Prince Louis, the youngest and most adorable member of the royal family, has largely been kept away from the cameras. Indeed, privacy is important to his parents, Prince William and Kate Middleton, so they don’t share too many pictures of their children with the media. But now they’ve released a new picture of the little baby, and royal family fans have fallen in love with him all over again.
Louis was the subject of intense media interest from the moment Kensington Palace announced that Kate was expecting. The statement was released in September 2017, telling the world that a new member of the family was coming. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were having a third child, the other two being Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Indeed, George and Charlotte’s births were greeted with celebration in the British capital, with London landmarks being lit up in tribute to mark their births. For the former, famous buildings such as Tower Bridge were illuminated in blue. And for the latter, they were shone in bright pink.
However, during all her pregnancies, Kate Middleton suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness. This meant that she and her husband had to announce the news at a different time than they had planned. Indeed, the Duchess had had to cancel engagements when pregnant with Louis, including taking George to his new school.
Meanwhile, members of the royal family and the British government offered their congratulations to Kate and William. Prince Harry, during a trip to the English city of Manchester, said that he was “very, very happy” to hear about the new addition. And British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted out her best wishes, adding that the announcement was “fantastic news.”
And when Prince Louis was born on April 23, 2018, Kensington Palace released the news on social media. The 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.”
In April 2018 the Duke, Duchess and their then-unnamed baby made an appearance outside the hospital, where multiple cameras were waiting. Kate wore a red dress, and her new baby was wrapped in a white blanket. William then told the gathered crowd that he was “very happy [and] very delighted.”
William also responded to reporters, who had asked about the baby’s name, saying, “You’ll find out soon enough.” Indeed, the media had speculated on what it could be, offering names such as Frederick, Phillip, James, James and Arthur. However, the baby’s first name ended up being none of those.
After five days, the Duke and Duchess announced the name of their third child: Louis Arthur Charles. The latter of course comes from his grandfather, Prince Charles, while Arthur is the traditional middle name for male royals. The little boy’s full title however was His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.
And Louis made royal history from the moment he was born. Indeed, he became the first British prince to be outranked by an older sister, in this case Princess Charlotte, upon birth. This is because the British government adopted what’s known as absolute primogeniture. This means that the oldest child succeeds to the throne, regardless of gender.
Meanwhile, the royal family released pictures of Louis only sparingly. In May 2018 two pictures of the baby, taken by his mother, were published. Indeed, the Duchess is a keen photographer and frequently takes shots of her children. The first one, taken in April 26, shows Louis just three days old, lying on a pillow while wearing all white.
Kate’s second picture had been taken for the third birthday of Princess Charlotte, which took place in May 2018. She was seen holding her new younger brother and kissing him on the forehead. That’s not a moment Louis will likely remember in later life, but it provided an adorable memory captured for the future.
The official Kensington Palace Twitter account then released a statement from Kate and William, sending warm regards to wellwishers. It read, “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.”
Meanwhile, Louis’ first major appearance came in July that year, when he was baptised at St. James’s Palace. He was dressed in the Honiton Lace christening gown, which was created by Angela Kelly, the Queen’s dressmaker. George and Charlotte also wore the outfit, which has been passed down through the royals, for their own christenings.
And as is tradition among royals, Louis was also granted several godparents. In fact, he has six of them overall. These include Nicholas van Cutsem, who is a good friend of William, Kate’s cousin Lucy Middleton, and Lady Laura Meade, whose husband James is the godfather of Princess Charlotte.
Despite their wealth, and the amount of rules that the family follows, Kate and William seem to try and raise their children as normally as possible. Indeed, though the Duchess is accompanied by security guards and a nanny when she takes the kids for walks, she still treats the children in an ordinary way.
Meanwhile, the role of the royal child has changed a lot over the years. When Prince Charles was young, for example, things were very different. Royals didn’t really parent their kids themselves but 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.
According to the Penny Junor’s 1987 biography Charles, the Prince of Wales rarely had “his mother entirely to himself for any length of time.” The Queen was simply too busy. “His mother saw him regularly for half an hour after breakfast, looked in on him briefly at lunchtime, and spent another half hour with him at the end of the day before he went to bed,” the author wrote.
Many Royal historians believe that it was William’s mother Princess Diana who changed all that. During their childhoods, she tried to give them more non-royal experiences and a normal life. And when, for example, she took the kids to see Santa for Christmas, they had to wait in line like everyone else.
Diana also made sure that her schedule was organised around her children, rather than vice-versa. She would also give the children an evening bath, and made sure William received some pocket money. The Princess of Wales would also read them bedtime stories, and even take the kids to school themselves.
