On 8 November 2003, the Countess of Wessex, Sophie, was rushed to the Frimley Park Hospital from her home at Bagshot Park. She was just eight months pregnant, but a placental abruption made it necessary for her to have an emergency caesarean section. Lady Louise was born at 11.32 PM, though both mother and child suffered severe blood loss. Louise was transferred to a neonatal unit in St. George’s Hospital as a precaution. Her father, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, was not present as he was on an official visit to Mauritius. The Countess of Wessex had previously suffered an ectopic pregnancy, which required her to be airlifted to hospital.
At the time of her parents’ wedding, it was announced that any children they may have were to be styled as children of an Earl. Any daughters would be a Lady, while the eldest son would be “Viscount Severn”, and any subsequent sons would be “The Honourable.”
However, according to the 1917 Letters Patent, any children of the monarch’s son, which Prince Edward is, are assigned princely status and the style of Royal Highness. So when Louise was born in 2003, she would actually be entitled to be called “Her Royal Highness Princess Louise of Wessex,” but per the earlier press release, she is referred to as “Lady Louise Windsor.” The 1917 Letters Patent are still in effect today, though it has been revised to include the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (namely The Duke of Cambridge’s children, George, Charlotte and Louis). It could be argued that a press release is not sufficient to counter a Letters Patent, and therefore Louise is still legally entitled to call herself Princess Louise. In 2020, her mother confirmed this when she told the Sunday Times, “We try to bring them up with the understanding that they are very likely to have to work for a living. Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but it’s highly unlikely.”1
The following evening, Prince Edward was able to be reunited with his wife, and he went to visit his newborn daughter as well. Sophie and Louise were not reunited until six days later. Sophie was discharged on 19 November, while Louise was allowed to go home four days later. On 27 November, her name was announced as Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor, and she was styled as “Lady Louise Windsor.” Her christening took place on 24 April 2004, and she became the last royal baby to wear the christening gown first worn by Victoria, Princess Royal – Queen Victoria’s eldest child. A replica gown is now in use as the original has become too fragile to use. In 2007, her brother James, styled Viscount Severn, was born. Louise was born with esotropia, which was corrected with surgery.
Louise began her schooling at St George’s School before moving to St Mary’s School Ascot in 2017, and she chose English, History, Politics and Drama as her A-level subjects. She has appeared at some official functions, and she was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her cousin Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. She and James went on an official trip with their parents to South Africa in 2015. In 2018, she joined her mother at an engagement with UK Sail Training. In 2020, she participated in the Great British Beach Clean with her family at Southsea Beach.
Louise learned to ride at a young age, and she has also taken up carriage driving. She reportedly inherited her grandfather’s driving ponies and carriage following his death in April 2021. She is also a member of Girlguiding.
As Louise grows older, her future role will become more defined, though I do not expect her to take on full-time royal duties.