Prince Louis – the arguably most adorable member of the royal family – has largely been kept away from the spotlight. Privacy is important to his parents, Prince William and Kate Middleton, you see, meaning the duo don’t tend to share many pictures of their children. But now the couple have provided a new picture of their second son – and fans of the British monarchy have fallen in love with him all over again.
And Louis was the subject of intense media interest from the moment that Kensington Palace announced that Kate was expecting. Yes, in a statement released in September 2017, it was revealed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were having a third child – a baby brother or sister for Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Prior to that, George and Charlotte’s own births had been greeted with celebrations in London, with landmarks in the English capital being lit up in tribute. Famous buildings such as Tower Bridge were illuminated in blue to mark George’s arrival, for instance; for Charlotte, however, they shone bright pink.
However, during all her pregnancies, Kate suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum – an extreme form of morning sickness. This meant, then, that she and her husband had to announce the news at a different time than they had initially planned. And the Duchess therefore had had to cancel engagements when pregnant with Louis as well as a trip taking George to his new school.
Once the big announcement was out there, though, members of the royal family and the British government offered their congratulations to Kate and William. During a trip to the English city of Manchester, Prince Harry said, for instance, that he was “very, very happy” to hear that he was due a new nephew or niece. And British Prime Minister Theresa May also tweeted her best wishes to the couple, adding that the pregnancy was “fantastic news.”
Kensington Palace took to social media, too, when Louis was born on April 23, 2018. The palace’s Twitter post read, “Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son… The baby weighs 8lbs 7oz. [William] was present for the birth. [Kate] and her child are both doing well.”
Then, shortly after the birth, the duke, the duchess and their then-unnamed baby made an appearance outside the hospital, where multiple camera crews were waiting. Kate wore a red dress for the occasion, while her new son was wrapped in a white blanket. William spoke to the gathered crowd, too, telling all assembled that he was “very happy [and] very delighted.”
When it came to the baby’s name, however, William was more circumspect, saying to reporters, “You’ll find out soon enough.” Frederick, Phillip, James, James and Arthur had all previously been offered up as potential monikers for the new arrival – although, of course, none of these turned out to be the case.
Instead, the duke and duchess had decided to call their third child Louis Arthur Charles. The last of these names naturally pays tribute to the boy’s grandfather, Prince Charles; Arthur, meanwhile, is a traditional middle name for male royals. And the newborn had his own official title, too: His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.
Furthermore, Louis made royal history from the moment he was born. How? Well, that’s because he became the first British prince to be outranked by an older sister – in this case, Charlotte – upon birth. Before Louis’ arrival, you see, the British government had adopted what’s known as absolute primogeniture, meaning the oldest child succeeds to the throne regardless of their gender.
Since, then, though, the royal family have released pictures of Louis only sparingly. Two of those images – taken by the duchess herself – came in May 2018. And the first, snapped on April 26, shows Louis at just three days old, lying on a pillow in an all-white ensemble.
Meanwhile, Kate’s second picture had been taken for the third birthday of Charlotte, which took place in May 2018. And in the shot, the young princess can be seen holding her new younger brother and tenderly kissing him on the forehead. It’s an adorable photo – and one the family can treasure even as Louis grows up.
But that wasn’t all that Kate and William were willing to release at that time. The official Kensington Palace Twitter account also passed on the couple’s regards towards well-wishers, saying in a tweet, “The Duke and Duchess would like to thank members of the public for their kind messages following the birth of Prince Louis and for Princess Charlotte’s third birthday.”
Royal watchers had to wait a further two months, though, before they saw Louis in public again; on that occasion, the prince was being baptized at St. James’s Palace. And the young boy was duly dressed in the Honiton lace christening gown, which had been created by Angela Kelly, the Queen’s dressmaker. George and Charlotte had also worn the outfit – which has been passed down through the royal family – for their own christenings.
And as is tradition among royals, Louis was also granted several godparents. In fact, he has six of them overall. They include Nicholas van Cutsem, who is a good friend of William, Kate’s cousin Lucy Middleton and Lady Laura Meade, whose husband, James, is also the godfather of Charlotte.
But despite their wealth and the traditions they are bound to adhere to, Kate and William seem to try and raise their children as normally as possible. Indeed, although the duchess is accompanied by security guards and a nanny when she takes the kids for walks, she still reportedly treats the children in more or less an ordinary manner.
That’s apparently in marked contrast, too, to the way in which royal offspring were treated when Charles was young. At that time, it’s said, the family didn’t really parent their kids themselves; instead, they left most of the work up to nannies and other staff. And the Queen, biographers have claimed, wasn’t hands-on with Charles at all.
In fact, according to Penny Junor’s 1987 biography Charles, the now Prince of Wales rarely had “his mother entirely to himself for any length of time.” The Queen, you see, was simply too busy. “[Charles’] mother saw him regularly for half an hour after breakfast, looked in on him briefly at lunchtime and [then] spent another half hour with him at the end of the day before he went to bed,” the author has explained.
Some royal historians believe, however, that it was William’s mother, Princess Diana, who changed all that. During his and Harry’s childhoods, she tried to give them experiences that regular kids would have. When, for instance, she took the kids to see Santa for Christmas, they had to wait in line like everyone else.
Diana also ensured, it’s said, that her schedule was organised around her children, rather than the other way around. In addition, she gave her sons evening baths and made sure that William received some pocket money. It’s been reported, too, that the Princess of Wales would read Harry and William bedtime stories; she also took the kids to school herself.
