Yesterday marked the 18th birthday of Lady Louise, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II who is 16th in line to the English throne. She can now choose to be known as Her Royal Highness, Princess Louise of Wessex.
As per the 1917 Letter’s Patent, all offspring of the monarch's heirs–in this example, Lady Louise's father, Prince Edward—have princely rank and can use the appellation His or Her Royal Highness.
If Lady Louise, does agree to take up the royal title of a ‘Princess,’ she will carry additional formal responsibilities such as royal duties, ambassadorships, and patronages.
Louise’s cousins, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, were given the titles of ‘Princess’ by their father, Prince Andrew.
But Prince Edward, 57, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 56, have decided to let their children (Louise and James), make their own decisions when they turn 18.
The Countess of Wessex has always prioritised normalcy for her children, so much so that, Lady Louise didn't realise her grandmother was the Queen until she was practically a teenager!
Sophie, in conversation with The Sunday Times, said that:
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.
Right time to shine
There are a lot of responsibilities to fill now that Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle have all stepped aside from royal activities in recent years.
According to royal analyst Phil Dampier, the Queen and Prince Philip held 1,500 patronages between them. He said:
You have to ask yourself who is going to continue their legacy, with Harry and Meghan and Prince Andrew off the scene. There's a huge workload there.
Prince Harry's position as a Counsellor of State to the Queen might be taken up by the teenager, if she does accept her ‘Princess’ title. In that way, the junior royal, Lady Louise, can perform formal obligations, when the Queen is unavailable.
Louise has already completed several official tasks, including a visit to the Bristol Zoo's The Wild Place Project in 2019. But for the time being, her main ‘work’ is to finish her schooling.
Louise’s mother, Sophie added, that her daughter Louise was ‘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.’
In contrast, Dampier adds that LadyLouise could indeed be a ‘secret weapon’ for the Queen.