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HM King Charles III
Charles Philip Arthur George was the first child of Princess Elizabeth. It was a time of great joy after many years of war and austerity.
“Above the ebb and flow of party strife, the rise and fall of Ministries and individuals, the changes of public opinion and fortune, the British Monarchy presides ancient, calm and supreme within its functions, over all the treasures that have been saved from the past and all the glories we write in the annals of our country,” remarked Winston Churchill. “Our thoughts go out to the mother and father and, in a special way today, to the little prince, now born into this world of strife and storm.”
Charles’s sister, Anne, was born two years later and she became his constant companion. The siblings had a shared bond as Elizabeth’s only children at the time of her accession to the throne and for several years after. When they were older, Charles and Anne went on royal tours together representing their mother during her reign.
Elizabeth’s accession was a big change for everyone, personally and professionally. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was often away at sea as a naval officer in command of his own ship, but when Elizabeth became Queen, Philip had to leave the Navy. Duties as her consort became his first priority, but at home Philip was in charge of overseeing the royal residences and the education of the children.
Royal School Days
Charles was the first heir apparent to attend school. Though he began his education within palace walls, it was decided he would go out into the world to mix with other children. He began at Hill House School in London, and then to Cheam boarding school in Berkshire. As a teen, Charles would go on to Gordonstoun.
This was certainly Prince Philip’s hand in the matter. In his youth, Philip attended Cheam and Gordonstoun and loved his time at both schools. Naturally he felt that they were suitable places for Charles. Philip, as well as the Queen, felt that it would be beneficial for Charles to go to Gordonstoun and mix in as a regular student rather than a royal.
Charles spent part of the term in 1966 as an exchange student at the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia. This made Charles the first member of the British Royal family to attend an overseas school in the Commonwealth. He had a delightful time there and though he was much farther from home, Charles was not stricken with the homesickness that marked his time at Cheam or Gordonstoun.
During university the Prince read archaeology and anthropology and, for his last two years, history at the University of Cambridge. He enjoyed appearing in several college revues and gaining his “University Colours” for polo. In 1969 he spent one summer term in Aberystwyth at the University of Wales before his formal investiture as Prince of Wales that summer. Soon after, he graduated from Cambridge with a BA degree in 1970. He is the first Prince of Wales to obtain a university degree.
Embracing The Royal Role
Edward, the Duke of Windsor, recalled his dismay at having to wear investiture regalia. As Prince of Wales, he dreaded the ceremony and called the clothing “preposterous rig”. Young Edward felt he had no choice, however, and noted that it would most likely be “helpful to Papa [George V]”. Charles, however, took the ceremony very seriously and greatly enjoyed carrying on the tradition as prince of the country.
As the Prince of Wales, Charles took up his first Service appointment in 1969 as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales. He became Colonel of the Welsh Guards in 1975, succeeding his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Charles was quickly earning his “Action Man” persona as he learned to fly jet aircraft and obtained his RAF wings at the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell. In the Fall of 1971 the Prince joined the Royal Navy, operating the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. Charles had also qualified as a helicopter pilot in 1974 at the Royal Naval Air Station and joined the Naval Air Squadron on flying duties.
On July 29th, 1981, The Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Lady Diana was the daughter of Earl Spencer and Frances (née Roche) Spencer.
The Spencers were one of the old aristocratic families of England. Diana’s father, known as Johnnie, served as Equerry to King George VI and to Queen Elizabeth II for two years. With this pedigree, Johnnie’s daughters were seen as extremely suitable for the Prince of Wales. The eldest, Sarah, dated Charles briefly in the 1970s, unknowingly ending the relationship after she spoke to openly to the press.
The Prince began to notice Sarah’s younger sister, Diana, whom he had met in passing at events. He noted that Diana had blossomed into a lovely young lady. Before long, their engagement was announced in February of 1981. The wedding was set for July 29th.
Diana wanted the wedding to be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral rather than Westminster Abbey. She said the Abbey would remind her too much of her parents. Johnnie and Frances were married in the Abbey and their tumultuous relationship ended with Frances walking out. Diana was only 6 years old at the time. Thus, St. Paul’s Cathedral held its first royal wedding.
Fifteen years later, Charles and Diana’s own marriage would be dissolved. However, during their union, they produced the future king, Prince William and his brother Prince Henry (Harry).
Charles has had a good relationship with his sons, and as they grew older he tried to keep them as safe as possible from the prying lenses of the media. He always knew that their lives were of public interest, but the level of press intrusion that was keenly apparent during his marriage to Diana made Charles more protective. Diana’s death was an especially traumatic time for the princes, so Charles and the Queen kept the boys shielded. Only orchestrated photo sessions with William and Harry were allowed, much like the Dutch royal family’s scheduled press photo calls. The point was to keep the intrusiveness at bay but allowing public interest to be satiated.
The Next Chapter
In April 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles. Upon marriage, Camilla officially became Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, but chose to go by the title of Duchess of Cornwall. It was the feminine form of Charles’ other title, Duke of Cornwall. This was done to circumvent any controversy in regards to the Prince of Wales’ first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Charles at Home
Charles’ home, Highgrove, was purchased for him by the Duchy of Cornwall, the hereditary estate of the Prince of Wales. The Gloucestershire home had once belonged to the son of former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
When The Duchy of Cornwall bought Highgrove in 1980, the grounds were decidedly sparse. However, The Prince of Wales is a bit of a greenthumb and over the past 20 years has been the central figure in the transformation of the grounds into a well-renowned organic garden. It is not a grandiose area, but one of intimacy and the love of the environment.
