Lord Leopold Mountbatten
Lord Leopold Mountbatten
Lord Leopold Arthur Louis Mounbatten, GCVO, formerly HH Prince Leopold of Battenberg was born at 2.05am on 21st May 1889 at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, the second son (and third child) of Prince Henry of Battenberg (1858-1896) and The Princess Beatrice (1857-1944). He was named Leopold after his late uncle - Prince Leopold, 1st Duke of Albany (1853-1884) but in a cruel twist of irony, Leopold also inherited the genetic disorder of haemophilia like his uncle, which would ultimately shorten both of their lives. He was described by his grandmother - Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) as a “particularly pretty child”.
Leopold was christened in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on 28th June 1889 and among his godparents was his uncle - Admiral of the Fleet The Rt Hon. Sir Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven, formerly Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854-1921) - the father of Mountbatten (the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma).
Under the terms of the Royal Warrant issued by his grandmother - Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) on 13th December 1886, he was granted the style of Highness within the United Kingdom but as a male-line descendant of The Princess of Battenberg (1825-1895), Leopold was styled Serene Highness within the German Empire.
Despite his haemophilia (which would have disqualified him from serving in the Army) in 1909, Leopold joined the 8th (Isle of Wight Rifles, Princess Beatrice's) Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment, known informally as the 'Isle of Wight Rifles' or 'The Isle of Wight Gurkhas', a Territorial Army regiment of which his father - Prince Henry, who was Governor of Carisbrooke Castle and Captain-General & Governor of the Isle of Wight was an Honorary Colonel. In October 1911, he joined as a Second Lieutenant the 60th King’s Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC). When World War I was declared in 1914, it meant his regiment would go on active service, and although Leopold was promoted to Lieutenant, his duties were restricted to a non-combat staff appointment.
Leopold as a child, dressed in a soldier's uniform
In 1911 he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in the Coronation Honours List of King George V (1865(1910-1936) and in the New Year Honours List in 1915 he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross (GCVO) of the Order. On 17th July 1917, King George V (1865(1910-1936) issued a Royal Proclamation in response to anti-German attacks against the dynastic German Royal Family of Britain where he 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, Leopold's family relinquished their Princely status and decided to adopt the surname of Mountbatten - a literal Anglicized translation of Battenberg. As a result, Leopold became styled Lord Leopold Mountbatten.
A stained glass window depicting Leopold's arms
at Magdalene College, Cambridge
Following World War I, Leopold returned to live with his mother (Princess Beatrice) at Kensington Palace London. On 22nd April 1922, Leopold underwent hip surgery at Kensington Palace and although he appeared to be making a normal recovery, he had a relapse and died on 23rd April 1922 - he was 32yrs old.
On 1st May 1922, Leopold’s funeral service was held. His coffin was conveyed to Windsor via train, and his cousin - King George V (1865(1910-1936) led the procession to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Leopold’s mother had now seen the death of her husband and two of her sons. Leopold was subsequently buried in the private Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore on the Windsor Castle estate on 23rd October 1928.