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GEORGE, 2nd MARQUESS OF MILFORD HAVEN
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George, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven (Prince George of Battenberg) ​

George, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven

(Prince George of Battenberg)

Captain Sir George 'Georgie' Louis Victor Henry Serge Mountbatten, GCVO, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, 2nd Earl of Medina & 2nd Viscount Alderney, formerly HSH Prince George of Battenberg was born on 6th December 1892 at Neues Palais, Darmstadt, within the Grand Duchy of Hesse, part of the German Empire, the third child and eldest son of Admiral of the Fleet The Rt Hon. Sir Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven, formerly Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854-1921) and Princess Victoria of Hesse & By the Rhine (1863-1950), who was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901). He was named 'George' after Prince George of Wales, later King George V (1865(1910-1936); 'Louis' after Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse & By the Rhine (1837-1892) who had died a few months before his birth; 'Victor' after Victoria, The Empress Frederick of Germany & Princess Royal (1840-1901); 'Henry' after Prince Henry of Battenberg (1858-1896) and 'Serge' after Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich of Russia (1857-1905).

George's birthplace - the 'Neues Palais', was built in 1865 in the heart of Darmstadt, for George's grandmother - Princess Alice (1843-1878), who married Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse & By the Rhine (1837-1892) in 1862, however she died of diphtheria there in 1878.  George's mother - Princess Victoria, spent much of her early years growing up there until the family moved out in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War.  The building would later become a headquarters of Nazi Germany's Geheime Staatspolizei (the 'Gestapo'), and was destroyed by a bombing raid in 1944, during World War II.

After a private education, George was enrolled as a cadet at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth where in the passing out examination he came forth in a class of fifty-six.  By January 1913, he was promoted to the rank of Sub-Lieutenant and to full Lieutenant on 15th February 1914.  George saw active service during World War I onboard HMS New Zealand, where he was joined by his younger brother - Mountbatten.  HMS New Zealand was part of the Grand Fleet and participated in the battles at Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and Jutland.  In June 1917, the Russian Government conferred various honours onto Royal Navy officers of the Grand Fleet following the Battle of Jutland - George, along with his cousin - Prince Albert, later King George VI (1895(1936-1952) were awarded the Order of St Vladimir, 4th Class with Swords.  In August 1917, both George and his cousin Prince Albert were also appointed Knight (Cavaliere) of the Military Order of Savoy by King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (1869-1947).

George in the uniform of a Midshipman
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ABOVE: Prince George in the uniform of a Midshipman in the Royal Navy

TOP RIGHT: 
The children of

Louis, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven

(Prince Louis of Battenberg)
& Princess Victoria of Hesse & By the Rhine

(left to right) Princess Alice

(Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark);

Princess Louise (Queen Louise of Sweden);

Prince George (2nd Marquess

of Milford Haven) & Mountbatten

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An engagement photograph of Prince George

& Countess Nadejda 'Nada' de Torby

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'.  At The King's request, George’s father 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.  As a result of his father’s new status, George also lost his own Princely title and as the eldest son of a Marquess, George became known by his father's subsidiary title - Earl of Medina.  The new Marquess of Milford Haven was proud of his German princely title, status and name and saw his 'demotion' to being a Peer of the Realm as a "break with one’s past" and was more worried about the effect it would have on his children. 

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View the Marquessate
of Milford Haven
Family Tree

click HERE

On 15th November 1916, George married privately at the Russian Orthodox Chapel of the Russian Embassy, 32 Welbeck Street, London - Countess Nadejda 'Nada' Mikhailovna de Torby (1896-1963), daughter of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia (1861-1929) - a grandson of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia (1796-1855), and his morganatic wife Countess Sophie of Merenberg (1868-1927), a granddaughter of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) who had been created Countess de Torby in 1891 by her uncle - Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg (1817-1905).  The service was performed by The Very Rev. Eugene Constantinovich Smernoff (d.1923), Archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church and Chaplain at the Russian Embassy, with special music composed by the Imperial Theological Musical Academy in Petrograd (St Petersburg), Russia.

The morganatic and illegal marriage of Nada's parents in San Remo, Italy on 26th February 1891 resulted in her father - Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia (1861-1929) being banished from the Russian Imperial Court.  Such was the scandal that the Grand Duke's own mother was so shocked at news of the marriage that she collapsed and subsequently died of a heart attack.   Grand Duke Michael and his subsequent family settled in England, but he also had a villa in Cannes, France where he became such a prominent member of Riviera society that he became known as "the uncrowned King of Cannes".  Nada’s family had lived in fairly reduced circumstances following the Russian Revolution but later moved into Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, London, which he leased in 1910 from Alan Murray, 6th Earl of Mansfield & Mansfield (1864-1935).

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Countess Nadejda

'Nada' de Torby

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Countess Nada's parents - 

Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovitch

of Russia and his wife

Countess Sophie of Merenberg,

Countess de Torby

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ABOVE: An official photograph of Prince George,

Countess Nada and her four bridesmaids

- (back row left to right) Prince George;

Princess Louise of Battenberg; Countess Zia de Torby;

Princess Nina of Russia; (seated left to right)

Countess Nada and Princess Xenia of Russia

RIGHT: Prince George & Countess Nada

following their wedding in November 1916

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The best man was Lt Cmdr The Hon. Vere Fane, Lord Burghersh (1893-1948), who later succeeded his father as 14th Earl of Westmorland in 1922.  Nada had only four bridesmaids - Princess Louise of Battenberg (1889-1965), sister of the groom who later became Queen of Sweden; Countess Anastasia 'Zia' de Torby (1892-1977), sister of the bride who as accorded by King George V (1865(1910-1936) the style and precedence of the daughter of an Earl in 1917 by Royal Warrant of George V, and she discontinued use of her comital title and used the style 'The Lady Zia Wernher' following her marriage to Major-General Sir Harold Wernher, Bt. (1893-1973); and Princess Nina Georgievna of Russia (1901-1974) and Princess Xenia Georgievna of Russia (1903-1965), nieces of the groom, themselves the daughters of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia (1861-1929) & Princess Maria of Greece & Denmark (1876-1940), an elder sister of Prince Andrew of Greece & Denmark (1882-1944), father of Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021).

