Saturday, August 29, 2020

It's a boy for Xenia and Guy

 HSH Princess Xenia of Croy and  Guy delle Piane are the parents of a son, Laszlo, who was born on August 28.

The couple became engaged earlier this year.

Lazslo is the first grandchild of Rudolf, Duke of Croy.   The infant is a descendant of  Grand Duke Adolf of Luxembourg.


He is also a descendant of King Ludwig III of Bavaria.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Mail Call


Lovely thank you cards from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, a perfect image, as she photographed reading).  HSH Prince and Princess Casimir of Sayn-Wittgensteim-Sayn for the birth of their son, Salentin,  and TSH the Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein (wedding anniversary).

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Aosta Sisters


Both images Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection

Princess Margherita and Princess Maria Cristina of Savoy-Aosta, are the two daughters of Prince Amedeo of Savoy-Aosta, Duke of Aosta and Princess Anne of Orleans. The Duke and Duchess of Aosta were first cousins, as the Duke's mother, Princess Helene, and Anne's mother, Princess Isabelle were siblings. 

Margherita was born at Capodimonte Palace in Naples on April 7, 1930. She married Archduke Robert of Austria, a younger son of Emperor Karl and Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma. One of their 5 children, Lorenz, is married to Princess Astrid of Belgium, only daughter of King Albert and Queen Paola. 

Margherita was briefly linked to King Baudouin of the Belgians.

 Maria Cristina was born at Miramare Castle near Trieste on September 12, 1933. She married Prince Casimir of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies on January 29, 1967. They have four children. The Duke of Aosta died at Nairobi on March 3, 1942, at the age of 43. As he did not have a male heir, the Aosta dukedom passed to his younger brother, Prince Aimone, who was married to Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark. Their only son, Prince Amedeo, is the present Duke of Aosta.

I am enjoying sharing these photos, lovely gifts to me, with my readers.

Duke Franz of Hohenberg (1927-1977)


This photo was taken in 1955 before Prince Franz married Princess Elisabeth of Luxembourg, the second child and first daughter of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

 HSH Prince Franz Ferdinand of Hohenberg was born at Schloss Arstetten on September 13, 1927, the first of six sons of Maximilian, 1st Duke of Hohenberg and his wife, Countess Maria Elisabeth of Waldburg zu Wolfeff und Waldsee. Duke Max was the elder son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife, Countess Sophie von Chotek von Chotkow und Wognin. Franz married Princess Elisabeth in 1956. They had two daughters, Princess Anita (1958) and Princess Sophie (1960) In 1962, he succeeded his father as the 2nd Duke of Hohenberg. 

 Franz, the 2nd Duke of Hohenberg died on August 16, 1977, at Riedmark, Austria. He was only 49 years old. He was succeeded by his brother, Georg, as the 2nd Duke of Hohenberg. Duke Georg died in July 2019 at the age of 90. His eldest son, Nikolaus, is the 4th Duke of Hohenberg.

Princess Mafalda and her three sons


@Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection

I was recently given a lovely gift of several dozen royal photos from the 1930s to the 60s. I cannot say thank you enough for the gifter's kindness. 

 This photo was taken in the summer of 1937 at the Villa Savoia in Rome and shows Hereditary Princess Mafalda of Hesse (1902-1944), the wife of Hereditary Prince Philipp of Hesse (1896-1980), and their three sons: Prince Moritz (1926-2013), Prince Heinrich (1927-1999) and Prince Otto (1937-1998). Prince Philipp was the third, but the eldest surviving son of Friedrich Karl, Landgrave of Hesse (1868-1940), and Princess Margarete of Prussia (1872-1954). His two older brothers, Princes Friedrich Wilhelm and Maximilian were killed in action in the first world war. 

 Princess Mafalda was the second daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy and Princess Elena of Montenegro. 

Prince Philipp was arrested on September 8 on Adolf Hitler's orders.  He believed the arrest was "because of the suspicion of the cooperation of the Italian royal family with the overthrow of Mussolini."   The timing was not coincidental as Mafalda was in Sofia to attend the funeral of King Boris.  Her attendance at the funeral "attracted the suspicion of Nazi leaders-- and Hitler and Goebbels particular," according to Jonathan Petropolis, author of Royals and the Reich.

Three days later, Goebbels wrote in his diary: "The Führer intends to transmit to Prince Kyrill the findings of the German doctors on the poisoning of King Boris, which he believes was in all likelihood inspired by the Italian court.  For it is very suspicious that Princess Mafalda, the greatest bitch in the entire Italian royal house, was on a visit to Sofia before King Boris's death."

Propaganda at its very finest, unfortunately.  With Philipp incarcerated at Flossenburg, charged with homosexuality,  the Nazis turned to his wife.

Petropoulos noted that Mafalda was "surprised" by Italy's capitulation.  She decided to return to Rome, a difficult train journey from Sofia, traveling from there to Budapest, Vienna, Venice, and then to Rome.   The SS "tracked" her all the way to Rome.

She was "broken in body and spirit" by the time she arrived in Rome.  Mafalda sought refuge in the Vatican on September 21, where three of her children were already safe, thanks to Monsignor Giovanni Montini.   

Mafalda did not know that her husband had been taken into custody.  The day after her arrival in the Vatican,  the German Embassy sent her a message that Philipp had called and "wanted to speak with her urgently."   The princess had no reason to believe that this was a ruse as she and Philipp had used the secure embassy phone lines on previous occasions.

