Scottish Genealogy

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Birthday to: Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll

Princess Louise, 1851
Born today in 1848 was Louise Caroline Alberta, the sixth child (and often said to be the most attractive daughter) of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  Louise was a sculptor and artist as well as being interested in a number of 'causes' - among them the rights of women.

Although she was linked with a variety of regal suitors from across the world, it was to a member of the Scottish nobility that she was eventually married in 1871: John Campbell, the Marquis of Lorne (later 9th duke of Argyll).  This was a remarkable match as it was said to be a love match and it was the first time since the 1500s that a daughter of the Royal family had married a British subject.

Princess Louise, c.1900

Despite promising beginnings, the marriage was not a happy one, but it endured despite the pair remaining childless and spending much time apart.  John and Louise reconciled before his death in 1914 and indeed Louise nursed him in his final years and reportedly missed him dreadfully after his death.

I came upon Louise's story through my own studies of her father in law, the 8th Duke of Argyll.  She is a fascinating individual and her marriage to a member of the Scottish nobility brings her (just!) within the remit of this blog.  I really just wanted to give a mention to this most unconventional of Royals - who shunned publicity, supported feminist causes, and courted scandal with her behaviour: her artistic endeavours included works using a nude female model.  I like these unconventional characters - and would like to wish Louise many happy returns on what would have been her 164th birthday! 

For more about Louise, see  

Elizabeth Longford, Darling Loosy: Letters to Princess Louise 1856 to 1939. (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1991)

Mark Stocker, ‘Louise, Princess, duchess of Argyll (1848–1939)’, first published 2004; online edn, Jan 2008

Jehanne Wake, Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's unconventional daughter. (London: Collins, 1988)

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