The world was stunned when the Queen died at Balmoral on September 8th, 2022. Though she was 96, the Queen seemed in good spirits as she greeted Liz Truss, the newest Prime Minister of her reign, just two days earlier.
The Queen’s children and grandchildren rushed to be by her side in her final hours. It was the moment that Charles knew would come, yet it was inconceivable that it had actually happened. Exhausted and devastated, Charles announced to the nation that his mother had died and that he was now King Charles III.
Full Name: Charles Philip Arthur George
Titles: HRH The Prince of Wales; Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland; King Charles III.
Date of Birth: November 14th, 1948
Former Residence: Highgrove Estate (Gloucestershire); Clarence House (London)
Education: Cheam Preparatory School; Gordonstoun; Geelong Grammar School (AU); Trinity College, Cambridge
HRH The Prince of Wales
William is the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince William’s childhood was anything but typical. As the future king, he is expected to take on responsibilities not required of many young men. Diana tried to make life as normal as possible for him, taking him to McDonald’s, shopping, or to visit members of her charitable organizations. Prince Charles, though more inclined to give William a traditional royal upbringing, allowed Diana to show their son everyday life.
However, at the age of five, he told friends that he wasn’t allowed to know the name of his school “for security reasons.” As one of the two most senior heirs to the throne, William has never been able to fly on the same aircraft with his father in case of an attack or accident. And wherever William goes, personal policemen are never far off. It was not an everyday occurrence for a typical young boy!
The Prince of Wales has one sibling, his younger brother Harry, who was born in 1984. The two were very close growing up and have been known for their good-natured ribbing of each other in front of the press. In fact, it is said William gets along very well with everyone, and has a very cheerful nature. His father had trouble fitting in and was cruelly hazed while at Cheam, his preparatory school, whereas William has had an easier time with classmates.
His first school was Mrs. Mynors’ Nursery School in London, a first for a future king. At age eight, Prince William was sent to Ludgrove where he shared a room with four other boys. He spent five years there, and it was during this time that Charles and Diana separated and began divorce proceedings. When on holiday from school, William and Harry divided their time between Charles and Diana, at either St.James’ Palace and Highgrove, (Charles’ offices and private home,respectively) or Kensington Palace.
The prince was close to both his mother and father. Charles was a good father, but was criticized in the press when his duties took him away from his boys. They usually made up for lost time during family holidays in Switzerland or at Balmoral.
At Ludgrove, Prince William proved to be an excellent athlete. He was on the school soccer,basketball, and swimming teams, and became captain of hockey and rugby teams. He also participated in clay pigeon shooting and cross country running, and is an excellent skier.
After Ludgrove came Eton. Eton was a very traditional establishment which was known for producing future Prime Ministers, diplomats, Civil Servants, poets, and historians. After graduating from Eton, William spent his gap year working in Chile and visiting several countries in Africa. As the year came to a close, William had to choose which university he would attend – he chose to study at St. Andrews University in Fife, Scotland.
While at St. Andrews, William met the dashing, sporty brunette Catherine (Kate) Middleton. She was one of his roommates during their time at college, but their romantic relationship came to light in 2001 over a cuddle during a skiing holiday.
The Prince graduated from St Andrews with a 2:1 in Geography in 2005. He and Middleton continued their relationship, but at one point decided to break it off in early 2007. Reports said it was due to the prince’s military career and his move to an army camp in Dorset; others said the intense media pressure caused Kate to flee. Happily, the pair stayed friends.
After getting together a few months later for the “Concert For Diana”, love blossomed once more. The pair became engaged in October 2010 during a holiday in Africa.
His grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, bestowed the Dukedom of Cambridge upon William for his wedding on April 29th, 2011. Kate became known as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. She was a princess by marriage, not birth, so without William’s dukedom, Kate would’ve been known as Princess William of Wales.
Full Name: William Arthur Philip Louis
Titles/Honors: Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus; Knight of the Garter (2008); Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland; HRH The Prince of Wales.
Date of Birth: June 21, 1982
Hometown: London, England
Education: Eton College; University of St. Andrews
Residence: Kensington Palace; Anmer Hall, Norfolk; Kensington Palace
HM Queen Camilla
Camilla Rosemary (née Shand) was born July 17th, 1947. The queen’s parents were Major Bruce Shand and The Honorable Rosalind Cubitt.
Camilla and Charles met at a polo match in 1970. They began a relationship and Charles was soon thinking marriage. Unfortunately for the Prince, Camilla was seen by royal courtiers as an unsuitable match for the future king. Knowing this would be a huge obstacle, Charles decided to simply press on and he went overseas for military duties two years later. Camilla knew that the Prince was being pressed to give her up, so in the time he was away, she married Andrew Parker Bowles.
Camilla had two children: Tom, born in 1974 and Laura, born in 1978. Charles stood as godfather to Tom and remained close to the Parker-Bowleses for many years. It was rumored that Charles and Camilla rekindled their relationship in the mid-1980s, but the Prince later explained that it had come about only “after [my] marriage had irretrievably broken down”. Both Charles and Diana, the Princess of Wales, had looked elsewhere for companionship.
