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Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine: Wikis


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Prince Alexander
Prince of Hesse and by Rhine
Spouse Countess Julia Hauke
Marie, Princess of Erbach-Schönberg
Louis Mountbatten, Marquess of Milford Haven
Alexander, Prince of Bulgaria
Prince Henry
Prince Francis Joseph
House House of Hesse-Darmstadt
Father Grand Duke Louis II of Hesse
Mother Wilhelmine of Baden
Born 15 July 1823(1823-07-15)
Darmstadt, Hesse
Died 15 December 1888 (aged 65)
Seeheim, Hesse
Burial Rosenhohe, Darmstadt

Prince Alexander Ludwig Georg Friedrich Emil of Hesse GCB (15 July 1823 – 15 December 1888) was the third son and fourth child of Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse and Wilhelmina of Baden.


Questioned parentage

Though Alexander is best known for the scandal caused by his marriage, his parentage also was the subject of scandal, as it was openly rumoured that his and his sister Marie's father was actually Baron Augustus de Senarclens, their mother's chamberlain.


As a younger son of the Grand Duke, Prince Alexander followed the martial tradition of his family, and served in the Russian Army, where he became a distinguished soldier with a glittering career ahead of him. He had a regiment of lancers named after him and was awarded the Order of St. George 4th class. The fact that his sister Marie was the Tsarevna (Crown Princess) of Russia (i.e., wife of the future Tsar Alexander II) was not a disadvantage to his prospects. Many, however, thought it odd that he did not serve in a Hessian cavalry unit or at least a German one.

Alexander's marriage

This promising career, however, was cut short by a scandal, as Alexander fell in love with Countess Julia von Hauke, a lady-in-waiting to his sister, Maria Alexandrovna. The Countess was an orphaned German-Polish ward of the Tsar, and daughter of the Tsar's former Minister of War. At that time, Tsar Nicholas I was considering Alexander as a possible husband for his niece and, when he heard of the romance, the Tsar forbade the couple to marry.

Alexander left for England to contemplate his future, but then returned to Russia and eloped with Julia from St. Petersburg. The two were married in Breslau (Silesia) in 1851.

They returned to Hesse, where Alexander's older brother Grand Duke Louis III was displeased by the lowly dynastic status of his brother's wife. Julia was created Countess of Battenberg (named after the small town of Battenberg in the north of Hesse where they first lived in seclusion), but their children would remain excluded from the line of succession and would always bear the slight stigma of being styled "Serene Highnesses" rather than "Grand Ducal Highnesses". The Countess was later elevated to the rank of a Princess (Fürstin), and the couple eventually returned to Darmstadt.


Having forgone his dynastic claims, Prince Alexander and his morganatic wife lived a quiet life. Their family lived primarily at Heiligenberg Castle, near Jugenheim, in southern Hesse.

Alexander of Hesse and Julia of Battenberg had five children, and they inherited their mother's title and surname. The children were:

Prince Alexander of Hesse died in 1888; Princess Julia of Battenberg died at Schloss Heiligenberg in 1895 at the age of 70.


Despite these scandalous origins, the family of Battenberg quickly was accepted into Europe's nobility, forming marital ties with several royal families.

  • Prince Alexander became the first Prince of modern Bulgaria, but was deposed soon after.


External links



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