This Is Prince Louis' World and the Royals Are Just Living In It

Prince Louis is turning 6 on April 23, and Kate Middleton and Prince William's youngest child is already the ruler of stealing the show wherever he goes.

By Natalie Finn Apr 23, 2024 12:00 PMTags

In photos it so often looks as if Prince Louis just isn't having it.

But then again, he's only 6. There is no reason for him to have it.

"I keep thinking Louis is a baby, but he's a big boy now," mom Kate Middleton mused in October 2022 as her and Prince William's youngest child was busy dominating balcony photo ops and getting ready to crush his debut walk to church. Then, topping his previous scene-stealing prowess, he proceeded to nonchalantly yawn his way through grandfather King Charles III's May 6 coronation as if he didn't have a care in the world. 

Which, he did not, having just turned 5 at the time.

Now, of course, the whole family has exponentially more cares than any of them could have envisioned a year ago. Charles announced Feb. 5 that he'd be undergoing treatment for cancer and—following weeks of oft-unhinged speculation regarding the true state of her health—Kate shared last month that she was having preventative chemotherapy after doctors found cancer when she underwent abdominal surgery in January.

Explaining in her unprecedentedly candid March 22 video message why she'd been out of the public eye for so long, she noted it had taken time to break the news to Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Louis "in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK."

Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte at King Charles III's Coronation

Louis' April 23 birthday was heralded as usual with the release of a new portrait taken by Kate, though when it arrived on the Prince and Princess of Wales' social media accounts a few hours later than in past years there was speculation that the family might be feeling a bit camera-shy. (Kate apologized for overdoing it with the Photoshop in the wake of the uproar over the U.K. Mother's Day pic they posted March 10 that was deemed too manipulated to be distributed by the Associated Press and other agencies).

And while all three kids' birthdays are usually celebrated privately in the best of times anyway (no Instagram pics of Frozen-themed parties for this famous family), Kate once shared a sweet tidbit about how she likes to mark the respective days she was delivered of George, Charlotte and Louis.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

"It's become a bit of a tradition that I stay up till midnight with ridiculous amounts of cake mix and icing and I make far too much," she told host Mary Berry on the BBC's A Berry Royal Christmas in 2019. "But I love it."

With his Kate and William taking pains to keep life going apace for him and his siblings, Louis' cares aren't of the grown-up variety yet. Nor will they ever be the kind that are going to monopolize George's time once he reaches the age where he'll be expected to act like a future king—as their father is, and as their granddad spent 50-plus years mostly doing before he assumed the position in September 2022. 

Of course, Prince Harry has disabused us of the notion that being the spare to the heir ensures a carefree existence. But as the spare to the spare, Louis—who's currently fourth in line to the throne—has the shot at senior-esque royalty that his Uncle Harold also probably never wanted but maybe could have at least stomached.

For the time being, though, ever since Kate and William presented Louis to the world on the steps outside the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, life has been a whirlwind of mugging for the camera and being doted on.

YUI MOK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

As for the brass tacks of the third Wales (née Cambridge) child's day-to-day: Louis is attending school Lambrook School in Berkshire with his brother and sister, their parents enrolling all three in September 2022.

The family of five, which had been splitting time primarily between Kensington Palace and their Anmer Hall estate in Norfolk, took up residence at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to be closer to their new school.

Sadly, the children's first official day was Sept. 8, the day their great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II died, which is why Kate didn't immediately accompany William to Balmoral in Scotland, where family members flocked after hearing the monarch's health was failing.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis Attend Christmas 2023 Carol Service

After dropping the kids off and picking them up, Kate joined the rest of the royals. (No word on whether Louis—who at 20 months, his mum said in 2019, loved to insist "me, me, me" and wanted to go everywhere with her—had any first-day jitters.) 

While greeting those who'd come to pay their respects outside Windsor Castle on Sept. 10, Kate was overheard saying, "My little Louis, he's so sweet, he's like, 'Mummy don't worry, she's now with great-grandpa.'"

As that preciousness sunk in, Kate added, "It just shows you how special she was to everybody, all generations."

And that Louis is obviously an empath who's wise beyond his years. (But being only 4 did mean he stayed home while George and Charlotte attended the queen's funeral at Westminster Abbey with their parents. Aware that there was a disturbance in the force, Louis also reportedly inquired whether their trips to Balmoral Castle would be different without Gan-Gan there.)

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

In October 2022, when Kate was reflecting on Louis' big boy status, she was touring the maternity ward at Royal Surrey County Hospital, newborn health and child development being causes close to her heart.

But it wasn't the first time she'd shared such a sentiment, having told staffers last June at the Brent outpost of Little Village, where families in need can stock up on baby essentials, "I keep thinking Louis is my baby, but he's a proper boy now."

