Full Name: Beatrice Mary Victoria Feodore
Born: 14th April 1857
Married: Prince Henry of Battenberg
Died: 26th October 1944
Burial: St. Mildred’s Church, Whippingham
Princess Beatrice was the fifth daughter and ninth and final child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. As the youngest child, she was affectionately known as ‘Baby’ in the family and received most of her parents attention and affection. At the time of her birth, Princess Vicky, the eldest of Queen Victoria’s children had moved to Prussia after marrying the Crown Prince. She had been the favourite of Prince Albert, who now turned his attention to the youngest Princess whom he deemed as ‘very entertaining’. At only 4 years old her father died suddenly. The Queen’s extreme reaction to his death took the family, many politicians and much of the country by surprise. She withdrew from public life and spent most her time with the young Princess.
As Beatrice grew older she became her mother’s main confidant, helping her with everyday tasks as well as political correspondences. The Queen did appreciate this and evidence shows from her journals that Beatrice was very much her favourite. Because Beatrice was her main help and companion, she did not want the Princess to ever leave her and marry. Initially Beatrice was content with this, heaving stated that she was not interested in marrying, however many suitors came her way. Once of the most distinguished was Napoleon Eugene, the heir of Napoleon Bonaparte who had been residing in England since their family’s exile in 1870. The pair were acquainted, however an engagement never came owing to Napoleon’s death in the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879.
In 1884, at the wedding of her future brother-in-law, Beatrice met her future husband Prince Henry of Battenberg. She feel instantly in love and knew she would now marry. The Queen was not initially pleased about her youngest daughter marrying. She reacted so badly Beatrice thought she would never gain her consent. Queen Victoria did not speak to her daughter for several months and only communicated with her via notes. She eventually relented and allowed them to marry on the condition that they would live with her once they were wed. The pair were married at Saint Mildred’s Church near Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. She was accompanied down the aisle with her brother Bertie the Prince of Wales and the Queen and worn her mother’s own veil.
The couple fulfilled their agreement to the Queen and resided with her mainly at Windsor. The Queen became as dependent on Henry as she was on Beatrice, and when he escaped the confines of court life and went to Corsica with his brother, the Queen sent a warship to bring him back. Beatrice and Henry became parents to four children however their happiness together was cut short owing to Henry’s sudden death in 1896 of Malaria. Devastated, Beatrice spent even more of her time with her mother who had gone through a similar situation with Prince Albert’s death.
Queen Victoria died in January 1901 and Beatrice was at a loss. She had spent so much of her life with her mother and found her death isolating and lonely. Her main way of occupying herself was transcribing her mother’s journals which she had written for most of her life. (In 2012 the journals were made available online here: Queen Victoria’s Journals) Beatrice however did edit them before making them public. Beatrice’s final years were spent with her children and attending various royal events. She died in 1944 and therefore saw four generations of British monarch’s. She is buried alongside her husband in the church where she was married on the Isle of Wight.