Entertainment Celebrity Prince Louis: The tragic backstory of the royal baby name

Prince Louis: The tragic backstory of the royal baby name

lord mountbatten
It's believed Prince Louis (right) was named after the late Lord Louis Mountbatten. Photo: Getty
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The long-awaited royal baby name has been revealed and it appears the latest addition to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s brood has been dubbed Prince Louis Arthur Charles, seemingly in a nod to a sad chapter of the royal family’s history.

It’s believed Louis was named in honour of Prince Philip’s uncle, Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, known simply as Lord Mountbatten or ‘Uncle Dickie’ to his family.

Lord Mountbatten was assassinated in 1979 at the age of 79 when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombed his yacht, Shadow V.

The bomb, which had been smuggled aboard, killed Lord Mountbatten along with his 14-year-old grandson, Nicky Knatchbull, a 15-year-old boathand and socialite Dowager Lady Brabourne. Three other passengers were seriously injured.

“The boat was there one minute and the next minute it was like a lot of matchsticks floating on the water,” a witness told The New York Times.

The IRA claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, calling the killing “an execution,” and vowing to continue the “noble struggle to drive the British intruders out of our native land”.

Following his death, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson issue a statement saying Queen Elizabeth II was “deeply shocked” by the death of her cousin.

The name choice is likely in recognition of William’s father Prince Charles’s famously close relationship with his great uncle, with Charles often referring to Lord Mountbatten as his ‘honorary grandfather’.

Shortly before Lord Mountbatten’s shock death in 1974, Prince Charles said of his great uncle: “I admire him almost more than anybody else I know.”

The young Prince Charles playing with his great uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, in 1954. Photo: Getty

Lord Mountbatten had many roles throughout his life – from 1947 he served as the Viceroy of India and played a key role in dismantling English rule of the country, going on to become India’s first Governor-General and earning the title of Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

He was a British Royal Navy officer who fought in both World War One and World War Two, and was handpicked by then-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to help plan the D-day invasion of June 1944.

Lord Mountbatten’s coffin leaves his funeral at Westminster Abbey in 1979. Photo: Getty

During World War Two, he had the Navy’s destroyer ships painted a shade of pink that he was convinced acted as camouflage during dawn and dusk. The specific shade is today known as ‘Mountbatten pink’.

Lord Mountbatten married his wife, Lady Edwina Ashley Mountbatten, in 1922 and the pair had two daughters, although their unconventional marriage was the subject of much speculation, with both admitting to having had affairs throughout its duration.

As Lord Mountbatten once told a friend: “Edwina and I spent all our married lives getting into other people’s beds.”

Elements of Lord Mountbatten’s personal life, including conversations he supposedly had with Queen Elizabeth about the ‘wild’ behaviour of Prince Philip, were re-enacted in the second season of Netflix series The Crown, in which he was portrayed by British actor Greg Wise.

But while the memory of ‘Uncle Dickie’ certainly played a role in the royal baby’s naming, the name Louis also has other significance for the family.

It is the first name of Prince Philip’s grandfather, Prince Louis of Battenburg, and a middle name of both Prince William and Prince George.

Watch:  The portrayal of Lord Mountbatten in The Crown

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