Julia von Hauke

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Julia von Hauke (November 12, 1825 (O.S.) = November 24 1825 (N.S.) - September 19, 1895) was wife of Prince Alexander of Hesse-Darmstadt (1823-1888), mother of Alexander of Bulgaria, and ancestor of the house of Mountbatten and the British royal House of Windsor.

She was born in Warsaw, the daughter of John Maurice von Hauke (1775-1830), also known as Hans Moritz von Hauke, and his wife, née Sophie la Fontaine. Her father was German and a professional military man and fought in Napoleon's army in Austria, Italy, Germany and the Peninsular War. He then switched sides to fight for the Russians. Recognising his abilities, Tsar Nicholas appointed him Minister of War and made him a Count.

In the uprising of 1830 led by revolutionary army cadets, the targets were Grand Duke Constantine, Poland's Governor-General, and the Minister of War, Count Moritz von Hauke. While saving the Grand Duke, von Hauke was cut to pieces by sabres before the eyes of his wife and three children. His wife died of shock shortly afterwards, and their children were made wards of the Emperor.

Julia served as lady-in-waiting to Empress Maximiliane, wife of Tsar Alexander II and sister of Prince Alexander of Hesse-Darmstadt, and met her future husband in St. Petersburg. On October 28, 1851, in Breslau in Prussian Silesia (now Wroclaw in Poland), she married Prince Alexander. Julia was considered to be of insufficient rank to have any of her children qualify for the succession on the throne of Hesse-Darmstadt, hence the marriage was considered morganatic. Julia was created Her Illustrious Highness Countess of Battenberg in 1851 by her brother-in-law, Grand Duke Ludwig III of Hesse and by Rhine (Hesse-Darmstadt), and elevated to Her Serene Highness Princess of Battenberg in 1858 (a non-royal title). As a result of this final elevation, the children of this union were also elevated to Prince or Princess and addressed as 'Serene Highness'. Thus Battenberg became the name of a cadet branch of the Grand Ducal family of Hesse.

Julia converted from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism on 12 May 1875. She died at Schloss Heiligenberg, near Jugenheim in Germany.

There were five children of the marriage, styled princes and princesses of Battenberg:

  1. Marie (1852-1923), married in 1872 Gustav, Count of Erbach-Erbach (d. 1908), with issue.
  2. Ludwig (1854-1921), created Lord Mountbatten and First Marquess of Milford Haven in 1917, married in 1884 Princess Victoria of Hesse and the Rhine (1863-1950), with issue (including Princess Andrew of Greece, Queen Louise of Sweden, and the Earl Mountbatten of Burma).
  3. Alexander (1857-1893), created Reigning Prince of Bulgaria in 1879, abdicated in Bulgaria and created Count von Hartenau, married morganatically in 1889 Jeanne Loisinger (1865-1951), with issue.
  4. Heinrich (1858-1896), married Beatrice, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland (1857-1944), with issue (including Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg later Queen of Spain, having been elevated to 'Royal Highness' by her uncle King Edward VII). His children resided in Britain and became Lords and Ladies Mountbatten in 1917. His eldest son was created First Marquess of Carisbrooke in 1917.
  5. Franz Joseph (1861-1924), married in 1897 Anna, Princess Petrovich-Niegosh of Montenegro (1874 - about 1944), with no issue.

Alexander and Julia's eldest son, Ludwig (Louis) of Battenberg, became a British subject, and during World War I, due to anti-German feelings prevalent at the time, anglicised his name to Mountbatten (a literal translation of the German Battenberg), as did his cousins, the sons of Prince Henry and Princess Beatrice. This branch of the family also renounced all German titles and were granted peerages by their cousin King George V: Prince Louis became First Marquess of Milford Haven, while Prince Alexander, Prince Henry's eldest son, became First Marquess of Carisbrooke.


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