Louise Caroline Alberta
1848 – 1939
The Princess Louise, GBE, GCStJ, GCVO, RRC, VA, CI (born Louise Caroline Alberta, also known as Marchioness of Lorne and Duchess of Argyll by marriage; 18 March 1848 – 3 December 1939), was a member of the British Royal Family, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband, Albert, Prince Consort.
Her early life was spent moving among the various royal residences in the company of her family. When her father, the Prince Consort, died on 14 December 1861, the court went into a period of intense mourning, to which Louise was unsympathetic. Louise was an able sculptor and artist, and several of her sculptures remain today. She was also a supporter of the feminist movement, corresponded with Josephine Butler and visited Elizabeth Garrett. She held that "the subject of Domestic Economy lies at the root of the – highest life of every true woman."
As an unmarried daughter of Victoria, Louise served as an unofficial secretary to her mother between 1866 and 1871. The question of Louise's marriage was discussed in the late 1860s. Suitors from the royal houses of Prussia and Denmark were suggested, but Victoria wanted new blood in the family, and therefore suggested a high-ranking member of the aristocracy. Despite opposition from members of the royal family, Louise fell in love with John, Marquess of Lorne, the heir to the Duke of Argyll, and Victoria consented to the marriage, which took place on 21 March 1871. Despite a happy beginning, the two drifted apart, possibly because of their childlessness and the Queen's constraints on their activities.
In 1878, Lorne was appointed Governor General of Canada. Louise became viceregal consort, but her stay was unhappy as a result of homesickness and dislike of Ottawa. Following Victoria's death on 22 January 1901, she entered the social circle established by her brother, the new King, Edward VII. Louise's marriage survived thanks to long periods of separation, but the couple reconciled in 1911, and she was devastated by her husband's death in 1914. After the end of the First World War in 1918, at the age of 70, she began to retire from public life, undertaking few public duties outside of Kensington Palace, where she died at the age of 91.
Louise was the most artistically talented of Queen Victoria's daughters. As well as being an able actress, pianist and dancer, she was a prolific artist and sculptor. When Louise sculpted a statue of the Queen, portraying her in Coronation robes, the press claimed that her tutor, Sir Edgar Boehm, was the true creator of the work. The claim was denied by Louise's friends, who asserted her effort and independence.
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