Battenberg family

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Parent houseHesse-Darmstadt branch
of the House of Hesse
Place of originGrand Duchy of Hesse
MembersPrincess Julia of Battenberg, Princess Marie of Battenberg, Prince Louis of Battenberg
Connected membersPrincess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, Princess Louise of Battenberg, Prince George of Battenberg
Connected familiesHouse of Windsor
Cadet branchesMountbatten family

The Battenberg family is a non-dynastic cadet branch of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, which ruled the Grand Duchy of Hesse until 1918. The first member was Julia Hauke, whose brother-in-law Grand Duke Louis III of Hesse created her Countess of Battenberg in 1851, with the style of Illustrious Highness (H.Ill.H.), at the time of her morganatic marriage to Grand Duke Louis's brother Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine. The name of the title refers to the town of Battenberg in Hesse. In 1858, the countess' title was elevated to Princess of Battenberg, with the style of Serene Highness (H.S.H.).

The Battenberg name was last used by Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg, youngest son of the Princess of Battenberg, who died childless in 1924. In 1917, most members of the family had been residing in the British Empire and had renounced their Hessian titles, due to rising anti-German sentiment among the British during the First World War. At that point, they changed the family name to Mountbatten, an anglicised version of Battenberg. However, Juan, Count of Barcelona, a son of Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, Queen of Spain, bore the surname of Borbón y Battenberg until his death in 1993.


Prince Alexander (1823–1888) was the third son of Grand Duke Louis II of Hesse and by Rhine and of Wilhelmina of Baden, yet it was openly rumoured that his biological father was actually Baron Augustus de Senarclens, his mother's chamberlain.[1] Prince Alexander's spouse, Julia von Hauke (1825–1895), was a mere countess, the orphaned daughter of Count von Hauke, a Polish nobleman of German ancestry who had served as a general in the Imperial Russian Army and then as Deputy Minister of War of Congress Poland.

Count von Hauke's rank was too low for his daughter's children with Prince Alexander to qualify for the succession to the throne of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. For this reason, her new brother-in-law Louis III of Hesse created the title of Countess of Battenberg (German: Gräfin von Battenberg) for her and for the couple's descendants.

In 1858, the title, which referred to the town of Battenberg in Hesse, was elevated to princely status. There was never a corresponding principality of Battenberg; the title was a non-sovereign one in the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. A previous family of counts of Battenberg had become extinct in the 14th century.[2]

After 1858, the children of this union bore the title of Prince (German: Prinz) or Princess (German: Prinzessin), with the style of Serene Highness (German: Durchlaucht).[3] Battenberg thus became the name of a morganatic cadet branch of the Grand Ducal family of Hesse, without the right of succession.[4]


Connections to royal families[edit]

One of the original couple's sons, Prince Alexander of Battenberg, was made Sovereign Prince of Bulgaria in 1879. However, he was forced to abdicate in 1886.

Another son, Prince Henry of Battenberg, married Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria. Their daughter, Victoria Eugenia Julia Ena, became queen consort of Spain. Her uncle Edward VII elevated her style to Royal Highness, so that she would have the necessary status to marry into the Spanish royal family.

Alexander and Julia's eldest son, Prince Louis of Battenberg, became the First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy. Due to anti-German feelings prevalent in Britain during the First World War, he anglicised his name to Mountbatten, as did his children and nephews, the sons of Prince Henry and Princess Beatrice.

One of the couple's four sons and one of their grandsons renounced their Hessian titles and were granted peerages by their cousin, George V – Prince Louis became the first Marquess of Milford Haven, while Prince Alexander, Prince Henry's eldest son, was created Marquess of Carisbrooke.

Prince Louis's second daughter, Princess Louise of Battenberg, married the future Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden in 1923 and became Queen Consort of Sweden in 1950. His younger son, Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, became the last Viceroy of India. Prince Louis's elder daughter, Princess Alice of Battenberg, married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark; their son, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (later styled as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh), married the heir presumptive to the British throne, later Elizabeth II, after having renounced his Greek titles and taken his maternal grandfather's and uncle's surname of Mountbatten. The name Battenberg, in its anglicised form, is now a part of the personal surname (Mountbatten-Windsor) of some members of the British royal family.

In 1897, Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg married Princess Anna of Montenegro,[5] a sister of Queen Elena of Italy and a maternal aunt of Alexander I of Yugoslavia.

