Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll

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Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll

Princess Louise
Born 1848
Died 1939

The Princess Louise (Louise Caroline Alberta: Marquess of Lorne and Duchess of Argyll by marriage; 18 March 1848 – 3 December 1939) was the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She was interested in sculpture, and was a notable architect. In 1871, she married John, Marquess of Lorne (Duke of Argyll from 1900), but the marriage was unhappy. They made up with each other in the 1900s, and after Argyll's death in 1914, she had a nervous breakdown. She died in 1939 at the age of 91.

Early life[change | edit source]

Louise was born at Buckingham Palace, the main British royal home in London. Her mother was Queen Victoria, and her father was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Louise spent much of her early life moving between the different royal homes that her parents stayed in. These included Buckingham Palace; Osborne House on the Isle of Wight; Windsor Castle in Berkshire; and Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Louise's education was similar to her brothers and sisters. She was given a basic education, as well as tasks such as cookery, carpentry and farming. She was good at art, especially sculpture. Hallam Tennyson, son of the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, wrote that Louise could "draw beautifully". She was also good at acting and dancing. The Queen wrote that Louise "danced the sword dance with more verve and accuracy than any of her sisters". She wanted to know about a lot of things, which gave her the nickname "Little Miss Why" from members of the royal family.

Death of Prince Albert[change | edit source]

Louise's father, Prince Albert, became ill with typhoid fever, and died on 14 December 1861. Queen Victoria was very sad after this happened, as she and Albert were a loving couple. While the Queen mourned, the court became morbid, and Louise quickly became fed up with it. On her 17th birthday, she asked if the ballroom could be opened for a dance, but Queen Victoria refused. Louise's irritation, in turn, irritated the Queen, who did not like Louise's arguments.

The Queen never really got over Albert's death, but she made herself feel better by sticking to Albert's plans for her children's marriages. In 1862, Louise's sister, Princess Alice, married Prince Louis of Hesse; in 1863, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales married Princess Alexandra of Denmark; and in 1866, Princess Helena married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. With Louise's elder sisters now married, Louise was left to be the Queen's helper. Despite not being happy about it, the Queen agreed with this, and was surprised by the results. The Queen wrote: "She is (and who would some years ago have thought it?) a clever dear girl with a fine strong character, unselfish and affectionate." In her new role, Louise was less bored by the court, because she had more things to do.

References[change | edit source]

  • Darling Loosy: Letters to Princess Louise 1856 to 1939 (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1991) ISBN 0-297-81179-7
  • Wake, Jehanne, Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's unconventional daughter (Collins, London, 1988) ISBN 0002170760

Other websites[change | edit source]