Friday, June 08, 2007

The Churchill Series – June 8, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

I said in yesterday’s post I’d say more today about Churchill and Prince Louis of Battenberg, a descendent of a noble German family who became a naturalized British subject in 1868, when at age 14 he began a career in the Royal Navy that culminated with his appointment as First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Navy.

In 1914, on the eve of World War I, Battenberg worked with the Navy’s political head, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston S. Churchill, to place the fleet at battle stations. On the outbreak of war, their combined efforts were widely praised by the British press and people.

But within a few weeks, Battenberg, despite his competence and loyalty to his adopted country, became a lightning rod for the anti-German feeling that swept England. Within a few months, he was forced to resign.

Today I’d planned to tell you that Battenberg subsequently relinquished all claims to his German titles and Anglicized the family name to Mountbatten. I’d also planned to tell you that his youngest son, who we know as Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, became First Lord of the Admiralty. And what’s more, that Prince Louis was an uncle of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

But a prescient Anon reader, in a comment to yesterday’s post, guessed I was going to say all that.

Sigh! What’s left for me to say?

Well, how about the following:

Prince Phillip’s mother, Princess Alice, was Prince Louis’ younger sister. Their grandmother was Queen Victoria. So Prince Phillip is Queen Victoria’s great-grandson.

Victoria’s eldest son was King Edward VII who was succeeded on the throne by his son, King George V. One of George V’s son’s was King George VII, whose eldest daughter is Queen Elizabeth II. She is, therefore, Queen Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter.

Churchill knew everyone mentioned in this post. He served every monarch from Queen Victoria through Queen Elizabeth. He received his military commission from Victoria and served the other monarchs as a Cabinet Minister. He also held elective office during at least a part of each of their reigns.


There’s something else you may find extraordinary: this Sunday, June 10, 2007 Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, will be 86 years old.

I hope you all have a nice weekend but don’t forget to study for Monday’s British royal family genealogy exam. It will count for half your grade.

I pulled the information for this post from multiple sources. You can easily fact-check the post using Google or another search engine.