Prince Maurice

Prince Maurice


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Prince Maurice, the son of Frederick, the King of Bohemia, was born in 1620. The younger brother of Prince Rupert, and the grandson of James I, he fought for the Dutch army during the Thirty Years War.

On the outbreak of the Civil War Maurice joined the Cavaliers and in 1644 was commissioned as Lieutenant-General of the counties south of the Thames. Later he was appointed as commander of the troops in South Wales. Maurice, who was wounded several times during the war, was not considered as good a commander as his brother, Prince Rupert.

After the defeat of the Royalist he went into exile and in 1652 was lost in a storm off the Anagadas while sailing to the West Indies.


Prince Maurice was born on 3 October 1891. He was given the name Maurice after his father Prince Henry of Battenberg and the great-grandfather, Count Mauritz von Hauke, Victor after his grandmother the Queen, and Donald in honour of Scotland, as he was born at Balmoral Castle. His father was Prince Henry of Battenberg, the son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and Julie Therese née Countess of Hauke. His mother was Princess Henry of Battenberg (née The Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom), the fifth daughter and the youngest child of Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort.

As he was the child of a morganatic marriage, Prince Henry of Battenberg took his style of Prince of Battenberg from his mother, Countess Julia Hauke, who was created Princess of Battenberg in her own right. As such, Maurice was styled as His Serene Highness Prince Maurice of Battenberg from birth. In the United Kingdom, he was styled His Highness Prince Maurice of Battenberg under a Royal Warrant passed by Queen Victoria in 1886. [1] He was baptised in the Drawing Room at Balmoral on 31 October 1891. His godparents were the Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn (represented by Queen Victoria), the Princess of Leiningen (represented by Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein), the Duke of Clarence and Avondale (represented by Sir Henry Ponsonby), Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg (represented by Sir Fleetwood Edwards) and the Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse. [2]

The youngest of his four siblings, Maurice most resembled his father, who died when the Prince was only four, the same age his mother was when her own father died. He was his mother's favourite out of his brothers. He was educated at Lockers Park Prep School in Hertfordshire. [3]

His elder sister Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg married Alfonso XIII of Spain and was Queen Consort of Spain between 1906 and 1931.

Maurice attended Wellington College and was a member of Benson House. Prince Maurice was made a Freemason in the Old Wellingtonian Lodge No. 3404 (the Lodge of the Old Wellingtonians) on 21 June 1912 and was installed Master of the Twelve Brothers Lodge, No. 785 Southampton on 22 April 1914. [4]

The Prince served in World War I as a Lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, and was killed in action at Zonnebeke, [5] in the Ypres Salient on 27 October 1914. [6]

The 1st Battalion war diary states, "During the advance eastwards from the ridge the battalion came under terrific shell fire as well as rifle fire… Poor [Prince] Maurice was killed outright just on top of the ridge." [5]

Word of the prince's death was passed to Brigadier-General Fanshawe, commander of the 6th Infantry Brigade. He in turn passed the news to 2nd Division Commander Major-General CC Munro. Munro spoke with the Brigadier at 23.30 before informing 1st Army Corp Commander Lieutenant-General Douglas Haig. Haig was sent the message that the prince "was killed by a shell whilst gallantly leading his company forward to attack across a ridge, east of Zonnebeke". Haig shared the news with GHQ at 7.00 the next morning. He said, "By the death of H.H. Prince Maurice of Battenberg the Army loses a most gallant and valuable officer. In peace and war he has done his duty to King and Country". The final word was sent to the War Office by Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force, "with deep regret". [5]

His mother, Princess Beatrice, declined the offer of Lord Kitchener to have her son's body repatriated. [5] He is buried in Ypres Town Cemetery. [6] The battalion war diary notes that his funeral took place on 31 October 1914 and records that, "Denison, Gough, the Sgt Major, Sgt O'Leary and a few others went down to poor Maurice's funeral in Ypres". [5] His mother strove for some years to commission a personal memorial for his grave, but her efforts were thwarted by the official policy of marking all burials in a uniform manner, and he is therefore commemorated by a standard Imperial War Graves Commission headstone. [7] It bears the inscription: GRANT HIM WITH ALL THY FAITHFUL SERVANTS A PLACE OF REFRESHMENT AND PEACE. [6]

A memorial tablet to him and his brother Leopold is in Winchester Cathedral. [8]


Maurice of the Palatinate

Maurice, Prince Palatine of the Rhine KG (16 January 1621 ns, in Küstrin Castle, Brandenburg – September 1652, near the Virgin Islands), was the fourth son of Frederick V, Elector Palatine and Princess Elizabeth, only daughter of King James VI and I and Anne of Denmark.

He accompanied his elder brother, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, to take the part of their uncle Charles I in the English Civil War in 1642. He served under Rupert with the cavalry at the Battle of Powick Bridge, where he was wounded, and the Battle of Edgehill. He commanded the army in Gloucestershire which engaged Sir William Waller in several battles in 1643, including the victory of Ripple Field (13 April), culminating in the Royalist victory at the Battle of Roundway Down (13 July). He took command of the army in Cornwall and campaigned in the southwest for the remainder of the year.

In April 1644, he besieged Lyme Regis, but was forced to give up the siege in June, at considerable cost to his military reputation. He fought as a subordinate at the Battle of Lostwithiel and the Second Battle of Newbury, and under Rupert at the Battle of Naseby.

He attempted to defend Rupert's surrender of Bristol in 1645 to Charles. While unsuccessful, he did not share in Rupert's disgrace. Banished with Rupert in October 1646, he served with the French army in Flanders, but rejoined Rupert in 1648 as vice-admiral of his fleet. He was created a Knight of the Garter in exile in 1649. In 1652, while sailing for the West Indies, specifically near the Virgin Islands, he was caught in a hurricane and went down with his flagship, HMS Defiance.

