20 April 2016

A Different Princess Beatrice

Beatrice (foreground) with her oldest
and glamorous sisters, Marie and Victoria
Melita. The trio had one more sister
and an ill-fated brother.
via Wikimedia Commons
The youngest sister of the gorgeous Queen Marie of Romania and the controversial Victoria Melita, who married and divorced a Hessian cousin before eloping with a Russian grand duke, Princess Beatrice was always known as Baby Bee within her family. Her father was Alfred Duke of Edinburgh, who later inherited the Duchy of Saxe Coburg and Gotha from his father's family. Her mother was an Imperial Highness, the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, daughter of Czar Alexander II.

Born on April 20, 1866, Beatrice was named for her aunt, Queen Victoria's youngest child Princess Beatrice. And, both Aunt Beatrice's daughter Victoria Eugenie and her namesake married into the Spanish royal family. Although her cousin married for love and became the Queen of Spain, her life was marred by an unhappy marriage and the tragedy of hemophilia, deafness and early deaths of several of her sons. Our Beatrice met her future husband at that disastrous wedding (the bridal couple was nearly blown up by an assassin). He was the King of Spain's cousin, Don Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón, who was an Infante of Spain and the 5th Duke of Galliera.

However, partly because Beatrice refused to convert to Catholicism, the couple was initially exiled from Spain. After a few years, they were allowed to return and she eventually converted. The couple had three sons, but the middle boy was killed in action during the Spanish Civil War. The family also lost their Spanish estate during that war, but it was eventually restored to Beatrice during the Franco regime. A widow for nearly 30 years, Beatrice died there on July 13, 1966 at the age of 82.
Beatrice with her three sons: 
Alvaro, Alonso and Ataúlfo
via Wikimedia Commons

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