Louise Mountbatten
Queen of Sweden
Louise Mountbatten
Louise Alexandra Marie Irene Mountbatten became Queen consort of Sweden in 1950 and served as such until her death in 1965. Through her marriage, prior to her husband's accession as King Gustaf VI Adolf, Louise was Crown Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Scania.
Biography
Louise Mountbatten's personal information overview.
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Timeline
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1965
    Age 75
    Queen Louise died on 7 March 1965 at Saint Göran Hospital, in Stockholm, Sweden, following emergency surgery after a period of severe illness.
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  • 1964
    Age 74
    She had made her last public appearance at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in December 1964.
    More Details Hide Details She is buried alongside her husband in the Royal Cemetery in Solna north of Stockholm. National honours Foreign honours Queen Louise was the second of the four children of Prince Louis of Battenberg, by his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine and a great-granddaughter of Britain's Queen Victoria. Both Queen Louise and her stepchildren were great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
    Her last official engagement was the Nobel Prize dinner of 1964, during which no one noticed that she was in fact already ill.
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  • 1963
    Age 73
    In 1963, Louise accompanied her spouse on a state visit to France, where she made a great impression on President Charles de Gaulle.
    More Details Hide Details At dinner, she said to him: "I must ask you to excuse my ugly French. My French is the one spoken in the trenches of 1914." De Gaulle later attended her memorial in Paris, which was the first occasion for a French president to visit the Swedish church there, as well as one of only two occasions de Gaulle visited a memorial service of this kind.
  • 1962
    Age 72
    In 1962, she abolished the court presentations, replaced them with "democratic ladies' lunches", to which she invited professional career women, a custom which was to continue under Princess Sibylla after her death.
    More Details Hide Details She also renovated and redecorated the interior of the Royal Palace in Stockholm. Louise was described as eccentric for royalty and temperamental; she could get very angry, but was said to possess a good heart, a great sense of humour, a sense of self irony and was able to distinguish between herself and her royal role. She could show her sympathies openly, and this was taken as a sign of her honesty. One courtier commented, "I would describe the queen as a 'gentleman'. She would never avoid acknowledging her own mistakes". Louise is described as a great lover and patriot of her new home country, and was often shocked by Swedish non-patriotic customs. She was a supporter of the political system and democracy in the form it had developed in Sweden and stated her opinion to her relatives that no other political system than the Swedish one had created such a happy development for any nation. Queen Louise also admired Swedish nature and in particular Swedish women, because of what she considered their natural dignity regardless of class, and remarked that she had never seen a country with less vulgarity than Sweden.
  • 1954
    Age 64
    Louise disliked the strict pre-World War I protocol at court, retained during her mother-in-law's era, and reformed it when she became queen, instituting new guidelines in 1954 which democraticised many old customs.
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  • 1950
    Age 60
    In 1950, Louise became queen after accession to the throne of her husband.
    More Details Hide Details Louise is described as a true democrat at heart, and was therefore somewhat disturbed at being celebrated merely in her capacity of queen. In reference to the attention, she remarked: "People look at me as if I were something special. Surely I do not look differently today from how I looked yesterday!"
  • FIFTIES
  • 1940
    Age 50
    In 1940, for example, she sent supplies to the British major Michael Smiley at the Rifle Brigade, who was captured and placed in a prisoner of war camp, after his mother-in-law Alicia Pearson had asked for her help.
    More Details Hide Details During the Finnish Winter War, she set up a home for Finnish war orphans at Ulriksdal Palace.
  • FORTIES
  • 1936
    Age 46
    In 1936, she attended the funeral of George V of Great Britain.
    More Details Hide Details During World War II, Louise was active in aid work within the Red Cross. She collected candles and other non-electric light sources for the needy during the campaign "Vinterljus" (English: Winter Lights). Another contribution was Kronprinsessans Gåvokommitté för Neutralitetsvakten (English:"The Crown Princess Gift Association For the Neutral Defence Forces"), which provided the soldiers mobilised to guard the borders of neutral Sweden with gifts: normally socks, scarfs and caps knitted by contributors from all over the country. As a citizen of a neutral country, Louise was also able to act as a messenger between relatives and friends across warfaring borders. She also provided supplies to many private citizens in this way, such as "two old ladies in Münich", the former German language teacher of her husband's late wife, and the exiled Princess Tatiana of Russia in Palestine. It is said many would have died, had it not been for her help.
  • 1934
    Age 44
    In 1934–35, she made a similar trip with Gustav Adolf to Greece and around the Middle East and Africa, called the Orient Tour.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1929
    Age 39
    At the age of twenty, Louise became secretly engaged to Prince Christopher of Greece, but they were forced to give up their relationship for financial reasons. While living in exile more than 10 years later, he would wed the wealthy widow, Nancy Stewart Worthington Leeds, and after her death he would marry Princess Françoise d'Orléans in 1929.
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  • 1925
    Age 35
    Louise's only child, a daughter, was stillborn on 30 May 1925.
    More Details Hide Details In 1926–1927, the crown princely couple made an international trip around the world to benefit Swedish interests, which was described as a great success, especially the trip to the United States, during which they travelled across the nation from New York City to San Francisco. Public interest was high, and the couple acquired a reputation for being "democratic", after having refused such formalities as greeting the guests at a reception sitting on thrones, which they had been invited to do at the reception of an American millionaire. During an interview in Salt Lake City, Louise stated that she believed in gender equality and that women are fully capable of being active within all professions and in the business world, as well as within politics: "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".
