Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke

The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Carisbrooke
Personal details
Born (1886-11-23)23 November 1886
Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Died 23 February 1960(1960-02-23) (aged 73)
Kensington Palace, London
Spouse(s) Lady Irene Denison
Parents Prince Henry of Battenberg
Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
 British Army
Years of service 1902–08; 1914-19
Rank Captain
Unit Grenadier Guards
Battles/wars Second Boer War
World War I
Coat of arms of Alexander Mountbatten

Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke, GCB, GCVO, GCStJ (born Prince Alexander of Battenberg; 23 November 1886 – 23 February 1960) was a member of the Hessian princely Battenberg family and the extended British Royal Family, a grandson of Queen Victoria.

Early life

Bookplate by Henry Badeley showing the coat of arms used by Alexander as member of Battenberg family (until 1917)

Prince Alexander was born in 1886 at Windsor Castle in Berkshire and was educated at Wellington College and at the Britannia Royal Naval College.[1] His father was Prince Henry of Battenberg, the son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and Julie née Countess of Hauke. His mother was Princess Henry of Battenberg (née The Princess Beatrice), the fifth daughter and the youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Prince Henry of Battenberg was the product of a morganatic marriage and took his style of Prince of Battenberg from his mother, Julia von Hauke, who was created Princess of Battenberg in her own right. At his birth, Alexander was styled His Serene Highness Prince Alexander of Battenberg because the child of a morganatic marriage is ineligible for "Grand-Ducal Highness" status. However, three weeks after his birth, on 13 December 1886, he was styled His Highness under a Royal Warrant passed by his grandmother Queen Victoria.[2]

Prince Alexander was also the brother-in-law to King Alfonso XIII of Spain, who married Alexander's sister, Princess Victoria Eugenia, in 1906.

Military service and honours

Prince Alexander passed a qualifying examination to become service cadet in the Royal Navy in March 1902,[3] and subsequently joined the cadet training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth on 8 May 1902.[4] He served in the Royal Navy from 1902 to 1908[1] and in 1910, became one of the earliest members of The Castaways' Club, an exclusive dining club for Naval officers who resigned whilst still junior but who wished to keep in touch with their former service. Several of his Mountbatten cousins were also subsequently members, including David Mountbatten, and The Duke of Edinburgh.

In 1909, he joined the British Army, being appointed Second Lieutenant (on probation) in the Grenadier Guards on 4 August 1909.[5] He was confirmed in the rank on 22 November 1911,[6] and was promoted to Lieutenant on 15 August 1913.[7] He was seconded to the staff to act as an extra aide-de-camp on 10 April 1915[8][9] and promoted to captain the same year.

On 1 June 1917, he was authorised to wear the insignia of the Russian Order of St Vladimir, fourth class with Swords, awarded "for distinguished service to the Allied cause."[10] He resigned his commission on 19 June 1919[11] and was placed on the General Reserve of Officers, ranking as a Captain with seniority of 15 July 1915.[12] He held several other foreign orders and decorations: Grand Cross of Order of Charles III (Spain), Order of Leopold, with swords (Belgium), Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky (Russia), Order of Naval Merit, fourth class (Spain), Order of the Nile (Egypt), Order of the Crown (Romania), and Croix de guerre, with palms (France).

In World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force and was a staff officer attached to Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory.[13]

Marquess of Carisbrooke

Anti-German feeling during the First World War led George V to change the name of the Royal House in July 1917 from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the House of Windsor. He also relinquished, on behalf of his various relatives who were British subjects, the use of all German titles and styles.

The Battenberg family relinquished their titles of Prince and Princess of Battenberg and the styles of Highness and Serene Highness. Under Royal Warrant, they instead took the surname Mountbatten, an Anglicised form of Battenberg. As such, Prince Alexander became Sir Alexander Mountbatten.[14] On 7 November 1917, he was created Marquess of Carisbrooke, Earl of Berkhamsted and Viscount Launceston.[15]

In the 1930s, author E.F. Benson dedicated two of his famous novels, Mapp and Lucia and Lucia's Progress, to the Marquess of Carisbrooke.


On 19 July 1917, he married Lady Irene Francis Adza Denison, GBE (4 July 1890 – 16 July 1956), the only daughter of the 2nd Earl of Londesborough and Lady Grace Adelaide Fane, at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace.

Lord and Lady Carisbrooke had one child, a daughter:

According to the published diaries of Cecil Beaton, in his later years Lord Carisbrooke had a longtime male lover, Simon Fleet.[16] More is written about Lord Carisbrooke and his wife in the published diaries of James Lees-Milne.

Later career

Lord Carisbrooke, who received no state allowance, became the first member of the British royal family to work in the commercial sector. He began his career working as an entry-level clerk in the offices of Lazard Brothers bankers. He later worked for a company that oversaw housing estates, and before long he took control of social work for the tenants.[13] Later he became a director of Lever Brothers and several other prominent corporations.[13]


Tomb of Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry of Battenberg, with Lord Carisbrooke's ashes casket set into the wall above

Lord Carisbrooke, the last surviving grandson of Queen Victoria, died in 1960, aged 73, at Kensington Palace, and his ashes were buried at the Battenberg Chapel in St. Mildred's Church, Whippingham on the Isle of Wight. The title Marquess of Carisbrooke became extinct upon his death.

Titles, styles and honours



  1. 1 2 "The Marquess of Carisbrooke; A Grandson of Queen Victoria". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 24 February 1960.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 25655. p. 6305. 14 December 1886.
  3. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. 22 April 1902. p. 12.
  4. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36763). London. 9 May 1902. p. 10.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 28276. p. 5907. 3 August 1909.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 28562. p. 9448. 15 December 1911.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 28752. p. 6236. 2 September 1913.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 29157. p. 4509. 7 May 1915.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 29168. p. 4872. 18 May 1915.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 30108. p. 5433. 30 November 2012.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 31408. p. 7790. 17 June 1919.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 31408. p. 7793. 17 June 1919.
  13. 1 2 3 "Obituary: The Marquis of Carisbrooke". The Guardian. 24 February 1960. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 30374. p. 11593. 9 November 1917. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  15. The London Gazette: no. 30374. p. 11594. 9 November 1917. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  16. Beaton, Cecil (2003). Vickers, Hugo, ed. Beaton in the Sixties: the Cecil Beaton diaries as they were written. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0297645560.
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
Marquess of Carisbrooke
1917 – 1960
Succeeded by
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