HSH Princess Louise Alexandra Marie Irene of Battenberg (13 Jul 1889 Jugenheim, Germany - 7 Mar 1965 Stockholm, Sweden)
Princess Louise and her sister, Princess Alice, were educated privately for most of their life, except for a brief period.
Princess Louise was active during World War I; she participated in the Soldiers and Sailors Family Association, the Smoke for Soliders and Sailors and then enlisted in the Red Cross as a nurse. (Fjellman)
For her hard work she was award two British awards - the British War and Victory Medals. She was also awarded a medal from the British Red Cross as well as a French medal. (Fjellman)
When the war ended, Princess Louise continued her social work (now Lady Louise Mountbatten since 1917) in Battersea helping the children there.
Louise received a proposal from King Manuel II of Portugal in 1909 that she refused, despite the support of King Edward VII. She insisted on marrying for love. (Fjellman)
When she turned twenty, she became secretly engaged to Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark but the engagement was ended due to lack of funds. (Fjellman)
Louise was unlucky in love really - she fell in love with a man who her parents approved of, however he was killed during the war. Then she fell in love with a man who her father assured her was homosexual, and so another engagement failed (Hugo Vickers, “Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece”, p. 127-130).
Finally in 1923, the tables turned for Louise’s love life. She was courted by the three-years widowed Crown Prince of Sweden (her mother’s cousins husband before her death) (Fjellman).
On November 3rd of that year, Louise married the Crown Prince at St James’s Palace in the presence of members of both the royal families of Britain and Sweden. (Theo Aronson, Grandmama of Europe: the crowned descendants of Queen Victoria, part 352)
Fjellman describes the marriage as very happy, and it was considered a marriage for love rather than status or money. As Queen Victoria of Sweden spent most of her time in Italy, Louise was thrown into the “role” of Queen quite quickly, taking on many of her duties. The Queen’s early death before her husband made Louise the first lady of Sweden very quickly after this, and as such Louise took on all of the Queen’s roles. (Fjellman)
"It is hard for me to be the protector of different institutions, as I have been accustomed to practical work, as an ordinary person, before my marriage" - Crown Princess Louise of Sweden
Louise had only one stillborn daughter on May 30th, 1925.
Louise was a champion of nurses, gender equality and women’s rights.
"Women are completely intellectually equal to men and, provided they are given sufficient education, are just as capable to deserve respect and admiration as men in this field"
In 1936, Louise was present at the funeral of King George V of the UK.
When World War II came around, Louise was once again active with the Red Cross. She collected lighting and other tidbits like socks for the campaigns and soldiers guarding the neutral border of her country. As Sweden was neutral, Louise also acted as a messenger for those who could not communicate directly as a result of the war. She helped private citizens such as Princess Tatiana of Russia by providing supplies to her for her survival and well-being, and she helped many other people make it through the war. (Fjellman)
In 1950, Louise became HRH Queen Louise of Sweden.
"People look at me as if though I were something special. Surely I do not look differently today from how I looked yesterday!"
Her democratic mind abolished many of the old customs of the Swedish court. She also renovated the palace in Stockholm.
She was described as easy to anger and temperamental, as well as eccentric for royalty. However, she was said to have had a good heart, a good sense of humour and a sense of self irony for her royal role. She was seen as honest as well, always expressing her feelings openly. (Fjellman)
"I would describe the queen as a gentleman. She would never avoid acknowledging her own mistakes" - Said at court
Queen Louise was very proud of the nation she married into, and boasted about the political system to her relatives. She also greatly admired the culture and Swedish women and the way they presented themselves and their ideals. (Fjellman)
Queen Louise had several pomeranian dogs, which often caused trouble for her when she was travelling and going through customs.
The Queen was a frequent jay-walker, and it said that while in England she carried a card with her that said “I am the Queen of Sweden” so that people would know if she was hit by a car. (Fjellman)
In 1964 she attended the Nobel Prize ceremony, which was her last official engagement as Queen and last public appearance.
On March 7th, 1965, the Queen passed away after a period of extreme illness which had begun in 1964. She died at a hospital in Stockholm and is buried with her husband in the Royal Cemetery in Solna, Sweden.