Queen Louise of Sweden
In 1923, the widowed Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, The Crown Prince of Sweden, later King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden (1882-1973) visited London and soon began to court Louise. His late wife - Princess Margaret of Connaught (1882-1920) who was also Louise’s first cousin once removed, had died in 1920 when she caught an infection after surgery whilst 8mths pregnant. Louise and The Crown Prince met several times at the home of her brother - Sir George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, formerly Prince George of Battenberg (1892-1938) and it soon became clear that an engagement was imminent.
Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf subsequently proposed to Louise and on 3rd November 1923, they were married in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, London. The service was officiated by the The Most Rev & Rt Hon. Randall Davidson, later 1st Lord Davidson of Lambeth (1848-1930), The Archbishop of Canterbury and was attended by King George V (1865(1910-1936). Despite her original reservations, Louise wore white, a long dress made from silk sari material sent to her by 'Uncle Ernie' - Grand Duke Ernest Louis of Hesse & By the Rhine (1868-1937). Upon her marriage, she became Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Scania with the qualification of Royal Highness. The marriage was a happy love match, but their only child was stillborn on 30th May 1925.
Gustaf Adolf of Sweden
& Louise on their
Gustaf Adolf of Sweden
later King Gustaf VI Adolf
An official photograph of the wedding of Louise & Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (later King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden) -
the 4 bridesmaids were - Princesses Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie and Sophie, the daughters of Louise’s sister
Princess Alice (Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark); the train bearers were David, Earl of Medina (later 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven)
and Lady Tatiana Mountbatten, the children of Louise’s brother George, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven;
the best man was Prince Wilhelm, Duke of Södermanland, the younger brother of the groom
The arms of Louise whilst
Crown Princess of Sweden
In 1930, the Crown Prince’s mother - Queen Victoria of Sweden, formerly Princess Victoria of Baden (1862-1930) died in Rome, Italy. She had not been in good health for many years and frequently stayed away from Sweden for long periods of time. As a result of her absence from the Swedish Court and subsequent death, Louise took on more and more duties of official hostess and became patron of the charities and organisations (including the Swedish Red Cross) traditionally held by The Queen of Sweden.
Although Sweden was neutral in World War II, Louise was active in the Swedish Red Cross and had her own charity - Kronprinsessans Gåvokommitté för Neutralitetsvakten (the Crown Princess Gift Association For the Neutral Defense Forces) which provided the soldiers who guarded the borders of neutral Sweden with socks, scarves, and caps knitted by people from all over Sweden. On 29th October 1950, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf succeeded to the Throne of Sweden upon his father’s death and became known as King Gustaf VI Adolf and Louise became Queen Consort of Sweden and immediately started to reform many of the old-fashioned customs and protocol which had been in place during the previous reigns.
By this time her health began to be of concern following cardiac issues, but despite this, Louise diligently carried out her duties, even when she was ill. She disliked the attention she received as Queen, saying that "people look at me as if I were something fancy. I do not look different today than I did yesterday!” Louise often travelled privately and often incognito under the name 'The Countess of Gripsholm' or 'Mrs. Olsson'. It was alleged that Louise, after almost being hit by a bus in London (because she would often jay-walk), took to carrying a small card with the words "I am The Queen of Sweden" printed on it, so that people would know who she was in case she was hit by a vehicle as she often stayed at the Hyde Park Hotel, often crossing a heavily trafficked street there to shop, which prompted her note.
ABOVE: Queen Louise of Sweden
RIGHT: A short film (no audio) from British Movietone about Louise's funeral
By the end of 1964, Louise’s health deteriorated. On 4th March 1965, Louise was taken to St. Göran Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden where she had surgery to correct a severe circulatory disorder in the right leg as a result of changes in her aorta. Although the surgery went well, complications developed and Louise died on 7th March 1965 aged 75yrs. Louise was buried in the Royal Cemetery at Haga Park, Solna (north of Stockholm), Sweden.
Mountbatten had been visiting New Zealand when he received news of his sister's death. He had been kept in touch following her last illness and had known that she was unlikely to recover consciousness after the thrombosis that had struck her a few days before her death. He offered to cancel his tour, but King Gustaf insisted that he remain on his tour telling him that it would have been what Louise would have wanted. On the day of her funeral, Mountbatten went to a local Protestant Church with his daughter Patricia to pay their respects.
King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden died on 15th September 1973, 8yrs after Louise’s death. He too was buried at Haga Park, in a shared grave with both of his wives - Margaret AND Louise.