Meanwhile, William has followed in the footsteps of his parents now that he’s raising his own kids. He and Kate make sure their children do a wide range of outdoor activities, including football and skiing. And notably, the Duke and Duchess bucked royal tradition by sending George to a co-ed school rather than an all-boy one.
However, Kate and William do balance this more normal upbringing with some royal family traditions. For example, George is always seen in shorts and socks, rather than pants, which he’ll reportedly graduate to when he reaches the age of eight. This is a common custom in the royal family and it’s likely that Prince Louis will be dressed the same way when he gets old enough.
These traditions were ones 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. Prince Charles, the man whom Prince Louis got one of his middle names from, is reportedly a very loving grandfather to his son’s children.
According to Prince Charles’ wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales is happy to join in and play. She told the BBC documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70 in 2018, “He will get down on his knees and crawl about with them for hours, you know making funny noises and laughing.”
Furthermore, in the documentary, William himself described Charles as a “brilliant” grandfather, despite his very busy professional life. The former said, “It’s something I’m working more heavily on, put it that way. I think he does have time for it, but I would like him to have more time with the children.”
As the documentary’s name implies, it was created to celebrate Charles’ 70th birthday, and for the same occasion some photographs were released. They showed him going about his everyday life, and also featured some snaps of the rarely seen baby Prince Louis getting to know his family.
The best pictures of the bunch, however, were of Charles interacting with his youngest grandchild. In one, Louis can be seen lovingly grabbing the face of his grandfather, as if trying to learn it in the way babies do. And in another, the pair were seen sharing a sweet hug.
“It was lovely chaos with the children. [Charles] is a very hands-on grandfather,” the photographer, Chris Jackson, told The Sunday Times. “He was holding hands with George and Charlotte, and bouncing Louis up and down for a long time.” And according to the photographer, Charles was at his most happy when his family were there.
The Daily Mail reported in November 2018 that the royal grandchildren had a special name for their grandfather. They called him, according to royal correspondent Robert Hardman, “Grandpa Wales.” This kind of nickname has apparently been passed down, as the Queen called George V “Grandpa England.”
Interestingly, Charles’ birthday photos also sparked off what some have dubbed “the Prince Louis effect.” Indeed, other members of his family have had a similar influence – whenever they’re seen wearing something, the popularity of that item rapidly increases. In Louis’ case, it was the cute outfit he wore in the photographs.
The item in question was a Peter Pan collared shirt and matching shorts from the Spanish company La Coqueta, one notably similar to an outfit Prince William had worn and been photographed in as a child. Company founder Celia Munoz was over the moon describing the phenomenon in a 2018 interview with People. She said, “It sold out immediately – it’s amazing the effect it has on a small brand like us.”
“I love that they are supporting Spanish brands and the small communities [here] that we work with and of course the pictures were adorable, so heartwarming to see everyone together smiling, it was so spontaneous and warm,” Munoz added. And royal family fans around the world seemed to agree with her.
Meanwhile, Louis is still being kept out of the limelight, except for special occasions. Sometimes, though, his parents will let people know how he’s doing. Indeed, when Kate Middleton went to the Victoria & Albert Museum in January 2019, royal photographer Mark Stewart reported that he overheard her telling fans that Louis “is already a fast crawler.”
But despite maintaining their privacy when it comes to their children, the Duke and Duchess do talk about parenting and its challenges. They’re even happy to admit that they don’t get it right all the time. Indeed, William spoke in February 2019 at an event for a charity called Future Men and said some very relatable things.
“[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. “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. But another part of the event included a demonstration on how to change a baby’s diaper, and William proved that he knew how to do so. In the changing section, he explained that the job was “never straightforward” and “the hardest bit is the buttons.”
Indeed, William’s approach to parenting is a big departure from 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. And royal dads never used to attend the births of their children. But that’s until Prince Philip, who reportedly became the first royal to do so when he witnessed the birth of his son Prince Edward.
Meanwhile, William continued describing his experience as a parent at the Future Men event. He said, “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, William and Kate 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 Prince Louis and his siblings will receive a new cousin, as Prince Harry and his new wife Meghan Markle are expecting a baby.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen when the next photos of Louis will be released. After all, 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 be treated to pictures of key moments in Louis’ life, such as his first holiday or first day of school.
Eventually, of course, Prince Louis will be old enough to strike out on his own and control his own photographs. But by then, the royal family will likely have changed considerably. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting time to follow the royals. And hopefully there will be many more photos of Louis to come.