Prince Edward, Duke of Kent

Updated: Sep 7, 2019

Biography;


The Duke of Kent was born Prince Edward on 9 October 1935 at the family's London home, 3 Belgrave Square.














Prince George, Duke of Kent; Prince Edward; Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, 1936 © National Portrait Gallery, London

He was baptised as 'Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick' in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace on 20 November 1935 by the Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Lang. His godparents were his grandparents King George V, Queen Mary & Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark; the Prince of Wales; the Princess Royal; the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (whose son, Prince Arthur of Connaught, stood proxy); & the Duchess of Argyll.















The Duchess of Kent with Prince Edward aged four months, 17 Feb 1936. Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

He is older brother to Prince Michael of Kent & Princess Alexandra, & is first cousin to both The Queen & The Duke of Edinburgh.


Prince Edward's father was Prince George, Duke of Kent, the younger brother of King George VI (The Queen's father) & King Edward VIII. His mother was Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, & Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.


Queen Mary (1867-1953) with the Duchess of Kent (1906-68) & her children, Edward, Duke of Kent (b. 1935), Princess Alexandra (b. 1936) & Prince Michael of Kent (b. 1942), sitting on his mother's lap; sitting in a garden, during summer, 1943. Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

In 1942 his father Prince George, then Duke of Kent, died in a wartime flying accident near Caithness in Scotland while on active service. The title Duke of Kent then passed to the present Duke then aged almost seven years of age on 25 August 1942.


Prince Edward, 1940. Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Education;


The Duke went to school at Ludgrove preparatory school in Berkshire (which later Prince Harry also attended) & then went on to study at Eton, where he enjoyed rowing. He then went on to study at Le Rosey in Switzerland where he captained his regimental ski team in the Army championships.


When his uncle King George VI died in 1952, The Duke of Kent, aged 16, walked in the procession behind The King's coffin during the State Funeral.


A year later in 1953 he attended the Coronation of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II. During the Coronation Service he paid homage to The Queen, making a pledge of loyalty to the Sovereign, after Prince Philip & Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester.



Career in the British army;


At the age of 18, The Duke of Kent joined The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Surrey, where he won the Sir James Moncrieff Grierson prize for foreign languages & qualified as an interpreter of French.


The Duke of Kent served in the Armed Forces in the UK & overseas for 21 years:

  • 1955: The Duke graduated from Sandhurst as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys.


  • He was promoted to captain on 29 July 1961

  • 1962-1963: The Duke undertook a regimental tour in Hong Kong

  • 1966: The Duke attended the Army staff course & then served on the staff in Eastern Command.

  • In 1970, the Duke commanded a squadron of his regiment serving in the British Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus, part of the UN force enforcing peace between the Greek & Turkish parts of the divided island

  • He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on 30 June 1973.

  • 1976: The Duke retired from the Army with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

  • He was promoted to Major-General on 11 June 1983

  • 1993: The Duke was promoted to Field Marshal.


The Duke retains close links to the Army today & he holds a number of senior appointments & visits his regiments on a regular basis. His Royal Highness made a number of visits to both Iraq & Afghanistan to visit his regiments when they were engaged in combat operations in those regions. He takes part in The Trooping of the Colour in his role as Colonel, of the Scots Guards, where you will see him on horseback alongside the other Royal Colonel's including; the Prince of Wales (Welsh Guards), Princess Royal (Blues and Royals), & the Duke of Cambridge (Irish Guards).


Marriage & children;
















In 1961 The Duke of Kent became engaged to Miss Katharine Worsley & they married in York Minster on 8 June. The couple had met while The Duke was based at Catterick Camp Army base in Yorkshire. Katharine is the only daughter of Sir William Arthrington Worsley, 4th Baronet., & his wife, Joyce Morgan Brunner.


