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Sunday, May 13, 2018

The significance of Prince Louis of Cambridge's name

The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a healthy baby boy on April 23, 2018. Following the modern  practice in the royal family of giving birth in the hospital rather than in the palace, the child was safely delivered at the Lindo wing of  St. Mary's hospital in London. 

And here's why this infant immediately made an impact to the world.

When it was announced that the name of the child is Louis Arthur Charles or Prince Louis, many had reacted. The name is not quite famous among British princes in recent memory. In fact, no English monarch ever carried the name Louis.

Why? Because the name seemed closely associated to famous Kings of France, and given the fact that England was in constant war with France since the early century down to the middle ages, it would be most unlikely that a British king would be named to an enemy.

This prompted the public to wonder why Prince William chose the name Louis for his second son. One comment in the social media even went on saying the child is named after an unknown relative. Unknown relative?! I shrieked. The name Louis is very significant to the family of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duke of Cambridge's son did not get his name from just any unknown relative. The name is in honor of a distinguished man who played an important role in the lives of the current British royal family. In fact this relative was so famous he rose to the highest rank in the British Royal Navy as Admiral of the Fleet. He was  a decorated war hero during World War II. And this close relative was the instrument of the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. 

Lord Louis Mountbatten, Earl of Burma and the last Viceroy of India.
He was the maternal uncle of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the man
whom Prince Charles referred as my dearest grandpapa. 

The infant prince is named after Lord Louis Mountbatten, Admiral of the Fleet and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces stationed in Southeast Asia during World War II. He was the maternal uncle of Prince Philip and a great grandson of Queen Victoria of England. Lord Mountbatten was born Prince Louis, the youngest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse (granddaughter of Queen Victoria) but had to reduce to a status of merely a son of a noble man before the end of World War I.

In 1917, at the height of World War I, King George V (grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II) advised all his German relatives living in England to anglicize their names to please his volatile subjects who hated everything about Germany. The king himself changed his royal house from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (a German house name) to Windsor. 

Prince Louis of Battenberg, who was the First Sea Lord of England at the outbreak of WWI, obliged and took the name Mountbatten. He was also forced to relinquish his princely title and became the First Marquess of Milford-Haven. Thus, his youngest son became Lord Louis Mountbatten.

However, it was never heard that the youngest Louis harbored bad feelings against his royal relatives. In fact, he grew closer to the Kings's family. Due to his distinguished career in the military, his cousin, King George VI, made him the first Earl of Burma and the last Viceroy of India. 

Lord Mountbatten was especially close to the disgraced king, Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936 to marry his twice divorced American commoner lover, Wallis Simpson. He  had a strong influence in the royal court and was a visible personality in the British monarchy during his lifetime. 

Lord Louis Mountbatten and his nephew, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh 
both distinguished officers in the British royal navy.

In 1930's, when the royal marriage of his older sister, Princess Alice, to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, fell apart, Lord Mountbatten took full responsibility in the upbringing of the couple's only son, Prince Philip. By then all Philip's older sisters had married into the German princely families.

The young prince, who was sixth in line of succession to the Greek throne at that time, lived permanently in England with Lord Mountbatten serving as his father figure. Prince Philip was sent to the best schools for boys with some financial help from King Adolf VI of Sweden, whose wife, Queen Louise, was Princess Alice and Lord Mountbatten's sister. 

When he became of age, the future Duke of Edinburgh reportedly wanted to join the Royal Air Force but his uncle convinced him to join the Royal Navy, because, in Lord Mountbatten's words "most British kings served the Royal Navy". 

It was thought possible that Lord Mountbatten already set his eyes to arrange the marriage of his nephew to the future Queen of England even before the two formally introduced in 1938. He began advising Prince Philip to start a correspondence with the young Princess Elizabeth during World War II. 

Philip and Elizabeth are third cousins through Queen Victoria of England and second cousin once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark. And because royal tradition at that time dictates that future British monarchs should only marry within royalty and nobility, Lord Mountbatten and the royal family thought Philip would be the perfect match to the heir-presumptive.

In November 1947, Philip and Elizabeth got married. And have four children together.  The couple's eldest child, Prince Charles grew closer to Lord Mountbatten whom he referred as "my dearest grandpapa". Mountbatten oversaw the upbringing of the Prince of Wales. And made sure Charles would become a responsible king someday. Anything that might endanger the future of the monarchy was censored by Mountbatten, including Charles's love life. 

Mountbatten warned the Prince of Wales that falling in love is not an option for the man who would be King of England. So Prince Charles declined to form a serious relationship with a commoner. In 1971, he was involved with Camilla Shand but this was discouraged, possibly with Lord Mountbatten, because Camilla was a commoner. She eventually married Andrew Parker Bowles. Not knowing that she would change the course of the future of the British royal family.

In 1979, tragedy struck the royal family. Lord Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb while on board in his fishing boat off the coast of Ireland. The Prince of Wales was deeply affected with this personal loss.  Years went on, he still remembered his dearest grandpapa. And when his first son was born in 1982, he made sure Louis would be part of the four names of the child, so the son became William Arthur Philip Louis.

But no British princes ever named Louis. Though the name is included in the names of Prince William and Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, the Queen's youngest son, no British princes in recent memory ever named Prince Louis.

Until 2018, when Prince William decided to honor his grandfather's family by naming his second son, Louis. It evokes sweet memory to the royal family especially to the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh. 

Prince Louis of Cambridge, second son of Prince William

Now, Charles's dearest grandpapa will be forever remembered through his second grandson. The man honored with such name never approved that commoners with no aristocratic background should join the royal family. He was an old royalist who believed royal marriages must be kept within the royal family.

Ironically, William's wife, Kate Middleton, the first commoner without an aristocratic background to marry the future British king, is everything Lord Mountbatten disliked for a wife of a man who would be King of England. So she will be forever reminded by her second son that he is named after the man who disagreed to have commoners joining  the royal family.

More Stories about Lord Mountbatten in my royal blog,  CLICK HERE


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authorI am a blogger from the Philippines. My interest centers on travel and food, global affairs, European royals and self-help. I've a great passion in traveling and photography. I am also a book author with five published books in Amazon.
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