Of course, it was a fatal mistake for Mafalda to leave her sanctuary and go to the embassy  where  German officials told her: "Your husband called and said he will soon arrive at the airfield here in Rome and that he wanted to speak with you there."  But she had no reason to not trust the German officials.

Mafalda was driven to the airport.  She was escorted to a room by two SS guards.  Two women were waiting for her.   The Princess, who had left the Vatican without having breakfast, told the women she wanted to get something to eat.  She was told: "you may not leave the room."  

As she boarded the plane, she was told that Philipp would be waiting for her in Munich, but this was another lie.  She was flown to Berlin and taken to the Gestapo's offices, where she was held and interrogated in harsh conditions for two weeks.   

One can only imagine the emotional and physical pain that Mafalda endured during the final year of her life. She was told Philipp was dead.  She "cried incessantly during the first two weeks."  Officials allowed her to write letters to her family, but none were ever delivered.

Montini had no idea what happened, as well.  The three children in his care left his home in late September and spent several weeks at Villa Polissena in Rome before Philipp's brother,  Prince Christoph, arrived to get the children ready to travel.  He took the suitcases by air, and the three children, accompanied by a SS officer, traveled by train to Kronberg,  where their paternal grandmother,  Margarete, the Dowager Landgrave of Hesse,  was waiting to care for them.

Mafalda was taken to Buchenwald, where she was placed with other prominent prisoners, including former Austrian Chancellor Klaus von Schuschnigg.   It was not until the summer of 1944 when she learned that all four of her children were safe, but she was never permitted to contact them.

The Barracks stood near an ammunition facility, which had been bombed several times by the Americans.  On August 24, the factory was bombed again.  As with the previous attacks, the prisoners were not taken to a bomb shelter. One of the bombs hit the barracks.  Mafalda was gravely injured, as she was "up to her neck in debris."  Her left arm had been "burned to the bone," according to a witness.  

Mafalda and other wounded prisoners were taken to another building where they were treated.  Her arm was amputated by the doctor, but the surgery did not go well as the doctor was unable to stop the bleeding.  Another prisoner, who survived, was with Mafalda when she died, stating after the war, that "the princess was very collected and brave."

Princess Mafalda, Landgravine of Hesse died as the result of a loss of blood during the night of August 26 -27, 1944.

Her family did not learn about her death until after the war.  Philipp was being held by the Americans when they told him that Mafalda had died in Buchenwald.

Petropoulos was on point when he wrote: "There is little doubt that Hitler himself  issued the orders concerning Mafalda: the princess experienced the dictator's rage on a personal level."

 Prince Philipp succeeded his father as Landgrave in 1940.

If you liked this post, perhaps you can buy me a latte  

The wedding of Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse, and Princess Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg @Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection

Monday, August 24, 2020

Marie visits Constantine of Greece


both images  Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection

August 24,  1920

Queen Marie of Romania was in Lucerne, Switzerland yesterday where she met with former King Constantine of the Hellenes, according to the New York Times.  She then traveled to Zurich where her eldest daughter, Princess Elisabeth is staying.

Constantine told the Associated Press that he had nothing "official to say" concerning reports of a betrothal between his eldest son, George, and Princess Elisabeth of Romania, although he admitted that "events may happen."  

Constantine's second son, Alexander was named king on June 11, 1917, after his father, and other members of the royal were forced into exile.  Although the Allies had first offered the throne to Constantine's brother, Prince George -- he declined as he was not interested in a public role -- but then named Prince Alexander as King, bypassing Crown Prince George, as he was considered too German by the Allies.

Princess Elisabeth, 25, has been reported as "betrothed to a number of European princesses," but the "rumors" that she has wanted to marry the former Greek Crown Prince have remained persistent.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Fingers crossed ....

@ HRH Princess Olympia of Greece and Denmark 

 Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and Denmark is dating a very eligible young man, according to Hola.  The 25-year-old man is the Hon. Peregrine Pearson, the eldest son, and heir apparent to Michael Pearson, the 4th Viscount Cowdray.

The Princess is the eldest child and only daughter of TRH Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie Chantal of the Hellenes.   The family has been spending the summer at Spetses in Greece with other members of the Greek royal family, including King Constantine II and Queen Anne Marie.

Lord Cowdray, 74, is one of the wealthiest men in the United Kingdom. He owns the 16,500 acres Cowdray Estate in Midhurst, West Sussex.

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 In 2010, Lord Cowdray decided to Cowdray House up for sale as he did not want to leave the house to his then 15-year-old son, Perry.  He said in an interview: I have worried whether I will be leaving Perry a wonderful asset or a noose around his neck.  I hear it is likely to be the latter."   

The Hon Peregrine John Dickinson Pearson was born in London on October 27, 1994, the fourth child and elder son of Lord Cowdray and his second wife Marina Rose Cordle, 2nd daughter of John Cordle and his second wife, Venetia Caroline Maynard.  He has three older sisters, Eliza, Emily, and Catrina, and a younger brother, Montague Orlando William Pearson.

Lady Cowdray is "keenly interested in spiritual matters" and she practices Silent Meditation and Qigong.  She is also a sculptor and artist.

The late John Cordle was a Conservative Member of Parliament for Bournemouth East from 1959 until 1974.

