Victoria was born on 5 April 1863 at Windsor Castle as the daughter of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and his first wife, Princess Alice of the United Kingdom in the presence of her grandmother, Queen Victoria. The family lived in Darmstadt, Germany until the Prussian invasion of Hesse in June 1866 when Victoria and her sister were sent to live in England. Her sister Alix became the Empress of Russia, and her sister Elisabeth became a grand duchess of Russia.
Victoria’s brother Friedrich was diagnosed with haemophilia, and he died after falling from a window.
In 1878 Victoria contracted diphtheria. Other family members followed. Her mother nursed the sick. Victoria’s youngest sister Marie died in November. Just as the family seemed better, her mother Alice became ill. She died on 14 December.
Victoria later wrote, “My mother’s death was an irreparable loss … My childhood ended with her death, for I became the eldest and most responsible.”
Victoria married Prince Louis of Battenberg on 30 April 1884 at Darmstadt. He father was displeased with the match as Louis had little money and would take Victoria away from him. Victoria and Louis had four children, Alice, Louise, George and Louis. Her eldest daughter Alice was the mother of The Duke of Edinburgh, consort of Queen Elizabeth II.
During World War I Victoria and Louis abandoned their German titled and went by the English-sounding surname, Mountbatten. From November 1917 she was known as The Most Honourable The Marchioness of Milford Haven.
Prince Louis died suddenly in September 1921, after becoming unwell. Victoria lived in grace-and-favour residence at Kensington Palace. Tragedy again struck in 1937 when Victoria’s brother Ernest Louis died and afterwards her widowed sister-in-law, nephew, granddaughter and two great-grandchildren died in an air crash. Victoria’s son George died of bone cancer a year later.
Victoria became ill with bronchitis in the summer of 1950. She moved back to Kensington Palace where she later died. She is buried on the Isle of Wight.