Today, Camilla is married to Charles. Their wedding in 2005 was given a largely warm reaction. Out of public respect for Diana, Camilla chose not to use the title “Princess of Wales”; instead, she was known as The Duchess of Cornwall, the feminine form of Charles’ title as Duke of Cornwall.
On September 8th, 2022, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96. Charles became King Charles III and Camilla became Queen Consort, the first king and queen in 70 years.
HRH The Princess of Wales
Catherine “Kate” Middleton is the fellow St Andrews alum who captured the heart of Prince William. She made her mark in the world of royalty by proving she could keep cool in front of the hundreds of cameramen who pursued her daily while she dated William, heir to the throne.
Catherine was raised in Berkshire, England with sister Pippa (Phillipa) and brother James. Her parents, Michael and Carole, ran a successful family business called Party Pieces, a party-supply company.
William and Catherine met at St. Andrews University in Scotland. They seemed to be a match made in heaven, but in 2007 the pair briefly split. Prince William was busy pursuing his army career, and some speculated that Catherine was cowed by the intense media scrutiny. However, they were seen together at the Concert for Diana event that both William and his brother Harry produced in their mother’s honor.
In October 2010, Prince William proposed to Catherine with his mother Diana’s engagement ring. The large blue sapphire surmounted by diamonds was shown to the world the following month at a press conference to announce the engagement. A radiant Kate, as she was known to the media at the time, was dressed in a demure blue dress to match her sparkling ring. She and William smiled and chatted animatedly about the engagement and their future.
HM The Queen bestowed the Dukedom of Cambridge upon William. When he and Catherine took their vows on April 29th, 2011, she became HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.
Upon the Queen’s death in 2022, William’s father, Charles, ascended the throne as King Charles III. When the new king made his first televised speech, he declared that William and Catherine were the new Prince and Princess of Wales.
Since that time, Catherine has continued her work as a passionate patron of mental health initiatives and organizations that focus on the well-being of children. Most recently she has stressed the importance of initiatives that provide resources and guidance for parents to ensure healthy development during a child’s formative years.
Full Name: Catherine Elizabeth (nee Middleton)
Date of Birth: January 9, 1982
Hometown: Bucklebury, Berkshire
Secondary school: Marlborough College
University: St. Andrews
Residence: Kensington Palace, London/Anmer Hall, Norfolk
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Edward is the youngest child and third son of the late Queen Elizabeth II and the late Prince Philip, the former Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Edward’s first public appearance was after the Trooping the Color ceremony in 1964 when his mother, Elizabeth II, held him in her arms on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The crowds below cheered her three-month-old son.
Edward was educated privately until the age of seven, when he attended Gibbs School, a pre-preparatory school, in Kensington. Later he went on to attend Gordonstoun School in Scotland, following in the footsteps of his father and brothers. The prince played rugby and squash, took gliding lessons, and was a keen skier and sailor. Inspired by his time there, Edward has been closely involved with the work of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme; the Award was launched in the UK in 1956 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at the urging of Kurt Hahn, the founder of Gordonstoun. Prince Edward is a United Kingdom and International Trustee of the Scheme.
Interestingly, Edward is the first royal to ever take a regular civilian job. His first was with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s acting company; the Prince then went on to produce and host the documentary series “Crown and Country” for his own company, Ardent Productions Ltd. It combined his interest in acting and being able to strike out on his own.
The Prince became engaged to Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones on January 6th, 1999. On June 19th of that year, they married at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Edward proposed to Sophie with a large engagement ring featuring a two-carat oval diamond flanked by two heart-shaped diamonds on each side. Their wedding took place on June 19, 1999 in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor.
<blockquote>The last person styled ‘Earl of Wessex’ was Harold Godwinson, prior to his accession to the English throne as King Harold II in 1066.</blockquote>
Full Name: Edward Antony Richard Louis
Honors: KG (2006), KCVO (2003, CVO 1989)
Date of Birth: March 10, 1964
Secondary school: Gordonstoun School/Collegiate School, New Zealand
University: Jesus College, Cambridge
Residence: Bagshot Park, Surrey
HRH The Princess Royal
Who: The only daughter of the Queen, Princess Anne was born at Clarence House in London. She is two years younger than Prince Charles, and like her brother she was born prior their mother’s accession.
The Princess began her education in a traditionally royal way -in a small private class held at Buckingham Palace. At the age of thirteen, Princess Anne went on to Beneden, a boarding school in Kent.
The Queen, well-known for her knowledge of horses and breeding, passed the talent for this hobby on to her daughter at a young age. Anne grew up to be a keen horsewoman and even competed in the equestrian event in the 1972 Montreal Olympics, representing Britain.
At age twenty-three, The Princess Royal met Captain Mark Phillips of The Queen’s Dragoon Guards. They were engaged on May 29th, 1973, and married in November of that year in Westminster Abbey. A few months after their marriage, an attempt was made to kidnap The Princess, as she and her new husband were driving back to Buckingham Palace after a charity event.
Anne was able to successfully hold the kidnapper at bay until he was subdued. She and her husband held the door of her car shut, hoping that the man would give up. Not so easily…..
“What good will this do?” Anne shouted to the kidnapper, as he tried to yank her door open. “Go away!”
“That girl’s got steel britches,” said one local shop owner when told of the incident. The Princess and her husband were unhurt, but her personal protection officer was shot and wounded during the incident. He was later awarded the George Cross for his bravery.
A few months after everything settled down, Princess Anne became pregnant with her first child, Peter Mark Andrew Phillips, born November 15th, 1977. The Princess’s second child, Zara Anne Elizabeth, was born May 15th, 1981.
