Maurice Paleologue, French Ambassador to Russia, wrote:
"About the spring of 1823 the little Court of Darmstadt was astounded to learn that the Grand Duchess was pregnant. On the 15th of July she gave birth to a third son, Prince Alexander, who was later to found the Battenberg family. For the honor of his crown and family, Louis II assumed paternity of the child. But everyone knew the real father; he was so insignificant no one dared to name him. The following year, on the 8th August 1824, the Grand Duchess was delivered of another child, of the same origin, Princess Marie."
Louis II may have been induced to accept the paternity of Alexander and Marie by Wilhelmina's brother and sisters, the Grand Duke of Baden, the Empress of Russia, the Queens of Bavaria and Sweden, and the Duchess of Brunswick.
Prince von Bulow, Chancellor of Germany, wrote:
"In the Russian royal family the descent of the future Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna and Prince Alexander of Hesse from the handsome Master of the Horse was well-known. When I was attached to the Embassy of St. Petersburg in 1865 or 1866, I drove with the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Vladimir from Tsarkoie Selo to St. Petersburg, the Grand Duke, who had gone to bed late, fell asleep on the way, and his wife called my attention to his fine, almost classical features. One could see, she said, that her husband was not the grandson of Louis II of Hesse, renowned for his ugliness, but of the handsome Grancy. As a matter of fact, the Senarclens von Grancy were a good family and came from the Canton Vaud, not far from Lausanne, where the ancestral castle stands."