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Viscount Cowdray, who was born in 1944, is the eldest son of Weetman Pearson, 3rd Viscount Cowdray, and his first wife, Lady Anne Bridgeman, daughter of Orlando Bridgeman, 5th Earl of Bradford.  Lord Cowdray's first cousin, Richard Bridgeman, 7th Earl of Bradford is married to Dr. Penelope Law, who is alleged to have delivered Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, the only child of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The Viscount's maternal great aunt, Lady Margaret Alice Bridgeman, married John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 7th Duke of Buccleuch, the mother of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. His maternal grandmother, Lady Ida Annabella Frances Lumley, daughter of the 9th Earl of Scarborough, served as Lady of the Bedchamber (1901-02)  to HRH The Princess of Wales.

Lord Cowdray's great-grandfather, Weetman Dickinson Pearson, was created Viscount Cowdray in 1917.

Lord Cowdray is also the father of Sebastian William Orlando Pearson (1970), the issue from his mistress Barbara Ray.  As Sebastian was born out of wedlock, he cannot inherit his father's title or estate which is entailed.

The family is based at a smaller home, Greenhill, in Fernhurst.  Lord Cowdray was unable to sell the house, as the sale had not included the Cowdray Park Polo Club.

Today, the estate has become a successful business, focusing on the Polo Club, a Farm Shop and Cafe, Holiday Cottages, a Walled Garden, and Therapy Rooms. Cowdray Hall is described as a "haven of tranquility" which "hosts inspirational workshops and events.   Cowdray House can be rented as an "exclusive-use-hire" for country house parties,. weddings, filming, corporate retreats, and other events.

Perry is very much involved in running his family's estate and businesses.  He is also Director of Weetman Developments, "established in 2019 to address the housing market’s growing requirement for rental property."

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Mail Call


Some of my more recent royal mail!

A separation for a future Duke

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 The Earl and Countess of Mornington have separated, according to an article in the Daily Mail.   They issued a statement to the press: "Jemma and Arthur confirm with sadness that they have decided to separate and they are doing so amicably."

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Lord Mornington, 42, is the eldest son of  Charles, the 9th Duke of Wellington and his wife, Princess Antonia of Prussia.   He married Jemima Kidd on June 4, 2005. at St. James's Church in Holetown, Barbados.  A makeup artist, Jemma is a great-granddaughter of Max Aitkin, 1st Baron Beaverbrook, founder of the Daily Express

They have three children: 10-year-old twins, Darcy, Viscount Wellesley, and Lady Mae and Hon. Alfred Wellesley, who celebrated his 5th birthday last December.

The couple has been "unhappy together for a very long time.  They decided to separate during lockdown -- a time during which they were barely speaking to each other."

Lord Mornington received his  MBA from Columbia Business School and an MA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Christ Church, Oxford.

He is a partner with Oakley Capital Investments, having joined the firm in 2017 and he has 15 years of private equity investing experience.

After his father succeeded to the dukedom on New Year's Eve in 2014, Lord Mornington made the decision to eschew the use of Marquess of Douro, the traditional courtesy for the heir apparent to the Wellington dukedom, and remain styled as the Earl of Mornington.    The present duke had been styled as Marquess of Douro from 1972, when his father succeeded to the dukedom, until 2014.

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The Duke and Duchess of Wellington are close friends of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Earl is a descendant of Queen Victoria.

Victoria - Victoria  - Wilhelm II -- Crown Prince Wilhelm -- Friedrich --Antonia -Arthur.   He also has Guinness ancestry through his mother, Princess Antonia, whose mother, Lady Brigid Guinness, was the second daughter of the 2nd Earl of Iveagh.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The wedding of Count Benedikt von Waldburg-Zeil and Countess Elisabeth von Rechberg.


@all photos Gabi Piesur 

Countess Maria Elisabeth Franziska Dorothee von Rechberg und Rothenlöwen and Count  Benedikt Vitus Franz Joseph Nikolaus Wunibald Maria von  Waldburg-Zeil were married today at  St. Martinus Church in Donzdorf, Germany. 

The bride wore a lace gown with a "breathtaking train embroidered with gold," according to Gabi Pisur, the photographer whose photos are featured here.

The adult bridal attendants were Caroline Lange-Piech, whose father Peter Gauweiler is a well-known German politician,  Thyra Mecklenburg-Solodkoff, (the daughter of Duchess Donata of Mecklenburg and Alexanser Solodkoff) , Countess Diane von Neipperg, Fabian Menker and Hubertus von Riedesel.

The groom's father, the recently ordained Count Vitus von Waldburg-Zeil did not officiate at the wedding.

The flower girls and page boys were  Countess Johanna, Count Stephan, Count Emanuel, and Countess Alexandra,(the children of Count Philipp and Countess Paula von Neipperg and Paula Wolff), and Paulina, Jacobus, and Nikolaus  Harmsen.

The guests included Hereditary Count Karl Eugen von Neipperg and his wife, Archduchess Andrea of Austria with two of their sons, Count Philipp and his wife Paula and Count Benedikt., Count and Countess Stephan von Neipperg,  and  Antonia and Carl von Pacher zu Theinberg.

