Queen Louise of Sweden
Her Majesty Queen Louise of Sweden, RRC, formerly HSH Princess Louise Alexandra Marie Irene of Battenberg, and later The Lady Louise Mountbatten was born on 13th July 1889 at Heiligenberg Castle, Seeheim-Jugenheim, within the Grand Duchy of Hesse, part of the German Empire, the youngest daughter and second child of Admiral of the Fleet The Rt Hon. Sir Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven, formerly Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854-1921) and Princess Victoria of Hesse & By the Rhine (1863-1950), who was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901).
Louise was a sister to Mountbatten and aunt to Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh (b.1921). From birth Louise was styled Princess Louise of Battenberg with the qualification of Serene Highness. She was born in the middle of the night and her mother commented that she was "rather a miserable little object" and during her childhood she was diagnosed with curvature of the spine.
Queen Louise of Sweden
(Princess Louise of Battenberg)
In 1914, Louise accompanied her mother to Imperial Russia to visit family members including her aunt - Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, formerly Princess Alix of Hesse & By the Rhine (1872-1918), the consort of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (1868-1918). During the visit, the outbreak of World War I caused great concern for their safety and Louise's father telegraphed to his wife for them to leave Russia immediately and they headed for neutral Sweden en route to England. Whilst Louise and her mother were in Sweden they were guests of Louise’s future husband - Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, The Crown Prince of Sweden (1882-1973) and his then wife - the former Princess Margaret 'Daisy' of Connaught (1882-1920), herself the daughter of Prince Arthur, 1st Duke of Connaught & Strathearn (1850-1942), the third son of Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901).
The Battenberg family were one of the many 'victims' of the Royal Proclamation of 17th July 1917, when King George V (1865(1910-1936) – in response to anti-German attacks against the dynastic German Royal Family of Britain, declared that members of the Royal Family and extended family would cease to use their inherited German styles and titles and that his family name would be Windsor instead of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha. At The King's request, Louise’s father relinquished his Princely status and decided (after much debate) to adopt the surname of Mountbatten - a literal Anglicized translation of Battenberg, and was created a Peer of the Realm taking the title Marquess of Milford Haven, Earl of Medina & Viscount Alderney. As a result of her father’s new status, Louise also lost her own Princely title and assumed the courtesy title of a daughter of a Marquess and became styled The Lady Louise Mountbatten.
ABOVE: Louise in her teenage years
RIGHT: A 1907 portrait of Louise by society artist Philip de László
During World War I, Louise became active with the charity - Soldiers And Sailors Families Association and soon trained as a nurse with the British Red Cross. She subsequently went over to France to work at various military hospitals near the front and was honoured for her work and dedication including the Royal Red Cross (RRC) and Médaille de la Reconnaissance Française (The Medal of French Gratitude) - awarded to express gratitude by the French Government to all those who, without legal or military obligation, came to the aid of the injured, disabled, refugees, or who had performed an act of exceptional dedication in the presence of the enemy during World War I.
ABOVE: a photo of Louise (as a nurse) during World War I
LEFT: the insignia of the Royal Red Cross (RRC