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Website Last Updated - 06 Feb 2016

(from Sept 2006)

Mountbatten’s father wrote to his own daughter Louise (6th June 1917) - “My beloved Louise, I have very serious news of far-reaching effects on us all to tell you.  George Rex telegraphed to me last week he wished to see me as soon as possible.  I took the next steamer and was closeted with him for a long time. The upshot of a long statement about his being attacked as being half-German and surrounding himself by relatives with German names and that he must ask us Holsteins, Tecks and Battenbergs to give up using in England our German titles and to assume English surnames…  It has been suggested that we should turn our name into English, viz: Battenhill or Mountbatten. We incline to the latter as a better sound…  Of course we are at his mercy.  We only are allowed to use our German title as the Sovereign has always recognised it, but he can refuse this recognition any moment. If so we are plain Mister, which would be impossible… For you, my dear children we feel deeply… It is a terrible upheaval and break with one’s past - another consequence of this awful war. Mama is splendid and is determined to give up her own title and rank which is quite her own and not due to marriage with me, and to call herself by my name and title only… Newspaper comment will be unpleasant, but unavoidable. Whether the republicans will be satisfied remains to be seen. I fear the Throne here is beginning to shake also…  All this is terrible.  I shall miss my old and laboriously write a new fancy name.”

Even Mountbatten’s mother, who had been born a Princess in her own right was unhappy at her “demotion” and was worried about the future of the Battenberg’s children loosing their own status. However she was to comment later how her youngest son (Mountbatten) felt - “Dickie treated our change of names etc. as a huge joke and laughed uproariously… of course Dickie had to ask me hundreds of questions about Peers and their positions and families, and whether he and Louise could marry whoever they like without the King interfering and whether his sons would be plain Mr or Honourable”.

A 1917 cartoon from “Punch” depicting

King George V “sweeping away the German titles

held by members of the Royal Family”

At the King’s request, in July 1917 Mountbatten’s father - Prince Louis renounced his title of a Prince of Battenberg and his style of “Serene Highness” for himself and his descendants and adopted the Anglicised version of Battenberg (Mountbatten) as his family’s surname.  On 7th November 1917, Mountbatten’s father was created Marquess of Milford Haven, Earl of Medina and Viscount Alderney within the Peerage of the United Kingdom.  The new Marquess of Milford Haven was proud of his German princely title, status and name and saw his “demotion” to being a Peer of the Realm as a “break with one’s past” and was more worried about the effect it would have on his children.  He took the train to Scotland to break the news to his sons personally - Prince George, who was now to be styled “Earl of Medina” and was serving on HMS New Zealand, and Mountbatten who was to be styled “Lord Louis Mountbatten” and was serving on HMS Lion.  

The Mountbatten Name

From Battenberg to Mountbatten - birth of a dynasty Pg 2

 Mountbatten Name 3