Unfortunately, the princess’ marriage was dissolved in April 1992. In December of the same year Anne married Commander Timothy Laurence, Royal Navy (now Commodore Laurence), at a private ceremony at Crathie Church, near Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Always a dedicated supporter of charities and a tireless worker on behalf of children, she received the title Princess Royal from The Queen in June 1987. Her best known work is for the “Save The Children” organization. Anne went to all sorts of third-world countries, which astounded many in the palace, but she didn’t worry a bit about contracting diseases; she merely got the shots required and marched right into the most desolate areas of the world.
Full Name: Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise
Date of Birth: August 15th, 1950
Education: Benenden School
Residence: Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire
HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh
Born in Oxford on January 20, 1965, Sophie Rhys-Jones was educated at Dulwich College Preparatory School and West Kent College before pursuing a career in public relations.
Sophie is said to have been close to the Queen, which several warm, smiling photos show. Sophie often rode with the Queen when at Windsor or Balmoral, and was tapped for her public relations savvy to advise Kate Middleton upon her marriage to Prince William.
Edward was created Earl of Wessex by the Queen upon the occasion of his wedding. Thus, Sophie became known as HRH The Countess of Wessex. It was also decided that any children they might have should not be given the style His or Her Royal Highness, but would have courtesy titles as sons or daughters of an earl. Their daughter, Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary, is simply Lady Louise. Their son, James Alexander Philip Theo, held the courtesy title Viscount Severn. Now that Edward is Duke of Edinburgh, James is the Earl of Wessex.
Buckingham Palace announced the plan for Edward to eventually inherit the title of Duke of Edinburgh, which was at that time held by his father, Prince Philip. This would happen after the title merged with the Crown following the death of both of his parents. In 2019, Edward was granted the additional title of Earl of Forfar for use in Scotland, which made Sophie Countess of Wessex and Forfar.
Upon the Queen’s death, the royal family’s world shifted and titles changed. As king, Charles bestowed the title Duke of Edinburgh on Edward.
The Duke of York
The Duke of York is the second son and the third child of The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Andrew was initially educated by a governess. At age 8, he went to Heatherdown preparatory School. When he turned 13, Andrew continued his studies at Gordonstoun like his elder brother and his father. After leaving Gordonstoun, the Prince pursued a naval career in 1979. He became a qualified helicopter pilot and fought in the Falklands War. Andrew sailed in HMS INVINCIBLE as part of the Task Force that went to the South Atlantic to regain the Falkland Islands.
Prince Andrew met wife Sarah Ferguson through his sister-in-law, the Princess of Wales. Sarah and Andrew were engaged on March 19, 1986. The prince had presented Sarah with a ruby and diamond engagement ring. They were married in Westminster Abbey on July 23 the same year. At the time of their marriage Prince Andrew was created The Duke of York; when Sarah took her vows, she became The Duchess of York.
The royal couple had their first daughter, Beatrice, in 1988. Their second daughter, Eugenie, was born two years later in 1990. However, by 1992 it was obvious the marriage was unraveling with the revelations about the Duchess’ affair with her financial advisor.
That March it was announced that The Duke and Duchess were to separate; they were divorced in May 1996.
Side Note: Andrew was the first child to be born to a reigning monarch for 103 years.
Full Name: Andrew Albert Christian Edward
Titles/Honors: Baron Killyleagh and Earl of Inverness; KG (2006), KCVO (2003, CVO 1979), CD (2001)
Date of Birth: February 19th, 1960
Education: Heatherdown Preparatory School; Gordonstoun
Residence: Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park
HRH Princess Beatrice of York
Beatrice is the eldest daughter of HRH The Duke of York and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson. Beatrice shares her name with another famous Princess Beatrice – the youngest child of Queen Victoria. Though Bea’s predecessor was much further down the line of royal succession than she, the Victorian Beatrice would become the mother of a queen – Queen Ena of Spain.
Comparisons are drawn between the York princesses of today and of yesteryear. For one thing, both Dukes of York (Andrew and his grandfather, Prince Albert) married non-royal women, and both had two daughters. Princess Beatrice is the first Princess of York since her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth was formerly known as HRH Princess Elizabeth of York until her father became King George VI.
Princess Beatrice is an active member of the British Royal Family and is currently taking on royal duties in line with her interest in children. Beatrice has visited HIV-infected children in Russia, and in the UK she supports Springboard for Children, a literacy project for primary-school children with learning difficulties. The princess is also a supporter of her mother’s patronage, the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Beatrice has also accomplished admirable sporting achievements: she ran the London Marathon, then ran in the five mile National Lottery Olympic Run during the summer 2012 games.
The princess is also an accomplished graduate of Goldsmiths with a 2:1 degree (BA) in History and History of Ideas.
Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, a property developer with roots in Italian nobility, in 2020. Their first child is a daughter, Sienna Elizabeth, who was born on September 18th, 2021.
Full Name: Beatrice Elizabeth Mary
Date of Birth: August 8, 1988
Education: Upton House School; Coworth Park School; St. George’s School
University: Goldsmiths, University of London
HRH Princess Eugenie of York
Eugenie of York is the younger daughter of HRH The Duke of York and is the Queen’s 6th grandchild. She is named for the Empress Eugenie, Queen Victoria, and Princess Helena, a daughter of Victoria.
