HSH Princess Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena of Battenberg was born on 24 October 1887 at Balmoral Castle, in Scotland in the United Kingdom. Her father was Prince Henry of Battenberg, the fourth child and third son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine by his morganatic wife and her mother was Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom, the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Victoria Eugenie grew up in Queen Victoria's household, as the British monarch had reluctantly allowed Beatrice to marry on the condition that she remain her mother's full time companion and personal secretary. She therefore spent her childhood at Windsor Castle, Balmoral, and Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. During a summer in Osborne, Victoria Eugenie met Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia, a cousin to Nicholas II. The Grand Duke felt attracted to the beautiful British princess and when they met again in Nice in 1905, he proposed marriage to her. She was about to accept but declined at the last moment. In 1905 King Alfonso XIII of Spain made an official visit to the UK. Victoria Eugenie's uncle, King Edward VII, hosted a dinner in Buckingham Palace, in honour of the Spanish King. Alfonso sat down between Queen Alexandra and Princess Helena, King Edward's sister. Suddenly he noticed Victoria Eugenie and he asked Princess Helena who was that princess with almost white hair. When she noticed the King's eyes upon her, Victoria Eugenie felt abashed. Everybody knew that King Alfonso was looking for a suitable bride and one of the strongest candidates was Princess Patricia of Connaught, daughter of King Edward's brother, the Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. But now Victoria Eugenie had drawn the King's attention and, as Princess Patricia seemed not to be impressed by the Spanish monarch, Alfonso's interest in Victoria Eugenie grew. After a year of rumours about which princess the King of Spain would marry, Maria Christina of Austria finally acceded to her son's selection in January 1906 and wrote a letter to Princess Beatrice, Victoria Eugenie's mother, telling her about the love Alfonso felt for her daughter and seeking unofficial contact with King Edward VII. Some days later in Windsor, King Edward congratulated his niece on her future engagement.
The Spanish royal family went into exile on 14 April 1931 after municipal elections brought Republicans to power in most of the major cities, leading to the proclamation of the second Spanish Republic. Alfonso XIII had hoped that his voluntary exile might avert a civil war between the Republicans and the Nationalists. The royal family went to live in France and later Italy. Ena and Alfonso later separated, and she lived partly in the UK and, after being invited to leave this country by its government, in Switzerland. She purchased a chateau, the Vieille Fontaine, outside of Lausanne.
In 1938, the whole family gathered in Rome for the baptism of Don Juan's eldest son, Juan Carlos of Spain. On 15 January 1941, Alfonso XIII, feeling his death was near, transferred his rights to the Spanish crown to his son Don Juan de Borbon, Count of Barcelona. On 12 February, Alfonso suffered a first heart attack. Alfonso died on 28 February 1941.
Ena returned briefly to Spain in February 1968, to stand as godmother at the baptism of her great-grandson, Infante Don Felipe, the son of Infante Don Juan Carlos de Borbón y Borbón Dos-Sicilias (later King Juan Carlos I of Spain) and Princess Sofia of Greece and Denmark (later Queen Sofia).
I was on it tigerben