Count Philipp and Countess Paula von Neipperg . The woman behind is Countess Marie Charlotte of Waldburg-Zeil

the Groom: Count Benedikt is the center of this photo  

Count Benedikt von Neipperg and his sister, Princess Katharina Lobkowicz

Thank you to Gabi Piesur for the use of her photos,  She is the copyright holder.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Joyce Brittain-Jones - a King's companion

August 1942 at a gala performance by Cochrane's Circus at Hampstead Heath.  This gala was organized by Princess Romanovsky-Pavlovsky (nee Lady Mary Lygon), who was one of Joyce's best friends.  The gala was in aid of Yugoslavia and was also attended by King Peter of Yugoslavia  (David Horbury Collection)

If you read through the few books in English about the Greek monarchy, and especially King George II, you will not find many references to Joyce Brittain-Jones. You might see a reference to a Miss Brown, as the American minister in Greece referred to King George II's companion. Lady Diana Cooper called her Mrs. Jones. The latter was more accurate.

Joyce Wallach was born in Allahabad, India, in 1902 although her early life was spent in England.  Before her marriage, she was presented at Court, where she was described as "one of the most beautiful women of the year."

Her father, William, was a barrister.  At Temple Church in London,.  Joyce married  Jack Brittain-Jones on January 19, 1924. The couple had one daughter, Pauleen Victoria.

In 1931, Brittain-Jones, who served with the 1st Battalion Black Watch in India, was named as comptroller to Lord  Willingdon, the Viceroy.    Joyce and their daughter did not join them until 1934.

It was in London in 1932 when Joyce Brittain-Jones met King George II of the Hellenes.  The king, then in exile, was estranged from his wife, Princess Elisabeth of Romania.  Their marriage was dissolved by divorce in 1935.

The king and his youngest sister, Princess Katherine, visited India in 1934/35.  It was during this visit that his relationship with Joyce became serious.  He was recalled to Greece in November 1935 and looked forward to the time when Joyce could join him.    She remained in India until March 1936, when she left her husband in India.  She filed for divorce, charging Jack with adultery.

[In December 1937, in London,  Jack Brittain-Jones married Rosemary Chance.]

The king, whose marriage to Elisabeta of Romania, would end that summer, realized he was in love with the British commoner. The Brittain-Jones marriage soon ended in divorce, and Joyce joined the king in Athens after his recall to the throne in November 1935.

Until World War II, Joyce lived at the royal family's summer palace on Mount Parnis, about 30 miles from Athens. There "she usually knitted or read," while the king entertained their guests. Joyce Brittain-Jones was very different from Elena Lupescu or Wallis Simpson. She provided the king "the quiet domesticity that was denied him in his loveless first marriage," according to a 1946 profile of Mrs. Brittain-Jones. that was published in the Washington Post. During their 12 years together, the couple were "not frequenters of the pleasure spots by the international glamour set."

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 Joyce Brittain-Jones was by the King's side when he was forced to flee to Crete, in 1941. She accompanied him to Egypt and London and was with George II when he traveled to the United States in 1943.

In exile in London during the second world war, King George II lived at the Claridge's Hotel but was a frequent guest at Mrs. Brittain-Jones' suburban home, where she lived with her daughter. During the war, Joyce worked at an armaments factory, although she and the king spent a lot of time together in British society, which welcomed her. 

The king's cousin, Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent, considered Joyce to be an "intimate friend."

After the war, the king and Joyce shared a home, where they "could lead the quiet, dignified life of an English gentleman and his wife." But the winds again changed in Athens, and elections in March 1946 brought about clear support for the king. In September, the King returned to Greece in triumph.

Several sources stated that the King would abdicate if Joyce was not permitted to join him in Greece.  A careful examination of Foreign Office papers by historian David Horbury provides no evidence of this nor did he find an alleged letter from Princess Katherine to the Foreign Office, stating that Joyce should be allowed to travel to Greece, and act as her lady-in-waiting.

Mrs. Brittain-Jones turned down the King's proposal of marriage because she felt that their marriage would have jeopardized his return to Greece.

The king was depressed and not well.  He was missing the woman he loved. He had hoped that Joyce would be in Greece by Christmas. In a letter to his sister, Queen Helen, the Queen Mother of Romania, on October 28, 1946, he wrote: "I'm hoping Tim [his sister, Princess Irene, Duchess of Aosta] might come for Xmas with Joyce."

Earlier in October, Joyce denied a rumor that she was going to marry the King. "There is absolutely no truth in the story, " she told reporters.  "I know the King.  He is a great friend of mine, and while he was in London, I extended to him the hospitality of my home.  I have known him for about 15 years."

She also hotly denied "the story that the King is thinking of making me Lady-in-waiting to his sister, Princess Catherine, so I can go to Athens with her, I deny absolutely."

She added that if she went to Greece after Christmas it would be a private visit with friends.   

"The King made many friends in England, and  I am deeply upset to have been singled out as a subject of these stories."

Joyce had to cancel her plans to be in Greece for Christmas as her father, William Wallach, was unwell.  He died in January 1947.   She was unwell, as well, in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.   

On April 1, 1947, King George II died in Athens and was succeeded by his younger, brother, Paul.

Two years later, on September 22, 1949, Joyce Brittain-Jones married Lt. Col. Edwin Boxshall, whose father served had served as a British Consul in Romania. The couple was married quietly at a registry office in London.

