Age 38
    On 22 January 1896, Beatrice, who was waiting for her husband at Madeira, received a telegram informing her of Henry's death two days earlier.
    More Details Hide Details Devastated, she left court for a month of mourning before returning to her post at her mother's side. The Queen's journal reports that Queen Victoria "went over to Beatrice's room and sat a while with her. She is so piteous in her misery." Despite her grief, Beatrice remained her mother's faithful companion, and as Queen Victoria aged, she relied more heavily on Beatrice for dealing with correspondence. However, realising that Beatrice needed a place of her own, she gave her the Kensington Palace apartments once occupied by the Queen and her mother. The Queen appointed Beatrice to the governorship of the Isle of Wight, vacated by Prince Henry's death. In response to Beatrice's interest in photography, the Queen had a darkroom installed at Osborne House. The changes in the family, including Beatrice's preoccupation with her mother, may have affected her children, who rebelled at school. Beatrice wrote that Ena was "troublesome and rebellious", and that Alexander was telling "unwarrantable untruths".
  • 1895
    Age 37
    Despite misgivings, the Queen consented, and Henry and Beatrice parted on 6 December 1895; they would not meet again.
    More Details Hide Details Henry contracted malaria and was sent home.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1886
    Age 28
    Despite suffering a miscarriage in the early months of her marriage, Beatrice gave birth to four children: Alexander, called "Drino", was born in 1886; Ena in 1887; Leopold in 1889 and Maurice in 1891.
    More Details Hide Details Following this, she took a polite and encouraging interest in social issues, such as conditions in the coal mines. However, this interest did not extend to changing the conditions of poverty, as it had done with her brother, the Prince of Wales. Although court entertainments were few after the Prince Consort's death, Beatrice and the Queen enjoyed tableau vivant photography, which was often performed at the royal residences. Henry, increasingly bored by the lack of activity at court, longed for employment, and in response, the Queen made him Governor of the Isle of Wight in 1889. However, he yearned for military adventure and pleaded with his mother-in-law to let him join the Ashanti expedition fighting in the Anglo-Asante war.
  • 1885
    Age 27
    Beatrice and Henry were married at Saint Mildred's Church at Whippingham, near Osborne, on 23 July 1885.
    More Details Hide Details Beatrice, who wore her mother's wedding veil of Honiton lace, was escorted by the Queen and Beatrice's eldest brother, the Prince of Wales. Princess Beatrice was attended by ten royal bridesmaids from among her nieces: Princess Alix and Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine; Princess Alexandra, Princess Marie, and Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh; Princess Louise, Princess Maud, and Princess Victoria of Wales; Princess Marie Louise and Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. The bridegroom's supporters were his brothers, Prince Alexander of Bulgaria and Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg. The ceremony – which was not attended by her eldest sister and brother-in-law, the Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia, who were detained in Germany; William Ewart Gladstone; or Beatrice's cousin, Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck, who was in mourning for her father-in-law – ended with the couple's departure for their honeymoon at Quarr Abbey House, a few miles from Osborne. The Queen, taking leave of them, "bore up bravely till the departure and then fairly gave way", as she later admitted to the Crown Princess.
  • 1879
    Age 21
    She was attracted to the Prince Imperial and there was talk of a possible marriage, but he was killed in the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879. Beatrice fell in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg, the son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and Julia von Hauke and brother-in-law of her niece Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. After a year of persuasion, Queen Victoria agreed to the marriage, which took place at Whippingham on the Isle of Wight on 23 July 1885.
    More Details Hide Details Queen Victoria consented on condition that Beatrice and Henry make their home with her and that Beatrice continue her duties as the Queen's unofficial secretary. The Prince and Princess had four children, but 10 years into their marriage, on 20 January 1896, Prince Henry died of malaria while fighting in the Anglo-Asante War.
  • 1878
    Age 20
    After the death of the Prince Imperial, Beatrice's brother, Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, suggested that she marry their sister Alice's widower, Louis IV, the Grand Duke of Hesse, who had lost his wife to diphtheria in 1878.
