Lady Louise Windsor Is 18! Find Out Which Life-Changing Decision the Young Royal Now Has to Make

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Lady Louise Windsor
Lady Louise Windsor

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Lady Louise Windsor has some adult decisions to make now that she has turned 18.

November 8 is not only a milestone birthday for Lady Louise, it's also a chance for a Queen Elizabeth's youngest granddaughter to set the course for her life as a royal as she mulls over whether she will officially adopt the title of Princess.

According to the 1917 Letters Patent, all children of the monarch's heirs — in this case, Lady Louise's father, Prince Edward — have princely status and can use the designation His or Her Royal Highness.

This rule explains why Lady Louise's cousins Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie received Princess titles in accordance with the wishes of their father, Prince Andrew. On the other hand, it also explains why Princess Anne's children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, weren't eligible for those titles.

In the case of Lady Louise, it was a bit more nuanced because Prince Edward, 57, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 56, opted to let their children (Louise has a 13-year-old brother, James, Viscount Severn) choose for themselves once they turn 18.

The Earl And Countess Of Wessex With Lady Louise Windsor
The Earl And Countess Of Wessex With Lady Louise Windsor

Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty

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As 16th in line to the throne, Louise holds her Ladyship due to her status as daughter of an Earl. (In addition to being a prince, Edward was designated the Earl of Wessex in 1999 when he married Sophie.)

Now that she is 18, Louise can choose to be officially titled Her Royal Highness Princess Louise of Wessex, a title that comes with more formal responsibility, including royal duties, ambassadorships and patronages (albeit not necessarily in the immediate future).

And in the wake of Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle all stepping back from royal work in recent years, there are plenty of duties to undertake.

Royal commentator Phil Dampier has noted that the Queen and Prince Philip alone had 1,500 patronages between them, adding, "You have to ask yourself who is going to continue their legacy, with Harry and Meghan and Prince Andrew off the scene. There's a huge workload there."

Looking forward, the teenager could assume Prince Harry's place as a Counsellor of State to the Queen, with the young royal undertaking official duties for the monarch on occasions when she is unable.

Lady Louise wouldn't have to bear the weight of this responsibility alone, though — there are four Counsellors of State. (Currently the roles are held by the adult royals immediately following the Queen in the line of succession: Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew, with Princess Anne and Prince Edward as the next eligible royals to take on the role.)

James, Viscount Severn, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and Sophie, Countess of Wessex visit The Wild Place Project at Bristol Zoo on July 23, 2019
James, Viscount Severn, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and Sophie, Countess of Wessex visit The Wild Place Project at Bristol Zoo on July 23, 2019

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

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Louise has already undertaken some official duties, including a visit to The Wild Place Project at the Bristol Zoo in 2019.

For now, though, her main "job" is to complete her education. She is currently studying English, history, politics and drama for her A levels (the U.K.'s subject-specific Advanced Level Qualifications exams, which many students take before heading to university).

Sophie told The Sunday Times last June that her daughter was "working hard and will do A-levels. I hope she goes to university. I wouldn't force her, but if she wants to. She's quite clever."

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex with James Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor attend the Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2019 in King's Lynn, United Kingdom
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex with James Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor attend the Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2019 in King's Lynn, United Kingdom

Samir Hussein/WireImage Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn

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Normalcy for her children has always been a top priority for the Countess of Wessex — in fact, Lady Louise didn't learn her grandmother was the Queen until she was nearly a teenager!

It's also why the Wessexes chose not to give the Louise and James their HRH titles immediately when they were born in hopes it might shield them somewhat from the pressures of royal life faced by many of their older cousins.

"Certainly when they were very young we tried to keep them out of it," Sophie shared with the BBC in 2016. "Only because for their sakes, to grow up as normally as possible we felt was quite important."

She added, "And they're going to have to go out and get a job and earn a living later on in life and if they've had a normal a start in life they possibly can get, then hopefully that will stand them in good stead."

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex with Lady Louise Windsor watch the Carriage Driving during the Royal Windsor Horse Show 2021 at Windsor Castle on July 3, 2021 in Windsor, England.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex with Lady Louise Windsor watch the Carriage Driving during the Royal Windsor Horse Show 2021 at Windsor Castle on July 3, 2021 in Windsor, England.

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty

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For that reason, Sophie is skeptical Lady Louise will formally become a princess now that she's 18.

"We try to bring them up with the understanding they are very likely to have to work for a living," the Countess told the The Sunday Times in an interview last year. "Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but I think it's highly unlikely."

In contrast, Dampier thinks Lady Louise has the potential to be the Queen's "secret weapon."

"Because she's the granddaughter of the Queen, Lady Louise can call herself a princess when she becomes 18. and there's a strong argument for her doing it," he told OK! "[She's] very mature for her age and [is] shaping up to be precisely the kind of person the Queen can rely on in the future."