  • 1923
    Age 33
    On 3 November 1923, at age 34, Louise married Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, in the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace in the presence of King George V and members of both royal families.
    More Details Hide Details The marriage between Louise and Gustav Adolf was by all accounts a love match and described as very happy. She was also liked by her mother-in-law because of her friendly nature, although they seldom saw each other, as Queen Victoria spent most of her time in Italy. The fact that the queen spent most of her time abroad meant that Louise took on many royal duties from the beginning, which was initially hard for her as she was at this point described as quite shy. After the queen's death in 1930, Louise was officially the first lady of the nation, expected to perform all the duties of a queen, twenty years before she actually became queen. This meant that she was to take over the protection of all the organisations and associations traditionally assigned to the queen. She was made the protector of the Swedish Red Cross, Kronprinsessan Lovisas Barnsjukhus, Eugeniahemmet, Drottningens centralkommitté, Arbetsflitens Befrämjande, Sophiahemmet and Svenska Hemslöjdsföreningarns Riksförbund. Regarding this matter, she remarked: "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". As a former nurse, a fact she was proud to point out, she was interested in improving the working conditions for nurses.
    On 27 October 1923 Sweden and Britain's respective plenipotentiaries signed the "Treaty between Great Britain and Sweden for the Marriage of Lady Louise Mountbatten with His Royal Highness Prince Gustaf Adolf, Crown Prince of Sweden".
    More Details Hide Details The treaty stated, in part, that the kings of the United Kingdom and Sweden "having judged it proper that an alliance should again be contracted between their respective Royal Houses by a marriage have agreed upon and concluded the following Articles", which articles declared that the marriage would be celebrated in London and duly authenticated, that the couple's financial settlements would be expressed in a separate marriage contract which was declared to be "an integral part of the present Treaty", and that the two nations' ratifications of the treaty would be exchanged in Stockholm, which formally occurred 12 November 1923.
    In 1923 Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, having been for three years the widower of Louise's mother's cousin Margaret of Connaught, paid a visit to London and, to Louise's surprise, began to court her.
    More Details Hide Details Although as a young woman Louise had said that she would never marry a king or a widower, she accepted the proposal of a man destined to be both. However, under §5 of the 1810 Swedish Succession Law (Act 1810:0926), a prince of the Swedish royal house forfeited his right of succession to the throne if he "with or without the King’s knowledge and consent, married a private Swedish or foreign man’s daughter" (med eller utan Konungens vetskap och samtycke, tager til gemål enskild svensk eller utlänsk mans dotter). Once the couple's engagement was announced, there were lively discussions in the media about whether the bride-to-be was constitutionally eligible to become Sweden's future queen. In response the Swedish Foreign Ministry, citing the law in question, clarified the term "a private Swedish or foreign man's daughter" to mean "he who did not belong to a sovereign family or to a family which, according to international practice, would not be equal thereto" (som icke vore medlem av suverän familj eller familj som enligt internationell praxis vore därmed likställd), and announced that the Swedish government had "requested the British government's explanation of Lady Louise Mountbatten's position in this respect." The ministry further announced that following the British government's reply to its inquiry and the subsequent investigation into the matter, it had been determined that the Crown Prince's choice of a future wife was in compliance with the succession law, thereby concluding debate on the imminent nuptials.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1918
    Age 28
    But in 1918 Louise's father explained to her that Stuart-Hill was most likely homosexual, and that a marriage with him was impossible.
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  • 1915
    Age 25
    She was active at a French military hospital in Nevers, and then at a war hospital at Palaves outside Montpellier, from March 1915 until July 1917.
    More Details Hide Details She was commended for her hard work, and was awarded The British War- and Victory Medals, a medal from the British Red Cross, as well as the Médaille de la Reconnaissance française. After the war, she was active in social work for the children in the slums of Battersea in London. In 1909, Louise received a proposal from King Manuel II of Portugal. Edward VII was in favour of the match, but Louise declined, as she wished to marry for love.
  • 1914
    Age 24
    In 1914, Louise and her mother visited Russia, and were invited to a trip down the Volga with their Imperial relatives.
    More Details Hide Details During her visit, Louise noted the influence of Rasputin with concern. The trip was interrupted by the sudden outbreak of World War I, and Louise's father telegraphed for them to return immediately. Louise's mother gave her jewellery to the empress for safe keeping, and they left Russia by boat from Hapsal in Estonia and travelled to neutral Sweden, paying for the trip with gold, as their money was suddenly not acceptable currency in Russia. They stayed in Sweden as guests of the Crown Princely couple (her future husband and his then wife, Margaret of Connaught) at Drottningholm Palace, just one night before they returned to Great Britain. During World War I, Louise was first active within the Soldiers and Sailors Families Association and the Smokes for Soldiers and Sailors, but she soon enlisted in the Red Cross for service as a nurse.
  • 1913
    Age 23
    In 1913, having been deposed in 1910, Manuel married Princess Augusta Victoria of Hohenzollern in exile, the marriage remaining barren.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1889
    Born
    Born on July 13, 1889.
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