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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s Journal - The wedding of Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry of Battenberg, 23rd July 1885

When Princess Beatrice announced her desire to marry, Queen Victoria was certainly not amused and refused to speak to her favourite daughter for seven months, instead only communicating through written notes! Eventually, Victoria changed her mind and allowed Beatrice to marry Prince Henry of Battenberg on 23rd July 1885 at St Mildred’s Church, Whippingham, Isle of Wight.

Queen Victoria’s journal:

“Darling Beatrice’s wedding day. Slept soundly, but awoke early, & could hardly realise the event that was going to take place. The day splendid, a very hot sun, but a pleasant air. — Breakfasted alone with Beatrice, under the trees. Arthur & Louischen came to speak to us, & also Liko for a few minutes, & I gave him a pin. To Beatrice, I gave a ruby half hoop ring, which my Uncle, the Duke of Sussex gave me, when I married. — Resting in my room, & Beatrice began to dress, in dearest Albert’s room, in order that I might be near her. I came in, whilst her veil & wreath were being fastened on. It was my dear wedding veil which I wore at all my Children’s christenings, & the last time at dear Leopold’s wedding. She wore besides, the diamond circlet with diamond stars. She was busy answering telegrams up to the last. Whilst my cap was being put on, Beatrice came in ready dressed. Her dress was quite simple, in ivory white satin, very long, trimmed with my wedding lace, & some small garlands & sprays of orange blossoms, myrtle & white heather. Her jewels were diamonds.

Princess Beatrice in her wedding dress 1885

Waited a little while down stairs, & then decided to start, driving slowly, only darling Beatrice with me, she sitting opposite to me. She did look so sweet. The 2 Equerries Sir J. Mc Neill and Sir H. Ewart (in uniform) rode on either side of the carriage, & Louisa Buccleuch, J. Ely, & Ld Bradford, went in the carriage just before me. There was a Guard of Honour of the 93rd Highlanders with their band, at the House, & one of the Isle of Wight Volunteers, at the Arch Gate. We drove along the road, past Osborne Cottage. The whole way crowds of people, who cheered loudly. We kept both windows down. It was just upon 1, when we reached the Church. A fine Guard of Honour of the 93rd Highlanders was drawn up there, with Pipes & drums, playing the “Highland Laddie”. Bertie & the sweet young Bridesmaids, 10 in number, all, Beatrice’s nieces, stood awaiting us at the Gate. The little ones looked so dear; Louise of Wales & Irène walked fist after Beatrice, then Victoria of Wales, & Victoria of Schleswig Holstein, Maud of Wales & Alicky, Louise of Schleswig Holstein, & little Missy, & lastly Ducky & little Sandra. They were dressed in white, with bunches of red & white carnations on the front of the dress. Bertie & I walked on either side of dear Beatrice, the Ld Chamberlain & Ld Steward preceding us, & the Dss of Buccleuch, J. Ely & Ld Bradford following. Numbers of people, lined each side of the covered way, which was carpeted with red, & the roof & columns draped in red & white, which had a most brilliant festive effect & was imposing, though simple.

As we entered the church, full of people, & walked slowly up the Aisle, to the Chancel, this effect was even increased. Alix, the Parents & Liko’s supporters, his brothers Sandro & Franzjos, were the only ones, standing in the chancel, the rest of the relations & our suites were in the family & household pews. Liko, in his fine white uniform with the ribbon of the Garter, & the collar of the Hessian order, was standing before the altar (having had to wait some time, I fear,). Wagner’s lovely “Brant Chor” from Lohengrin was beautifully played on the organ by Mr Parratt, as we came into the Church. The service was very well performed by the Arch Bishop, who gave a nice little address at the conclusion, after which a portion of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise was sung. Liko spoke very distinctly & well. A happier looking couple could seldom be seen kneeling at the altar together. It was very touching. I stood very close to my dear child, who looked very sweet, pure, & calm. Though I stood for the 9th time near a child & for the 5th time near a daughter, at the altar, I think I never felt more deeply than I did on this occasion, though full of confidence. The little Bridesmaids, all kneeling behind, looked so pretty. When the Blessing had been given, I tenderly embraced my darling “Baby”.The wedding March (Mendelssohn’s well known one.) was played on the Organ, as the young Couple walked down the Church, followed by the 10 Bridesmaids, the Ladies in attendance on Beatrice, Jane Churchill, Mary Biddulph, & Minnie Cochrane. I took Bertie’s hand & kissed him, he took me to the carriage, in which I drove with Louise of Wales, Irene & Alicky. When the 2 dear latter ones seated themselves opposite me, I thought of their darling Mother [Princess Alice], who had been married here, also on the same month.