Joyce Boxshall died on July 7, 1974, at the St. George's Nursing Home, London, after "a long illness bravely borne." She was survived by her husband and her daughter, Pauleen Aiers, who worked for the British High Commission in Canberra.

Although George II had acquired a home at 45 Chester Street, London for Joyce, they never lived in the house as it needed repair and it was difficult to obtain materials in post-war London.  The King's housekeeper, Elizabeth McLindon lived in the house, where on June 8, 1946, she was murdered by her lover, Arthur Banks.   He was found guilty and sentenced to death.  His hanging took place at Pentonville on November 1, 1946.

After King George II's death,  King Paul gave the house to his sister, Princess Katherine.   It has been assumed that Joyce would inherit the house, but King George II died intestate.  King Paul was his next of kin, and so he chose to give the house to his sister, and not to Joyce. 

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Prince Maurice of Battenberg


It was at Balmoral Castle where Princess Beatrice, youngest of Queen Victoria’s nine children, gave birth to her fourth and last child, a son, on October 3, 1891.  In a letter to her granddaughter, Princess Louis of Battenberg (nee Princess Victoria of Hesse and By Rhine), a few days before the birth, Queen Victoria wrote that “Auntie” was doing well in the final days of her pregnancy, and has been “well & active doing everything, but since Sunday it may be any day & we hope this week.”

It was 6:45 a.m. when Beatrice “gave birth to a Prince,” and, according to the Court Circular’s announcement, “both are going on admirably.”

The Court Circular also noted that the new prince was “Her Majesty’s 34th grandchild and 12th grandson.”   

Queen Victoria and Prince Henry of Battenberg were present for the birth.

Daily bulletins regarding the condition of the Princess and her infant son were published in the Court Circular.  Two days after the birth, it was reported that “Her Royal Highness (Princess Henry of Battenberg) and the Infant Prince are making very satisfactory progress.”  The bulletin was signed by John Williams, MD, and James Reid, MD.

The Home Secretary was at Balmoral,  as it was the “custom for the birth of a member of the Royal Family;” and he “communicated officially” to the Lord Mayor of London that the Princess’s accouchement and the birth of a son.  A copy of the official letter was “at once posted on the wall of Mansion House.”

A 21-gun salute was fired by the Royal Artillery at St. James’s Park in honor of the birth of the infant Prince.

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 Princess Beatrice was married in 1885 to Prince Henry of Battenberg, one of four sons of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and his morganatic wife, Julie von Hauke.    In 1858, Alexander’s brother, Grand Duke Ludwig III of Hesse and By Rhine raised Julie and her children to the Princely title of Battenberg with the rank of Serene Highness. (Queen Victoria bestowed the HRH on Prince Henry on the occasion of his marriage to Princess Beatrice.)

The couple’s first child, Prince Alexander Albert, was born at Windsor Castle on November 3, 1886.  He was born with the rank of Serene Highness, but on December 13 of that year, Queen Victoria issued a Royal Warrant, granting Beatrice's children, the rank of His/Her Highness.  Eleven months after the birth of Alexander, Beatrice gave birth at Balmoral on October 24,  to a daughter, Victoria Eugenie Ena Julia.   A second son, Prince Leopold Arthur Louis was born at Windsor Castle, on May 21, 1889.   It was soon discovered that Prince Leopold was a hemophiliac, having inherited the gene from his mother.

The final medical bulletin was issued on October 11 from Balmoral.  “Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice (Princess Henry of Battenberg) is convalescent, and the infant Prince is quite well.  No further bulletins will be issues.”

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“Dear Auntie seems to get better & stronger each time tho’ I hope she will stop for many reasons – she is moving abt. now & has sat up since Saturday.  She never has had a single drawback.  The baby (who out to have been a girl) is a big fine strong Child & dark.” 

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The Queen did not express her reasons to her granddaughter, who was not only Beatrice’s niece but also her sister-in-law, as she was married to Prince Henry of Battenberg’s older brother, Prince Louis.

She may have been concerned about reports in the “gutter press” about the growing size of Beatrice’s family.

The baptism of Prince and Princess Henry’s son took place at Balmoral on November 1.  Queen Victoria invited “guests, together with the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Household in waiting and the principal servants and tenants on the Balmoral, Albergeldie and Birkhall estate” to attend the service, in the castle’s drawing-room.

The Queen entered the drawing-room at 1:00 p.m., accompanied by Prince and Princess Henry and their two eldest children, Prince Alexander Albert, nearly five, and four-year-old, Princess Victoria Eugenie, and Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.

They were followed by Princess Christian (Princess Helena) of Schleswig-Holstein, Queen Victoria’s third daughter, who represented one of the infant prince’s godmothers, Her Grand Ducal Highness the Princess of Leiningen.  The other godparents were the Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, the Dukes of Clarence & Avondale, Prince Franz Joseph of Battenberg, and the Duchess of Connaught, none of whom were present for the ceremony.  The Queen represented the Duchess of Connaught.

The service was led by the Very. Rev. James Cameron Lees, D.D., Dean of the Thistle and of the Chapel Royal of Scotland, and the Chaplain to the Queen.

The ceremony opened with the baptismal hymn “Lord Jesu Christ, our Lord most dear,” sung by the Aberdeen Madrigal choir.  During the singing of the hymn, the Acting Master of the Household, Major-General T. Dennehy, “conducted the infant Prince, who was carried by his nurse,” and attended by Princess Beatrice’s lady-in-waiting, Miss Minnie Cochrane, “to the places assigned to them.”

