Facts and Events
Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom GBE, GCVO, GCStJ, VA, CI (Beatrice Mary Victoria Feodore; later Princess Henry of Battenberg; 14 April 1857 – 26 October 1944) was the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Felipe VI, the current ruler of Spain, is her great-great-grandson. Beatrice was the last of Queen Victoria's children to die, 66 years after the first, her sister Alice.
Beatrice's childhood coincided with Queen Victoria's grief following the death of her husband Albert, Prince Consort on 14 December 1861. As her elder sisters married and left their mother, Queen Victoria came to rely on the company of her youngest daughter, whom she called "Baby" for most of her childhood. Beatrice was brought up to stay with her mother always and she soon resigned herself to her fate. Queen Victoria was so set against her youngest daughter marrying that she refused to discuss the possibility. Nevertheless, many suitors were put forward, including Louis Napoléon, Prince Imperial, the son of the exiled Emperor Napoleon III of France, and Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, the widower of Beatrice's older sister Alice. She was attracted to the Prince Imperial and there was talk of a possible marriage, but he was killed in the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879.
Beatrice fell in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg, the son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and Julia von Hauke. After a year of persuasion, Queen Victoria agreed to the marriage, which took place at Whippingham on the Isle of Wight on 23 July 1885. Queen Victoria consented on condition that Beatrice and Henry make their home with her and that Beatrice continue her duties as the Queen's unofficial secretary. The Prince and Princess had four children, but 10 years into their marriage, on 20 January 1896, Prince Henry died of malaria while fighting in the Anglo-Asante War. Beatrice remained at her mother's side until Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901. Beatrice devoted the next 30 years to editing Queen Victoria's journals as her designated literary executor and continued to make public appearances. She died at 87, outliving all her siblings, two of her children, and several nieces and nephews including George V.