He is a minor character in Lawrence Norfolk's historical novel John Saturnall's Feast, published on 13 September 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing.


Prince Maurice of Battenberg

It was at Balmoral Castle where Princess Beatrice, youngest of Queen Victoria’s nine children, gave birth to her fourth and last children, a son, on October 3, 1891. In a letter to her granddaughter, Princess Louis of Battenberg (nee Princess Victoria of Hesse and By Rhine), a few days before the birth, Queen Victoria wrote that “Auntie” was doing well in the final days of her pregnancy, and has been “well & active doing everything, but since Sunday it may be any day & we hope this week.”

It was 6:45 a.m. when Beatrice was “gave birth to a Prince,” and, according to the Court Circular’s announcement, “both are going on admirably.”

The Court Circular also noted that the new prince was “Her Majesty’s 34th grandchild and 12th grandson.”

Queen Victoria and Prince Henry of Battenberg were present for the birth.

Daily bulletins regarding the condition of the Princess and her infant son were published in the Court Circular. Two days after the birth, it was reported that “Her Royal Highness (Princess Henry of Battenberg) and the Infant Prince are making very satisfactory progress.” The bulletin was signed by John Williams, MD, and James Reid, MD.

The Home Secretary was at Balmoral, as it was the “custom for the birth of a member of the Royal Family” and he “communicated officially” to the Lord Mayor of London that the Princess’s accouchement and the birth of a son. A copy of the official letter was “at once posted on the wall of Mansion House.”

A 21-gun salute was fired by the Royal Artillery at St. James’s Park in honor of the birth of the infant Prince.

Princess Beatrice was married in 1885 to Prince Henry of Battenberg, one of four sons of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and his morganatic wife, Julie von Hauke. In 1858, Alexander’s brother, Grand Duke Ludwig III of Hesse and By Rhine raised Julie and her children to the Princely title of Battenberg with the rank of Serene Highness. (Queen Victoria bestowed the HRH on Prince Henry on the occasion of his marriage to Princess Beatrice.)

The couple’s first child, Prince Alexander Albert, was born at Windsor Castle on November 3, 1886. He was born with the rank of Serene Highness, but on December 13 of that year, Queen Victoria issued a Royal Warrant, granting Beatrice children, the rank of His/Her Highness. Eleven months after the birth of Alexander, Beatrice gave birth at Balmoral on October 24, to a daughter, Victoria Eugenie Ena Julia. A second son, Prince Leopold Arthur Louis was born at Windsor Castle, on May 21, 1889. It was soon discovered that Prince Leopold was a hemophiliac, having inherited the gene from his mother.

The final medical bulletin was issued on October 11 from Balmoral. “Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice (Princess Henry of Battenberg) is convalescent, and the infant Prince is quite well. No further bulletins will be issues.”

“Dear Auntie seems to get better & stronger each time tho’ I hope she will stop for many reasons – she is moving abt. now & has sat up since Saturday. She never has had a single drawback. The baby (who out to have been a girl) is a big fine strong Child & dark.”

The Queen did not express her reasons to her granddaughter, who was not only Beatrice’s niece but also her sister-in-law, as she was married to Prince Henry of Battenberg’s older brother, Prince Louis.

She may have been concerned about reports in the “gutter press” about the growing size of Beatrice’s family.

The baptism of Prince and Princess Henry’s son took place at Balmoral on November 1. Queen Victoria invited “guests, together with the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Household in waiting and the principal servants and tenants on the Balmoral, Albergeldie and Birkhall estate” to attend the service, in the castle’s drawing-room.

The Queen entered the drawing-room at 1:00 p.m., accompanied by Prince and Princess Henry and their two eldest children, Prince Alexander Albert, nearly five, and four-year-old, Princess Victoria Eugenie, and Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.

They were followed by Princess Christian (Princess Helena) of Schleswig-Holstein, Queen Victoria’s third daughter, who represented one of the infant prince’s godmothers, Her Grand Ducal Highness the Princess of Leiningen. The other godparents were the Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, the Dukes of Clarence & Avondale, Prince Franz Joseph of Battenberg, and the Duchess of Connaught, none of whom were present for the ceremony. The Queen represented the Duchess of Connaught.

The service was led by the Very. Rev. James Cameron Lees, D.D., Dean of the Thistle and of the Chapel Royal of Scotland, and the Chaplain to the Queen.

The ceremony opened with the baptismal hymn “Lord Jesu Christ, our Lord most dear,” sung by the Aberdeen Madrigal choir. During the singing of the hymn, the Acting Master of the Household, Major-General T. Dennehy, “conducted the infant Prince, who was carried by his nurse,” and attended by Princess Beatrice’s lady-in-waiting, Miss Minnie Cochrane, “to the places assigned to them.”

Miss Cochrane carefully handed the baby to Queen Victoria, who held him at the baptismal font as the “Holy Sacrament of Baptism was administered.” The baby was named Maurice (Prince Henry’s second name, in the honor of Julie von Hauke’s father, Moritz), Victor (for Queen Victoria), and Donald (in honor of Maurice’s birth in Scotland.)

After Maurice was received into the church, the choir sang another hymn, “O Father, Thou who has created all,” written by the English composer, Arthur Sullivan.

The newly baptized Prince Maurice was handed back to his nurse, and taken to the nursery, as the Queen and her guests went to the Drawing Room, where the luncheon was served. The servants and tenants who attended the service were invited to have lunch in the ballroom.