The Duke & Duchess of Kent have three children:


  • George, Earl of St Andrews, born on 28 June 1962; he married Sylvana Tomaselli

  • Lady Helen Taylor, born on 18 July 1964; she married Timothy Taylor

  • Lord Nicholas Windsor, born on 25 July 1970. He married Princess Paola Doimi de Lupis de Frankopan















In 1994 his wife converted to Catholicism. Because this conversion did not occur until many years after their marriage, it did not cause the Duke to lose his place in the line of succession, as the Act of Settlement 1701 only applied where the spouse was a Catholic at the time of marriage. The couple's son, Nicholas, also converted to Catholicism & he is excluded from the line of succession in accordance with the Succession to the Crown Act 2013.


None of their children carry out official Royal duties. They have ten grandchildren. The Duke & Duchess live at Wren House Kensington Palace, & in Oxfordshire.


The Duke has a keen interest in music & opera; engineering, innovation & science; & military history.


The Duke of Kent is a Royal Colonel & a Personal Aide-de-Camp to The Queen, an honorary appointment with duties that include representing The Queen at memorial services, in the UK & overseas.


On the morning of 18 March 2013 the Duke had a mild stroke . In April 2015, he suffered from a hip injury & was hospitalised at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for further treatments.


Supporting the Queen;


For over fifty years the Duke has supported the Queen throughout her reign. The Duke is a regular presence at events such as Trooping the Colour & the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph. His Royal Highness has undertaken a number of overseas visits on behalf of Her Majesty over the course of her reign & continues to take on some of her duties, such as the presentation of The Queen’s Award prizes.


HM Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Colour, Following on horseback are The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales & The Duke of Kent & others. 3 Jun 1978 . Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

The Duke of Kent has represented The Queen on a number of important occasions overseas during Her Majesty's reign, such as the independence celebrations in Sierra Leone (1961), Uganda (1962), Guyana (1966) & The Gambia (1965).


The Duke returned to Uganda in October 2012 as part of the celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, when members of the Royal Family travelled to Commonwealth nations on Her Majesty's behalf to mark The Queen's 60 year reign. The visit also marked the 50th anniversary of Uganda's full independence from the UK. The Duke's visit represented the continuity of his interest in this African nation & supported Her Majesty in her role as Head of the Commonwealth.



The Duke of Kent has in the past been a Counsellor of State during The Queen's absence abroad, temporarily carrying out some of the Sovereign's official duties in the absence of Her Majesty.


The Duke has supported The Queen at Her Majesty's Birthday Parade over many years. For most of The Queen's reign The Duke would ride in the procession behind The Queen during Trooping the Colour. The Duke still joins The Queen in the carriage procession for the Parade. In 2013 The Duke rode in the Glass Coach with Her Majesty & joined her on the Royal Dais.


The Duke & Duchess of Kent, 1985

Over recent years The Duke has had the privilege of awarding a number of The Queen's Awards prizes on Her Majesty's behalf in recognition of successful UK businesses.


As Vice Chairman of the Overseas Trade Board, & later of British Trade International (1976 – 2001), The Duke of Kent has undertaken over 60 overseas trips to promote British trade & exports, including to Europe, Japan, Australia & the Middle East.


The Duke was the first member of the Royal Family to make an official visit to China.

The Duke of Kent is involved with over 140 different charities, organisations & professional bodies which cover a wide range of issues, from commemorating the war dead, to fostering the development of British technology & industry. His Royal Highness undertakes numerous engagements each year in support of these organisations, both in the UK & across the Commonwealth.


The Duke of Kent is passionate that future generations should be encouraged to remember the sacrifice made by so many during the conflicts of World War I & World War II.


HRH The Duke of Kent at the unveiling of commemoration plaques for the 175 men from overseas who won Britain’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, for service in the First World War, London, 26 June 2014.

The Duke has been President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission since 1970, an organisation that commemorates Commonwealth servicemen & women who died in the two world wars, & cares for memorials at 23,000 locations in 154 countries. The Duke remains closely involved with their work & travels widely to visit the sites.


