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Princess Louise married John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on Tuesday, 21 March 1871.


Queen Victoria began to search for a suitable husband for her daughter after rumours spread Louise was having an affair the sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm. As usual, Louise had ideas of her own and announced she wished to marry John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, heir to the dukedom of Argyll.

The choice was controversial since no daughter of a monarch had married a British subject since Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII had married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, in 1515. The Prince of Wales was not keen on the match at all, however Queen Victoria supported her daughter’s decision and hinted it was time for some new blood in the family. John was invited to Balmoral Castle and he proposed to Louise on 3 October 1870 with the Queen’s blessing.


Helena and John were married at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 21 March 1871 where the bride was escorted down the aisle by her mother and her eldest brother, The Prince of Wales, as well as her paternal uncle, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

After the ring was placed on Louise’s finger, the bells of the chapel pealed in celebration and the gun salute began. At the end of the ceremony, the Queen kissed her daughter and in return her hand was kissed by her new son-in-law who bowed before her.


Louise wore a white silk wedding gown, with deep flounces of Honiton lace trimmed with orange blossom, white heather and myrtle. The lace was the work of Mr. Tucker of Branscombe, Devon, who had already made the lace for Louise’s sisters. The lace, which also featured floral bouquets from a sketch done by the princess herself, was heavily embroidered with shamrocks, thistles and roses. The lace flounce on the train matched the pattern of the veil with floral bouquets tied with a delicate lovers’ knot.

The lace veil was held in place by two of the three diamond daisy hair pins presented by her younger siblings, Arthur, Leopold and Beatrice.


The bridesmaids wore white glacé silk dresses trimmed with satin with a gossamer tunic decorated with sand ivy, white heather and crimson roses. The wreaths were made of the same flowers. Each bridesmaid also wore a blue and white enamel locket with a purple scroll at the centre with the words Louise 1871 inscribed and surrounded with a wreath of roses and forget-me-nots. The loop was a princess coronet studded with emeralds and rubies.


The wedding breakfast was held in the Oak Room for the royal family which was beautifully decked with floral bouquets, and had the guests were entertained by the pipers of the 91st Highland Regiment and the band of the Grenadier Guards.

The rest of the guests, numbering more than 300, attended a buffet in the Waterloo Gallery. Later in the afternoon, Louise and John left for their four-day honeymoon at Claremont, Surrey, before heading to Scotland.