Prince Maurice and his three older siblings grew up in a “privileged, protected world,” coddled by servants, nannies, and cousins. Princess Beatrice was not particularly maternal, and most of her time was spent with her mother’s companion, while her four children were largely raised by nannies. Maurice was only four when his father, Prince Henry, died of fever while serving in the Ashanti campaign. Beatrice’s biographer, Matthew Dennison, wrote that Beatrice submitted to Henry’s death “without complaint to the loss of all that had made her life happiest.”

Henry was the “joy of my life, whom I never cease to miss, however, many years have passed by, since he was taken from me,” Beatrice wrote in 1926.

When Maurice and his siblings joined their grandmother for tea at Osborne, Victoria wrote in her journal: “little Maurice is a delightful child.”

On January 22, 1901, Beatrice was freed from her nearly lifelong duties as her mother’s companion and secretary, when her mother died, and her eldest brother, Edward succeeded to the throne. Beatrice and her children were with her mother during Victoria’s final hours. Leopold “played his violin, offering soothing music,” but 9-year-old Maurice “cried so loudly” that he was taken from the room. Victoria’s death did not mean that Beatrice would be providing her own children with a “permanent loving presence.” She did not have the parenting skills or the ability to deal with her children, especially the three eldest, all of whom were described as “lazy and unfocused.”

Only young Maurice, who resembled his father, was “too young to give trouble. As a child, he grew close to his cousin, Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. As she was 21 years older than her first cousin, Helena Victoria ‘Thora’ was more like a fun aunt, playing games with Maurice. When her oldest brother, Prince Christian Victor, died of enteric fever in October 1900, while serving in South Africa, Maurice offered comfort, “promising one day” to serve in Christian Victor’s regiment, the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

One of Victoria’s devoted Maids of Honour, Marie Mallet (nee Adeane) saw little Maurice often. In November 1896, she wrote in her diary: “I took Victor [her son] to the Royal Nursery where he had an excellent lunch with the two little Princes Maurice and Leopold who was most kind to him, giving him toys and other treasures.”

At age 12, Maurice was sent to Locker’s Park, a boarding school at Hemel Hempstead. He relished school life, was popular with classmates and was called ‘Plumpy.’ While his mother and his older siblings spent six months in Egypt, he divided his holidays with his uncle, Prince Louis of Battenberg and his family or with his cousin, Thora.

The news that Prince Leopold had become ill in Egypt caused concern for Prince Maurice. His cousin, Princess Irene, who was married to another first cousin, Prince Henry of Prussia, was visiting London, and Maurice was “Careful not to tell Irene a word about Leo.” He was only 12 years old, but the young Maurice understood the seriousness of his brother’s illness. He did not want to upset Irene with news of Leopold’s health as he knew her eldest son, Prince Waldemar, was also a hemophiliac.

He transferred to Wellington College in 1905, and four years later, he was sent to Sandhurst.

It was at school where Maurice began to experience life outside the royal cocoon, where the only playmates he had were his three siblings, several cousins, and children at court, including Victor Mallet. Before being sent to boarding school, Maurice and his older brothers were taught by governesses, “first in French, then German and finally English.”

In 1905, Princess Victoria Eugenie, known as Ena, was the chosen bride of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. He was determined to marry the radiant Ena, a Protestant princess, although his mother, Queen Maria Cristina wanted him to marry a Roman Catholic princess. Alfonso was deeply in love with Ena, and remain persistent in his desire. After eight months of holding out, Maria Cristina gave in. She wrote to Princess Beatrice and asked for an “unofficial approach” to be made to King Edward VII.

This was done in January 1906, when Beatrice and her family were present at Windsor Castle for the official visit of King George I of the Hellenes. Ena watched as her mother took the king into a small drawing-room, where Beatrice gave her brother the news of Alfonso’s proposal. Ena, sensing what was about to happen, “went out to the terrace to hide her excitement.” She was soon joined by her uncle who “patted her check,” and gave his approval to her marriage.

The engagement was officially announced several weeks later after Ena’s conversion to the Roman Catholic Church and traveling to Spain to meet Queen Maria Cristina.

In early May, King Alfonso XIII came to England for an official visit, where Maurice and his brother, Leopold, got to know their future brother-in-law, as they accompanied him on several engagements.

On the evening of May 23, 1906, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra gave a farewell dinner in honor of Princess Victoria Eugenie. Prince Maurice and his brothers were among the guests at the formal dinner. The following day, Ena and her family left for Spain. They were accompanied by King Edward VII to Victoria Station. Thirteen-year-old Maurice witnessed the enthusiastic welcome that his sister received when she entered Madrid. The cheering crowds gave no hint of what was to come on Alfonso and Ena’s wedding on May 31, when an assassin threw a bomb, disguised as a bouquet, at Alfonso and Ena’s carriage as they rode back to the palace. More than 100 people were injured, and 24 were killed in the attack. Neither the king nor his new bride sustained real injuries, although Ena’s veil was singed and her wedding gown was covered in bloodstains.

One can only imagine how Maurice reacted to the attack, perhaps thankful that his sister and her husband were all right, albeit shaken up by the event. He and his brothers and Princess Beatrice were seated in the middle of St. Jeronimo Church, behind “the rows of princes attending the wedding as representatives of Europe’s crowned heads.”

Before returning to London, Prince Maurice and Prince Leopold traveled to Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg, to visit their widowed aunt, the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Duchess of Edinburgh), presumably to provide all the details about Ena’s wedding.

Two years later, Alfonso and Ena returned to England, where they spent time at Osborne. Princess Beatrice hosted a garden party for more than 200 guests in honor of the King and Queen. Maurice was present for the family occasions and accompanied the king and queen on their engagements.

Maurice emerged from his teenage years with a reputation for being “reckless,” having become “passionate about driving.” He loved to drive fast, which lead to two speeding tickets in 1910 and 1914, respectively. In October 1911, Prince Maurice crashed into another car, causing serious damage to both cars. No one was hurt, including Prince Leopold, who was in the car with his brother.

