Princess Anna of Battenberg

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Anna of Battenberg, who died on this day in 1971! The seventh out of the eleven children of King Nicholas I and Queen Milena of Montenegro, Princess Anna was born in 1874 and grew up in the small Balkan Principality, which became a Kingdom in 1910, before being educated in Russia under the care of the Tsar. Her sisters, most notably Queen Elena of Italy, were married into the Italian, Serbian, and Russian Royal Families making her the aunt of King Alexander of Yugoslavia, King Umberto II of Italy and Queen Giovanna of Bulgaria among others. In 1897, Princess Anna married Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg, son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and Countess Julia Hauke, making her the sister-in-law of Princess Beatrice and Princess Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven, and the aunt of Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, Queen Louise of Sweden, Princess Alice of Greece and Lord Mountbatten.

The couple married with the support of Queen Victoria and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, who provided a large dowry, and resided at the Prinz-Emil-Schlösschen in Darmstadt until the First World War, when they moved to Switzerland, settling there after the fall of the Hesse and Montenegrin Monarchies. During the war, other members of the family had renounced the Battenberg title and took the new surname of ‘Mountbatten’, and Prince and Princess remained the only ones to hold the title, when the Prince died in 1924. From the 1920s up to her own death in 1960, Princess Anna was financially supported by her niece by marriage, Edwina, Countess Mountbatten, despite having never met her. She also anonymously wrote and published a large number of musical compositions that obtained a certain degree of commercial success. Princess Anna was the last surviving Princess of Battenberg, and the last to hold the Battenberg title, when she died in Switzerland on this day in 1971.

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4 thoughts on “Princess Anna of Battenberg

  1. Her brother in law was the Sovereign Prince Alexander of Bulgaria from the Battenberg dynasty. Her niece was the Queen of Bulgaria from the Saxe Coburg Kohary family (2 different dynasties)

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  2. I always thought that the offspring of King Nicholas of Montegro was such a beautiful group. And the same goes for the Battenberg brothers actually. Although being from such a “recent” and small Kingdom the Princess of Montenegro managed to marry into some very important families.

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    1. I was thinking the same! Had they reigned for much longer I’m sure they would have married into even more royal houses. It is quite impressive. Also interesting is how the granddaughter of Princess Augusta of Cambridge married the Crown Prince, even though Augusta herself was very disparaging about the Battenbergs. I was recently reading an excerpt from a letter she wrote to Queen Mary, talking about her displeasure at Queen Alexandra attending the Wedding of her nephew, Prince Andrew of Greece, and Princess Alice of Battenberg:

      ‘There is surely no reason for it, a Battenberg, daughter of an illegitimate father, he the fourth son of a newly baked King!’

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      1. The Grand Duchess did indeed have her own opinion and was not afraid to let them be known. I seem to recall that she was not very pleased when her niece Queen Mary (then Princess of Wales) travelled up to Trondheim to attend the coronation of the elected (! such horror !) King Haakon VII of Norway.

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