Later
the same day as their Russian Orthodox marriage, an Anglican service was held at midday in The Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, London, conducted by The Rev. Canon Edgar Sheppard (1845-1921), Sub-Dean of the Chapels Royal, a Canon of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and a Domestic Chaplain to King George V (1865(1910-1936).  The service took place in the presence of King George V (1865(1910-1936), Queen Mary (1867-1952), members of the Royal Family and distinguished guests which included King Manuel II of Portugal (1889-1932), his wife Queen Augusta Victoria, later Countess
VON Douglas-Langenstein (1890-1966) and his mother Queen Dowager Amélie (1865-1951). Nada, who was once again 'given away' by her father, wore a gown of cloth of silver with a satin finish and a Russian head-dress of silver leaves, pearls and orange blossom, with a long tulle veil coming down over the train and carried a bouquet of white lilies.  The bridesmaids wore aquamarine blue gowns, edged with sable, with a high Russian head-dress in a deep shade of blue, and carried bouquets of bronze carnations.  The bridal procession passed up to the altar to "O Perfect Love" (set to the music of the Russian National Anthem).  Following the service at The Chapel Royal, the bridal party left through a Royal Navy guard of honour and drove to Grand Duke Michael's residence - Kenwood House.  After luncheon, the happy couple left to start their honeymoon in Scotland - having rented out Keavil House, Dunfermline, not far from the Royal Naval Dockyard at Rosyth, where George was stationed.     

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A contingent of Royal Navy ratings drew the bridal Napier motor car

(a wedding gift from the bride's father) from St James's Palace through the streets of London

following the wedding of Prince George & Countess Nada's wedding

at The Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, London in 1916

George and Nadejda had two children -

  • The Lady Tatiana Elizabeth Mountbatten, born 16th December 1917 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  She died in St Andrew's Hospital, Northampton on 15th May 1988, having been in various care homes and institutions for most of her life.

George & Nadejda with their two children -  Lady Tatiana (left) and David, Earl of Medina (right)

The Milford Haven family at
The Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, London

for the wedding of Lady Louise Mountbatten

to Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden

in November 1923.

(left to right) Lady Tatiana Mountbatten;

Nada, The Marchioness of Milford Haven; 

George, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven

& David, Earl of Medina

(later 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven)
 

On 11th September 1921, George's father - Louis, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven died in London and George succeeded to his father's titles, becoming the 2nd Marquess.  He remained in the Royal Navy after World War I and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 15th February 1922 and to Commander on 31st December 1926.  George was very popular in the Royal Navy and was liked by both his men and his senior officers, often being called "a born leader".  His wife - who was very good friends with his sister-in-law Edwina, like many former members of the Imperial Russian Royal Family in exile had lost her family fortune, so George decided to leave the Royal Navy to make some money - before he became too old.  On 9th December 1932, at his own request he retired from the Service.

In the New Years Honours List of 1932, George was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) - having been made a Knight Commander (KCVO) on 15th November 1916.

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The insignia of a Knight Grand Cross

of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)

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Tatiana was born on 16th December 1917 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  She was the first child and only daughter of George, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven (1892-1938) and Countess Nadejda 'Nada' Mikhailovna de Torby (1896-1963).  From birth she was styled The Lady Tatiana Mountbatten.  She was christened at Holy Trinity Church, Dunfermline, Scotland on 17th February 1918 by The Rev. Canon Leopold O. Critchley, the Rector of Holy Trinity Church, close to the family's rented home.  Her godparents were - King George V (1865(1910-1936), Queen Mary (1867-1953), Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia (1861-1929) and Victoria, The Marchioness of Milford Haven, formerly Princess Victoria of Hesse & By the Rhine (1863-1950).

In 1923, Tatiana and her younger brother David, Earl of Medina (later 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven) (1919-1970) were train bearers at the wedding of George's sister - Lady Louise Mountbatten (1889-1965), who married Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (1882-1973), who succeeded as King of Sweden in 1950.

 

In May 1937 (a few days before the Coronation of King George VI (1895(1936-1952), Tatiana was presented as a debutante at Court - the first Court of the new reign of King George VI.  The following year on her 21st birthday, Tatiana inherited £5,000 from her late father's estate.  In 1947 she attended the wedding of Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-    ) to her cousin Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021).  In 1965, in the will of Queen Louise of Sweden, she left provision that her brother (Mountbatten) would act as a trustee for a trust fund set up for Tatiana's future. 

 

Nada was unable to care for Tatiana as she got older, as her daughter suffered from severe learning difficulties and mental illness and she was hidden away in various hospitals and care homes (as was the custom in those days) throughout most of her life.  In these institutions, no-one knew that 'Tatti' was Mountbatten's niece and a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901).  

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Tatiana suffered from senile dementia and died in St Andrew's Hospital, Northampton on 15th May 1988, aged 71rs.  At the time of her death in 1988, she had an estate valued over £100,000.  She was buried at St Augustine of Canterbury Church, Birdbrook, Essex - close to Moyns Park, Steeple Bumpstead (the former home of George, 4th Marquess of Milord Haven).  Only six mourners attended the funeral. 

The Lady Tatiana Elizabeth

Mountbatten

(1917-1988)