When he was summoned to the Felham Police Court on May 25, 1914, for driving a “motor car along Hampton Court Road, Hampton, on May 8,” at the rate of 34 miles per hour. It was noted in court at the time of being pulled over, Prince Maurice told the police officer: “You fellows are always out trapping on race days.”

He was a first cousin of King George V, but that did not prevent Prince Maurice from being fined ١.00 for his speeding conviction. His address was listed as Kensington Palace.

Although Prince Maurice was destined for a military career, there was a report in the New York Times in 1910 that Sir Thomas Lipton had taken the young Prince “into his employ.” Sir Thomas was made aware of Prince Maurice’s “promising business capacity” by King Alfonso, when the king was a guest on Sir Thomas’ yacht, Erin. However, the employment appears to have been brief, as there were no further reports of Maurice’s alleged business acumen.

Unlike his older brothers, he was a “stronger character,” and was very protective of the hemophiliac Prince Leopold. He did not forget his promise to his cousin, Princess Helena Victoria. He joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and in March 1911, received the rank of second lieutenant. This announcement was made in the London Gazette, after passing out from Sandhurst. He was promoted to lieutenant in February 1914.

Maurice celebrated his 21st birthday on October 3, 1913. He was a handsome young man, popular in London society, often attending balls and other social events. He loved to fly, and in April 1914, “made a flight a Bournemouth with the late Gustave Hamel, in which he ‘twice looped the loop.’”

He was also a Freemason and served as the Master of the Twelve Brothers Lodge No 785 in Southampton, and was a member of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge, No. 3404 in London.

Great Britain’s entry into what would become the first world war changed everything. There would be no more balls, no more opportunities to meet eligible young women. A week after the war began, Maurice left England for France with the 1st Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps on August 12.

This was followed by a ten-day march toward Mons. It was not a successful march and the British troops were forced into a dangerous retreat, as he wrote to his mother: “I shall always look back on that forced march as a nightmare.”

Maurice wrote to his mother that the “retreat was a nightmare.” It would only get worse. He wrote to King George that “no words can describe how unpleasant that retreat was. Nothing but march, march, and fight rearguard actions all the time.”

By September 5, the British and French troops managed to halt the German advance. The news was continued to be good: German troops were being pushed back. It would not last. Five days later, Maurice’s battalion, as the advance guard, met a German column in retreat. After a two-and-a-half battle, the Germans surrendered. Several of Maurice’s soldiers were killed. He had a “lucky escape,” as a bullet went right through his cap.

The fighting increased. On the 14th, Prince Maurice learned that his brother, Alexander, had been wounded in battle. As September turned into October, the nights became older and longer in the trenches. “The thing we all fear and hate is the German artillery. It must be admitted that they are really good,” Maurice wrote to King George.

[It is unlikely that Prince Maurice was told of the death of Prince Maximilian of Hesse, the son of his son, Princess Margarete of Prussia, youngest sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Only a few miles from where Prince Maurice was based, Prince Max was killed on October 13. He was an officer with the Prussian 1st Life Hussars.]

As the battles continued, and the British and French armies made advancements, Maurice believed that he and his troops would be moving toward Belgium. The 36-hour journey on cattle truck brought the Prince and his soldiers to Hazebrouck on October 17. Prince Maurice went on ahead to arrange accommodations, but after expecting to receive orders to move to Lille, they were ordered to Ypres.

As Prince Maurice’s King’s Royal Rifle Corps marched toward Ypres, they realized they were “heavily outnumbered” by German troops.

The march came to a halt. Two days later, the Germans began a “concentrated bombardment and attack” on Ypres. The 1st KRRC battalion remained in the background until October 26, when they were ordered to “attack in the area of Polygon Wood.” The troops came under heavy fire, forcing the battalion to stop and move to Zonnebeke. Several hours later, the battle resumed, and Prince Maurice led his men toward the Kleiburg Spur “when a shell burst near him.”

Prince Maurice of Battenberg died from his wounds on October 27, 1914, less than a month after being mentioned in the dispatches for “gallantry.” He was 23 years old.

Britain's National Archives has the war diaries for the 1st Battalion. On October 27, 1914, the war diary recorded: "During the advance eastwards from the ridge the battalion came under terrific shell fire as well as rifle fire… Poor [Prince] Maurice was killed outright just on top of the ridge."

King George commanded that the Court “wear mourning for three weeks for Prince Maurice.” After they were informed of Maurice’s death, George and Mary were driven to Kensington Palace to offer consolation to the grieving Princess Beatrice. Lord Tennyson received a telegram from Princess Henry of Battenberg, Governor of the Isle of Wight.

“I am telegraphing you as my deputy on the island to tell you that I have just heard of the death of my beloved son Maurice, who died of wounds received in action yesterday. Beatrice.”

Lord Tennyson responded to the telegram, assuring Princess Beatrice of “the deepest sympathy of the whole island in her loss of a brave and noble son.”

Maurice’s first cousin, Prince Arthur of Connaught, was in St. Omer, France, as the aide-de-camp to Sir John French. He was able to visit Ypres and see where Maurice was killed. Lord Kitchener offered to make arrangements to bring Maurice’s body back to England for burial, but Princess Beatrice declined. She believed her son should lie with his fallen comrades.

Prince Maurice was buried at Ypres on October 30. Prince Arthur, the only son of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, attended the funeral. He wrote to his mother about the funeral. It “was most impressive in it's way, as there was a very heavy attack going and the parson’s voice was nearly drowned by the noise of the guns, and the German shells kept creeping nearer and nearer.”