Eugenie was always an independent child, and very adventurous. At age two she was in the saddle, riding a pony used by her cousins William, Harry, Peter, and Zara. She was adored by elder sister Beatrice, who looked at baby Eugenie as her own ‘dolly’.
As children, Eugenie and Beatrice were dressed in matching outfits. It was reminiscent of the childhood of their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, who had been dressed in matching outfits with her younger sister, Princess Margaret. The sisters were four years apart, but that didn’t matter to their mother, the Duchess of York (who later became Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother).
As Eugenie approached her 18th birthday however, she began to develop her own sense of style. She was photographed for the cover of Tatler, wearing a purple silk-duchesse satin gown by Ralph Lauren and decorated in Bulgari jewels. It was plain that Eugenie had grown more confident in the days since her childhood back problems were alleviated by surgery at age 12. The Princess underwent a seven-hour operation to correct a curvature of her spine. Happily, the operation was a complete success and Eugenie grew two inches taller.
The Princess is a graduate of Newcastle University, with a Combined Honors BA, combining Art History, English Literature and Politics.
The princess married Jack Brooksbank on October 12, 2018. In February 2021, she gave birth to a son, August Philip Hawke Brooksbank.
Side Note: Eugenie is the first in the family – since the Queen’s aunt – to have the name ‘Victoria’ as a part of her Christian names.
The Princess Royal, sister of King George VI, was christened Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary, as per Queen Victoria’s edict. Her petite Imperial Majesty had insisted that her female descendants bear the name ‘Victoria’ somewhere in their name, just as she expected male descendants to carry the name ‘Albert.’ The Princess, however, was known simply as Princess Mary.
Neither the current Queen, the late Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra, Princess Anne, nor Princess Beatrice have the name Victoria.
Full name: Eugenie Victoria Helena
Born: March 23,1990
Education: Newcastle University
HRH The Duke of Gloucester
HRH Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, is the second son of the late Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and his wife, the late Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott, the Duchess of Gloucester. The family estate was at Barnwell, in Northamptonshire.
Shortly after Richard’s birth, his uncle, Prince George, was killed in a plane crash. George had been slated to become the next Governor-General of Australia; instead, the appointment now went to Henry. After only two years on the job, however, Henry had to return home to act as Regent while his other brother, King George VI, was away on an extensive royal tour of South Africa with his family.
Prince Richard and his elder brother, Prince William, would live in England for the remainder of their lives. Both Gloucester princes completed their education at Eton College and then on to Magdalene College, Cambridge. William read history, earning himself a BA degree. Subsequently, he was awarded a Masters degree in 1968. Prince Richard read architecture and received his BA degree.
In a tragic turn, Prince George would not be the only sad loss to an airplane accident. William himself was killed 1972 when the plane he was piloting crashed at Halfpenny Green, near Wolverhampton. As Henry’s eldest son, William was the heir-apparent of his father’s peerages, including those of Earl of Ulster and Baron Culloden. Upon his fatal accident, Richard became the heir-apparent.
Prince Henry, who had already been weakened by a recent stroke, took the news badly. Those closest to him said that William’s death was the final blow to Henry. The Duke died two years later in 1974, making Richard the new Duke of Gloucester.
The Gloucester line continues today with Richard and his family. He married Birgitte van Deurs of Denmark and had three children: Alexander, the Earl of Ulster; Lady Davina, and Lady Rose.
Alexander is married to Dr. Claire Booth, a pediatrician. They have one son named Xan, who is also known by the title Lord Culloden. Lady Davina married Gary Lewis, a New Zealander who is the first person of Maori descent in the Royal Family. Lady Rose married George Gilman, son of property developer Peter Gilman.
The Duke of Gloucester, like his cousin Prince Charles, is particularly interested in architecture and conservation. He serves as a commissioner of the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England and is a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The Duchess of Gloucester performs royal duties with her husband in support of the Queen. Her Royal Highness also carries out numerous public engagements on behalf of her own patronages, many of which have medical, educational or welfare connections.
HRH The Duke of Kent
Originally published on The Royal Representative on March 2, 2010.
HRH Prince Edward George Nicholas Patrick Paul was born October 9th, 1935. His parents were Prince George of the United Kingdom and Princess Marina (formerly a princess of Greece and Denmark).
Prince George married Marina in 1934, an event hailed as the society wedding of the year. People were excited about the stylish, exotic princess marrying their prince; Marina was Princess of Greece and Denmark, a great-granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia and a granddaughter of the Greek King George I.
George and Marina’s marriage produced Prince Edward, their heir to the Kent Dukedom, and his siblings Alexandra and Michael. The family resided at Coppins, the Kent family home in Buckinghamshire. The Duke and Duchess carried out royal duties on behalf of the King.
At the start of World War II, the Duke returned to active military service. On August 25th, 1942, Prince George was scheduled to fly to Iceland on official business. During the journey, the plane ran into trouble and crashed in Scotland, killing the Duke instantly. Young Edward became the new Duke of Kent at just six years old. Princess Alexandra was five and the youngest, Michael, was only weeks old.
From the moment he inherited his title, Prince Edward was trained to carry out official duties. At age 16, he walked behind the coffin of his uncle, King George VI; at the coronation of Elizabeth II, he paid her homage as a royal duke. He later took his seat in the House of Lords in 1959.
Edward began his schooling at Ludgrove Preparatory School as a duke. He went on to Eton College and eventually Le Rosey in Switzerland. After school, Prince Edward entered the Royal Military College Sandhurst, which began a military career spanning over 20 years.
