At 19 years old, Lady Louise Windsor is the eldest child of Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, and the youngest granddaughter of the late Queen Elizabeth. While she's managed to stay relatively under the radar thus far, Lady Louise is slowly stepping into the spotlight shared by the rest of her family.
Here, a few facts about Lady Louise.
1. She was born prematurely.
Lady Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor was born at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, England, on November 8, 2003. Her mother, then the Countess of Wessex, was rushed to the hospital to give birth to Lady Louise one month early, according to the BBC. Her father, Prince Edward, was not by Sophie's side when Lady Louise was born because he was on an official visit to Mauritius.
Weighing 4 lbs., 9 oz., Lady Louise was premature, and her birth came with a few complications. Due to a placental abruption, which caused severe blood loss to both Sophie and Lady Louise, she was delivered by the Royal Surgeon and Gynecologist Marcus Setchell via emergency Caesarean section.
Her name was later announced on November 27, 2003, and she was baptized in Windsor Castle's private chapel in 2004. As the daughter of Prince Edward, she is currently 15th in the line of succession for the British throne.
2. She grew up with an eye condition that inspired her mother to campaign for charity.
Born with esotropia, a condition that turns the eyes outwards, Lady Louise had difficulties with her vision growing up. She underwent her first eye procedure at just 18 months in order to correct her vision. The procedure, however, was unsuccessful and Lady Louise underwent a second procedure in 2014. Now, Lady Louise can see perfectly, according to Hello magazine.
"Premature babies can often have squints because the eyes are the last thing in the baby package to really be finalized," Sophie told the Sunday Express of her daughter's eye condition. "Her squint was quite profound when she was tiny and it takes time to correct it. You've got to make sure one eye doesn't become more dominant than the other but she's fine now—her eyesight is perfect," she added.
Lady Louise's mother was so inspired by her daughter's journey to correct her "cosmetically awkward" condition that she is now a patron of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and a global ambassador for Vision 2020 — a worldwide initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020.
3. She has a lake named after her.
During a visit to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to pay tribute to Canadian military personnel serving in Afghanistan in 2008, Prince Edward received an unexpected gift from Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, according to the Vancouver Sun. After giving a speech in honor of the Canadian servicemen and women, Prince Edward received framed notices naming two Northwestern Manitoba lakes after Lady Louise, then age 4, and her brother James, then the Viscount Severn, then 5 months old.
4. She is a skilled carriage driver.
When it comes to her hobbies, Lady Louise takes after her late grandfather Prince Philip. Like him, she is a keen carriage driver. She is said to have inherited Prince Philip's driving ponies and carriage after his death, and in May 2022, she showed off her skills on a public stage, driving his carriage at the Platinum Jubilee Royal Windsor Horse Show. She previously showcased her carriage driving talents at the 2018 Windsor Horse Show, and participates in the show annually.
"I trail in her wake, frankly," her mother, Sophie, said in a 2020 interview about Lady Louise's skills. "No, she is naturally so good at it, she really is. It's something that she has taken to very well."
5. She didn't realize her grandmother was the Queen of England.
Lady Louise and her younger brother James, Earl of Wessex, largely stay out of public eye. And it seems that living a normal life growing up meant not understanding that your grandmother was the monarch. In an interview with the BBC's Louise Minchlin in May 2016, Sophie revealed that her daughter didn't realize her grandmother was the Queen of England. To young Lady Louise, Queen Elizabeth was always just a regular grandmother.
"Well, for Louise, actually, it was much more of a shock to the system," Sophie told Minchlin. "It was only when she was coming home from school and saying, 'Mummy, people keep on telling me that grandma is the queen.' And I asked her, 'Yes, how does that make you feel?' And she said, 'I don't understand.' ... I don't think she had grasped that perhaps there was only one Queen."
6. She's played an important role in royal weddings.
Lady Louise has been tapped by two of her cousins to serve in their bridal parties. Back in 2011, Louise was a bridesmaid in Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding. More recently, Louise was given an important role in another royal wedding: she and her brother James were both special attendants at Princess Eugenie's wedding to Jack Brooksbank in October 2018.
In 2022, she started appearing more frequently at royal events. During the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, she made several appearances alongside her royal relatives, riding in a carriage during Trooping the Colour (she even re-wore her mother's Trooping the Colour hat), attending the National Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen, and taking in the Platinum Party at the Palace concert.
7. She's attending St Andrews University.
In August 2022, it was confirmed that she will attend St Andrews University, the school where her cousin Prince William met Kate, in the fall. “Having received her A Level results today, Lady Louise will start at St Andrews University in September to study English,” a Buckingham Place spokesperson said. Yet, Louise started school just two days before her grandmother the Queen passed away, and quickly traveled to Balmoral to be with the rest of the royal family.
Louise was a constant presence during the events in honor of her late grandmother. At the Palace of Westminster, Lady Louise and her brother, James, then the Viscount Severn, paid their respects to their late grandmother.
A few days later, Louise and James joined the rest of their cousins to stand vigil around Queen Elizabeth's coffin, and Louise wore a necklace featuring the silhouette of a horse's head. The necklace was perhaps a tribute to her and her grandmother's shared love of all things equestrian. At the Queen's funeral, she wore the necklace once again.
8. She attended King Charles's coronation wearing a blue floral dress.
On May 6th, Lady Louise attended King Charles's coronation with her father, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh and mother, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh. For the occasion, she wore a blue and white floral summer dress with a matching wide-brimmed hat. She also accessorized with a white clutch and machine white suede heels.
Lady Louise Windsor was alongside the rest of her family on the balcony of Buckingham palace following the coronation.