Who Was Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine?

Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine, the eldest daughter of Louis IV, the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine) and his first wife Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, was born on the 5th of April 1863 at Windsor Castle.

She was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) and god-child to the Prince of Wales, Prince Heinrich of Hesse and by Rhine, Louis III the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, and her Grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine
Photograph of Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine in 1878 by Alexander Bassano

Princess Victoria was a strong-minded, well-read, and quick-witted person. She was highly educated, being tutored privately as a child. Her learnings went beyond tutoring as she was an avid reader of broad subjects ranging from science to Socialist philosophy. Princess Victoria’s interest in science led her to participate in archaeological excavations on the island of Malta and Germany, as well as drawing a detailed map of Malta.

Her love for knowledge and meticulous record-keeping habit enabled her to teach her children personally. She was reputed by her son to be”.. free from prejudice about politics or colour and things of that kind.” Her broad knowledge coupled with her strong-willed personality aided her daring escapades such as flying in a zeppelin airship in 1906.

Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine
Daughters of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom: Princess Irene, Princess Victoria, Princess Elisabeth and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine.

Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine had five siblings; Prince Friedrich of Hesse and by Rhine, Ernest Louis the Grand Duke of Hesse, Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine, Alexandra Feodorovna, and Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine.

At 15 years old, she contracted diphtheria. Although she recovered from the illness, she lost her sister Marie and her mother (who nursed them). She began to take on responsibilities, one of which included raising her remaining 3 siblings (Prince Friedrich died as an infant) and providing companionship for her father.

In 1882, she met Prince Louis of Battenberg; her first cousin once removed, at Darmstadt and they got engaged the next summer. To the great displeasure of her father, she married Prince Louis on the 30th of April 1884 at Darmstadt.

Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine and her husband moved to Europe where they lived in a succession of houses in different parts of the country because of her husband’s post as an Officer in the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy. They lived in Chichester, Sussex, Walton-on-Thames, and Schloss Heiligenberg, Jugenheim.

Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine
Victoria (back row, second from right) at the marriage of her brother Ernest Louis (back row, right) to Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (seated, second from right), 1894. Nicholas II of Russia and his fiancé Alix are on the back row left, Irene and Elisabeth are seated front row left, and Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia (Elisabeth’s husband) is seated right.

In 1917, during the war between Germany and Britain that started in 1914, Princess Victoria and her husband followed the steps of King George V of the united kingdom to renounce their German titles. They changed their surname from Battenberg to the anglicized version, Mountbatten. However, it was only a matter of months for her husband to be re-ennobled by the King as Marquess of Milford Haven.

Princess Victoria suffered many tragedies in her life both during and after the war, losing her husband, siblings, son, nephew, granddaughter, and two of her great-grandchildren. Before her death, she was survived by her son; Louis, her daughter; Alice (Institutionalized for schizophrenia), and two grandsons.

In 1950, she fell ill with Bronchitis and moved back to her home at Kensington Palace where she died. She was buried at St. Mildred’s Church on the Isle of Wight.

Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine
Portrait of Princess Victoria in 1937 by Philip de László

Princess Victoria Of Hesse And By Rhine wrote an unpublished memoir that is held in the archive at the University of Southampton which is a great resource for royal historians today.