Little Prince Louis has been largely kept out of the public eye as his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, strive to maintain his privacy. Every now and again, though, William and Kate give royal fans updates on their young son. In commemoration of Louis’ first birthday in April 2019, for example, three new pictures were released of the little boy – and the snaps are absolutely adorable.
And as the date of that celebration suggests, Louis was born on April 23, 2018. The official Kensington Palace social media channels announced the happy news to the world, too. “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 11:01 hours. The baby weighs 8lbs 7oz,” the Palace revealed on Twitter. “Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”
William had been present for the birth, it turned out, after which he’d brought their two other children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, to the hospital as well. And as the new member of the family left the premises with his parents, William told the waiting cameras that he was “very happy” – after which he added, jokingly, that he had “thrice the worry now.”
Yet William and Kate obviously have a leg-up in the parenting game, as they’re royals and thus have access to resources unavailable to many other people. Nonetheless, since having their first two children, they’ve talked on occasion about the universal difficulties of parenthood. The couple have shared plenty of quite personal details, in fact – but about themselves rather than the kids.
In 2017, for example, Kate spoke out at an event marking the launch of a film series that aims to highlight the issue of mental health among both parents and children. There, she said, “Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience. However, at times it has also been a huge challenge – even for me, who has support at home that most mothers do not.”
Kate went on, “Nothing can really prepare you for the sheer, overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. It’s full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love and worry – all mixed together. There is no rule book, no right or wrong. You just have to make it up and do the very best you can to care for your family.”
Later in 2017, Kate and William called in at a London school in order to join a forum about the topic of mental health. And while there, Kate chose to speak about the more difficult aspects of parenting. “It is lonely at times, and you do feel quite isolated, but actually so many other mothers are going through exactly what you are going through,” she explained.
William, too, has similarly opened up about what it means to be a mom or dad. In February 2019, for instance, he spoke about fatherhood at the “Future Men” event in London. “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?’” Hello magazine quoted him as saying. “And that’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s very daunting… how tiny they are when they first arrive.”
“They are so fragile – tiny little fingers and toes,” the prince continued. “You do feel like if you move them around too much, they are going to break, but they don’t.” During the event, William was also an assistant for a number of hands-on tasks, such as putting on a fresh diaper. And he wasn’t a fan of the button fastenings on onesies, Hello reported.
“From a young age, you’re taught to kind of like have a vision, have a plan [and] have a career. And then all of a sudden babies come along, and then suddenly you have to start thinking about [that] a lot more,” William said towards the end of the “Future Men” event. “I always wondered how that affects new dads’ mental health. Because it’s such a change.”
And while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge may have it easier than most when it comes to parenting, they do nevertheless face some unique challenges – not least regarding the issue of privacy. The couple have had to deal with their older children being frequent targets of the paparazzi, for example. Yet Kate and William attempted to curtail the media attention by releasing a letter that emphasized the need to “protect Prince George and Princess Charlotte from harassment and surveillance by paparazzi photographers.”
The missive in question was sent out in August 2015 and had been authored by Jason Knauf, the communications secretary to William, Kate and Prince Harry. “[The duke and duchess] have been delighted to share official photographs of Prince George and Princess Charlotte in recent months to thank the public for the thousands of kind messages of support they have received,” the letter read, although it went on to lay out the problem at hand.
“News photographers have had several recent opportunities to take photos of the family, and these will be a regular occurrence as both children get older,” the message continued. “Despite this, paparazzi photographers are going to increasingly extreme lengths to observe and monitor Prince George’s movements and covertly capture images of him to sell to the handful of international media titles still willing to pay for them.”
In particular, the letter went on, there had been a “disturbing but not at all uncommon” recent incident. Knauf divulged, “A photographer rented a car and parked in a discreet location outside a children’s play area. Already concealed by darkened windows, he took the added step of hanging sheets inside the vehicle and created a hide stocked with food and drinks to get him through a full day of surveillance, waiting in hope to capture images of Prince George.”
“All of this has left the duke and duchess concerned about their ability to provide a childhood for Prince George and Princess Charlotte that is free from harassment and surveillance,” the statement continued. “They know that almost all parents love to share photos of their children, and they themselves enjoy doing so. But they know every parent would object to anyone – particularly strangers – taking photos of their children without their permission.”
And the letter made clear that both the duke and duchess wanted their children to have relatively normal lives. “They feel strongly that both Prince George and Princess Charlotte should not grow up exclusively behind palace gates and in walled gardens,” the release read. “They want both children to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with other children without being photographed.”
It must be noted, too, that the royals have done more to help maintain their privacy than just release a statement. Apparently, starting in 2018, hedges began to be planted around Kensington Palace in order to protect the young children from prying eyes.
And according to those in the know, the royals have a deal of sorts with the mainstream media. In exchange for official pictures of the children’s milestones – birthdays and the like – the domestic paparazzi reportedly agree to stay away. “Nothing is a given, but in terms of managing to keep a good relationship with the British media, it’s in William’s and Kate’s interest to release photos,” royal expert Victoria Arbiter told Cosmopolitan in 2018.
In fact, Kate actually takes a lot of the official images of her children herself. The duchess is a very keen photographer, you see, and this was the case even before she gained her royal title; indeed, she once snapped photos for her family’s party supply company, Party Pieces.
And while press photographers were naturally present when Kate and William left the hospital with Louis, it would be Kate who took the first official family photo of the latest arrival. Three days after Louis was born, she captured an image of her son that sees him clad in white clothing and comfortably reclining on a cushion.
