L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Princess Beatrice - portraits, early and late

Richard Lauchert (1823-1869), 1863.

Princess Beatrice Mary Victoria Feodore of the United Kingdom (14 April 1857, Buckingham Palace, London – 26 October 1944, Brantridge Park, Sussex), was the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Beatrice was only four years old when her father died and her mother was plunged into a dramatic and famously prolonged mourning. In the ensuing years, the cheerful child would become one of her mother's most important supports. As she grew up and, one by one, her sisters married and left home, she remained as her mother's constant confident and personal secretary.

Franz Winterhalter, 1859.
Annie Dixon (1817-1901), 1861.

And it was expected that her role of attendant would be permanent; Queen Victoria would have no talk of marriage for her youngest daughter. So when, in 1884, she and Prince Henry of Battenberg fell in love and Beatrice told her mother that she planned to marry, the queen stopped speaking to her daughter for seven months. She only acquiesced when Prince Henry agreed to live in England as part of the Queen's household. The couple was married in 1885 and would have four children. (Sadly, Beatrice passed on the haemophilia gene she had inherited from her mother; Beatrice's son Leopold was afflicted with the condition, and her daughter Ena, as Queen Victoria Eugenie, would pass the gene into the Spanish royal family.)

John Philip (1817-1867), 1860.
Edward Tayler (1828-1906), 1864.

The marriage was happy, but Henry chafed at the restrictions of his domestic arrangements. In November of 1895, he persuaded the queen to allow him to go to West Africa and fight in the Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War. But in February he contracted malaria and subsequently died aboard a cruiser off the coast of Sierra Leone. Beatrice was devastated by his death, but after a month away from court, returned to her mother's side where should would remain until the queen's death in 1901.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923), 1908.

Her daughter Ena was considered a great beauty and, after converting to Catholicism - a move which caused much controversy in Britain - married King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1906.  Her youngest son, Maurice, was killed in action during the third month of World War I, a tragedy from which his mother never fully recovered.  Princess Beatrice and her two remaining sons were also affected by the politically motivated surname changes wrought in the midst of the war by her nephew George V when, in an effort to downplay the British royal family's Germanic origins, Battenberg was anglicized to Mountbatten.  And in 1922, her haemophiliac middle son, Leopold, died during hip surgery at the age of thirty-two.

Arthur Stockdale Cope (1857-1940), 1928.

Princess Beatrice's most important contribution to posterity was as the transcriber and editrix of her mother's journals, which the queen had begun keeping in 1831 and had grown to hundreds of volumes. Before her death, Queen Victoria had set her youngest daughter for the task, and had instructed her to remove anything too personal as well as anything that might be hurtful to living persons. The work would take thirty years, and as a consequence of Beatrice's extreme diligence, the edited journals are a third the length of the originals. She then destroyed the originals, to the great chagrin of historians and to the distress of her own family.

She died in her sleep at the age of eighty-seven.

Philip de László, 1926.

No comments:

Post a Comment