A History Of Royal Weddings At Windsor: Princess Louise and Lord John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne
Updated: Jan 30, 2018
The third Royal wedding to take place at Windsor Castle was that of another of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's children, their sixth child (and fourth daughter) Her Royal Highness The Princess Louise. Her choice of groom was a startling one for the time - as Prince Harry's is to some today - commoner Lord John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne. Lord John was the son and heir of George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll (and from 1853-1855 Lord Privy Seal). In fact, Princess Louise was the first British Princess to marry a commoner since Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk without the permission of her brother King Henry VIII in 1515! Queen Victoria's response to the union was not that of outrage as King Henry's had been, though. The Queen actually remarked that the marriage was 'the most popular act of my reign'. Her family and other Royal families throughout Europe might not have agreed, but the people certainly did. Enthusiastic crowds had to be restrained by police on the wedding day.
The wedding took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor on March 21, 1871. Princess Louise wore a very similar look to the two Royal brides at Windsor before her - Alexandra, Princess of Wales and her older sister Princess Helena. Her gown was a grand one of white silk and Honiton lace. The artistic Princess (she gained renown as a painter and sculptor; indeed the statue of Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace was done by Princess Louise) designed her Hontion lace veil herself. She gleamed with gems from Garrard which included an emerald pendant suspended from a strand of pearls, which now belongs to HRH Princess Michael of Kent.
Upon their marriage Princess Louise added Marchioness of Lorne to her Royal title. She became Duchess of Argyll when her husband inherited the dukedom in 1900. Their marriage was childless and plagued with rumors of The Duke's supposed homosexuality. However The Princess was devoted to him on his sickbed and devastated by his death in 1914. She outlived him by 25 years.
So what does this wedding have in common with the upcoming one of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? We have a Royal marrying a commoner - a match that has proven to be a mostly popular step toward modernity. There's Canada, where Ms. Markle lived while filming 'Suits' and where Princess Louise and Lord John lived from 1878-1883 while he served as the 4th Governor General. And we have a Windsor Castle Royal wedding full of touches that honor the past. While we anticipate Prince Harry and Meghan will make their wedding unique, there is no denying the weight of history in a castle built almost 1,000 years ago by William The Conqueror. We're very excited to see how they chose to honor that history come this May!
- Written by Marcia Masenda Mack
(Top Image: The Marriage of Princess Louise, 21 March 1871 by Sydney Prior Hall; Bottom: Her Royal Highness The Princess Louise of The United Kingdom)