Lady Louise off to St Andrews to study English after A-level success

·6 min read

The Queen’s granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor is to attend St Andrews University to study English, after receiving her A-level results, Buckingham Palace said.

Lady Louise – the 18-year-old daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex – will start her degree course in September.

She follows in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who met at the university in Fife, Scotland, where Kate was studying history of art and William geography.

Platinum Jubilee
Lady Louise Windsor and her mother, the Countess of Wessex (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Buckingham Palace has not revealed Louise’s results, but St Andrews is one of the country’s top universities, with standard entry grades set at AAA and minimum entry grades of ABB for the English MA.

A Palace spokesman said: “Having received her A-level results today, Lady Louise will start at St Andrews University in September to study English.”

Louise has bucked a trend by opting for English, after English literature fell out of the 10 most popular subjects at A-level for the first time.

It saw the biggest drop in candidates for a single subject with more than 1,000 entries, falling by 9.4% from 39,492 in 2021 to 35,791 this year.

Meanwhile, Diana, Princess of Wales’s nephew Edmund “Ned” Spencer – Earl Spencer’s son – achieved the grades he needed for university.

The princess’s brother Charles tweeted: “I don’t normally bore people about my children, but forgive me for being so very proud of my son, Ned, who got his A level results today: they were much better than his school predicted, and they mean he goes to his first choice of university.

“A reward for proper hard work.”

Louise, who attended school in Ascot, Berkshire, had been studying for her GCSEs two years ago when the pandemic lockdown meant she missed out on taking them.

Sophie spoke of her hopes that her daughter would go to university, describing her as “quite clever”.

Royal Windsor Horse Show
Lady Louise at the Royal Windsor Horse Show (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Louise and her younger brother James – whose title is Viscount Severn – will be expected to work for a living and are unlikely to use HRH styles as adults.

In an interview with the Sunday Times in 2020, the countess revealed: “She’s 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.

“We try to bring them up with the understanding that they are very likely to have to work for a living.

“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.”

Lady Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor was born prematurely in November 2003, weighing just 4lb 9oz.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex with baby
The Earl and Countess of Wessex with their baby daughter in November 2003 (Johnny Green/PA)

At eight months pregnant, Sophie was rushed to hospital with severe internal pains, and doctors found she was dangerously ill from blood loss and performed an emergency Caesarean.

Newborn Lady Louise was transferred to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London, for specialist care, while the countess remained at Frimley Park Hospital near their home in Bagshot Park. They were separated for six days.

The Queen’s second-youngest grandchild was a bridesmaid at William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, and was a special attendant at Princess Eugenie’s wedding in 2018, helping to escort the young bridesmaids and pageboys into the church.

She occasionally accompanies her parents at events, and attends royal celebrations such as Trooping the Colour, and was present at the Platinum Jubilee festivities.

Lady Louise underwent successful surgery a few years ago to correct an eye condition.

The Royal Wedding
Prince Harry waves to the crowds with Louise after the Cambridges’ wedding (Steve Parsons/PA)

The teenager has also started competing at carriage driving, following in the footsteps of her late grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh.

Throughout her childhood, she has seen a good deal of the Queen, to whom she bears a strong resemblance at the same age.

As the daughter of the son of the sovereign, Lady Louise, who is 16th in line to the throne, is entitled to be known as Princess Louise.

But the earl and countess decided against this, choosing the courtesy titles of a child of an earl for their daughter and son instead.

Last year, St Andrews took the top spot in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, beating Oxford and Cambridge for the first time in the guide’s 30-year history.

Founded in the 15th century, it is Scotland’s oldest university and the third oldest in the English-speaking world.

William and Kate will be able to give Louise the lowdown on life in the windswept town.

Prince William and Kate Middleton visit St Andrews
Kate Middleton and Prince William after their graduation ceremony at St Andrews in 2005 (Michael Dunlea/Daily Mail/PA)

Traditions include Raisin Weekend – a rowdy affair in November involving drinking, foam fights, outlandish pranks and freshers being dressed in unusual costumes by academic parents before parading through the centre of the town to the main quadrangle.

Third-year and fourth-year students act as mother and father to freshers, taking them under their wing and guiding them through student life.

Other customs include the May Morning Dip.

Students assemble on the shoreline beneath the town’s castle at 6am on May 1 and swim in the North Sea.

Louise will be hoping to continue her studies with the privacy she has enjoyed so far.

Raisin Monday
Students take part in the traditional Raisin Monday foam fight at St Andrews (Jane Barlow/PA)

William was protected while at university by a media agreement to leave him in peace.

But Louise’s father Edward – who then owned a TV production company – sparked a bitter row with his brother the Prince of Wales when one of his crews was found filming at St Andrews shortly after William started in 2001.

The events sparked a royal crisis with the Queen’s senior advisers stepping in.

It ended with Ardent Productions, which was making an A-Z Of Royalty show for an American cable company, having to hand over its master tapes to Buckingham Palace.