Group photo taken at Osborne House on 23rd July 1885: (back row, left to right) Prince Alexander of Battenberg, Princess Louise of Wales, Princess Irene of Hesse, Princess Victoria of Wales, Prince Franz Josef of Battenberg, (middle row, left to right) Princess Maud of Wales, Princess Alix of Hesse, Princesses Marie Louise and Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, (front row, left to right) Princesses Victoria Melita, Marie and Alexandra of Edinburgh, Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry of Battenberg © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

There was even more cheering on our way home than before. Little Daisy & Arthur were at the door, & also little Baby Beatrice in her nurse’s arms. – It was very hot. – We went at once to the Drawingroom where we found Beatrice & Liko. The rest of the family all kept arriving soon after, & the Dean of Windsor brought the Book of the Chapel Royal for the signing of the Register. Beatrice & Liko signed, then I, & all her family & Liko’s, after which Mr Prothero brought the Whippingham Register, which only required 3 or 4 witnesses. Then Beatrice, Liko & I stood nearly opposite the door, & all the company invited, (including those who had come only for the day, many of them personal friends of Beatrice’s) passed by, & out by the Dining Room. This over, we went to luncheon in the tent, Liko & Beatrice walking first, & I, following with Pce Alexander, & Bertie, with Pss Battenberg. Liko sat on my other side. Two Bands played during the luncheon, then 10 pipers of the Sutherland & Argyll Highlanders, marched twice round the table, playing splendidly together. At Dessert, I proposed the health of the Bride & Bridegroom, wishing them every possible happiness. The Band played a few Bars of the Wedding March, & then Bertie proposed my health. Luncheon over, all the Royalties were photographed on the Terrace, for the picture of the wedding, which Mr Caton Woodville is going to paint, also Beatrice & Liko, his 2 Brothers & the Bridesmaids. At about 4 went up with Beatrice & waited whilst she changed her dress, for going away. She wore a cream coloured crêpe de Chine dress, trimmed with lace, & a toque with a spray of white heather, orange blossom & myrtle. She remained a few minutes with me, & I then sent for Liko to my room. The moment had come to take leave of my darling “Baby” whom it cost me much to part with, even for such a short while. I felt utterly miserable when they left my room, & had not the heart to go down & see them drive away. But I heard the cheering & the Band playing. Dear Lenchen came & sat with me for a little while. Answered some of the many kind telegrams I received, which were very gratifying, so many coming from public Bodies.

Marriage of Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry of Battenberg at Whippingham Church, 23 July 1885 by William Simpson ©️ Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

At ½ p. 6, only, I got out to tea with Lenchen & Louischen, who were both very kind. Took a short turn in the carriage, stopping a moment at Osborne Cottage, to speak to Marie, & Ld Wolseley, who is staying there. – While I was dressing for dinner, a letter arrived from darling Beatrice, saying they had reached Quarr Abby safely, & had met with a kind reception at Wootton, where there had been several Arches, a Band, & Schoolchildren drawn up, but unfortunately one of the horses fell, hurting its knees. However, no one else luckily, was hurt. & The dinner was very large, & uniform was worn. Besides the whole of the family (of course none of the grandchildren, but Irène, Eddy, Georgie, & Louise of Wales) the Archbishop of Canterbury, Louisa Buccleuch, the 3 Gt Officers of State (Ld Lathom is an admirable Ld Chamberlain) the Duke & Dss of Bedford, the Dss of Roxburghe, J. Ely, Ld & Ly Gort, Ld Wolseley, Ld Salisbury, Ld Sydney, Ld Spencer, Sir B. Cross & Mary Biddulph, dined. The Tent had been better ventilated, & it was not near so hot. Louis led me in,& I sat between him & Pce Alexander of Hesse. The Ld Steward proposed 3 Toasts, that of the Bride & Bridegroom, mine, & his Parents. The illuminations were repeated, & were even more brilliant than last night, & the Yachts in Osborne Bay, were lit up & sent off rockets.The Band played on the Lower Terrace. Alicky, & Lenchen’s 2 girls appeared after dinner. The night was beautiful, & there was but little wind. I went out for a short while, & tried to speak to people, but was so tired & felt so low, that it was an effort, & I escaped quietly to my room. My dear child was never out of my mind. God bless & protect her!—”

© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

© Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest

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