Beatrice Place, W8

Place Name

Laid out over the extensive St Mary Abbotts Workhouse, which later became the Kensington Institution and Kensington Infirmary, and later St Mary Abbot’s Hospital until it was closed in 1992. It is one of a cluster of roads named after members of the Victorian Royal household. Princess Beatrice (April 14, 1857 – October 26, 1944), was the youngest of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s children and so consequently was known to everyone as Baby. She was treated less strictly than her siblings, and was more spoiled, particularly by Albert. After his death she was often left to play alone, but enjoyed playing with her nephews and nieces when they visited. Her widowed mother doted on her and continually used her for emotional support, this reliance continued even as Beatrice grew into a young woman. Consequently suitors were rejected by the Monarch, whose consent was required by the Royal Marriages Act. When her daughter told her mother that she was determined to marry Prince Henry of Battenberg, her mother reacted with a furious silence. Although they remained side by side, the Queen did not talk to her for seven months, instead communicating by note. It took a great deal of persuasion for her to relent and allow her daughter to wed. The couple’s marriage was a happy one, and despite her being a mother to four children (one who became Marquess of Carisbroke and another Queen Ena of Spain), she remained devoted to Victoria, serving as her unofficial secretary. However, Henry was determined to fight in military campaigns, against Victoria’s wishes. In November 1895, she eventually allowed him to take part in the Ashanti War, in West Africa where he was to serve as the military secretary to the commander-in-chief of British forces, General Sir Francis Scott. But soon after arriving he contracted malaria and subsequently died aboard the cruiser HMS Blonde. Following the death of her mother a few years later, Beatrice began to edit her mother’s journals, which the Queen had written with the intention of being published after her death. It was a task that was take 30 years. Following her mother’s wishes, she edited out a great number of personal entries and comments that would be hurtful to people still living. Beatrice remained at the family’s Isle of Wight home Osborne House, although following her brother, the King’s decision to gift to to the nation, she was limited to a few private apartments. She was the last of Queen Victoria’s children to die and was buried on the island along with her husband. Royals were, and remain, a popular source of inspiration for developers picking road names.

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