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Miss Cochrane carefully handed the baby to Queen Victoria, who held him at the baptismal font as the “Holy Sacrament of Baptism was administered.”   The baby was named Maurice (Prince Henry’s second name, in the honor of Julie von Hauke’s father, Moritz), Victor (for Queen Victoria), and Donald (in honor of Maurice’s birth in Scotland.)

After Maurice was received into the church, the choir sang another hymn, “O Father, Thou who has created all,” written by the English composer, Arthur Sullivan.

The newly baptized Prince Maurice was handed back to his nurse, and taken to the nursery, as the Queen and her guests went to the Drawing Room, where the luncheon was served.  The servants and tenants who attended the service were invited to have lunch in the ballroom.

Prince Maurice and his three older siblings grew up in a “privileged, protected world,” coddled by servants, nannies, and cousins.   Princess Beatrice was not particularly maternal, and most of her time was spent with her mother’s companion, while her four children were raised mainly by nannies.   Maurice was only four when his father, Prince Henry, died of fever while serving in the Ashanti campaign.   Beatrice’s biographer, Matthew Dennison, wrote that Beatrice submitted to Henry’s death “without complaint to the loss of all that had made her life happiest.”   

Princess Beatrice left the court for a month, to “grieve alone,” resisting Victoria’s view that Henry’s death was a “shared tragedy, our great sorrow.”    Following the funeral and burial at Whippingham, Beatrice and her four children left the Isle of Wight on February 13 for Cimiez in the South of France.  Her sister, Louise, and her mother joined her in March.   

Henry was the “joy of my life, whom I never cease to miss, however, many years have passed by, since he was taken from me,” Beatrice wrote in 1926.   

When Maurice and his siblings joined their grandmother for tea at Osborne, Victoria wrote in her journal: “little Maurice is a delightful child.”

On January 22, 1901, Beatrice was freed from her nearly lifelong duties as her mother’s companion and secretary, when her mother died, and her eldest brother, Edward succeeded to the throne.  Beatrice and her children were with her mother during Victoria’s final hours. Leopold “played his violin, offering soothing music,” but 9-year-old Maurice  “cried so loudly” that he was taken from the room.  Victoria’s death did not mean that Beatrice would be providing her own children with a “permanent loving presence.”  She did not have the parenting skills or the ability to deal with her children, especially the three eldest, all of whom were described as “lazy and unfocused.”

Only young Maurice, who resembled his father, was “too young to give trouble.  As a child, he grew close to his cousin, Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.   As she was 21 years older than her first cousin, Helena Victoria ‘Thora’ was more like a fun aunt, playing games with Maurice.   When her oldest brother, Prince Christian Victor, died of enteric fever in October 1900, while serving in South Africa, Maurice offered comfort, “promising one day” to serve in Christian Victor’s regiment, the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

One of Victoria’s devoted Maids of Honour, Marie Mallet (nee Adeane) saw little Maurice often.  In November 1896, she wrote in her diary: “I took Victor [her son] to the Royal Nursery where he had an excellent lunch with the two little Princes Maurice and Leopold who was most kind to him, giving him toys and other treasures.”

At age 12, Maurice was sent to Locker’s Park, a boarding school at Hemel Hempstead. He relished school life, was popular with classmates, and was called ‘Plumpy.’   While his mother and his older siblings spent six months in Egypt, he divided his holidays with his uncle, Prince Louis of Battenberg, and his family or with his cousin, Thora.  

The news that Prince Leopold had become ill in Egypt caused concern for Prince Maurice.  His cousin, Princess Irene, who was married to another first cousin, Prince Henry of Prussia, was visiting London, and Maurice was “Careful not to tell Irene a word about Leo.”  He was only 12 years old, but the young Maurice understood the seriousness of his brother’s illness.  He did not want to upset Irene with news of Leopold’s health as he knew her eldest son, Prince Waldemar, was also a hemophiliac.

He transferred to Wellington College in 1905, and four years later, he was sent to Sandhurst.

It was at school where Maurice began to experience life outside the royal cocoon, where the only playmates he had were his three siblings, several cousins, and children at court, including Victor Mallet. Before being sent to boarding school, Maurice and his older brothers were taught by governesses, “first in French, then German and finally English.”

In 1905, Princess Victoria Eugenie, known as Ena, was the chosen bride of  King Alfonso XIII of Spain.  He was determined to marry the radiant Ena, a Protestant princess, although his mother, Queen Maria Cristina wanted him to marry a Roman Catholic princess.  Alfonso was deeply in love with Ena, and remain persistent in his desire.  After eight months of holding out, Maria Cristina gave in.  She wrote to Princess Beatrice and asked for an “unofficial approach” to be made to King Edward VII.

This was done in January 1906, when Beatrice and her family were present at Windsor Castle for the official visit of King George I of the Hellenes.  Ena watched as her mother took the king into a small drawing-room, where Beatrice gave her brother the news of Alfonso’s proposal.  Ena, sensing what was about to happen, “went out to the terrace to hide her excitement.”  She was soon joined by her uncle who “patted her check,” and gave his approval to her marriage.

The engagement was officially announced several weeks later after Ena’s conversion to the Roman Catholic Church and traveling to Spain to meet Queen Maria Cristina.   

