Why Lady Louise Windsor isn’t a Princess – despite exclusive balcony invite

Lady Louise Windsor pays tribute to Prince Philip

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The Queen announced shortly before the Platinum Jubilee that only working members of the Royal Family would join her on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the traditional RAF flypast. But a few exceptions to this rule were made to allow Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence to attend, along with the Wessex children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. Louise and James are known to be incredibly close to their grandmother, the Queen, but both are without the Princess and Prince titles many of their cousins hold.

Louise, 18, has been officially styled as The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor since her birth in 2003, but under the royal rules, she was entitled to be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Louise of Wessex.

Who gets HRH and Prince or Princess status in the Royal Family is determined by the Letters Patent issued by King George V in 1917, and it outlines that children born to the monarch’s sons are eligible.

Prince William and Prince Harry hold Prince titles as the children of the monarch’s eldest son Prince Charles, while Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie hold their titles as they are the daughters of the Queen’s second son Prince Andrew.

Lady Louise is the eldest child of the Queen’s third son Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, which makes her eligible for HRH and Princess titles under the Letters Patent.

But when they married in 1999, Edward and Sophie agreed with the Queen that their future children would be styled as the children of an Earl rather than a Prince.

Sophie explained the decision in an interview with the Sunday Times in 2020, stating: “We try to bring them up with the understanding 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 I think it’s highly unlikely.”

Even without a Princess title, Lady Louise has emerged as a popular member of the Royal Family in recent years.

Louise has famously continued the royal carriage driving tradition established by her late grandfather Prince Philip, whose love for Louise was evident when he left her his carriage upon his death.

Royal fans were deeply touched by Louise’s heartfelt discussion of her grandfather on the BBC documentary ‘Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers’ after the Duke died at the age of 99 last year.

In a touching tribute to Philip, Louise also drove a carriage in the presence of the Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show last month to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

Without royal titles, Louise and James are unlikely to be working members of the Royal Family in the future like their parents currently are.

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The Wessex children will likely have to carve out their own careers and follow in the footsteps of the Queen’s other untitled grandchildren, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall.

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips were thought to have declined the Queen’s offer of a title for their two children, and Anne has since said the decision was “the right thing to do” for Peter and Zara.

She told Vanity Fair in 2020: “I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles. So I think that was probably the right thing to do.”

Zara has thrived away from the royal spotlight as a highly accomplished equestrian, competing on behalf of Team GB in the London 2012 Olympics.

While Louise’s career ambitions are unknown, Sophie has previously expressed that she hoped her daughter would go on to university one day.

Sophie told the Sunday Times: “She’s working hard and will do A-levels. I hope she goes to university. I wouldn’t force her, but if she wants to. She’s quite clever.”

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