Queen Victoria Eugenia, King Alfonso, and other members of the Spanish royal family attended a memorial service in the royal palace’s chapel on October 31. Protestant churches throughout Spain also held memorial services in honor of Ena’s youngest brother. Ena felt her brother’s death keenly. She wrote to Queen Mary in 1915: “It is very hard to be away from my old home at such a time as this and especially so since Maurice’s death when I know Mama is so sad and needs me so much. I would give anything to be able to go to her but that I fear will not be possible for a long time to come.”

King George, Queen Mary, and Queen Alexandra were among the members of the British Royal Family to attend for a private memorial service at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace on November 5. Empress Eugenie of France also attended, along with the Prime Minister and two Field Marshals, Kitchener and Grenfell. The Archbishop of Canterbury presided at the service and gave the benediction.

It is not known if Princess Beatrice ever visited her son’s grave, as there are no news reports nor is the topic mentioned by her biographers. Less than a month after the Armistice, King George V, the Prince of Wales and Prince Albert paid an official visit to Ypres on December 9, 1918. They attended a short service at Lille, before traveling to Ypres, where the King visited two cemeteries. At the second cemetery, he stopped at a “cross marking the last resting place of Prince Maurice of Battenberg.”

King George returned to Ypres on May 11, 1922. The first grave he visited was Prince Maurice’s, represented by a “plain wooden cross, but is planted with beautiful flowers and bore a large wreath presented by the town of Ypres.” A year later, in April 1923, the Prince of Wales, traveling incognito, visited the Belgian battlefields and graves, including the Communal Cemetery in Ypres, where he paid his respects at Prince Maurice’s grave.

On May 6, 1923, after an official visit to Belgium, King Alfonso and Queen Ena left Brussels by train to return to Spain. The Royal train stopped at Ypres, where Queen Ena got out and was taken to her brother’s grave. It was her first visit to Maurice’s final resting place.

There may be a sense of the absurd with the fact that Prince Maurice, the youngest of Queen Victoria's youngest grandchildren, died in a battle fighting the enemy, the armies of his first cousin, Queen Victoria's eldest grandchild, Kaiser Wilhelm II.

It is unlikely that Wilhelm would have understood or appreciated Maurice's epitaph: "Those who shared with Prince Maurice of Battenberg, the perils and glories, the happiness and the miseries of life at ‘the front', will retain memories of his pluck, his lovable nature, and his good comradeship. For all, he had a cheery, kindly word, and all had a kindly word for him."


Contents

Prince Maurice was born on 3 October 1891. He was given the name Maurice after his father Prince Henry of Battenberg and the great-grandfather, Count Maurice von Hauke, Victor after his grandmother the Queen, and Donald in honour of Scotland, as he was born at Balmoral Castle. His father was Prince Henry of Battenberg, the son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and Julie Therese née Countess Hauke. His mother was Princess Henry of Battenberg (née The Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom), the fifth daughter and the youngest child of Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort.

As his father was the child of a morganatic marriage, Prince Henry of Battenberg took his style of Prince of Battenberg from his mother, Countess Julia Hauke who was created Princess of Battenberg in her own right. As such, Maurice was styled as His Serene Highness Prince Maurice of Battenberg from birth. In the United Kingdom, he was styled His Highness Prince Maurice of Battenberg under a Royal Warrant passed by Queen Victoria in 1886.

The youngest of his four siblings, Maurice most resembled his father, who died when the Prince was only four, the same age his mother was when her own father died. He was his mother's favourite out of his brothers. He was educated at Lockers Park Prep School in Hertfordshire.

His elder sister Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, married Alfonso XIII of Spain and was Queen Consort of Spain between 1906 and 1931.


Killed in battle: Prince Maurice of Battenberg

Prince Maurice of Battenberg was Queen Victoria’s grandson, as he was the son of Victoria’s daughter, Princess Beatrice and her husband, Prince Henry of Battenberg. Prince Maurice of Battenberg was born at Balmoral Castle in 1891 and grew up in Great Britain. His elder sister, Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg married Alfonso XIII of Spain and was Queen Consort of Spain between 1906 and 1931.

The Prince enjoyed fast cars which led to several brushes with the law, including two speeding fines in his youth. Prince Maurice of Battenberg joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1911, in honour of his elder cousin, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein who had been a member of the same regiment and died in 1900.

His Royal Highness Prince Maurice of Battenburg in Belgium. Photo: By Pablo Antonio Béjar Novella – http://www.thepeerage.com/p10068.htm, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Following the outbreak of World War I, the Prince served as a Lieutenant in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. In 1914, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps was placed outside the Belgian town of Zonnebeke in the western part of Flanders. Situated in the centre of the Ypres Salient, World War I destroyed the whole area, and the town was abandoned until the early 1920s.

The 23-year-old Prince was leading his company of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps forward for an attack when they came under massive shellfire. During the advance eastwards from a ridge outside the town, the battalion came under fire, and Prince Maurice was killed just on top of the hill on 27 October 1914. General Haig later wrote: “By the death of H.H. Prince Maurice of Battenberg the Army loses a most gallant and valuable officer. In peace and war, he has done his duty to King and Country.”

The grave of His Royal Highness Prince Maurice of Battenburg in Belgium. Photo: By Redvers at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

He was known as Prince Maurice of Battenberg throughout his life since he died before the British Royal Family relinquished their German titles during World War I. A memorial tablet to him and his brother, Leopold is placed in the Winchester Cathedral.

Prince Maurice’s mother, Princess Beatrice, declined the offer of Lord Kitchener to have her son’s body transported back to the UK. This was done in solidarity with all the other British families who were unable to bring home their deceased sons, brothers and husbands. Therefore, the Prince was buried in Ypres Town Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery on 31 October 1914.