Coats of arms[edit]

In addition to the arms shown above:

Family tree[edit]

Genealogical Table of the Battenberg, Mountbatten and Mountbatten-Windsor Family

House of Hesse-DarmstadtBritish Royal FamilyHouse of Romanov
Greek Royal FamilySwedish Royal FamilySpanish Royal Family

Louis II
Grand Duke of Hesse and by the Rhine

Albert, Prince Consort

Prince Charles of Hesse and by the Rhine

Louis III
Grand Duke of Hesse and by the Rhine
Prince Alexander of Hesse and by the Rhine
Julia v. Hauke
Countess, later Princess of Battenberg

Empress Maria Alexandrovna

Alexander II
Emperor of
All Russia


Edward VII
Grand Duchess of Hesse and by the Rhine

Louis IV
Grand Duke of Hesse and by the Rhine
Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom

Prince Henry of Battenberg

Prince Alexander of Battenberg
Prince of Bulgaria
Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg

Alexander III
Emperor of All Russia

George I
King of Greece

George V

Ernest Louis
Grand Duke of Hesse and by the Rhine
Empress of Russia

Nicholas II
Emperor of All Russia

Prince Louis of Battenberg[b]

from 1917 Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven


from 1917 Alexander Mountbatten, Marquess of Carisbrooke
from 1917 Lord Leopold Mountbatten
Prince Maurice of Battenberg
Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg

Queen of Spain,1906 –1931

Alfonso XIII
King of Spain

Constantine I
King of Greece
1913-17 &

George VI
Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse
Louis, Prince of Hesse and by Rhine
Princess Alice of Battenberg
Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
Louise Mountbatten
Queen of Sweden

Gustaf VI Adolf
King of Sweden


2nd Marquess of Milford Haven

Lord Louis Mountbatten[c]

1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Infante Juan
Count of Barcelona

King of Greece

Elizabeth II

Duke of Edinburgh
Gustaf Adolf
Duke of


David Mountbatten
3rd Marquess of Milford Haven
Lady Pamela Hicks

Patricia Knatchbull
2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma
m. John Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne

Juan Carlos I
King of Spain
Queen of Spain

Constantine II
King of Greece

Charles III

Anne, Princess Royal

Prince Andrew, Duke of York

Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh

Carl XVI Gustaf
King of Sweden

George Mountbatten
4th Marquess of Milford Haven
Lord Ivar Mountbatten

Norton Knatchbull
3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma
6 others
Felipe VI
King of Spain
Crown Prince


  1. ^ This coat of arms is reported in the "Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe", by Jiri Louda and Michael Maclagan, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. Publishers, New York, 1981, p216, table 109. While these arms are virtually the same as the city of Mainz, it is a common heraldic law that identical arms are allowed when the bearers are of different nations, but within a nation they are not (see for England, Warbelton v Gorges and Scrope v Grosvenor). However, Wikipedia reports a different set of arms for the family at the article on Hauke-Bosak (. However, these arms are for the family in Russia, and the reference given is an expired page in the Polish Wikipedia. There is no reference for the family seen in the Rietstap Armorial General.
  2. ^ Admiral of the Fleet, RN
    First Sea Lord, RN (1912–1914)
  3. ^ Admiral of the Fleet, RN
    Chief of Combined Operations, Chiefs of Staff Committee (UK) and Combined Chiefs of Staff (US & UK) (1941–1943)
    Supreme Allied Commander,  South East Asia Command(1943–1946)
    Viceroy and Governor-General of India(1947)
    Governor-General of India(1947–1948)
    Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, RN (1952–1954)
    Fourth Sea Lord, RN (1950–1952)
    First Sea Lord, RN (1955–1959)
    Chief of the Defence Staff (1959–1965)
  4. ^ Prince Philip was born a member of the Danish and Greek Royal House of Glucksborg and was known as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.
    On his marriage he became a naturalized British subject, disclaimed his Greek and Danish titles, and adopted his mother's maiden name of Mountbatten as his surname. As documented in the Mountbatten family and Mountbatten-Windsor articles, the dynastic name of the British Royal Family remains Windsor. However, the personal surname of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's male-line descendants who do not carry royal titles is Mountbatten-Windsor (e.g. James Mountbatten-Windsor, Earl of Wessex and Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor).
    Philip was created Duke of Edinburgh on his marriage. In 1957, Queen Elizabeth created him a British Prince.


  1. ^ Hugo Vickers, Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece (2000), p. 8
  2. ^ Norman Davies, Europe: A History (1997), p. 809
  3. ^ Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, Burke's Royal Families of the World, Vol. 1 (1977), p. 213
  4. ^ Hugo Young, Political Lives (2001), p. 531
  5. ^ The Annual Register (1898), p. 27

External links[edit]

Battenberg family
House of Battenberg
Cadet branch of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt
Preceded by Ruling House of Bulgaria
Succeeded by