Marriage and Family
The burden of balancing a royal workload with a military career would be eased with a beautiful, talented wife. On June 8th, 1961, Edward married Katharine Worsley, making her the new Duchess of Kent.
Just before their marriage, Edward’s mother Marina requested that she be known as HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent rather than HRH The Dowager Duchess of Kent. Her niece, Queen Elizabeth II, allowed Marina to revert to her previous princely style as a Princess of Greece and Denmark.
Edward and Katharine produced three children: George, Earl of St Andrews, born June 26th, 1962; Lady Helen, born April 28th, 1964; and Lord Nicholas Windsor, born July 25th, 1970.
The Duchess of Kent is a talented musician who grew up playing the piano, organ, and violin, all of which she still plays today. As a young woman, she taught primary school before going on to Oxford to study music. Both experiences inspired her to help young people in their pursuit of musical education and enjoyment.
The Duchess of Kent is also a Trustee of the National Foundation for Youth Music and President and Board Member of the Royal Northern College of Music.
The Duke of Kent supports the Queen in her work as Head of State, attending official receptions and ceremonial events. His office is located at St. James’ Palace.
The Duke of Kent undertakes a wide variety of engagements representing Queen Elizabeth II. He also travels frequently on behalf of his various charitable organizations. His Royal Highness carries out approximately 200 official engagements per year in the UK and overseas. One role Prince Edward was noted for was his position as the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. As such, the prince traveled extensively to promote Britain and British companies within the United Kingdom and overseas. In 2001, he retired from this position.
Katharine, the kids, and conversion
Not much is known about the Duchess’ personal life. She has maintained a discreet silence over the difficulties she has faced over the years, including the death of her mother and a pregnancy that resulted in a stillborn child. Adding insult to injury, the Duchess was said to have developed myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Over time, it was discovered that she actually suffered from an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine called coeliac disease.
Still, she soldiered on, and in a 2008 interview the Duchess told Hello! magazine that “apart from colds and flu” she has never been ill in her life.
A friend said: “She just wants to be an ordinary human being without any fuss. She has a love of simplicity and an abhorrence of formality, which are expressed in the practice of her faith.”
Katharine was received into the Catholic church in 1994, embracing the faith that she says gave her the guidelines she so desperately needed.
“I do love guidelines and the Catholic Church offers you guidelines. I like to know what’s expected of me. I like being told: you shall go to church on Sunday and if you don’t you’re in for it!” said Katharine.
Katharine and Edward’s youngest child, Lord Nicholas Windsor, as well as two of their grandchildren, followed the Duchess’ example and converted to Catholicism. Lord Nicholas and his elder brother George, the Earl of St. Andrews, married Catholics. Nicholas married Paola Doimi de Lupis de Frankopan in 2006. Their wedding took place in Vatican City, a first for any British royal in history.
The Earl of St. Andrews never converted to Catholicism, but because of his marriage he is excluded from the line of succession. The Act of Settlement does not apply to the Kent dukedom, however, so George will eventually become the Duke of Kent.
The Duke and Duchess of Kent take pride in their children’s successful marriages: George has been married to Sylvana Tomaselli since 1988, and they have three children. Lady Helen has been married to art dealer Timothy Taylor since 1992, and they have four children. Lord Nicholas, married to Paola de Frankopan for four years, has two children.
Both Katharine and Edward continue to represent the Queen and they greatly enjoy their separate patronages. Their efforts and support for the monarchy will be appreciated and remembered for years to come.
HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent
Originally published on The Royal Representative on April 29, 2010.
Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel was born Christmas Day in 1936. She was the second child and only daughter of Prince George and Princess Marina, the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
Princess Alexandra spent most of her childhood at her family’s country house in Iver, Buckinghamshire. During World War II the princess lived with her grandmother Queen Mary, the widow of George V, at her temporary country home Badminton.
Alexandra and her siblings were dealt the devastating loss of their father during the war. The Duke of Kent was killed in a mysterious airplane crash near Caithness, Scotland in August 1942 while serving in the Royal Air Force. Her elder brother Edward became the new Duke of Kent at barely seven years of age.
The princess grew up learning the role of a royal from the women closest to her: Queen Mary and Princess Marina. The dowager Duchess of Kent remained one of the most popular members of the royal family, and she performed her duties with aplomb. Queen Mary left a lasting impression about one’s deportment, discretion, and devotion to duty. Alexandra got the chance to flex her royal muscles when her cousin Elizabeth, who was crowned Queen in 1952, requested that she take on official responsibilities. This was due to the lack of female members of the family at that time; the only women were HM The Queen, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Princess Marina, and a very young Princess Anne. Queen Mary was not seen in public as often after the death of King George V, and she died only a couple of months before Elizabeth’s coronation.
Princess Alexandra accompanied her mother Marina on tours around the world representing the Queen. In 1961, the princess undertook her first solo Commonwealth tour, visiting 22 towns and cities in Queensland, Australia
Alexandra fell in love with the aristocratic Angus Ogilvy, who was eight years her senior. The princess met Ogilvy in 1955 during a ball at Luton Hoo, a manor house on a vast estate. Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of HRH Princess Alexandra in November 1962, much to the delight of the Royal Family. The Ogilvys were a noble Scottish family close to the Windsors – Angus’ grandmother Mabell was a Lady of the Bedchamber and a confidante of Queen Mary; Angus’ father was Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. On April 24th, 1963, the princess and the aristocrat married at Westminster Abbey. The Queen offered Ogilvy an Earldom upon marriage, but he refused. He remained the Honorable Angus Ogilvy. Alexandra retained her style of HRH Princess Alexandra, but was now officially known as the Honorable Mrs. Angus Ogilvy.
