Prince Henry of Battenberg
In a private Act of Parliament shortly after his marriage to Beatrice, Henry became a naturalised British subject. It would appear that this matter had been overlooked during the wedding preparations and so the House of Lords rushed through the legislation. Henry took the Oath of Allegiance in the House of Lords on 31st July 1885 and finally became British. On 22nd August 1885, Henry was appointed Honorary Colonel of the 5th (Isle of Wight 'Princess Beatrice's') Volunteer Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment, named in his wife's honour.
On 13th December 1886, Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) issued a Royal Warrant stating that any children of Henry and Beatrice would be granted the style of Highness within the United Kingdom but as a male-line descendant of The Princess of Battenberg (1825-1895), they would be styled Serene Highness within the German Empire.
Henry and Beatrice had 4 children -
Whitehall, December 13, 1886
The QUEEN has been pleased, under Her Majesty's Royal Sign Manual and the Great Seal to declare Her Royal will and pleasure that the sons and daughters born of the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince Henry Maurice of Battenberg with Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice Mary Victoria Feodore shall at all times hold and enjoy the style, title, and attribute of "Highness" prefixed to their respective Christian names or any titles of honour which may belong to them : and further to declare Her will and pleasure, that the Earl Marshal of England do see this declaration kept, and cause the same to be duly registered in Her Majesty's College of Arms, to the end that the officers of arms, and all others upon occasion, may take full notice and have knowledge thereof.
ABOVE: Prince Henry of Battenberg
LEFT: Henry & Princess Beatrice with Queen Victoria (left)
and their 3 children - Alexander, Victoria Eugénie & baby Leopold
Henry soon became a figure of fun at Court, Beatrice's sister - Princess Louise, The Duchess of Argyll (1848-1939) said - "he has nothing to do I suppose, but look at people's clothes, poor creature!" All that Henry had to do was accompany his wife at endless public engagements and attend on The Queen. In an effort to give him more of an 'useful' identity, The Queen appointed Henry to be Governor of the Isle of Wight, following the death of the previous holder - The Rt Hon. Sir Charles Shaw-Lefevre, 1st Viscount Eversley (1794-1888). Despite taking the role seriously, Henry was under no illusion of the insignificance of the office, he was to comment - "the duties and responsibilities of my office do not present much scope for activity." He was also appointed to the office of Governor of Carisbrooke Castle - where King Charles I (1600(1625-1649) had been imprisoned prior to his execution.