This large and ornate silver table mirror has a pointed arch above the original plate. The openwork chased and repoussé silver frame is applied to a matte royal blue velvet ground and comprises an abundance of classical motifs couched in leafy scrolls. Centred at the top is the coat of arms of Princess Beatrice flanked by putti supporting floral swags, while the arms of Prince Henry of Battenberg are centred on the lower border. The sides have entwined initial roundels under a crown and suspended from ribbons with bunches of fruit, cuirasses and masks. The reverse has a silver easel support and a plaque inscribed ‘Presented to H.R.H. Princess Beatrice on her marriage by the Town of West Cowes 23rd July 1885 Benzie Fecit’.
Prince Henry of Battenberg and Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest child were married on 22 July 1885 on the condition that the couple make their home with her at Osborne House. The Queen made Prince Henry a Knight of the Garter, and granted him the style Royal Highness and Honorary Colonel of the 5th (Isle of Wight, Princess Beatrice’s) Volunteer Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment. He was subsequently made Governor of Carisbrooke Castle and Captain-General of the Isle of Wight. The Prince and Princess had four children, but 10 years into their marriage, on 20 January 1896, Prince Henry died of malaria in Africa. Beatrice remained at her mother’s side until Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901 and devoted the next 30 years to editing Queen Victoria’s journals as her designated literary executor. She died in 1944 aged 87, outliving all her siblings, all of her siblings’ spouses, two of her children, and several nieces and nephews including Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and George V of the United Kingdom.
Simpson Benzie established his jewellery and clockmaking business in 1862 and, succeeded by his son, they supplied the cream of society for more than 130 years. The firm held no fewer than eight Royal Warrants and a Benzie clock hung on a bulkhead on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
The Royal Warrants held by the establishment were: King George V., in 1910; King Edward, 1901; Queen Alexandra, 1901; Queen Victoria, 1885; Prince of Wales, 1884; King of Greece, 1886.”