"WWII anniversaries are now an occasion for joint remembrance: an opportunity to pause & reflect on the horrors of war; to mourn & commemorate those who lost or gave their lives; to display our solidarity with those who survived"

- The Duke of Kent


In April 2015, The Duke visited Australia & undertook a full programme of Commonwealth War Graves visits. His Royal Highness visited Centennial Park Cemetery & West Terrace Cemetery in Adelaide, & attended a Service at the Shrine of Remembrance, in Melbourne. As part of the trip, he also attended the ANZAC Day services at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra & took part in the ceremony to remember more than 140,000 Australian, New Zealand, British, Irish, Allied & Ottoman servicemen who died during the Gallipoli campaign, in the 100th anniversary year.















In 2014 The Duke of Kent also visited Commonwealth War Graves in Belgium, Ireland & Bulgaria. The Duke of Kent has been President of the Board of Trustees for the Imperial War Museum since 1974 in this role he lends his support to exhibitions & keeps informed about the developments for the museum.















The Duke of Kent has been President of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) since 1969, succeeding his parents. The RNLI, as it is commonly known, is a charity providing a 24-hour lifesaving service around the UK & Ireland. The Duke regularly visits lifeboat stations nationwide to meet the dedicated volunteer crews & the fundraisers who support their vital work saving lives at sea.


In March 2015, His Royal Highness joined the volunteer crew on exercise aboard Exmouth RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat R & J Welburn. As part of the exercise The Duke of Kent was given the opportunity to launch the lifeboat into the Exe Estuary and given a demonstration of the state-of-the-art lifeboat’s capabilities & its unique Launch and Recovery System. In 2016, The Duke of Kent took a tour of RNLI lifeboat & lifeguard stations in the Channel Islands.


Portrait by Allan Warren 1989

The Duke has been President of the Stroke Association since 1977, & has helped to promote fundraising for this charity that seeks to educate the public about the risks of strokes, the third most common cause of death in the UK.


In 2010 The Duke of Kent became the first Patron of St Mungo's Broadway, a homelessness charity and housing association in England. The Duke is committed to supporting the organisation which helps men & women with accommodation, advice, health services & skills development, by helping to raise awareness of the problems faced by the homeless. His Royal Highness has visited a number of hostels & seen first-hand how St Mungo's Broadway staff support residents in a compassionate way, focusing on the person's recovery. The Duke has been Patron of Endeavour since 1979, a small national charity which works at grass roots level with some of England's most disadvantaged & disaffected young people. In July 2014 he visited and opened their new Headquarters in Sheffield.


Sport;


The Duke of Kent is well-known for his involvement with the Wimbledon Championships. As President of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club since 1969, each summer The Duke attends Wimbledon & presents the winners' trophies to the champions at the end of the tournament. The Duke is often joined by other members of the Royal Family in the Royal Box to watch the matches. From 1971 to 2000, the Duke of Kent was president of English football's governing body, The Football Association.















His Royal Highness is also Patron of a number of other sporting bodies, including the Ski Club of Great Britain; Kent County Cricket Club; & Royal West Norfolk Golf Club. He is President-in-Chief of The British Racing Drivers' Club.


British-German relations;


The Duke of Kent has for decades been active in fostering British-German relations and is Patron of the British German Association and the Dresden Trust, which both share this underlying aim.


On 14 February 2015, The Duke of Kent was awarded The Dresden International Peace Prize for his contribution to the reconciliation of Great Britain & Germany.


In 2004 the Dresden Trust presented the gold cross steeple which sits on top of the Frauenkirche cathedral, as a gift from the British people to Dresden. The cathedral in Dresden, Saxony was severely damaged by a bombing raid by the British in 1945, in response to the Germans bombing London. Both Britain & Germany suffered incredible losses during the Second World War air raids.


The reconstruction of the Frauenkirche cathedral, & the installation of the cross & orb steeple, was a significant moment in the 60 year reconciliation process between the two countries, following the war. The British goldsmith who made the cross & orb is the son of a RAF airman who took part in the bombing raid on Dresden.


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