The Princess Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife

Granddaughter of Queen Victoria

Princess Louise Facts

Known for: sixth British princess named Princess Royal; daughter of King Edward VII, and granddaughter of Queen Victoria
Dates: February 20, 1867 – January 4, 1931
Also known as: Louise Victoria Alexandra Dagmar, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife, The Princess Louise, Princess Louise of Wales (at birth)

Background, Family:

  • Mother: Alexandra of Denmark (1844 – 1925): Alexandra, Princess of Wales, at the birth of Princess Louise, and later Queen Alexandra. Alexandra was the daughter of Christian IX of Denmark and his consort, Louise of Hesse-Kassel.
  • Father: Edward (1841 – 1910), Prince of Wales, at the birth of Princess Louise, and later King Edward VII. Edward was the son of Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert.
  • Siblings: Prince Albert Victor (1864 – 1892), George V (1865 – 1936), Princess Victoria (1868 – 1935), Princess Maud (1869 – 1938, Queen consort of Norway), Prince Alexander John (1871 – 1871)

Marriage, Children:

Husband:  Alexander Duff, 6th Earl Fife, later 1st Duke of Fife (married July 27, 1889, died 1912)


  • Alistair Duff (1890 – 1890)
  • Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife (1891 – 1959): married Prince Arthur of Connaught and Strathearn, a grandson of Queen Victoria
  • Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk (1893 – 1945): married Charles Carnegie, 11th Earl of Southesk

Princess Louise Biography:

Born at Marlborough House in London, the Princess Louise of Wales, she was the first daughter born after two sons.  Two more sisters arrived the following two years, and the three girls were rather close to each other in their youth, known for being very active though all became more shy and withdrawn as they grew up.  They were educated by governesses.  In 1895, the three sisters were among the bridesmaids at the wedding of their aunt, Princess Beatrice, youngest of Queen Victoria’s daughters.

Because her father had two sons who could succeed him, Louise’s mother did not think that the daughters should marry.  Victoria, the sister who followed Louise, never did. Louise nevertheless married Alexander Duff, who was the sixth Earl Fife and a descendant of William IV through one of that king’s illegitimate children. Her husband was created a duke when they married in 1889, just a month after their engagement.

Louise’s first child was a stillborn son, born soon after their marriage.  Two daughters, Alexandra  and Maud, born in 1891 and 1893, completed the family.

When Louise’s eldest brother died in 1892 at the age of 28, her next eldest brother, George, became the second in the line of succession, after their father, Edward. This put Louise third in line, and unless Louise’s only surviving brother, then unmarried, had legitimate offspring, her daughters would be next in the line of succession – and they were, unless royal decree changed their status, technically commoners.  In 1893, George married Mary of Teck who had been engaged to his older brother, thus making the succession of Louise or her daughters unlikely.  Louise hosted the marriage of her brother.

Princess Louise, after her marriage, lived quite privately.  Her father succeeded his mother, Queen Victoria, in 1901, and in 1905 bestowed on Louise the title of Princess Royal, a title reserved for the eldest daughter of a reigning monarch, though not always given.  She was the sixth such Princess Royal. At the same time, her daughters were created princesses and given the title of highness.  They were the only female-line descendants of a British sovereign to be given the title of Princess of Great Britain and Ireland.

In December of 1911, on a trip to Egypt, the family was shipwrecked off Morocco.  The Duke became ill of pleurisy, and died the next month. His eldest daughter by Louise, Alexandra, inherited the title of Duchess.  She married a first cousin once removed, Prince Arthur of Connaught and Strathean, a grandson of Queen Victoria, and thus had the title of royal highness.

Louise’s younger daughter Maud married Lord Carnegie in 1923, and was thereafter known as Lady Carnegie, rather than Princess, for most purposes.  Maud’s son was James Carnegie, who inherited the title of Duke of Fife as well as Earl of Sothesk.

Louise, The Princess Royal, died at home in London in 1931.  She was buried in St. George's Chapel, and her remains later moved to a private chapel at another of her resisdences, Mar Lodge in Braemar, Aberdeenshire.