Lecture 1: From Battenberg to Mountbatten
One of the many (possibly apocryphal) stories about the Duke of Edinburgh relates how, just after his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, the couple visited Windsor Castle. A courtier, patronisingly, began to tell Philip about the castle and its history. ‘I know’ said Prince Philip ‘my mother was born here’. This chance remark illustrates just how little was known about Prince Philip at the time of his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, and this state of affairs (but for a small selection of biographical studies) continues largely to the present day. The lecture seeks to redress this, and explore ancestors and immediate family of the Duke of Edinburgh through their portraits and photographs,
When it came to signing marriage documents, Philip, who was born Prince of Greece and Denmark, eschewed using either any of his father’s surnames (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg / Oldenburg), or his mother’s maiden name (Battenberg). Instead, he opted for an anglicised version of the latter (Mountbatten), which was borne exclusively by the British branch of his maternal family. The lecture looks at the history of the Battenberg / Mountbatten dynasty, with the focus on some of the more prominent members of the family as well as those individuals who had had a significant impact on Prince Philip’s life.
DR EUGENE BARILO VON REISBERG is a Melbourne-based scholar and art adviser, who shares his passion for art, history, and culture from the eighteenth century to the present day through regular lectures and publications. He has completed a doctoral dissertation on Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873), the 19th century elite portrait specialist, and is currently working towards a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s works.
Gustav Mullins (1854-1921). Queen Victoria, with her daughter Beatrice, Princess of Battenberg, her grand-daughter Victoria, Princess of Battenberg, and her great-grand-daughter, Princess Alice of Battenberg (mother of Prince Philip). 1886. Albumen Print. Collection of HM Queen Elizabeth II.