Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Infobox British Royalty|royal
name =Princess Beatrice
title =Duchess of Galliera

imgw =252
spouse =Alfonso, Duke of Galliera
issue =Infante Alvaro
Infante Alonso
Infante Ataulfo
full name =Beatrice Leopoldine Victoria
titles ="HRH" Princess Alfonso
"HRH" The Duchess of Galliera
"HRH" Princess Alfonso
"HRH" Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
"HRH" Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh
royal house =House of Bourbon
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
father =Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
mother =Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
date of birth =birth date|1884|4|20|df=y
place of birth =flagicon|England Eastwell Park, Kent
date of death =death date and age|1966|7|13|1884|4|20|df=y
place of death =flagicon|Spain|1939 Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain|

Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Beatrice Leopoldine Victoria; 20 April 188413 July 1966) was a member of the British Royal Family, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She later married into the Spanish Royal Family, and was the wife of Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón, Infante of Spain. She was called Bea by her family.

Early life

Princess Beatrice was born on 20 April 1884 at Eastwell Park, Kent. Her father was Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her mother was the Duchess of Edinburgh (née Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia), the only daughter of Alexander II of Russia and Marie of Hesse and by Rhine.

As a granddaughter of the British monarch in the male line, Beatrice held the title of Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with the style "Her Royal Highness".

Beatrice spent much of her early years in Malta, where her father was serving in the Royal Navy. On the death of Prince Alfred's uncle, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, on August 22, 1893, the vacant duchy fell to the Duke of Edinburgh, since HRH Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the Duke's elder brother had renounced his right to the succession.

The Duke and Duchess and their five children travelled to Coburg to take up residence shortly afterwards.


In 1902, Princess Beatrice had a romance with Russian Grand Duke Michael, the younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II, then the heir presumptive to the Imperial throne. However she was prevented from marrying the Grand Duke as the Russian Orthodox Church forbade the marriage of first cousins, despite her elder sister's subsequent marriage to another of their Russian cousins, Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich.

Beatrice was then rumoured to marry Alfonso XIII of Spain, but this proved to be a false rumour also as he married her cousin Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg in 1906. It was at their wedding that Beatrice met a cousin of the King Alfonso, Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón (12 November 1886 Madrid, Spain - 10 August 1975), Infante of Spain, 5th Duke of Galliera. The Spanish royal family were unhappy about the proposed match, and it was made clear that should it take place the couple would have to live in exile.

The couple had three sons:
*Alvaro Antonio Fernando Carlos Felipe (20 April 1910 Coburg, Germany - 22 August 1997)
*Alonso Maria Cristino Justo (28 May 1912 Madrid, Spain - 18 November 1936 Spain); Killed in action during the Spanish Civil War
*Ataulfo Alejandro Isabelo Carlos (20 October 1913 Madrid, Spain - 4 October 1974 Malaga, Spain)

candal and Exile

Beatrice and Alfonso married in a Roman Catholic and Lutheran ceremony at Coburg on 15 July, 1909. The couple first settled in Coburg, until, in 1912, Alfonso and Beatrice were allowed to return to Spain.

During King Alfonso XIII's unhappy marriage, he had numerous affairs and dalliances, some of which produced illegitimate children. It remains an unproven rumour that he had an affair with Beatrice. They were certainly close friends, but in the stifling etiquette of the Spanish Court, such a close relationship would have been difficult to conceal.

Queen Maria Christina (1858 - 1929, Spain's Queen Dowager) was said to be outraged by the rumours, and met up with Beatrice in San Sebastian and asked her to leave Spain. As she refused to do so, King Alfonso had no choice but to exile her.

Civil War

The family moved to England, where the three sons were educated at Winchester College. The Spanish Royal Family eventually relented, and Beatrice and her family were allowed to return to Spain where they established their home at an estate in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

The 1930s were an unhappy time for the family, as the collapse of the Spanish monarchy and the subsequent civil war led to the loss of much of the family's wealth. After the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931, King Alfonso and his family fled into exile in Italy. In the years that followed, the political situation in Spain worsened as various groups wrestled for power. By the late-1930s, the conflicts had erupted into all-out civil war. Beatrice and Alfonso lost their estate during the war, and the couple's middle son, Alfonso, was killed fighting the Communists.

Later life

Beatrice died at her estate Sanlúcar de Barrameda on 13 July 1966. Her husband survived her by nine years. Their son Ataulfo died, unmarried, in 1974. Their only grandchildren are the children of Prince Alvaro.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

*20 April 188422 August 1893: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh
*22 August 189315 July 1909: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
*15 July 190924 December 1930 [ [ The Peerage – Antonio, 4th Duke of Galliera] ] : "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón
*24 December 193014 July 1937 [ [ The Peerage – Alfonso, 5th Duke of Galliera] ] : "Her Royal Highness" The Duchess of Galliera
*14 July 193713 July 1966: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón

British arms

Beatrice's arms were the royal British arms, with an inescutcheon of the shield of Saxony, differenced with a label argent of five points, the central bearing a cross gules, the four others anchors azure. In 1917, the inescutcheon was dropped by royal warrant from George V. [ [ Heraldica – British Royalty Cadency] ]


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1= 1. Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
2= 2. Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
3= 3. Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
4= 4. Albert, Prince Consort
5= 5. Victoria of the United Kingdom
6= 6. Alexander II of Russia
7= 7. Marie of Hesse
8= 8. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
9= 9. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
10= 10. Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
11= 11. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
12= 12. Nicholas I of Russia
13= 13. Charlotte of Prussia
14= 14. Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse
15= 15. Princess Wilhelmine of Baden
16= 16. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
17= 17. Princess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
18= 18. Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
19= 19. Duchess Louise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
20= 20. George III of the United Kingdom
21= 21. Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
22= 22. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (= 16)
23= 23. Princess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf (= 17)
24= 24. Paul I of Russia
25= 25. Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg
26= 26. Frederick William III of Prussia
27= 27. Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
28= 28. Louis I, Grand Duke of Hesse
29= 29. Landgravine Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt
30= 30. Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden
31= 31. Landgravine Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt

Notes and sources

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