As we have seen, England almost had a King Louis. It is interesting to speculate how things would have turned out had King John not died when he did. Forces were working against him as Louis was gaining ground and victory seemed assured until the sudden death of King John and the reversal of the Barons revolt. If Louis had succeeded English history would have unfolded much differently.
From 1217 until the 18th Century there was no prince with the name Louis even as a secondary name. From my research and the records I have read it seems that multiple names didn’t even begin until 17th century and even then there is only one case I know of: Prince Charles James, Duke of Cornwall, son of Charles I and elder brother of Charles II and James II-VII.
One early example of Louis as a secondary name within the British Royal Family is questionable. I interrupt my strict chronological narrative of this series to include this royal prince for I feel he should be counted and considered.
Prince Charles Edward Stuart
The person in question is Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, and known to history as “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” the elder son of Prince James Francis Edward Stuart, Prince of Wales and the grandson of James II-VII and after 1766 the Stuart claimant to the throne of Great Britain.* I question if this is an example of the name “Louis” in the British Royal Family because during his lifetime he technically was not a member of the Royal Family since the House of Hanover was on the throne at this time. However, for the sake of this discussion, I will overlook this technicality and include him as a prince of Britain to carry the name Louis. Also, I am not aware of any legal restrictions of the title of prince placed on the exiled Stuart line and most historians do view the exiled Stuarts as being British princes.
In full his name was Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart (December 31, 1720 – January 31, 1788). Besides being known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, during his lifetime he was also known as “The Young Pretender” or “The Young Chevalier” and to his supporters he was King Charles III of England, Scotland and Ireland. He is best remembered for his role in the 1745 uprising and defeat at the Battle of Culloden in April 16, 1746 to unseat the House of Hanover and place himself on the throne. The loss at Culloden effectively ended the Stuart cause against the House of Hanover and the subsequent attempts at a planned French invasion in 1759 failed to materialize. Prince Charles’ dramatic escape from Scotland after the failed uprising led him to be portrayed as a romantic figure of heroic failure in later representations of stories and songs.
* During Prince Charles life time the kingdom he tried to rule over was the Kingdom of Great Britain which came into being with the Act of Union of 1707 which united the crowns of England and Scotland into one nation. However, many Jacobites (the supporters of the the exiled Stuart line) did not recognize this union and still considered the three kingdoms as being separate.
Prince Charles string of names does highlight his heritage. The name Casimir denotes the Polish heritage of his mother, Maria Clementina Sobieska, the granddaughter of John III Sobieski of Poland. The name Louis stems from their cousin Louis XIV and Louis XV of France. Louis XIV was the first cousin to Prince Charles’ grandfather, James II-VII, who first gave the Stuarts support in exile and Louis XV also gave financial support to the exiled Stuarts.
In this blog I try my best to use the names of these individuals in their native tongue. For example, I never call the last German Emperor by the English translation of his name, William II, I call him by the German translation, Wilhelm II. However, for this series, I will render all German names in their English translation.
King George I of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire.
The first member of the British Royal Family with the secondary name of Louis was King George I of Great Britain (May 28, 1660 – June 11, 1727). His name in English was George-Louis. In German it was Georg-Ludwig. He was the eldest son of Ernest-Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and his wife, Sophia of the Palatinate. Sophia was the granddaughter of King James I-VI of England, Scotland and Ireland through her mother, Elizabeth of Bohemia. George-Louis’ father died on January 23, 1698, leaving all of his territories and titles to George-Louis with the exception of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück, an office he had held since 1661. George-Louis thus became Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (also known as Hanover, after its capital) as well as Archbannerbearer and a Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. In his German lands this new Elector of Hanover was known by his double names, Georg-Ludwig.
George-Louis’ mother, the Electress Sophia of Hanover, was the designated hier to the British throne according to the Act of Settlement of 1701. She was selected as heiress to the British throne in order to exclude the Catholic line of the House of Stuart from the succession. She was the nearest descendent of James I-VI that was Protestant. However, she never became Queen of Great Britain, She died on May 28, 1714 at the age of 83….it was her son, George-Louis’ 54th birthday. The Electress Sophia had collapsed in the gardens at Herrenhausen after rushing to shelter from a shower of rain. George-Louis was now Queen Anne’s heir presumptive.
Queen Anne herself shortly thereafter suffered a stroke, which left her unable to speak, and she died on August 1, 1714. Elector George-Louis of Hanover was proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland. Instead of being King George-Louis of Great Britain the name Louis was dropped from his official name and title in Great Britain.
Stay Tuned next week for part III.