Saturday, March 2, 2019

Stars in Her Crown #9: Beatrice, Princess of Battenberg

#9 Beatrice by Mark Lauer
The last of the royal offspring.

Beatrice and her nurse Mary Ann Thurston---
a photograph of a photographer taking the baby's picture?

Princess Beatrice Mary Victoria Feodore (1857-1944) was the ninth and youngest  of Victoria and Albert's royal family. Prince Albert named Beatrice for a literary heroine, the lost love of the poet Dante. Feodore was her aunt's name and Mary a great-aunt. Always called Baby by her family, Beatrice was only four when her father died.

Beatrice in baby mourning

Mourning meant not only wearing black but behaving in sepulchral fashion with respectful quiet interrupted only by murmured conversations. Baby was the royal exception and in the months after the family tragedy she entertained the court with her witty and irreverent sayings.

Beatrice's future father-in-law Alexander of Battenberg wrote about the youngest: “A dear little girl with flying golden curls…but she seems to be thoroughly spoiled by everyone.” Being the baby didn't really spoil Beatrice who had a generous personality and grew up to be her mother's rock.

Beatrice in 1868, about 11

"Baby is a very sweet pretty child, 
but her greatest merit is her amiable, contented disposition 
and charming, even temper." Queen Victoria describing her 15 year old.

When brother Bertie married, six-year-old Baby vowed, “I shall never be married. I shall stay with my mother.” Unlike Leopold and Louise, the other members of the younger set, Beatrice was not a rebel. Her mother looked to her her for comfort, companionship and compliance and Beatrice was happy to fulfill the role. Victoria wrote that Beatrice was the only child who'd "never given one moment's cause of displeasure."

In 1874 Beatrice embroidered a silk cradle quilt for brother Alfred's son

A faint hint of a smile on the Queen's face
in a photo that seems to summarize their relationship

The smile faded when Beatrice told her mother she'd fallen in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg. Victoria was so angry she did not speak to Beatrice for seven months after the "dreadful engagement" was first discussed. Henry was unsuitable. He had no crown, no fortune and his mother was a commoner. But worse, when Beatrice married, Victoria would be alone.

Prince Henry (1858-1896) and Princess Beatrice 

A compromise was reached. Beatrice and Henry would live with Victoria forever and Beatrice would continue her role as companion and secretary. She and Henry married in 1885. Her Prussian in-laws refused to attend the wedding of an upstart Battenberg. 

Beatrice reading to Victoria as she crochets, 1894

Victoria actually liked Liko, as Henry was called, and he brought a renewal of small pleasures to family life. He encouraged the women to abandon evenings devoted to knitting for charity in favor of family musicales and theatricals. 

Beatrice with her four children. Daughter Victoria Eugenie, 
known as Ena, grew up to marry the King of Spain.

But Liko needed some purpose and persuaded the Queen to permit him to sail for Africa in a non-combatant role during the Ashanti War. Noncombatants could catch malaria, however, and Liko died off the coast of Sierra Leone, leaving Beatrice a widow at 38. She'd learned many lessons about widowhood and was determined to create a different kind of a home. “I try to be bright & cheerful for the dear children’s sake.”

The King and Queen of Spain at their marriage in 1906

Beatrice was a carrier of the family gene for hemophilia. Sons Maurice and Leopold inherited the condition. Ena was also a carrier with two of her boys hemophiliacs, one the heir to the Spanish throne. Her husband King Alfonso never forgave her or Beatrice although he was aware of the disease when her married. The current King of Spain Felipe VI is Ena's great-grandson.

Princess Beatrice of Battenberg.
The family name was changed to Mountbatten during World War I.

As the youngest Beatrice outlived her brothers and sisters, dying during World War II in 1944 at the age of 84.

#9 Beatrice by Denniele Bohannon

The Block

The larger pattern is for a 12" Block; the smaller for an 8" Block.

To Print:
Create a word file or an empty JPG file.
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file 8-1/2" x 11". Check to be sure the inch square box measures 1".
You'll need 4 copies if you are going to piece it over paper foundations.

The block is constructed in triangles—-Triangles are flipped and pieced into squares, four to a block. Each pattern includes paper foundations for 8”  & 12” blocks, which you can also use for template piecing. Add a 1/4” seam allowance when you cut the fabric using the templates.

In Block #9 the triangles are not identical. One set contains pieces A,B,C & D. The other contains pieces D & C except flipped over plus piece E.

Next week-the border.

Textile of the Week

The book Souvenirs from the Diamond Jubilee of Queen
Victoria includes a small scale print, saved in a patchwork quilt.

#9 Beatrice by Becky Brown
A fussy cut dotted stripe adds another level of pattern.

The Queen, smiling again, with Beatrice standing
and Alice's daughter Victoria holding another Alice,
who grew up to become the mother of Prince Philip.

Becky's 9 blocks

Read a Book a Week: 
The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria's Youngest Daughter by Matthew Dennison.

Or Two:
Read more about Queen Ena and other royal granddaughters:
Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria by Julia P. Gelardi.


  1. These 9 weeks have flown by so quickly! I have enjoyed seeing all the quilts develop and learning about the Royal children. Thank you for the challenge!

  2. I agree with Denniele- thank your for the historical tour through the monarchy! They are now real people to me.

  3. It was certainly fun for me too although I didn't sew a stitch.

  4. With the royal families of so many countries intermarrying it is no wonder that hemophilia spread! Need some new blood! Thank you so much for bringing the family stories together for us along with the block patterns.

  5. fyi: link to block 8 from the list of block on the right is not working. I believe the url is missing the colon after "https" in the link.