    More Details Hide Details Albert Edward argued that Beatrice could act as replacement mother for Louis's young children and spend most of her time in England looking after her mother. He further suggested the Queen could oversee the upbringing of her Hessian grandchildren with greater ease. However, at the time, it was forbidden by law for Beatrice to marry her sister's widower. This was countered by the Prince of Wales, who vehemently supported passage by the Houses of Parliament of the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, which would have removed the obstacle. Despite popular support for this measure and although it passed in the House of Commons, it was rejected by the House of Lords because of opposition from the Lords Spiritual. Although the Queen was disappointed that the bill had failed, she was happy to keep her daughter at her side. Other candidates, including two of Prince Henry's brothers, Prince Alexander ("Sandro") and Prince Louis of Battenberg, were put forward to be Beatrice's husband, but they did not succeed. Although Alexander never formally pursued Beatrice, merely claiming that he "might even at one time have become engaged to the friend of my childhood, Beatrice of England", Louis was more interested. Queen Victoria invited him to dinner but sat between him and Beatrice, who had been told by the Queen to ignore Louis to discourage his suit. Louis, not realising for several years the reasons for this silence, married Beatrice's niece, Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1873
    Age 15
    After the Emperor's death in 1873, Queen Victoria and Empress Eugénie formed a close attachment, and the newspapers reported the imminent engagement of Beatrice to the Prince Imperial.
    More Details Hide Details These rumours ended with the death of the Prince Imperial in the Anglo-Zulu War on 1 June 1879. Queen Victoria's journal records their grief: "Dear Beatrice, crying very much as I did too, gave me the telegram... It was dawning and little sleep did I get... Beatrice is so distressed; everyone quite stunned."
  • 1871
    Age 13
    During a serious illness in 1871, the Queen dictated her journal entries to Beatrice, and in 1876 she allowed Beatrice to sort the music she and the Prince Consort had played, unused since his death fifteen years earlier.
    More Details Hide Details The devotion that Beatrice showed to her mother was acknowledged in the Queen's letters and journals, but her constant need for Beatrice grew stronger. The Queen suffered another bereavement in 1883, when her highland servant, John Brown, died at Balmoral. Once again, the Queen plunged into public mourning and relied on Beatrice for support. Unlike her siblings, Beatrice had not shown dislike for Brown, and the two had often been seen in each other's company; indeed, they had worked together to carry out the Queen's wishes. Although the Queen was set against Beatrice marrying anyone in the expectation that she would always stay at home with her, a number of possible suitors were put forward before Beatrice's marriage to Prince Henry of Battenberg. One of these was Napoléon Eugéne, the French Prince Imperial, son and heir of the exiled Emperor Napoleon III of France and his wife, the Empress Eugénie. After Prussia defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War, Napoleon was deposed and moved his family to England in 1870.
    After 1871, when the last of Beatrice's elder sisters married, Queen Victoria came to rely upon her youngest daughter, who had declared from an early age: "I don't like weddings at all.
    More Details Hide Details I shall never be married. I shall stay with my mother." As her mother's secretary, she performed duties such as writing on the Queen's behalf and helping with political correspondence. These mundane duties mirrored those that had been performed in succession by her sisters, Alice, Helena and Louise. However, to these the Queen soon added more personal tasks.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1857
    Born
    She was christened in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace on 16 June 1857.
    More Details Hide Details Her godparents were the Duchess of Kent (maternal grandmother); the Princess Royal (eldest sister); and the Prince Frederick of Prussia (her future brother-in-law). From birth, Beatrice became a favoured child. The elder favourite daughter of Prince Albert, the Princess Royal, was about to take up residence in Germany with her new husband, Frederick ("Fritz") of Prussia. At the same time, the newly arrived Beatrice showed promise. Albert wrote to Augusta, Fritz's mother, that "Baby practises her scales like a good prima donna before a performance and has a good voice!" Although Queen Victoria was known to dislike most babies, she liked Beatrice, whom she considered attractive. This provided Beatrice with an advantage over her elder siblings. Queen Victoria once remarked that Beatrice was "a pretty, plump and flourishing child... with fine large blue eyes, a pretty little mouth and very fine skin". Her long, golden hair was the focus of paintings commissioned by Queen Victoria, who enjoyed giving Beatrice her bath, in marked contrast to her bathing preferences for her other children. Beatrice showed intelligence, which further endeared her to the Prince Consort, who was amused by her childhood precociousness.
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