Louis was born as Ludwig Alexander von Battenberg in Graz, Austria, the eldest son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine by his morganatic marriage to Countess Julia von Hauke. Because of his morganatic parentage, Louis was denied his father's rank in the Grand Duchy of Hesse, and from birth his style of Illustrious Highness and title of Count of Battenberg instead derived from the rank given to his mother at the time of her marriage.
Battenberg joined the Royal Navy on 3 October 1868 at the age of fourteen and thus became a naturalised British subject. At the behest of the King, Louis relinquished the title Prince of Battenberg in the Grand Duchy of Hesse, along with the style of Serene Highness, on 14 July 1917. At the same time, Louis anglicised his family name, changing it from "Battenberg" to "Mountbatten".
He married a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, on 30 April 1884 at Darmstadt, and was the father of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who also served as First Sea Lord from 1954 to 1959. His wife was the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria's second daughter Princess Alice by Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse. Through the Hesse family, Prince and Princess Louis of Battenberg were first cousins once removed. Louis and Victoria had four children. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, consort of Queen Elizabeth II, is his grandson.
He died at 42 Half Moon Street, Piccadilly, London in the annex of the Naval & Military Club on 11 September 1921 of heart failure following influenza. After a funeral service at Westminster Abbey, his remains were buried at St. Mildred's Church, Whippingham, on the Isle of Wight.
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