[RTL] Prince Maurice's War (1750-1755)

Also check out these links to the RTL project's Wiki to learn more about these events and countries involved:

In this timeline, the crowning of Karl VI of Austria as King of Spain had prevented the outbreak of the War of Spanish Succession, and subsequently, the War of Austrian Succession. The lack of both these conflicts meant that Spain and the Dutch Republic were aligned with the British-Austrian Alliance and that Austria still had control of the region of Silesia.

Prince Maurice's War (1750-1755)

Prince Maurice's War (Amerikaens: Mauritsÿn örlog) was one of the largest colonial wars in North America, where the colonies of Britain, Spain, and the Dutch Republic were pitted against those of France and their native allies. It is the North American theatre of a larger conflict known as the Great Silesian War (1750-1755).

In 1750, the Great Silesian War had erupted in Europe due to Prussian ambitions in the Silesian region. This conflict dragged France, a Prussian ally, to war against Britain and her allies (which included the Dutch Republic). This spawned a colonial war on the North American continent, called Prince Maurice's War (named after the Dutch Republic's stadtholder at the time). The war was one of the most significant colonial conflicts in North America, pitting the North American colonies of Britain, Spain, and the Dutch Republic against France and her native allies.

In the early years of the war, New France saw significant gains on the Western Tussenland front, occupying key areas. However, Dutch forces soon overpowered the invading French troops and marched northeast towards the Great Lakes region in 1751, capturing several important forts. Meanwhile, the rest of the French army had marched south from Montreal to invade the Iroquoian homeland. The French were ultimately unable to take the Iroquoian land, and in late 1752, combined Dutch and British forces occupied Montreal. They then occupied Quebec and other forts along the St. Lawrence River in 1753.

The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vienna on 16 February 1755. The treaty granted the Dutch possession of the Great Lakes and the Mississipi Basin region, while the British were granted possession of Guadeloupe (including the islands of Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, and La Désirade).

The First Provinces of Tussenland

Meerenlandt: A Francophone Colony

The newly acquired Pays d'en Haut territory was promptly renamed Meeranlandt (Dutch for "lake country") and became a separate Dutch colony in 1756. The first Director-General of Meerenlandt, Pieter Evertsz de Vries, ruled over a predominantly French-speaking and Catholic population. De Vries won over the loyalty of the people through a policy of appeasement and placation. He allowed the French to practice Catholicism freely and even participate in the fur trade, a privilege that the GWC did not give to settlers in the GWC-controlled territories.

Mississippi: A settler colony

In 1761, to strengthen the legitimacy of Dutch claims on the Mississipi region, the Dutch West India company adopted a policy of inviting settlers from New Netherland, which experienced overpopulation since the 1760s. This policy differed from the earlier colonization schemes they had set in New Netherland decades before. This new policy would have fewer entry barriers and allowed the upper-middle-class to own land plots in the region. This policy had boosted the Dutch population west of the Mississippi River, and many Dutch settlements sprouted up throughout the rest of the 19th century.

What's with the Anglo-Acadian Expulsion?English Claims and Concessions

England also laid claim to regions in New France's domain. The first substantial English presence in New France (specifically Acadie) goes back to 1656 when the English Sir William Crowne [wikipedia] secured land rights from the French Governor of Acadie, Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour [wikipedia]. From 1656 to 1667, he brought settlers from England and established two English communities called Williamstown and Stowe (now the present-day cities of Saint-Jeanne and Génolhac).

During the 2nd Anglo-Dutch war [map] in 1664, the French fought alongside the Dutch against England. England invaded and occupied Acadie in 1666. However, after being defeated by the Franco-Dutch alliance in 1667, France demanded England to drop all of its claims on Acadie (which they called Nova Scotia) and Terre-Neuve in the Treaty of Breda (1667). In exchange, France agreed to cede a portion of land west of the St. Lawrence river to New England, a region now often referred to as "New England Panhandle," which gives the distinctive shape of modern-day New England.

William Crowne, founder of Williamstown and Stowe, was also forced by the British to surrender his manoral rights back to New France. However, Crowne managed to convince Governor de la Tour to let him keep his charter after offering to pay the governor's debt of �.00 to a French nobleman's widow. Through Crowne, more English colonists arrived in Saint-Jeanne and Génolhac after the war. In 1712, a new English settlement named Annasville was founded 30 miles northeast of Port-Royal (now Ville-de-Acadie) by Crowne's son. By 1750, these three towns became the centers of the English presence in Acadie.

The English Expulsion from Acadie (1757)

After Prince Maurice's war in 1750, it was reported that many of the English settlers had supported British military activity and disrupted French supply lines in Acadie during the war. In response, the new governor of Acadie, Louis de Montmorency, ordered the identification of the English collaborators and their deportation in 1656. In 1757, matters were taken to an extreme when De Montmorency ordered all English settlers' expulsion in Génolhac, Ville-de-Acadie, and Saint-Jeanne. No distinction was made between English settlers loyal to France and the English settlers labeled as 'traitors.' Despite opposition from the Sovereign Council of New France, De Montmorency directly supervised the systematic removal of all English presence in the towns. Little care was given over the handling of the deportation. Thousands of English settlers died of disease and drowning after multiple ships were lost.

A majority of these deported "Anglo-Acadians" ended up in the then newly acquired territory of Carolina on the South American continent. To this day, a sizeable Anglo-Acadian community can be found in Carolina, descendants of the original exiled Anglo-Acadians. Anglo-Acadians in Carolina are noted for their distinct accent (although less common in the group's younger generation). The English expulsion is memorialized in a statue made by Virginian sculptor B. Bortson, unveiled in 1968 in the "English quarter" of Saint-Jeanne.

