Lady Louise Windsor could take over from Princess Anne: ‘There is a gap there’

Sophie Wessex's fierce defence of Lady Louise Windsor

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Lady Louise celebrates her 18th birthday in just over two weeks. When she reaches the landmark birthday on November 8, she will be able to decide whether or not she takes the HRH titles that she is entitled to. Her parents Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex opted against giving their children the titles from birth, instead preferring them to have as normal a childhood as possible. Instead, they are titled as children of an earl — Lady Louise and younger brother James, Viscount of Severn.

The decision over the titles will be in their hands once they reach 18. So Lady Louise can call herself a princess in little more than a fortnight, should she wish two.

Louise is believed to be the Queen’s favourite grandchild, and inherited Prince Philip’s dark green aluminium and steel carriage when he passed away earlier this year.

She had bonded with the Duke of Edinburgh over their shared love of carriage riding, and Louise has continued to care for his ponies at Windsor Castle since his death.

It remains unclear whether Louise will head off to university when she finishes school, although her mother told The Times last year that she hopes she will.

Royal expert Howard Hodgson advised her to take the titles and carry out royal duties, whether she goes to university or not.

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He said the senior royals, namely the Queen, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, aren’t getting any younger.

Therefore, he said, there is a “gap” for someone to take over these duties.

He explained: “If she puts her hand up and says ‘I want to take on board royal duties’, I’m sure the PR machine isn’t going to throw her right into the spotlight.

“But she will certainly be able to work and go out and do that without any shadow of a doubt, because there is enough to go round.

“Princess Anne is in her 70s now, she is second only to Prince Charles in terms of public duties.

“She would want to take it easy at some point. So there is a gap there.”

The Royal Family carries out more than 2,000 official engagements across the world each year.

Court Circular reports, detailed in WalesOnline last month, said Princess Anne was the hardest working royal so far this year, as of September 16.

She had carried out 110 engagements, resulting in 106 working days.

Older brother Charles, meanwhile, had amassed 101 engagements in 100 working days.

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The Queen, 95, was only slightly behind, with 96 engagements.

Mr Hodgson added Princess Anne does an “awful lot of engagements which nobody seems to recognise”.

Charles, it is widely believed, wishes to have a slimlined monarchy when he ascends to the throne.

He wishes to place the focus almost entirely on the line of succession.

Mr Hodgson said: “He’s been planning, for a long time, to have this focussed, reduced monarchy that really goes down the line of succession.

“So Queen, him, William, George. And that’s what it should be about from his point of view.

“So, the others are being marginalised, which is actually quite convenient in the case of Harry and Meghan.”

Despite Charles’ wish, the core group in which he plans to focus on cannot carry out all of the 2,000 engagements, especially with George being just eight years old.

Mr Hodgson advised Lady Louise should take the title for this very reason: “She’s not going to get any brownie points for not doing it because the Prince of Wales is a really, very nice man who actually wants to be a good King.”

He added being the Queen’s favourite grandchild might “carry some favour” for Louise.

Former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter said it was a “masterstroke” when Princess Anne decided against giving her children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, a HRH title.

He said: “Growing up as a commoner allowed Zara to thrive as her own woman, and there has never been pressure on her to conform. 

“She has benefited from it in all sorts of ways.”

Zara herself admitted in 2015 that she is thankful she doesn’t have a title, since it opened up opportunities for her.

She followed in her mother’s footsteps and went to the London 2012 Olympics, winning a silver medal.

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