In early May, King Alfonso XIII came to England for an official visit, where Maurice and his brother, Leopold, got to know their future brother-in-law, as they accompanied him on several engagements.

On the evening of May 23, 1906, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra gave a farewell dinner in honor of Princess Victoria Eugenie.   Prince Maurice and his brothers were among the guests at the formal dinner.    The following day, Ena and her family left for Spain.  They were accompanied by King Edward VII to Victoria Station.  Thirteen-year-old Maurice witnessed the enthusiastic welcome that his sister received when she entered Madrid.  The cheering crowds gave no hint of what was to come on Alfonso and Ena’s wedding on May 31, when an assassin threw a bomb, disguised as a bouquet, at Alfonso and Ena’s carriage as they rode back to the palace.   More than 100 people were injured, and 24 were killed in the attack.  Neither the king nor his new bride sustained real injuries, although Ena’s veil was singed and her wedding gown was covered in bloodstains.

One can only imagine how Maurice reacted to the attack, perhaps thankful that his sister and her husband were all right, albeit shaken up by the event.  He and his brothers and Princess Beatrice were seated in the middle of St. Jeronimo Church, behind “the rows of princes attending the wedding as representatives of Europe’s crowned heads.”

Before returning to London, Prince Maurice and Prince Leopold traveled to Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg, to visit their widowed aunt, the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Duchess of Edinburgh), presumably to provide all the details about Ena’s wedding. 

Two years later, Alfonso and Ena returned to England, where they spent time at Osborne.  Princess Beatrice hosted a garden party for more than 200 guests in honor of the King and Queen.  Maurice was present for the family occasions and accompanied the king and queen on their engagements.

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Maurice emerged from his teenage years with a reputation for being “reckless,” having become “passionate about driving.”   He loved to drive fast, which lead to two speeding tickets in 1910 and 1914, respectively.  In October 1911, Prince Maurice crashed into another car, causing serious damage to both cars.   No one was hurt, including Prince Leopold, who was in the car with his brother.   

When he was summoned to the Felham Police Court on May 25, 1914, for driving a “motor car along Hampton Court Road, Hampton, on May 8,” at the rate of 34 miles per hour. It was noted in court at the time of being pulled over, Prince Maurice told the police officer: “You fellows are always out trapping on race days.”  

He was a first cousin of King George V, but that did not prevent Prince Maurice from being fined £3.00 for his speeding conviction.  His address was listed as Kensington Palace.

Although Prince Maurice was destined for a military career, there was a report in the New York Times in 1910 that Sir Thomas Lipton had taken the young Prince “into his employ.”  Sir Thomas was made aware of Prince Maurice’s “promising business capacity” by King Alfonso, when the king was a guest on Sir Thomas’ yacht, Erin.   However, the employment appears to have been brief, as there were no further reports of Maurice’s alleged business acumen. 

Unlike his older brothers, he was a “stronger character,” and was very protective of the hemophiliac Prince Leopold.   He did not forget his promise to his cousin, Princess Helena Victoria.   He joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and in March 1911, received the rank of second lieutenant.  This announcement was made in the London Gazette, after passing out from Sandhurst.  He was promoted to lieutenant in February 1914.

Maurice celebrated his 21st birthday on October 3, 1913.  He was a handsome young man, popular in London society, often attending balls and other social events.   He loved to fly, and in April 1914, “made a flight a Bournemouth with the late Gustave Hamel, in which he ‘twice looped the loop.’”

He was also a Freemason and served as the Master of the Twelve Brothers Lodge No 785 in Southampton, and was a member of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge, No. 3404 in London.

Great Britain’s entry into what would become the first world war changed everything.  There would be no more balls, no more opportunities to meet eligible young women.   A week after the war began,  Maurice left England for France with the 1st Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps on August 12.  

This was followed by a ten-day march toward Mons.   It was not a successful march and the British troops were forced into a dangerous retreat, as he wrote to his mother: “I shall always look back on that forced march as a nightmare.”

Maurice wrote to his mother that the “retreat was a nightmare.”  It would only get worse.  He wrote to King George that “no words can describe how unpleasant that retreat was. Nothing but march, march, and fight rearguard actions all the time.”

By September 5, the British and French troops managed to halt the German advance.  The news continued to be good: German troops were being pushed back.   It would not last.  Five days later, Maurice’s battalion, as the advance guard, met a German column in retreat.  After a two-and-a-half battle, the Germans surrendered.    Several of Maurice’s soldiers were killed.  He had a “lucky escape,” as a bullet went right through his cap.

The fighting increased.  On the 14th, Prince Maurice learned that his brother, Alexander, had been wounded in battle.    As September turned into October, the nights became older and longer in the trenches.  “The thing we all fear and hate is the German artillery.  It must be admitted that they are really good,” Maurice wrote to King George.

[It is unlikely that Prince Maurice was told of the death of Prince Maximilian of Hesse, the son of his son, Princess Margarete of Prussia, youngest sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Only a few miles from where Prince Maurice was based, Prince Max was killed on October 13.  He was an officer with the Prussian 1st Life Hussars.]  

As the battles continued, and the British and French armies made advancements, Maurice believed that he and his troops would be moving toward Belgium.  The 36-hour journey on cattle truck brought the Prince and his soldiers to Hazebrouck on October 17.   Prince Maurice went on ahead to arrange accommodations, but after expecting to receive orders to move to Lille, they were ordered to Ypres.   