This is basically an analog to the real-life Expulsion of the Acadians perpetrated by the British after they won the seven years war, which we thought would be interesting to have an equivalent of in this timeline.

Read more about New France in this timeline on the RTL wiki page: New France.


Sources

Hans Delbriick, History of the Art of War Within the Framework of Political History, translated by Walter J. Renfroe Jr., volume 4, The Modern Era (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985).

Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800 (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

Marco van der Hoeven, ed., Exercise of Arms: Warfare in the Netherlands, 1568-1648 (New York: Brill, 1997).


From original research by Victor Judge aka BCW user 1642

(1) Add.Mss 23114 f.61 Pr. Maurices own Cornet. His petition 28.9.1660

(2) SP.19.116.105 Information of Richard Beeston that William Hickes was a Quartermaster under Prince Maurice at Ripple Field.

(2) The Peerage of Ireland 1789 John Lodge Robert Molesworth, younger brother of Guy, served under him as Captain throught the Civil War.

(4) Harl. Mss.986 f.83 Prince Maurice 7 Colours red 300

Harl.Mss.6852 f.2 Commission for Wooley Leigh for 1 Troop of Horse, Prince Maurices Regiment 7.2.1642/3

(5) The vindication of Richard Atkyns 1669 (Extracts)

Captain Hanmer was killed at Little Deane in a desperate charge. Sargeant Major Sheldon and Captain Atkyns also took part. Sargeant Major Sheldon and Cornet Washnage mortally wounded by the explosion after the battle of Lansdown. Prince Maurice called Atkyns to him and promoted him to Sargeant Major in Sheldon's place and also Adjutant General. Captain Buck was a gentleman of Atkyns Troop when Atkyns was Sargeant Major. After Bristol was taken Atkyns was replaced as Sargeant Major (probably by Robert Legge) and he gave up his troop.

I received your letters & returne you thanks for your furst messenger. Sorry I am that I cannot fortfie your expectation with the sight of the Troope under your owne command, but since it is committed by Prince Rupert to the care of Maior Power. I am confident that they will not be indulged soe much favour as to be sent into theire owne country untill the warr be ended, or the Troope dissolved. Had I bin with my Captaine when he was employed upon his last service, I should, I believe, have knowne where was the money and how much he had, but uppon enquiry I found it was lost……. being in gold and in his pocket for the money which I disbursd at his last solemnity the sum of which I sent you before with the Quartermaster & will show his hands subscribed as witnesses being 43L 4sh 7d, I cannot find how to have it returned by bill of exchange. So that I have sent my servant to you & will runn the hazard of loosing it in the passage with him if you please to send it by him you will soe much the more oblige me.

Yours in all further service Roger Jones June 7th 1643

On the reverse Sir Thomas Hanmers note. Lt. Jones letter to mee to pay ye money to his man

Visitation of Flintshire 1670 Sir John Hanmer Sons

2. John Hanmer Capt. of horse in the service of his Majestie King Charles the first. Slayn at Little Deane in Glocs. in a fight against Sir William Waller

Richard Atkins states one Captain Hanmer bein better horst than myself, in persuite, fell upon their Ambuscade and was killed Horse and Man.

Commissioned 8.8.1642 at York 1 Company of Foot in Regiment of Bourke Lord Paget.

He later fought at Edgehill under Colonel Bolles who commanded the Regiment .

After transferred as a Captain of Horse in Prince Maurices Regiment and killed at Littledean April 1643.

His Lieutenant of Horse, Roger Jones wrote to Sir Thomas Hanmer, his father returning all John Hanmers money 7th June 1643.

Commission to James Zouch for 1 Troop of Horse, Prince Maurices Regiment. 14.11.1642

Later went on to become Colonel of 500 horse and died in Reading of a great cold after the 1st Battle of Newbury.

(7) E.44.17 The Kingdoms Weekly Intelligencer 25th April-1st May 1644

Brought before the House a Lieutenant Colonel Derby Omul Bryan, Irish Papist and Lt. Col. of Horse in Prince Maurices Regiment, captured in Sussex having left the service and was trying to get to Flaunders.

North Aston Oxfordshire Parish Register

27.11.1644 Buried Thomas Cheney a Trooper in Prince Maurice his Regiment drowned at Enslow bridge.

SP29.1.96 State Papers undated May 1660

To the Kings most exellent Majestie The humble petition of Edward Carter gent

Humbly sheweth that your petitioner till the rendition of Oxford faithfully served your Majesties Royall father of blessed memory in the late unhappy warrs riding as a reformado in the Regiment of Prince Maurice maintayninge himselfe and his man at his own charge. That the petitioner hath been a great sufferer by ye Committee of Buckinghamshire not dareing openly to appeare and follow his vocation but privately to act for his livelihood

Petition of Venables

Chester Record Office QJF 91/3 No. 19 Michaelmas 1663

Petition of Thomas Venables under Sir Thomas Aston then under Major Spotwood under Colonel Marrow. Served at Cholmeley Hall, Crewe Hall, Bartholmey, and Hawarden Castle. Later under Prince Maurice at Leicester and Naseby.


Prince Maurice and Prince Leopold of Battenberg: Heroism and Haemophilia in World War I

In the late 19th and early 20th century, haemophilia stalked the royal bloodlines of Europe like a banshee, a curse passed down by the matchmaking ‘grandmother of Europe’, Queen Victoria.

While the most infamous flowering of the ‘royal disease’ struck Imperial Russia with the Tsarevich Alexei – his all-to-brief life an indelible chapter of the Russian Revolution – tragedy also followed in the wake of Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria. Beatrice was a carrier of haemophilia and her daughter – Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (1887-1969) – brought it into the Spanish court by marriage, depriving Spain of its crown prince in a car accident.