Another photograph from the series shows the infant together with Charlotte, whose third birthday happened to virtually coincide with the birth of her new baby brother. The snap sees the older sister sporting a blue cardigan hand-me-down from George and kissing Louis at the top of his head.
And in July 2018 Louis made a further public appearance for his christening, as in modern times all royal children are habitually baptized into the Church of England. The infant was taken by his parents to the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace for the ceremony. In addition, he was the eighth recent royal child to wear a modern replica of the lace gown that had been made for the christening of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s first child, Victoria.
Then in November 2018 the public received yet another glimpse at Louis when the whole family posed for photos commemorating the 70th birthday of Prince Charles. These images were captured by photographer Chris Jackson, and Jackson went on to reveal to The Sunday Times how the youngest royals had behaved around their grandfather during the shoot.
“It was lovely chaos with the children. [Charles] is a very hands-on grandfather,” Jackson said. “He was holding hands with George and Charlotte and bouncing Louis up and down for a long time.” And the bond between the young children and their gramps seems to come across in the photos, too.
Yet something else about the pictures generated considerable interest: the ensemble that Louis was wearing, which was made by a Spanish company called La Coqueta. And such is royal fashion power that every available example was rapidly snapped up by eager shoppers. Naturally, then, the creator of the brand, Celia Munoz, was thrilled with how the outfit had been received.
“It sold out immediately. It’s amazing the effect it has on a small brand like us!” Munoz said to People in 2018. “It was a total surprise but really wonderful, and I am very proud. The people who made it were incredibly thrilled, just as I was.” The outfit comes all packaged together and is named “the Carlina Boy Ceremony Set.”
“We are taking quite a lot of pre-orders, and we are talking quite big numbers! It’s a glorious moment for traditional kids fashion,” Munoz went on. “I love that [the royals] are supporting Spanish brands and the small communities in Spain that we work with. And, of course, the pictures were adorable.”
But that wouldn’t be the last time that the public would see the young prince. In fact, royal watchers only had to wait another month or so to glimpse Louis again, as he appeared along with his parents and siblings on the duke and duchess’ 2018 Christmas card. The snap in question was taken by photographer Matt Porteous at Anmer Hall in Norfolk and later released on the Kensington Palace social media account. “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pleased to share a new photograph of their family,” an accompanying statement revealed.
Yet there were only sporadic updates on Louis in the months that followed. In January 2019, for example, Hello reported that Kate had said Louis was “already a fast crawler” during a trip to the Dundee campus of the Victoria & Albert Museum. And in March of that year, the royal visited London’s Henry Fawcett Children’s Centre, where Cosmopolitan later revealed that she had informed people, “Louis just wants to pull himself up all the time.”
But when Louis turned one year old, Kate took a few more photographs of her youngest child and had them released onto the internet. As with the Christmas card photo, the images were captured at Anmer Hall, and they showed the young prince doing what babies do most adorably: smiling and playing.
In a couple of the photos, too, Louis is wearing a red sweater by Elfie London – most likely a hand-me-down, as the garment was last sold several years ago. “We were so pleased to spot Prince Louis in our frog jumper for his first birthday,” an Elfie London spokesperson went on to write in an Instagram post.
“This jumper was from one of our first collections over seven years ago!” the Instagram statement continued. “And as we always intend our designs to be cherished and handed down, we were thrilled that this has been the case here. Happy birthday, Prince Louis!” Apparently, the original top also came with a stuffed frog toy for the pocket, but maybe it’d been lost over the years.
The remaining photo, meanwhile, shows Louis sporting a dog-print sweater by Thomas Brown. And the knitted garment quickly sold out at one stockist; before long, too, people began selling the item on eBay for more than the original price paid.
In addition, two very prominent members of Louis’ family gave congratulations of their own on social media. Harry and Meghan Markle, who at the time were expecting their own son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, commented on the snap via their new Instagram account, sussexroyal. “Happy birthday, Louis! Sending lots of love from both of us,” their message read, with a cake and a balloon emoji added for good measure.
Despite the release of the photos, though, the public probably will never find out the exact details of Louis’ birthday celebrations; that’s the sort of information the royal family keeps private. Nonetheless, we do know that – in a piece of less-than-perfect timing – the milestone coincided with the day that George and Charlotte had to return to school.
William also wasn’t present for the exact day of Louis’ birthday, although this was due to terrible circumstances beyond his control. On that occasion, he had to fly to New Zealand as a representative of the Queen in order to pay tribute to the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack.
It may therefore be the case that the family held a celebration for Louis around Easter. The family stayed in Anmer Hall over the holidays, with the Tindall branch of the royal family also spotted with the Cambridges at that time. As a result, then, the clan should have been able to pick a day when everyone was present to give Louis his cake and balloons.
So, what’s ahead for Louis now that he’s turned one? Well, it’s unlikely to involve becoming a monarch, as the young royal is currently only fifth in line to the throne. And, interestingly, he’s the first ever British prince to be placed behind an older sister in a succession line. Shortly before Louis was born, you see, Britain adopted the rule of absolute primogeniture.
But although Louis will probably never be king, it seems that he will be raised to have a good head on his shoulders. In an interview with Talk Vietnam in 2016, William explained what he would like his kids to do in the future. At that time, the prince simply said, “Just looking after those around them and treating others as they would like to be treated themselves.”
And that ethos seems to be shared by Kate. According to HuffPost, in 2017 the duchess told an audience at a London school that she believed kindness and honesty were “just as important as excelling at maths or sport.” It appears, then, that the royal couple are raising their children with values that will serve them well in the future.