Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (1848-1939)

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Alexandra RI

Dec 19, 2006
United States
I enjoy learning about all of Queen Victoria's children. But if I had to pick a favorite it would be Princess Louise. She had an interesting life. She was an artist and was the first lady of Canada. I would love to hear other opinions.

I enjoy learning about all of Queen Victoria's children. But if I had to pick a favorite it would be Princess Louise. She had an interesting life. She was an artist and was the first lady of Canada. I would love to hear other opinions.

Also interesting is that she was the only one of Queen Victoria's children that did not marry a royal.
Princess Louise

The Wikipedia writeup follows...

"The Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, (Louise Caroline Alberta; 18 March 1848 – 3 December 1939) was a member of the British Royal Family, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. She served as Canadian Viceregal Consort, when her husband, then the Marquess of Lorne, was the Governor General of Canada. During her time in Canada, unlike her popular husband, she evinced considerable boredom with life in the colonies.

Princess Louise was born on 18 March 1848 at Buckingham Palace, London. Her mother was the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria, a grandchild of King George III through his fourth son, Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent. Her father was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. As a daughter of the sovereign, Princess Louise was styled Her Royal Highness from birth. She was christened in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace by John Bird Sumner, Archbishop of Canterbury, on 13 May 1848. Her godparents were Duke Gustav of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (for whom Prince Albert stood proxy), The Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen (for whom Queen Adelaide stood proxy), and The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (for whom The Duchess of Cambridge stood proxy).

Louise was educated by a governess at Windsor Castle and later attended the Kensington National Art Training School when she was 20.

Her mother, the Queen, wished for her daughter to marry and a hunt began for a suitable husband. The Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra) proposed her own brother, Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark as a possible candidate, but the Queen firmly opposed another Danish marriage that could annoy Prussia (see Second War of Schleswig for details of the conflict between the two countries). Louise's eldest sister the Crown Princess of Prussia, proposed her own candidate, the tall and rich Prince Albrecht of Prussia, her husband's cousin. However, he was reluctant to settle in England as requested. Victoria then proposed the idea that Louise marry a member of the British nobility. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), disapproved of this idea (in most of Europe it would have been out of the question at that time for a sovereign's daughter to marry a non-mediatized noble).

Eventually a suitable candidate was chosen, the Marquess of Lorne, heir to the title of Duke of Argyll. The Marquess's parents were known to the Queen, and they approved of the proposed union. The Marquess was also a Member of Parliament at this time. Princess Louise married the Marquess of Lorne on 21 March 1871 in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

In 1878, the Marquess was offered the position of Governor General of Canada. On 14 November 1878, Lord Lorne and Princess Louise departed from Liverpool Harbour on the long journey to Canada. Princess Louise extensively toured the country, as well as visiting the neighbouring United States.

Princess Louise was the most attractive of her sisters. Her artistic talents were also more than polite accomplishments. Her ability in the arts, for what it may have been worth, matched or exceeded those of many subsequent members of the Royal Family. She was an accomplished writer, sculptor and artist. She painted in both oils and watercolors. A door she painted with sprigs of apple blossoms can still be seen in the Monck wing corridor at Rideau Hall. The enduringly popular Marquess of Lorne gave the name Regina (Latin for Queen) to the capital of the North-West Territories (after 1905 of the province of Saskatchewan), and both the district of Alberta in the Northwest Territories (later the province of Alberta) and Lake Louise in that district in her honor. Although she was often unwell, she was reputed to be a compassionate woman who, during an epidemic of scarlet fever, reportedly personally nursed the sick.

On 14 February 1880, she was seriously injured when the viceregal sleigh overturned on the streets of Ottawa, Ontario, an incident which provoked the anger of her mother, the Queen. Louise, though she made a full recovery, "was not the most popular chatelaine that Rideau Hall had known; her boredom with the capital was the subject of public comment" and she returned to England, leaving Lord Lorne to discharge their Vice-Regal duties alone for another two years. What was perhaps not widely known at the time, however, was there had been warnings of attempts on her life by Fenians and it may not have been entirely invidious at the time for her to retreat from Canada to England. Lord Lorne of course remained and attended to his duty to the end of the Lornes' five-year term.

Princess Louise visited the Toronto General Hospital on three documented occasions: 10th September 1879 and 13th September 1883, accompanied by Lord Lorne, and 29th May 1880 accompanied by H.R.H. Prince Leopold. On each of these occasions she simply signed the hospital's Visitor Register as "Louise". These visits, along with her caring for members of the Rideau Hall household who had contracted Scarlet fever, when the maids refused, illustrated the Princess's concern for health and medicine.

On 24 April 1900, the 8th Duke of Argyll died, and the Marquess of Lorne became the 9th Duke of Argyll, and Louise, the Duchess of Argyll.

The Duke died in 1914 from pneumonia. Princess Louise, now a widow, spent World War I visiting Canadian Army units coming to fight in France. She survived until the beginning of World War II, dying on 3 December 1939 at Kensington Palace, when she was ninety-one years old. At her own request, her body was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium in North London and her ashes were buried at Royal Cemetery at Frogmore, where her parents are also buried.