Two of Beatrice’s three sons also lived in the shadow of haemophilia, while Alexander (later Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke) lived to a respectable age, Maurice and Leopold both died young. Both are described as haemophiliacs in some accounts and both answered the call of cousin and country in 1914, but precious little has been written about them.

Prince Maurice of Battenberg’s haemophilia is disputed in light of his record as a second lieutenant in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Feted for heroism during the Battle of the Marne and Mentioned in Dispatches for a valiant charge to secure a bridge, the prince was wounded by shrapnel while leading an attack at Zonnebeke in October 1914.

Rifleman William Darlow who was wounded by the same shell described the scene to the Birmingham Mail (10 November 1914):

The KRR had been ordered to storm a German position and capture some guns which were doing a lot of damage. On the advance they came to a wood, which was too thick for them to get through conveniently, and they had to cross an open field. Prince Maurice was leading his men across this open space when the shell fell and burst right by him. He knew that his injuries were mortal and wished the men around goodbye. He was carried to a field dressing room, but died before it was reached.

Aged 23, Prince Maurice was the only member of the British Royal Family to have been killed in World War I.

Notification of Prince Maurice’s death from the National Archives. Catalogue reference: WO 339/7854

Rather than repatriate his remains, he was buried in Ypres cemetery in Belgium – “a soldiers funeral amidst the noise of battle” – with a plain wooden cross. News was withheld from his sister until the Queen was well enough to hear it, and three weeks of mourning were declared with a memorial service held at the Royal Chapel of St James’s Palace. Princess Beatrice was devastated, with the news precipitating her withdrawal from public life.

It seems unlikely that a known haemophiliac would have been allowed to serve on the frontline of World War I. What’s more, even in peacetime the dashing Prince Maurice didn’t exactly comport himself like a man at risk, he was twice fined for speeding and his obituary noted that he enjoying flying so much he joined a pilot for a loop-the-loop.

But while it’s easy to dismiss, it’s also tempting to ponder upon the impossible when we consider the immense courage shown by his older brother.

Prince Leopold of Battenburg (later Lord Leopold Mountbatten after the Royal Family Anglicised their family names and lost their German titles in retaliation for the 1917 Titles Deprivation Act) was definitely a haemophiliac. While Maurice’s youth was a series of capers culminating in Sandhurst, Leopold is beset by falls, faints and ill-health and the press is filled with near-constant progress reports. Though haemophilia isn’t mentioned, his ‘fragility’ is obvious and the account of his passing following a hip operation from the Gloucester Citizen (24 April 1922) recalls:

From childhood he was not strong, but it may be said that on the whole he enjoyed fairly good health. While pursuing his studies at Wellington College he was debarred from taking part in many sports and exercises that might have overtaxed his physical powers.

But while he was eventually kept from the fighting by a promotion to aide-de-camp (and full lieutenant) in April 1915, there’s nothing on record to place him out of harm’s way for August and September 1914 and newspapers proudly describe both Leopold and Maurice at “the front” with the 1st Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Leopold was invalided home with a knee injury some weeks before Maurice’s death and remained in Britain until early 1915. His fall and subsequent evacuation perhaps convinced the War Office that the front was no place for a haemophiliac. It’s a potent reminder, though, that the rigours of military life could pose as potent a risk to a haemophiliac as shellfire, and the strength of character required to enlist as Leopold did can’t be understated.

Portrait by Bassano Ltd, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd, postcard print, published circa 1914 T.H. The Princes of Battenberg. For King and Country’

While their mother’s bloodline exposed them to haemophilia, their father left them a legacy that would prove just as fatal.

The German-born Prince Henry of Battenberg had given up his career in the Prussian Guard (wearing his striking white dress uniform for the last time at his wedding) as one of the conditions of his marriage to Princess Beatrice and accepted his enforced position as a gentleman of leisure with good grace. Soon the call of the boot polish and saddle soap grew too strong to resist and in 1895 he petitioned Queen Victoria for a chance to make himself useful in the Gold Coast colony in “what proved to be a very brief and a bloodless war against King Prempeh of Ashanti.”

Prince Henry contracted malaria on the march and despite his health beginning to improve, he died on board HMS Blonde off the coast of Sierra Leone. He was buried in full service uniform with full military honours.

For the Battenberg princes, the colours held an irresistible pull and it perhaps didn’t occur to Leopold that he shouldn’t enlist when war broke out in 1914. Perhaps he was commissioned into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps so that the vulnerable prince would enjoy the ‘protection’ of his rakish brother, but then perhaps the headstrong Prince Maurice was as much under Prince Leopold’s watchful eye as vice versa.

Though highly unlikely, it is tempting to believe that the “gallant” Prince Maurice, like his bother, defied the genetic cards he’d been dealt in order to play his part. These were clearly young men with a remarkable sense of duty and they lived highly unlikely lives.

When Leopold followed his brother to the grave in 1922, aged 33, the gun carriage that bore his coffin carried a wreath in the colours of their regiment, while a memorial stone marked them both in Winchester Cathedral, poignantly returning them to each other’s side for the first time since the autumn of 1914.

An echo of Maurice’s soldier’s grave, it ended simply “to whose memory their brother officers have set up this tablet.”

For more on the role played by Europe’s royal families during World War I, pick up the new issue of History of Royals or subscribe and save 40% on the cover price.

  • Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion by Helen Rappaport
  • The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria’s Youngest Daughter by Matthew Dennison
  • Newspapers accessed via britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

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Watch the video: Constance Le Prince Maurice Official Video


Comments:

  1. Tuckere

    Thank you very much for your help on this issue, now I will know.

  2. Tristin

    As much as necessary.

  3. Malar

    Thanks a lot!



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