As Prince Maurice’s King’s Royal Rifle Corps marched toward Ypres, they realized they were “heavily outnumbered” by German troops.

The march came to a halt.  Two days later, the Germans began a “concentrated bombardment and attack” on Ypres.  The 1st KRRC battalion remained in the background until October 26, when they were ordered to “attack in the area of Polygon Wood.”   The troops came under heavy fire, forcing the battalion to stop and move to Zonnebeke.   Several hours later, the battle resumed, and Prince Maurice led his men toward the Kleiburg Spur “when a shell burst near him.”

Prince Maurice of Battenberg died from his wounds on October 27, 1914, less than a month after being mentioned in the dispatches for “gallantry.”  He was 23 years old.   

Britain's National Archives has the war diaries for the 1st Battalion. On October 27, 1914, the war diary recorded:  "During the advance eastwards from the ridge the battalion came under terrific shell fire as well as rifle fire… Poor [Prince] Maurice was killed outright just on top of the ridge."

King George commanded that the Court “wear mourning for three weeks for Prince Maurice.”   After they were informed of Maurice’s death, George and Mary were driven to Kensington Palace to offer consolation to the grieving Princess Beatrice.   Lord Tennyson received a telegram from Princess Henry of Battenberg, Governor of the Isle of Wight.  

“I am telegraphing you as my deputy on the island to tell you that I have just heard of the death of my beloved son Maurice, who died of wounds received in action yesterday.  Beatrice.”

 Lord Tennyson responded to the telegram, assuring  Princess Beatrice of “the deepest sympathy of the whole island in her loss of a brave and noble son.”

Maurice’s first cousin, Prince Arthur of Connaught, was in St. Omer, France, as the aide-de-camp to Sir John French.  He was able to visit Ypres and see where Maurice was killed.  Lord Kitchener offered to make arrangements to bring Maurice’s body back to England for burial, but Princess Beatrice declined. She believed her son should lie with his fallen comrades.

Prince Maurice was buried at Ypres on October 30.  Prince Arthur, the only son of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, attended the funeral.  He wrote to his mother about the funeral.  It “was most impressive in its way, as there was a very heavy attack going and the parson’s voice was nearly drowned by the noise of the guns, and the German shells kept creeping nearer and nearer.”

Queen Victoria Eugenia, King Alfonso, and other members of the Spanish royal family attended a memorial service in the royal palace’s chapel on October 31.   Protestant churches throughout Spain also held memorial services in honor of Ena’s youngest brother.  Ena felt her brother’s death keenly.  She wrote to Queen Mary in 1915: “It is very hard to be away from my old home at such a time as this and especially so since Maurice’s death when I know Mama is so sad and needs me so much. I would give anything to be able to go to her but that I fear will not be possible for a long time to come.”

King George, Queen Mary, and Queen Alexandra were among the members of the British Royal Family to attend a private memorial service at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace on November 5.  Empress Eugenie of France also attended, along with the Prime Minister and two Field Marshals, Kitchener and Grenfell.   The Archbishop of Canterbury presided at the service and gave the benediction.

It is not known if Princess Beatrice ever visited her son’s grave, as there are no news reports nor is the topic mentioned by her biographers.   Less than a month after the Armistice, King George V, the Prince of Wales, and Prince Albert paid an official visit to Ypres on December 9, 1918.  They attended a short service at Lille, before traveling to Ypres, where the King visited two cemeteries.  At the second cemetery, he stopped at a “cross marking the last resting place of Prince Maurice of Battenberg.”

King George returned to Ypres on May 11, 1922.  The first grave he visited was Prince Maurice’s, represented by a “plain wooden cross, but is planted with beautiful flowers and bore a large wreath presented by the town of Ypres.”   A year later, in April 1923, the Prince of Wales, traveling incognito, visited the Belgian battlefields and graves, including the Communal Cemetery in Ypres, where he paid his respects at Prince Maurice’s grave.

On May 6, 1923, after an official visit to Belgium, King Alfonso and Queen Ena left Brussels by train to return to Spain.  The Royal train stopped at Ypres, where Queen Ena got out and was taken to her brother’s grave.  It was her first visit to Maurice’s final resting place.

There may be a sense of the absurd with the fact that Prince Maurice, the youngest of Queen Victoria's youngest grandchildren, died in a battle fighting the enemy, the armies of his first cousin, Queen Victoria's eldest grandchild, Kaiser Wilhelm II.

It is unlikely that Wilhelm would have understood or appreciated Maurice's epitaph: "Those who shared with Prince Maurice of Battenberg, the perils and glories, the happiness and the miseries of life at ‘the front", will retain memories of his pluck, his lovable nature, and his good comradeship.  For all, he had a cheery, kindly word, and all had a kindly word for him."      

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Friday, August 7, 2020

The very entertaining Miss G.S. Mallard

 I visited Green Springs Gardens, a Fairfax County Park, today.  The Gardens are about 4 miles from my house.  I took plenty of photos of flowers, an adorable bunny,  handsome cardinals, but the star attraction was Miss G.S. Mallard, cheerleader and gold medalist in the Duck Synchronized Swimming Championships.  Her ducklings are fledged and now on their own ... and this duck proves that girls just want to have fun.