Prince Michael of Kent
Originally published on The Royal Representative on April 1, 2010.
HRH Prince Michael George Charles Franklin of Kent was born July 4th, 1942. He is the youngest son of Prince George and Princess Marina.
Prince Michael’s elder siblings are Prince Edward, the current Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra. They spent their childhood at Coppins, the Kent family home in the village of Iver in Buckinghamshire. The Duke and Duchess of Kent carried out royal duties on behalf of King George V, but at the start of World War II, the Duke returned to active military service.
The busy schedule was put on hold for the christening of Prince Michael on August 4th, 1942. The baby’s illustrious godparents included Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then President of the United States; King George II of Greece; King Haakon VII of Norway; Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands; Lady Patricia Ramsay; The Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven; The Crown Princess of Greece; and the baby’s uncle, the Duke of Gloucester.
The littlest Kent would never know his father. Tragically, six weeks after Michael’s birth, Prince George was killed in an airplane crash in Scotland. Michael’s elder brother, Prince Edward, became the new Duke of Kent at only six years old.
Young Michael’s position was very different from that of Edward’s; as a royal duke, Edward would carry out official duties as a representative of Her Majesty. Michael, as the youngest child of King George V’s fourth son, would not take on royal duties nor receive taxpayer funds. The prince was expected to forge his own career after his schooling.
After he completed his studies, the Prince attended Sandhurst Military Academy. Michael was commissioned into the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own) in 1963 and went on to serve in Germany, Hong Kong and Cyprus, where his squadron formed part of the UN peacekeeping force in 1971. His military career, including appointments on the Defense Intelligence Staff, was intermixed with commercial enterprise.
As a direct descendant of the Romanovs on his mother’s side, Prince Michael took a great interest in Russian culture and business. He is also fluent in Russian and is a qualified interpreter of the language. HRH is Patron of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and, in 2004, Prince Michael set up his Prince Michael of Kent Foundation in Russia, whose objectives are to provide grants to four sectors of Russian life: Heritage; Culture; Health and post-graduate business education.
Among his patronages Prince Michael has also established his own consultancy company, offering specialist advice on commercial concerns for groups of business representatives from countries such as China, India and of course Russia.
Being so closely connected to Russia through blood and through his work, Prince Michael was invited to be the representative of the British Royal Family at the formal re-interment of the Romanov family’s remains in St Petersburg in 1998. He returned in 2006 for the reburial of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, mother of the Tsar. HRH has also contributed to two television documentary films for Channel 4 : “The Life and Death of the Last Czar” and “Queen Victoria and Prince Albert”. He also gives occasional lectures on Russia and Queen Victoria.
A Controversial Bride
Prince Michael met the stunning blonde Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz in the 1970s. They married in June 1978, a month after the annulment of her first marriage to English banker Thomas Troubridge.
Upon this marriage, Marie Christine became Princess Michael of Kent. Since she was Catholic, her husband had to step out of the line of succession since the 1701 Act of Settlement prevented Catholics or those who married them from succeeding to the throne.
Marie Christine was born January 15th, 1945 in Sudetenland, the German-speaking border area of Czechoslovakia. Her parents were Baron Günther Hubertus von Reibnitz and his Austro-Hungarian wife, Countess Marianne Szapáry von Muraszombath. Through her mother, the Princess can trace her lineage to Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici, Queen of France and Henry’s wife.
The Princess’ parents were divorced soon after the end of World War II. Baron von Reibnitz decamped to Mozambique; Countess Maria took Marie Christine and her brother, Friedrich, to live in Australia. In Sydney, the princess attended a private Roman Catholic girls’ school.
Her Royal Highness’ native language is German, but in her childhood she became fluent in both English and French. Princess Michael fondly recalled in an interview that her first books in English were some of the great classics – the Brontës, Jane Austen, Dickens, and George Eliot.
In the 1980s, it was revealed that Baron von Reibnitz had served as an officer in Hitler’s Schutzstaffel (the SS) during the war. Both Princess Michael and the Queen’s press secretary confirmed the report. But it wasn’t divorce or parental scandal that caused grief for the newest member of the Kent clan. Princess Michael’s very loud opinions and love of royal perks earned her the nickname “Princess Pushy” by the Royal Family and the media. Some of her more infamous comments have included ‘I’ll go anywhere for a free lunch,’ and that Prince Charles used Diana Spencer as ‘a convenient womb’.
Though her opinions have landed the princess in hot water on many occasions, she did not argue about her children’s religion; Princess Michael quietly deferred to the tradition of raising royal offspring in the Anglican faith. Prince and Princess Michael’s first child was born April 6, 1979 and named Frederick. Their second child, a girl named Gabriella, was born two years later on April 23rd.
Both Freddie and Ella grew up largely under the media’s radar, and attended private schools away from the public eye. Freddie graduated from Oxford with a 2:1 in Classics, while Ella studied literature at Brown University in Rhode Island, USA. The success of both offspring prompted more infamous quotes from their mother: ‘No children in the family have got as good degrees as they’ve got,’ and that they are ‘more educated than their cousins’.
