The perils of puffing

Queen Victoria’s daughter died in debt to tobacconist due to secret smoking habit, documents reveal


Queen Victoria’s daughter died with outstanding debt to a tobacconist due to her secret smoking habit, documents have revealed.

Princess Louise, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, died in 1939 when she was 91-years-old with an unpaid cigarettes bill to a cigarette shop R Lewis Limited, located near Buckingham Palace.

The princess, who was known for her unconventional lifestyle, was a “regular smoker” who managed to hide the habit from her mother who detested smoking.


25 thoughts on “The perils of puffing”

  1. Bait and switch. There’s a difference between dying in debt and dying owing money you haven’t got around to paying-off because, yunno, you died.

    Presumably we’re intended to imagine she was the former, a hapless nicomaniac reduced to penury by those same perils of smoking.

  2. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    How much did the late QEQM owe Ladbrokes?

    My mum tells me that her granddad, having survived The Somme and Passchendaele, died at 86. Her nan always used to complain thereafter “He’d have lived a lot longer if he hadn’t smoked that horrible pipe!”

    Theres a pub near the British Museum named after her (Princess Louise, not my mum’s nan).

  3. One gathers the royals make a habit of being in debt, M’Lud. Sort of goes with the job. Part of never being seen doing something as plebeian as carrying money around. Fergie was being hotly pursued by creditors at one time, wasn’t she? And someone I know got soundly stuffed by the People’s Princess, who seemed to believe that wearing your togs was payment for them, in itself. I know she was investigating whether it was actually possible to court the Queen’s daughter-in-law in the Queen’s court when said tart inadvertently incorporated herself in a Parisian underpass support.

  4. ‘The princess, who was known for her unconventional lifestyle, was a “regular smoker” who managed to hide the habit from her mother who detested smoking.’

    I thought I hid it from my parents, too. Years later, after I had quit, I noticed how much smokers smelled. I realized I hadn’t fooled my parents at all.

    That Pincess Louise hid it from her mother is unlikely. Unless everybody stunk in the 19th century.

  5. I assume that she simply kicked the bucket before getting round to paying her tobacconist’s account… Her estate was valued at something over 260,000 quid – apparently the equivalent of about 70 million today. She certainly wasn’t short of a few bob.

    But, without the fags she’s probably still be alive today, so the baccy would have been paid-for. 🙂

    Have a truly bostin’ day (as they say from whence I originated).

  6. Unless everybody stunk in the 19th century.

    Daily baths / showers and antiperspirant were a late 20th century innovation. Before that, everyone stank to high heaven and used cologne / strong perfume to cover up the worst of it.

    Plus smoking was almost universal.

    So yes. Everyone stank.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    I knew an Irish Guardsman very well in the early ‘80s and he reckoned QEQM was a regular visitor to the Sgt’s mess. He never discussed her mess bill, presumably some equerry picked it up.

    He reckoned she was quite a character.

  8. If you pay businesses on account at month end and die, it is quite likely you will die owing money.
    Not due to being poor (she wasn’t), but due to the fact that payment on account had worked.

  9. Having just discovered my earlier attempt remains unposted – the pigeon who provides my Spanish SP’s data link no doubt being taken unexpectedly ill – I will repeat my earlier exhortation to commit a merry festive Yule. It is indeed a pleasure to share the company of such stout fellows.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Forgive my naivete, but what business did she have in the Sgts’ mess?”

    Where else was she go to relax?

  11. Visiting Japan a couple of months ago – where smoking *outdoors* is illegal – reminded me how much smokers stink to high heaven.

  12. That’s my point, DtP.

    “If we smoke, we will die,” is a contraction of

    If we smoke, we will die.
    If we don’t smoke, we will die.
    What the hell, we may as well smoke.

    H/T Taras Bulba

  13. @Martin

    And if you need an 18th Amendment to give the government the authority to ban alcohol, how can you ban any drug without the decency to get the authority to first?

    Government is broken. It does what it wants to. It is constrained only by a press that wants more government.

    Yeah, not constrained at all.

  14. 91 years old in 1939. I would think that a record like that would make the brand she smoked quite popular….

    (Yes, correlation is NOT causation, but it is a funny coincidence.)

  15. @ Martin
    Tobacco is not demonstrably linked to killing *other* people.
    Look up the cannabis is in the list of proscribed drugs.the

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