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In Honour Bound


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 Louis, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven  

The Battenberg family were one of the many 'victims' of the Royal Proclamation of 17th July 1917, when King George V (1865(1910-1936) – in response to anti-German attacks against the dynastic German Royal Family of Britain, declared that members of the Royal Family and extended family would cease to use their inherited German styles and titles and that his family name would be Windsor instead of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha. 


LEFT: A portrait of Mountbatten's father -

Louis, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven

(Prince Louis of Battenberg) by Philip de László 

At The King's request, Louis relinquished his Princely status and decided (after much debate) to adopt the surname of Mountbatten - a literal Anglicized translation of Battenberg, and was created a Peer of the Realm taking the title Marquess of Milford Haven, Earl of Medina & Viscount Alderney within the Peerage of the United Kingdom.  


During his transition from German Prince to a Peer of the Realm, Mountbatten’s father was staying with his eldest son George, who took the courtesy title of Earl of Medina and who would later succeed their father as 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, famously wrote in the guest-book during his change in status - “arrived Prince Hyde. Departed Lord Jekyll.”   Louis duly took his seat in the House of Lords, with his sponsors being - The Rt Hon. Sir Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (1858-1945) a distinguished Liberal statesman and The Rt Hon. Sir Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne (1845-1927), a former Conservative minister who had been Viceroy of India and Governor-General of Canada.

Following his resignation, Louis occupied his time in writing a comprehensive encyclopaedia on Naval medals, published in three large volumes which became the standard reference work on the subject.  At the end of the War, Louis was hurt at not being invited to witness the formal surrender of the German High Fleet, but the final insult was to come.  Upon his resignation, Louis had been assured that he would be able to return to the Royal Nayy after the War.  However on 9th December 1918, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Rosslyn Wemyss, later 1st Lord Wester Wemyss (1864-1933), the First Sea Lord wrote to Louis would not be employed again and suggested that he might retire in order to facilitate the promotion of younger officers. He immediately replied to the Admiralty to accept and asked to officially be placed on the Retired List.  He also wrote to The King -"in response to a letter from Admiral Wemyss I have just sent in my papers.  As he did not appear to be aware of the reasons why I am still on the active list I informed him in reply that I had the promise of H.M. Government, when I resigned office, that I should hoist my flag directly the war was over."  His youngest son - Mountbatten, wrote to his mother - "I see they have accepted Papa's resignation... it would do you good to hear the remarks in the mess about it.  They're all furious as they hoped he'd get some big job now!  I do think it is disgraceful myself."  On 1st January 1919, Louis officially retired a few months before the mandatory retirement age of 65yrs.

The financial affairs of the former Prince & Princess Louis of Battenberg, now styled The Marquess & Marchioness of Milford Haven became a matter of concern. Following the Russian Bolshevik revolution, Louis lost all of his considerable investments and with the collapse of the German Mark after the War, Louis' properties in Germany were practically worthless. As a result, Louis was forced to give up Kent House and settled into a house within the grounds of Netley Castle, near Southampton, Hampshire - the home of the family of the husband of Mrs Nona Kerr Crichton (1875-1960), the Lady-in-Waiting to Victoria, The Marchioness of Milford Haven.  In 1920 he sold Heiligenberg Castle, his family home in Hesse.

In the 1921 New Years Honours List, Louis was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath - Military Division (GCB) in recognition of long service in the Royal Navy - he had already received a GCB - Civil Division in 1887.  On 19th August 1921, King George V (1865(1910-1936) appointed Louis to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet, the highest rank (5* rank) in the Royal Navy.  In this appointment, The King referred to how Louis had "bowed to his fate without murmur or complaint and with that dignity worthy of his generous nature."   


The arms of Louis, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven

(Prince Louis of Battenberg)


The insignia of a Knight Grand Cross

of the Honourable Order of the Bath (GCB) - 

Military Division


The insignia of an

Admiral of the Fleet