The Duke and Duchess of Argyll did not have any children. According to one scholar, the Princess was sterile as the result of a teenage bout with meningitis. In various biographies, however, there has been much discussion over the Duke's sexuality. It is certain that he preferred the company of men to that of his wife and that he and Princess Louise were often separated for long periods of time ostensibly for reasons of temperament."

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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More About Princess Louise

Britannia Biography has this about this remarkable lady:

"Princess Louise
by Brenda Ralph Lewis

It is nothing unusual these days for British royals to marry outside their own blue-blooded ranks. In the 19th century, though, the story was very different, which is why the marriage of Princess Louise, fourth daughter and sixth child of Queen Victoria to John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, Marquis of Lorne and heir to the dukedom of Argyll created such a stir when it took place in 1871. The Royal Family were outraged, but Victoria pulled rank on all of them, and made it known that if the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and all her possessions beyond the seas thought the Marquis was right for Louise, who else had anything to say about it'...

Princess Louise
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Princess Louise is also my favorite of all of Queen Victoria's daughters.
Louise of Argyll - Photo Album

This thread contains various images of Princess Louise of Great Britain from her early childhood to her later years.
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Here are a few photos of Princess Louise with her royal siblings. If you have any related images - Please do not hesitate to share them !!! Thanks :)


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Louise at the time of her wedding to the Duke of Argyll


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This is one of my favorite images of Princess Louise :)


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It is sad that Louise's childhood bout of meningitis prevented her from having children. I think her marriage might have been much happier than it reportedly was if she and Lorne had had a few little ones. And, sadly, the Argyll dukedom went to one of his brothers.

Princess Louise looks so beautiful in the photos.
Princess Louise looks so beautiful in the photos.

She was often referred to as 'the family beauty' :flowers: Princess Louise is 'spinning' cotton in the last pic.


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out of all queen victoria children princess louise,duchess argyll is always my favorite pity i never find any picture of her in old days anyway rnt there any picture of her in her old days like the from the 1890 through end of 1930;s
She lived, I think I am correct, well into the reign of King George V - right??
The year of her death is in the thread title.
Princess Louise was the most beautiful of Queen Victoria's daughters; she had a very charming and sophisticated personality. Being a daughter of Queen Victoria, during the time she spent here as the Canada's frist lady she was regarded as a superstar. She spoke a perfect French with a beautiful accent and French-Canadians were very fond of her. Princess Louise made excellent liaisons with the highly sophisticated and cultural society in Quebec.

The Duke and Duchess of Argyll had a cordial relationship rather than passionate and they did not have a happy marital life; once they knew children woud not come they decided to have separate rooms. The Duke of Argyll was considered to be bisexual and had a long and rather controversial relationship with Frank Shackleton.

Modern, liberal and advanced, Princess Louise was also a remarkable artist and sculptress. The impact she made in Canada was long lasting. Although some Canadians think the [now] ultra rich Province of Alberta was named after Prince Albert; truth is that such Province was named after princess Louise, whose names are Louise Caroline Alberta (PEI -Prince Edward Island- was named after Queen Victoria's father).
She spoke a perfect French with a beautiful accent and French-Canadians were very fond of her. Princess Louise made excellent liaisons with the highly sophisticated and cultural society in Quebec.

I'm French Canadian but I must admit that I did'nt know very much Princess Louise. Thank you for this interesting information about her.
Lenchen & Louischen: Princesses Helena & Louise

The two princesses c.1863 photographed by Jabez Hughes

Louise's art

Does anyone have any pictures of or links to any of Princess Louise's art?
Does anyone have any pictures of or links to any of Princess Louise's art?

The only three pictures I could find of Princess Louise's sculptures. The first is Queen Victoria on the grounds of Kensington Palace, London. The second is the Boer War Memorial in St. Paul's Cathedral, and the third is Queen Victoria at McGill University, Montreal. All of these were works of Princess Louise. There are two other works at St. Mildred's Church on the Isle of Wight, one of which is a memorial to Prince Henry of Battenberg, but I've had no luck finding a picture of it. :flowers:
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Wow...I didn't know these sculptures were done by Princess Louise. Fantastic! What a talent.
Wow...I didn't know these sculptures were done by Princess Louise. Fantastic! What a talent.

