Prince Henry of Battenberg

Prince Henry of Battenberg (Colonel Henry Maurice Battenberg, KG, PC) (5 October 185820 January 1896) was a descendant of the Grand Ducal House of Hesse, and later became a member of the British Royal Family through his marriage to Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria.

Early life

Henry was born on October 5, 1858 in Milan, Italy. His father was Prince Alexander of Hesse (1823–1888), the third son and fourth child of Grand Duke Ludwig II of Hesse and Wilhelmina of Baden. His mother was Julie Therese née Countess von Hauke (1825–1895), the daughter of a Polish politician.

His parent's marriage was a morganatic marriage, as Julia was not considered a proper wife for a Prince, being only a Countess. As such, at the time of his birth, Henry could not take his title from his father, and was styled His Illustrious Highness Count Henry (Heinrich) Maurice of Battenberg

On 21 December 1858, Henry's mother was created Princess of Battenberg with the style Her Serene Highness. Henry inherited this style and became His Serene Highness Prince Henry of Battenberg

Prince Henry received a military education and took up a commission as a lieutenant in the 1st Regiment of the Rhenish Hussars.


Styles of
Prince Henry of Battenberg
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

Because of their close relationship to the Grand Ducal House of Hesse, the Battenbergs came into close contact with various royal and princely families of Europe, including the British Royal House. His elder brother, Prince Louis of Battenberg, had married Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, his first cousin and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. In 1884, Prince Henry became engaged to The Princess Beatrice, the fifth daughter and the youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Queen Victoria agreed to the marriage on the condition that the couple should make their home with her.

Prince Henry and Princess Beatrice married on 23 July 1885 at St. Mildred's Church, Whippingham on the Isle of Wight. On the day of his wedding, the Queen granted Prince Henry the style Royal Highness. to give him equal rank with his wife. This style that was only in effect in the United Kingdom, not Hesse and by Rhine, where the prince was a still a Serene Highness. On the same day, a bill to naturalize Prince Henry a British subject passed the House of Lords. The couple adopted the style, Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg. The Queen created her new son-in-law a Knight of the Garter and made him a member of the Privy Council. He also became a colonel in the British Army, and afterwards Captain-general and governor of Carisbrooke Castle and the Isle of Wight.

Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg had four children. By Royal Warrant of 13 December 1886, the Queen granted their children the style Highness. This style was only in effect in the United Kingdom and not Hesse and by Rhine, where as Princes and Princess of Battenberg they were only entitled to the style Serene Highness:

Later life

In November 1895, Prince Henry persuaded Queen Victoria to allow him to go to West Africa to fight in the Ashanti War. He served as the military secretary to the commander-in-chief of British forces, General Sir Francis Scott. He contracted malaria when the expedition reached Prahsu, about 30 miles from Kumasi, and subsequently died aboard the cruiser HMS Blonde stationed off the coast of Sierra Leone. His funeral service took place on 5 February 1896, at the same St. Mildred's Church on the Isle of Wight where he had been married. Interment followed in what became known as the Battenberg Chapel. The remains of his wife, Princess Beatrice, were placed there in August 1945 and those of his eldest son, the Marquess of Carisbrooke, in July 1961.


  • His Illustrious Highness Count Henry of Battenberg
  • His Serene Highness Prince Henry of Battenberg
  • His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Battenberg

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