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Photographic portrait of Princess Louise, looking to the right of camera

The captivating life and art of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s daughter

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (1848-1939) c.1936

Gelatin silver print | 29.2 x 23.5 cm | RCIN 2936118

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Princess Louise died at the age of 91, on 3 December 1939 at Kensington Palace. She passed away as a widely loved member of the royal family, known for her thoughtfulness as well as her legacy and support of women’s suffrage. She remained stylish in her later years – in this photograph by the society photographer Cecil Beaton, she is seen in a fashionable dress with her hair neatly styled. As she had no children of her own, Louise spent her later days with younger relatives as well as her widowed sister Beatrice, who also resided in Kensington Palace. Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret spoke fondly of their visits to their great aunt, and nicknamed Kensington Palace the ‘Auntie Palace’.

Louise found it difficult to break her smoking habit and died with a debt of 15 shillings for cigarettes, which equates to roughly £30 in today’s currency.

Her obituary in The Times described Princess Louise as ‘the least bound by convention and etiquette of any of the Royal Family’ (The Times, 4 December 1939, p. 9)