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 Louis, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven  

On 30th April 1884, Louis married in Darmstadt his first cousin, once removed - Princess Victoria of Hesse & By the Rhine (1863-1950), in the presence of her grandmother - Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) and most of the Royal Families of Europe. Princess Victoria wore her mother's wedding dress with Honiton lace, patterned with roses, orange blossom and myrtle over the white satin, with a short 6ft train.  Her veil was surmounted by a sapphire and diamond diadem and a wreath of orange flowers and myrtle, which The Queen had given her favourite granddaughter.  Firstly a civil ceremony was held, conducted by the Prime Minister, then the wedding party moved onto the castle chapel. The bride entered the chapel between her father and Louis' father.  Louis wore his dress uniform of a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and wore the insignia of a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) and the Order of Louis of Hesse.

 

 

Princess Victoria of Hesse & By the Rhine (left) 

& Prince Louis of Battenberg at the time of their wedding

Prince & Princess Louis of Battenberg (as they were now styled) took a lease on 'Sennicotts', a small country estate on the outskirts of Chichester, Sussex - not far from Portsmouth, which was their first home together. During her first pregnancy, Princess Victoria spent her time travelling around the area, whilst her husband was on duty in Portsmouth.  However The Queen was determined that their child should be born in the same place (literally the same bed) as Princess Victoria had been born in 1863, so in February 1885, Prince & Princess Louis left 'Sennicotts' for Windsor Castle.  After World War II, the estate was bought by Captain Geoffrey Bowes Lyon (1886-1951), a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900-2002), the mother of Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-    ).

 

ABOVE

& LEFT:

Mountbatten's mother -

Princess Victoria

of Hesse

& By the Rhine

(Princess Louis

of Battenberg)

in her wedding dress

 

Prince & Princess Louis of Battenberg had 4 children - 

  • Princess Louise of Battenberg, later The Queen of Sweden (1889-1965)

  • Prince Louis of Battenberg, later 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979)

 

Prince & Princess Louis of Battenberg and their 4 children -

baby Louis (Mountbatten) sitting on his mother's lap,

Alice (later Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark),

George (later 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven & Louise

(later Queen Louise of Sweden)

On 30th August 1885, Louis was promoted to the rank of Commander, but spent the next two years years at various shore based establishments.  In 1887, he was appointed the Executive Officer of HMS Dreadnought, a ship of the Mediterranean Fleet and during this time the Royal Navy was being encouraged to modernise by younger officers such as Louis, who wanted to abandon sails for iron-clad fighting machines and steer away from old Nelsonian tactics.  However such 'modern' thinking was met with strong opposition and Louis and his fellow contemporaries were ignored and some passed over for promotion.

On 30th August 1885, Louis was promoted to the rank of Commander, but spent the next two years years at various shore based establishments.  In 1887, he was appointed the Executive Officer of HMS Dreadnought, a ship of the Mediterranean Fleet and during this time the Royal Navy was being encouraged to modernise by younger officers such as Louis, who wanted to abandon sails for iron-clad fighting machines and steer away from old Nelsonian tactics.  However such 'modern' thinking was met with strong opposition and Louis and his fellow contemporaries were ignored and some passed over for promotion.  In 1889, Louis finally received his first command - HMS Scout, a torpedo cruiser.  Towards the end of his tour of duty it became clear that Admiral Sir Anthony Hoskins (1828-1901), the newly appointed Second Sea Lord was seeking a Chief of Staff, and on 31st December 1891 Louis was promoted to Captain and subsequently appointed to be the Admiral's Chief of Staff, moving into offices at the Admiralty in Whitehall. He subsequently was additionally appointed Naval Advisor to the War Office and Chief Secretary to the Joint Naval & Military Committee of Defence to try and encourage co-operation between the Royal Navy and the Army.  He swiftly gained a reputation for being an efficient administrator and gained praise for his work in these roles.  

In 1894, Louis took command of HMS Cambrian, a ten gun twin-crew ship which was known in the Fleet as 'Prince Louis' Yacht', which was posted to protect Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) whist she was on holiday at Nice. During this time, he spent a great deal of time in the company of The Queen and members of the Royal Family.  Louis was offered the command of the Victoria & Albert, the Royal Yacht by The Queen so that she could selfishly see Louis and his wife more often in England, but he declined as he realised that would be the end of his career.  

 

Louis was given command of HMS Majestic in June 1897, the flagship of the Channel Squadron.  However he was not able to take up his appointment immediately due to the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of The Queen. Louis was appointed a Naval Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to The Queen, resulting in his close attendance upon his Sovereign and walked beside the aged Queen's carriage in the pageantry procession to St Paul's Cathedral, London for the Service of Thanksgiving. 

 

In 1899, he was made Assistant Director of Naval Intelligence and set to reform the Royal Navy's system of promotions, in an effort to get younger officers in the rank of Captain and Admiral.  At this time Prince & Princess Louis of Battenberg were living at Frogmore House, on the Windsor Castle estate - close to The Queen in the final years of her long reign.

 

Prince Louis of Battenberg - as a Captain in the Royal Navy