And the Princess of Wales had admittedly been hot with baby fever in the past, William joking in January 2022 as Kate held a newborn during a visit to Clitheroe Community Hospital, "Don't give my wife any more ideas! No more!"

On a solo trip to Denmark the following month, Kate quipped, "William always worries about me meeting under-1-year-olds. I come home saying, 'Let's have another one.'"

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

Louis also apparently loves babies, Kate telling BBC Breakfast in July 2020, when staying at home was still the order of the day during the pandemic, that her then-2-year-old "doesn't understand social distancing. He goes out wanting to cuddle anything, particularly any babies younger than him."

Meanwhile, William and Kate have their hands perfectly full with their existing brood. At the coronation, George, to reflect his second-in-line status, served as one of eight Pages of Honour once the procession reaches Westminster Abbey.

But Louis, who carried on an esteemed family tradition started by his elder siblings when he dazzled at his Trooping the Colour debut at a tender age (13 months old, in his case), surely stole the show right out from under the king, let alone the kings in waiting.

Rest assured, he looked as if he wasn't having it—and we honor him all the more for it.

Keep reading to catch up with all of the biggest royal news from 2024:

Kate Middleton Focusing on Health

Nearly two months after the Princess of Wales went public with her cancer diagnosis, a spokesperson for Kensington Palace said the royal has no immidiate plans to return to her public-facing duties.

"The princess is not expected to return to work," the rep said in a May 21 statement to BBC, "until it's cleared by her medical team."

New Role for Prince William

On May 13, King Charles III bestowed the title of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps to his oldest son, sparking controversy as many royal watchers believed the title would be more suited for Prince Harry, who trained and served in the military branch.

Kin Charles III Returns to Public Duties

On April 26, nearly three months after sharing his cancer diagnosis, Buckingham Palace announced that Charles will return to public-facing duties

Queen Camilla Attends Royal Maundy Service

The queen consort attended the Royal Maundy Service on March 28 in place of King Charles III, making her the first spouse of the Monarch to continue the ancient tradition.

Kate Middleton Shares Cancer Diagnosis

In a March 22 video message, the Princess of Wales shared that she'd been diagnosed with cancer after undergoing abdominal surgery in January.

"It was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful," she said before noting that tests after the operation found cancer had been present. "My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment."

Kate Middleton Apologizes for Edited Family Photo Controversy

After photo agencies pulled the picture Kensington Palace shared of Kate since having her abdominal surgery on March 10, the Princess of Wales addressed claims the photo was doctored. 

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing," she tweeted on March 11. "I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother's Day. C."

Lady Kitty Spencer Privately Welcomes Baby

Princess Diana's niece celebrated Mother's Day in the U.K. by sharing she and her husband Michael Lewis privately welcomed their first baby.

“It’s the joy of my life to be your mummy, little one. I love you unconditionally," she captioned her March 10 Instagram post. "Happy Mother’s Day to those who celebrate today."

Queen Camilla Takes a Break

After keeping up her full slate of engagements in the wake of her husband's cancer diagnosis, the palace cleared Camilla's schedule.

The Times pointed out March 2 that the 76-year-old didn't have any engagements on her calendar until March 11, when she'd be due at Westminster Abbey to observe Commonwealth Day.

Thomas Kensington Dies at 45

The husband of Lady Gabriella Windsor and ex-boyfriend of Pippa Middleton, was found dead Feb. 25. Days later, a coroner's inquest found that he died by suicide.

King Charles Diagnosed With Cancer

While King Charles III was in the hospital for his benign prostate enlargement procedure, the royal family member was diagnosed with cancer.

"His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties," Buckingham Palace said Feb. 5. "Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible."

Sarah Ferguson Is Diagnosed With a Second Type of Cancer

The Duchess of York's rep said in a statement on Jan. 21 that Sarah was recently diagnosed with malignant melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. Several months prior, she underwent a single mastectomy to treat breast cancer.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark Abdicates the Throne

On Jan. 14, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark made history as she officially abdicated the throne, handing the crown over to her son, now known as King Frederik the 10th

Kate Middleton Is Hospitalized

Kensington Palace announced on Jan. 17 that Kate Middleton underwent planned abdominal surgery and was set to remain in the hospital for 10 to 14 days.

"Based on the current medical advice," the Palace said, "she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter."

Prince William Adjusting His Schedule

Amid Kate's recovery, Prince William postponed a number of engagements as he supported his family, including the couple's three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

King Charles III Undergoing Treatment

Shortly after Kate's hospitalization was made public, Buckingham Palace shared that Charles "has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate."

"His Majesty's condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure," the statement added. "The King’s public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation."

Luxembourg Welcomes a New Baby

Princess Claire and Prince Felix of Luxembourg welcomed son Balthazar Felix Karl on Jan. 7, the first royal baby of the New Year!

This story was first published on Sunday, April 23, 2023 at 2 a.m. PT.

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