All in all, then, it appears that William has somewhat followed his mother’s example in trying to produce well-rounded children. For example, he and Kate make sure that their kids embark on a wide range of outdoor activities, including soccer and skiing. And, notably, the duke and duchess bucked royal tradition by sending George to a co-ed school rather than an all-male institution.
Still, Kate and William do nonetheless uphold some aspects of royal convention. For example, George is currently always seen in shorts rather than pants, to which he’ll reportedly graduate when he reaches the age of eight. This is a common custom in the royal family, and it’s likely that Louis will be dressed in the same manner when he is old enough.
This tradition, moreover, was one followed by Louis’ grandparents and great-grandparents. And he’s lucky enough to have many of these relatives still alive and active in his life. Plus, Charles is reportedly a very loving grandfather to his son’s children.
According to Charles’ wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales is happy to join in and play with his grandchildren, at least. In 2018 she explained in the BBC documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, “[Charles] will get down on his knees and crawl about with [the kids] for hours, making funny noises and laughing.”
And in the program, William himself described Charles as a “brilliant” grandfather despite his very busy professional life. The duke explained, “It’s something I’m working more heavily on, put it that way. I think [Charles] does have time for it, but I would like him to have more time with the children.”
As the documentary’s name implies, too, it was created to celebrate Charles’ 70th birthday. And some photographs were released to mark the same occasion – ones that not only show the prince going about his everyday life, but also pictures of baby Louis getting to know his family.
The best images of the bunch, however, were of Charles interacting with his youngest grandchild. In one of the snaps, Louis can be seen lovingly grabbing the face of his grandfather; in another, the pair share a rather sweet hug.
“It was lovely chaos with the children. [Charles] is a very hands-on grandfather,” the photographer, Chris Jackson, told The Sunday Times in November 2018. “He was holding hands with George and Charlotte and bouncing Louis up and down for a long time.” What’s more, according to the snapper, Charles was at his most happy when his family were there.
And according to the Daily Mail correspondent Robert Hardman, the royal grandchildren actually have a special name for their grandfather: “Grandpa Wales.” That moniker echoes one that the Queen apparently gave George V; specifically, it’s said, she used to call her relative “Grandpa England.”
Meanwhile, Charles’ birthday photos have sparked off what some have interestingly dubbed “the Prince Louis effect.” Other members of his family have had a similar influence, too; in short, when a royal is spotted in an piece of clothing, the popularity of that item rapidly increases. And in Louis’ case, it was the cute outfit he sported in said photographs.
Specifically, for the snaps, Louis sported a Peter Pan collared shirt and matching shorts from the Spanish company La Coqueta. The ensemble was notably similar to one that William had worn and been photographed in as a child. And the company’s founder, Celia Munoz, was seemingly over the moon when talking to People in 2018. She said of the outfit, “It sold out immediately. It’s amazing the effect it has on a small brand like us.”
Munoz added, “I love that [the royal family] are supporting Spanish brands and the small communities [here] that we work with. And, of course, the pictures were adorable. [It was] so heartwarming to see everyone together smiling; it was so spontaneous and warm.”
Yet while Louis can occasionally be seen in photographs, he is largely being kept out of the limelight. From time to time, though, his parents will let people know how he’s doing. When Kate was at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in January 2019, for example, royal photographer Mark Stewart reported that he overheard her telling fans that Louis “is already a fast crawler.”
Indeed, even though the duke and duchess attempt to maintain their privacy when it comes to their children, they’re seemingly willing to talk about parenting itself. The couple are even happy to discuss the challenges of raising kids, it seems. When William spoke in February 2019 at an event for a charity called Future Men, for instance, he gave some very relatable insights.
“[Babies] are so fragile, and everything’s so tiny – their little fingers and toes. You do feel like if you move them around too much, they’re going to break almost. But they don’t,” William said. “[It’s] the fear of having a newborn baby that’s very vulnerable. And that’s what you spend most of your time worrying about, thinking, ‘What do I do?’”
“And that’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s very daunting… how tiny they are when they first arrive,” William finished. Even so, the duke proved at the event that he knew how to change a diaper, although he explained that the job was “never straightforward.”
It appears, too, that William’s approach to parenting marks a big departure from that of generations before him. It used to be the case that few royal fathers helped with the diapers and the day-to-day tasks of parenting. In addition, royal dads never used to attend the births of their respective children. Prince Philip reportedly turned that all around, however, when he witnessed his son Prince Edward being brought into the world.
And William explained that, in some ways, his experience as a parent is much the same as that of any other father. He said at the Future Men event, “Once the lack of sleep starts setting in, the stress levels go up. From a young age you’re taught to have a vision, have a plan, have a career, and all of a sudden babies come along, and you have to start thinking about a lot more… It’s such a change; your whole life goes one way, and suddenly you’re told to stop in your tracks.”
However, Kate and William have so far proven themselves more than capable of raising future royals. And the new generation is expanding, too. That’s because later in 2019 Louis and his siblings will receive a new cousin, as Harry and his new wife, Meghan Markle, are expecting a baby.
It also remains to be seen when the next photos of Louis will be released. That said, Kate may photograph him for his first birthday, as she did with both George and Charlotte. She tends to get the camera out for other milestones as well, so the world could possibly be treated to pictures of key moments in Louis’ life, such as his first vacation or first day of school.
And, eventually, Louis will be mature enough to strike out on his own and have creative control over his photographs. By then, the royal family will likely have changed considerably, too. Regardless of what happens in the future, however, it’s still an exciting time to follow the royals and their offspring. And hopefully there will be many more photos of Louis to come.