Louise, Princess Royal

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Princess Louise
Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife
Louise Princess Royal.jpg
Spouse Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife
Issue Alastair, Marquess of Macduff
Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife
Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk
Full name
Louise Victoria Alexandra Dagmar
House House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Windsor)
Father Edward VII
Mother Alexandra of Denmark
Born (1867-02-20)20 February 1867
Marlborough House, London
Died 4 January 1931(1931-01-04) (aged 63)
Portman Sq, London
Burial 10 January 1931
St George's Chapel, Windsor
British Royalty
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg
Edward VII
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale
George V
Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife
Princess Victoria
Maud, Queen of Norway
Prince Alexander John of Wales
Grandchildren in the female-line
Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife
Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk

Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife (Louise Victoria Alexandra Dagmar; 20 February 1867 – 4 January 1931) was the third child and the eldest daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Queen Alexandra; the younger sister of King George V. She was the sixth daughter of a British monarch to be styled Princess Royal.

Early life[edit]

The princess was born Princess Louise of Wales at Marlborough House, the London residence of her parents, then The Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra). She spent much of her childhood at Sandringham House, her parents' country estate in Norfolk. Like her sisters, Princesses Maud and Victoria, she received a limited formal education. Her paternal grandmother was Queen Victoria, while her maternal grandfather was King Christian IX of Denmark.

She was christened at Marlborough House on 10 May 1867 by Charles Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury.[1]

With her sisters Maud and Victoria, she was a bridesmaid at the 1885 wedding of her paternal aunt Princess Beatrice, to Prince Henry of Battenberg.[2]

Marriage and children[edit]

The Princess Royal with her daughters Princesses Maud, left, and Alexandra, ca. 1911.

On Saturday 27 July 1889, Princess Louise married the 6th Earl Fife (11 October 1849 – 12 January 1912), at the Private Chapel in Buckingham Palace.[3] He was eighteen years her senior, but her third cousin in descent from George III. Two days after the wedding, Queen Victoria created him Duke of Fife and Marquess of Macduff in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The Letters Patent creating this dukedom contained the standard remainder to "male heirs of the body lawfully begotten." However, it eventually became apparent that the Duke and Duchess would not have a son. Therefore, on 24 April 1900, Queen Victoria signed Letters Patent creating a second Dukedom of Fife, along with the Earldom of Macduff in the Peerage of the United Kingdom with a special remainder: in default of a male heir, these peerages would pass to the daughters of the 1st Duke and then to their male descendants.

The Duke and Duchess of Fife had three children:

Princess Royal[edit]

On 9 November 1905, King Edward VII declared Princess Louise the Princess Royal, the highest honour bestowed on a female member of the Royal Family. Thereafter, she was styled HRH The Princess Royal. At the same time, the King declared that the two daughters of the Princess Royal would have the titular dignity of Princess and the style of Highness, with precedence immediately after all members of the Royal Family holding the style of Royal Highness. From that point onward, the Princess Royal's daughters, styled Her Highness Princess Alexandra and Her Highness Princess Maud, no longer took their rank from their father, but rather from the will of the Sovereign.

In December 1911, while sailing to Egypt, the Princess Royal and her family were shipwrecked off the coast of Morocco. Although they escaped unharmed, the Duke of Fife fell ill with pleurisy, probably contracted as a result of the shipwreck. He died at Assuan, Egypt in January 1912, and Princess Alexandra succeeded to his dukedom, becoming Duchess of Fife in her own right. Princess Alexandra of Fife later married Prince Arthur of Connaught, a first cousin of Princess Louise. Alexandra, therefore, became known as HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught. She adopted the style of her husband, a Royal Highness, since he was the son of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, the third son of Queen Victoria. Princess Louise is the maternal grandmother of the 3rd Duke of Fife.

Later life[edit]

Princess Louise's coat of arms

Princess Louise of Wales received the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert in 1885 and the Imperial Order of the Crown of India in 1887. She became a Lady of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem (LJStJ) in 1888 and a Dame Grand Cross (GCStJ) of that order in 1929. She became colonel-in-chief of the 7th Dragoon Guards (the Princess Royal's Own) in 1914. She later served as colonel-in-chief of the 4th and 7th Dragoon Guards when it was formed in 1921.

In the autumn of 1929 at Mar Lodge she was taken ill with gastric hemorrhage and was brought back to London. The Princess Royal died fifteen months later in January 1931, at her home in Portman Square, London and was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Her remains were later removed to the Private Chapel, Mar Lodge Mausoleum, Braemar, Aberdeenshire.

Titles, styles and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 20 February 1867 – 27 June 1889: Her Royal Highness Princess Louise of Wales
  • 27 July 1889 – 29 July 1889: Her Royal Highness Princess Louise, Countess Fife
  • 29 July 1889 – 22 January 1901: Her Royal Highness Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife
  • 22 January 1901 – 9 November 1905: Her Royal Highness The Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife
  • 9 November 1905 – 4 January 1931: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal


Upon her marriage, Princess Louise was granted a coat of arms, being those of the kingdom with an inescutcheon for Saxony, all differenced with a label argent of five points, the outer pair and centre bearing crosses gules, and the inner pair bearing thistles proper.[4] The inescutcheon was dropped by royal warrant in 1917.



  1. ^ Her godparents were her paternal aunts – Alice, Princess Louis of Hesse, Helena, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein and Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll; her paternal uncle (by marriage), Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia; her first cousin once-removed – Grand Duchess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; her maternal great-uncle – Elector Frederick William of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel); her maternal grandmother: Queen Louise of Denmark – for whom she was named; her children, Louise's uncle, George I of Greece; and aunt, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna of Russia; Duke Charles of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg; and Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.
  2. ^ NPG: Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg with their bridesmaids and others on their wedding day http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw145863/Prince-and-Princess-Henry-of-Battenberg-with-their-bridesmaids-and-others-on-their-wedding-day?LinkID=mp89748&role=art&rNo=2
  3. ^ Her bridesmaids were The Princesses Maud and Victoria of Wales, Victoria Mary of Teck, Marie Louise and Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein and The Countesses Feodora, Helena and Victoria Gleichen
  4. ^ Heraldica – British Royal Cadency
Louise, Princess Royal
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 20 February 1867 Died: 4 January 1931
British royalty
Preceded by
Princess Royal
Succeeded by
Mary, Countess of Harewood