The British Infanta

  July 18, 2013 at 9:56 am by

Beatrice, Duchess of Galliera

On July 13th, 1966 a largely forgotten member of the Spanish Royal Family died at Sanlúcar de Barrameda in southern Spain.

The royal lady in question was Beatrice, Duchess of Galliera, who was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Born Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh on April 20th, 1884 in Kent, her father was Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and her mother was Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.

Beatrice and Alfonso

Prior to her Spanish marriage, Princess Beatrice had many suitors including Grand Duke Michael of Russia and it was even rumoured that she would marry King Alfonso XIII of Spain, but this was false as he married her cousin, Princess Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg. When Beatrice married the Spanish King’s cousin, Infante Alfonso Duke of Galliera, in 1909 it caused a bit of scandal in royal circles.

Firstly, the marriage was not granted royal approval by King Alfonso XIII and secondly Beatrice refused to convert to Roman Catholicism, which outraged the conservative Catholic Spanish Royal Court. The couple lived in exile from Spain over the next few years and three sons were born: Infantes Alvaro, Alfonso and Ataulfo. In 1913, Beatrice converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism and the family returned to Spain.

Beatrice with her three sons – Alvaro, Alfonso and Ataulfo

Another scandal forced the couple into exile again in 1916, following malicious rumours that Beatrice and King Alfonso XIII were having an affair. This exile lasted eight years and their return to Spain was cut short by the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931 and the civil war which followed. During the Spanish Civil War, Beatrice and Alfonso moved to England; sadly her middle son Infante Alfonso was killed fighting against the Republican forces.

Following the victory of General Franco, Infanta Beatrice and her family were allowed to return to Spain and settled at an estate in El Botánico in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Beatrice died here on July 13th, 1966, and her remains are buried at the Convento de Padres Capuchinos in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Her husband Infante Alfonso outlived her by nine years, dying in August 1975 aged 88.

Filed under Germany, Historical Royals, Spain, The United Kingdom
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5 Responses to The British Infanta

  1. Lady Daphne says:

    I believe this means Beatrice was the sister of Marie, Queen of Roumania. Also, what about Ena, who married a King of Spain??? Help!! It’s too much for my brain to sort out.

  2. JessRulz says:

    Correct you are Lady Daphne – Beatrice was the younger sister of Queen Marie of Romania. Ena was their first cousin – Beatrice and Marie’s father Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was an older brother of Ena’s mother, Princess Beatrice.

  3. Mavis F says:


    Prince Alfred of England/Edinburg and Princess Marie of Russia had one son and four daughters the daughters names were Marie,Victoria Melita, Alexandra and Beatrice.

    Note: Princess Ena(Queen of Spain) was the daughter of Princess Beatrice youngest child of Queen Victoria. Beatrice was married to Prince Henry of Battenburg.(Their daughter Ena was the queen of Spain).

  4. Lady Daphne says:

    Thank you Jess and Mavis. My head has stopped spinning and is now in a slow circular motion, sorting it all out!

  5. VictorianLady says:

    I think many of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren were forgotten as the family was so large it was hard to keep track unlike the present Queen’s grandchildren, where there are only 8.

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