I didnt realize she had done the statue at Kensington Palace...
I do remember seeing that last summer in London and admiring it, though.

thanks for posting the pics!
Recently,I've read some articles and book about Queen Victoria and her daughters.I 've got particularly interested in some unclarified details of Louise's biography.She seems to have been the most long-living,artistic and unusual among her siblings.I wish to find more links and reliable information to these points:
1.Is it true that at the age of 19 years old Louise had a baby before marriage?(the source "Queen Victoria" by Christopher Hibbert)If it 's true,what was the destiny of this kid.
2.The supposed bisexuality of her husband that could have caused a childless marriage
3.The cause of childless marriage:it was either a illness or a conscious step as an act of rebelness to matenal epoch
4.Louise was said to have several lovers:an artist,a sculptor and even a colonel and a supposed attempt to seduce Prince Henry of Battenberg
5.What was the real chracter of the princess:an angelic or demonic one?Some characterized her as a vixen,the others mentioned her cordiality and kindness,where is the true personality behind the myths?
Lenora, some years ago I read a Louise bio but I don't recall that she had a child out of wedlock, but I do recall reading that an illness, as a girl? may have caused sterility but you may rest assured that bisexuality, of itself, is not a reason for childlessness. There may well have been a "spark" between her and Liko Battenberg, especially as it is unlikely that her husband found her attractive in that way and there does seem to have been a less than sisterly rapport between Louise and Beatrice. As to other lovers, she was a woman with artistic talents who understandably would be drawn to likeminded people, some of whom lived by a set of rules quite different from those she had previously experienced!!! Whether she was angel or demon would depend largely on to whom the question was posed. I feel sure I know what Beatrice thought of her!!!! whilst others may have seen her as goodness personified. I think she was much like the rest of us, multifaceted-human.
I seriously doubt Louise had a child before she married. As for her relationship with Helena and Beatrice, it was probably a little strained at times but from what I have read, they soon forgot their differences and got along fairly well.

Louise was an artist and sculptor who probably had a more liberal outlook than her family. This undoubtedly caused some friction in the royal family but what large family is without this problem? She may have been jealous of Beatrice's sexual relationship with her husband but then again, by all accounts, Louise was considered to be the most attractive of Victoria's daughters. Whether Louise had lovers is conjecture but most likely made up and she probably remained loyal to her husband.
The Mystery of Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's daughter, secret love and Royal sex scandal | Mail Online

Queen Victoria's ravishing daughter, a secret love and a sex scandal the Royal Family's STILL trying to cover up

Mysteries about Princess Louise revealed in new biography
She allegedly gave birth before she was married and hid her pregnancy
Comes nine years after Nick Locock claimed he was her great-grandson
Court rejected plans to exhume body of Henry Lock to prove his royal ties

Every few years, some (usually) deluded soul tries to persuade the newspapers or the courts that he’s a direct descendant of some dead member of the Royal Family or other — invariably from the wrong side of the blanket. Little wonder, then, that no one paid much attention when Nick Locock took to the law in 2004. Once and for all, he said, he wanted to prove that he was the great-grandson of Princess Louise, the most beautiful — and least conventional — of Queen Victoria’s five daughters. His claim seemed unlikely, to say the least. If the as yet unmarried princess had indeed given birth secretly to his grandfather, Henry, he was asking us to believe that Queen Victoria — the moral guardian of her era — had colluded to wipe the record clean.

But Locock, a retired racing commentator from Hampshire, was so convinced that he wanted the court’s permission to retrieve a sample of Henry’s DNA. This would have involved drilling a hole in his grandfather’s coffin at the Locock family vault in Sevenoaks, Kent, and removing a sample of bone. After that, Nick maintained, Henry’s DNA could conceivably be compared with an existing DNA sample from one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters. The courts, however, turned down his application, citing ‘the sanctity of Christian burial’.

And there it all rested, until author Lucinda Hawksley began working on a biography of the lovely Louise — a woman so far ahead of her time that she became a respected sculptor and campaigner for women’s rights. Like all researchers into the Royal Family, Hawksley applied to visit the royal archives at Windsor. To her surprise, she was told that Princess Louise’s files were ‘closed’ to the public. Next, she tried several times to get access to the archives of Louise’s husband’s family — the Argylls — at Inveraray, Scotland, but again she was firmly rebuffed. Stranger still, she ran against the same brick wall when she asked to see papers connected to people Louise had known — from fellow artists to servants and friends. And Hawksley wasn’t the only one who wondered what was going on. The archivists she approached at the National Gallery, the Royal Academy and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as at various overseas collections in Malta, Bermuda and Canada, were frankly bemused to discover that all the papers she’d requested had been ‘removed’ to Windsor.

By then, Hawksley was all the more determined to get to the bottom of this most tantalising of royal mysteries. Why, she wanted to know, had the detailed records of the most popular of Victoria’s daughters been locked away in the archives? What was it about her that was deemed too scandalous or dangerous to be revealed? And, at 18, when she flowered into the type of curvaceous, regular-featured, blue-eyed beauty most admired by Victorian men, she was indeed noticed. But was she also seduced?

Lieutenant Walter George Stirling, of the Horse Artillery, had been hired in March 1866 as the latest tutor for her delicate younger brother, Leopold, who was a haemophiliac. An important addition to the Royal Household, Stirling also joined various family outings, parties and dinners. Leopold blossomed under his care, and there was certainly no sign that Victoria was anything but pleased with the handsome young officer. Louise, meanwhile, was spending a great deal of time with both her brother and his tutor. So it came as a shock when Stirling was abruptly dismissed from his post just four months later.

continue reading via the link.

Princess Louise (1848-1939)


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