Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll18 March 1848 - 3 December 1939) was given the names Louise Caroline Alberta. She was the sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Her mother, the Queen, wished for her daughter to marry and a hunt was put in place 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 to another Danish marriage that could annoy Prussia. 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 come and live in England. Victoria then proposed the idea that Louise marry a member of the British nobility. Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), disapproved of this idea.
Eventually a suitable candidate was chosen, the Marquess of Lorne, heir to the title of Duke of Argyll. The Marquess' 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 March 21, 1871 in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
In 1878, the Marquess was offered the position of Governor General of Canada. On November 14 1878, Lorne and Louise departed from Liverpool Harbour on the long journey to Canada. Princess Louise was popular in Canada, and extensively toured the country, as well as visiting the neighbouring United States.
Princess Louise was an accomplished writer, sculptor and artist – she painted well in both oils and water colours. A door she painted with sprigs of apple blossoms can still be seen in the Monck wing corridor at Rideau Hall. She gave the name Regina (which is Latin for Queen) to the capital of Saskatchewan, and both the district of Alberta in the Northwest Territories (later the province of Alberta) and Lake Louise in that district were named after her. Although she was often unwell, she was a compassionate woman who, during an epidemic of scarlet fever, personally nursed the sick.
On February 14, 1880, she was seriously injured when the viceregal sleigh overturned on the streets of Ottawa, Ontario, but she eventually made a full recovery. The couple left Canada in 1883 to return to England, although Louise had already returned home for 2 years previously.
Three Canadian regiments still honour her in their titles:
- 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s)
- The Princess Louise Fusiliers
- The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s)
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 December 3 1939 at Kensington Palace, when she was ninety one years old. At her own request her body was cremated at Golders Green in North London and her ashes were buried at Royal Cemetery at Frogmore.
The Duke and Duchess of Argyll did not have any children.
Princess Louise's titles from birth to death:
- Her Royal Highness The Princess Louise
- Her Royal Highness Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne
- Her Royal Highness Princess Louise, The Duchess of Argyll