Even with a good education, the young Freddie was not immune to the pressures of college life and jet-set circles. He was caught up in a storm of controversy over cocaine use and spoke to the Sunday Times in 1999 about the scandal, saying, “I admit it is true. It is very difficult to avoid getting into this sort of thing when you move in these circles, but I don’t blame anyone else for the incident.”
His parents stood behind him. “I brought my children up to be anti-drugs. I am disappointed that he experimented in this way, but he has assured me that he will not do it again, and I believe him,” said Princess Michael.
Despite this setback, Frederick has forged a successful career as a banker for JP Morgan’s private banking division. He married actress Sophie Winkleman in 2009 and they currently reside in Los Angeles.
Business and Pleasure
Like their parents, Lord Frederick and Lady Gabriella work independently of the royal family. Gabriella is known professionally as Ella Windsor.
Aside from Freddie’s work in the private banking world, reports say that he is also going to become a “brand ambassador” as a face of Savile Row, the famed tailors. With this job, Freddie follows in the footsteps of his cousin Lady Helen Taylor, daughter of the Duke of Kent. Lady Helen was the brand ambassador for Giorgio Armani for over a decade.
Ella is journalist who has written for ¡Hola!, The Spectator, The Mail on Sunday, and various other publications. The date of her birth is fitting considering her career: William Shakespeare, the great writer and poet, is thought to have been born April 23rd.
Princess Michael has turned her own artistic flair and towards writing, researching her family tree and producing a book on her ancestors Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers entitled The Serpent and the Moon: Two Rivals for the Love of a Renaissance King. The princess also lectures internationally at universities and museums.
The Prince and Princess continue to support nearly 140 various associations and charitable organizations both nationally and internationally. The success of their children and their own contented – if occasionally controversial – life has made Prince and Princess Michael two very interesting members of the Royal Family.
The Earl of Snowdon
David Armstrong-Jones was born November 3, 1961 at Clarence House in London. He is the son of the late Princess Margaret and the late Antony “Tony” Armstrong-Jones.
Tony Armstrong-Jones was given the title Earl of Snowdon by the Queen when he married Princess Margaret. Thus, David grew up as Viscount Linley, a courtesy title as the son of the Earl of Snowdon. When Tony passed away January 13, 2017, David became the second Lord Snowdon.
While David is the son of a princess, he is not royal. He is a part of the Queen’s family but not an official member of the Royal Family. As such, David and his sister made their own way in life – Lady Sarah (b. May 1, 1964) as a painter, and David as a craftsman of luxury furniture.
Influenced by the opulent settings of his mother’s royal world and the artistic world of his photographer father, David developed a lasting love and curiosity of how things are crafted.
<blockquote>“I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by beautiful things,” David says. “Instead of taking these for granted, I wanted to find out more about the making process, whether a vase, a car, a sculpture or indeed a piece of furniture.”</blockquote>
David started lessons in the Buckingham Palace schoolroom, but as he got older, his parents recognized his skills and enrolled him in Bedales, a school renowned for its arts and design. From there, David studied at Parnham House School for Craftsman in Wood in Dorset.
In 1985, David opened his eponymous David Linley Co Ltd., where he produced bespoke luxury furniture as well as beautifully crafted home accessories with his team. The company is housed in a tony showroom on London’s Pimlico Road.
David is also a published author, whose books “Classical Furniture” (1993) and “Extraordinary Furniture” (1996) were well-received by critics.
In 2012, David sold a large percentage of his company to yacht broker Jamie Edmiston. He retained a leadership position and continued to work as chairman of Christie’s UK. As of 2015, Christie’s announced that David was appointed the Honorable Chairman for Christie’s in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India. He has certainly kept busy.
“I’m not royal,” David says. “My mother is, but I’m not. I’m basically a businessman. That’s all I talk about.”
According to reports in 2006, his businessman side may have been what led him into controversy. After Princess Margaret’s death in 2002, David and his sister Sarah were left to deal with inheritance tax. To offset this, David organized an auction via Christie’s to sell many of Margaret’s belongings. His father Tony was said to be unhappy about the sale, as was Sarah. It’s hardly surprising to see why: among the lots were wedding gifts given to Margaret and Tony, as well as Margaret’s famous wedding tiara (the huge and dazzling Poltimore).
“I had the sale for a very simple reason, which was an inheritance tax situation, and wanting to build for my family’s future and my children’s education – normal family requirements,” the viscount told The Sunday Telegraph in 2007.
The Queen was not convinced. She is reported to have stepped in to stipulate the conditions of the sale of certain objects. If any gifts given to Princess Margaret in her official capacity were sold, the proceeds would go to charity.
In 1993, David married The Honorable Serena Stanhope. Serena was born in Co. Limerick, Ireland, to the Earl of Harrington and his first wife, Virginia Freeman-Jackson.
David and Serena have been married for twenty-three years and have two children: Charles Patrick Inigo (b. 1999) and Margarita Elizabeth Alleyne (b. 2002). Formerly known as The Honorable Margarita Armstrong-Jones, she will now be known as Lady Margarita. Charles, the Queen’s Page of Honor, assumes the mantle of Viscount Linley.
Despite taking on a new title, David Armstrong-Jones and his family live a quiet life away from the spotlight. They divide their time between their Chateau d’Autet in Provence, France and England. David says they love watching The Archers and cycling in the countryside.