Who’s Who: British Royal Family Biographies
> See also – The Line of Succession
HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
HRH The Prince of Wales & HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
HRH The Duke of Cambridge & HRH The Duchess of Cambridge
HRH Prince Henry of Wales
HRH The Duke of York
HRH Princess Beatrice of York
HRH Princess Eugenie of York
HRH The Earl of Wessex & HRH The Countess of Wessex
HRH The Princess Royal
Mr. Peter Phillips
Ms. Zara Phillips
HM Queen Elizabeth II
She inspired mankind as she rode in her golden coach through the streets of London, drawn by grand white horses. The young Queen waved to all whom she passed by, smiling bravely as she headed toward her destiny awaiting her at Westminster Abbey. Her husband, Prince Philip, rode beside her. Dressed in his naval uniform, he wore layers of shining gold epaulets, waving and occasionally saluting the crowds with a white-gloved hand.
Once they arrived at Westminster Abbey, they were heralded by trumpets, and throngs of people cheered. Elizabeth, at only twenty-five years of age, was the first reigning queen since Victoria.
The ceremony was broadcast on the radio around the world. At Elizabeth’s request, it was also broadcast live on the television, the newest media device at the time. With the coronation televised, it brought home the splendor and the significance never before seen to hundreds of thousands of people.
In the Beginning
The Queen was born in London on April 21, 1926. She was the first child for Prince Albert, the Duke of York, and his wife Elizabeth. Five weeks after her birth the baby Princess was christened with the beautiful name of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in the chapel at Buckingham Palace. She was named for her mother, her grandmother Queen Mary, and great-grandmother Queen Alexandra. As a toddler, too young to pronounce her own name, Elizabeth called herself “Lilibet”. The name stuck, and to this day that is what members of her family still call her.Princess Elizabeth lived at 145 Piccadilly, the elegant London townhouse taken by her parents shortly after her birth. She also resided at White Lodge in Richmond Park and at the country homes of her grandparents. At six years of age, Elizabeth, along with her sister Princess Margaret, then 2, were moved to Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park officially as their own country home.
Princess Elizabeth was educated at home with Princess Margaret. The two sisters would mainly be schooled in the importance of social graces and how to behave as a proper lady. When not practicing social ettiquette, Elizabeth and Margaret would put on plays and pantomimes for their parents and other royal friends. It was clear that Princess Margaret was the star of these performances, and the enthusiastic youngster would remain a lifelong fan of theatre and the arts.
As a young girl, Elizabeth was always dressed exactly like Princess Margaret, despite the four years between them. The Duchess of York felt that would serve to bridge the age gap. That’s where the similarities ended however. Margaret was an impish little girl who would sing and dance at the drop of a hat and frequently spoke her mind, while Elizabeth was more logical, serious, and reserved. She wanted to please her parents and adhered to the path of duty and decorum.
When her sister was born – whose full name is Margaret Rose – the little Elizabeth declared, “I shall call her Bud.” When asked why she called Margaret this, Elizabeth replied logically, “Well, she’s too young to be a rose. She is only a bud.”
In 1936, upon the abdication of his elder brother, Prince Albert ceased being the Duke of York and became King George VI. Elizabeth automatically became heiress presumptive, and as such had the royal “The” appended to her title as the child of the Sovereign. Her education turned sharply away from that of Margaret’s. Elizabeth would one day be Queen and her studies now focused on geography, constitutional history, and law. She still studied art and music, her mother’s greatest loves, and learned to ride. The Queen is still a keen horsewoman and breeder today.Much of the Queen’s personality and devoted work habits are credited to her father, George VI, who was concerned that she receive the proper apprenticeship for the throne. The king, perfectly content as the Duke of York, had been thrust onto the throne when his elder brother abdicated. He had no training for his role. The Duke was the second son of the monarch, never expecting this mantle of responsibility. George decided that his daughter, now the heir to the throne, would not face the same surprises.
Elizabeth’s grandmother, Queen Mary, was also a huge influence on the young princess’ life. Mary had instilled in her the importance of keeping up appearances and how to endure, with aplomb, endless rounds of public duties.
Princess Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip, during a tour of Dartmouth Royal Naval College with her parents. Philip was eighteen, she was thirteen, and was completely smitten by the handsome naval cadet. Philip was following in the footsteps of his uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who had been the Admiral of the Fleet in the British Navy. Mountbatten was such an effective leader he had been posted to India as Viceroy after the war.
Prince Philip had been born a prince of Greece and Denmark, the youngest child of Prince Andrew and Princess Alice of Greece. As a baby, Philip’s family had been forced to flee when Greece was invaded by Turkey. Philip, his parents, and his four sisters escaped with the help of the British Royal Navy.
Prince Andrew was a cousin of King George V, in whose reign these events transpired. The old king remembered his Russian cousin’s horrible execution and was determined not to make the same mistake again by abandoning family. George V’s forces saved not only a cousin but the family of Mountbatten’s sister Alice.
Philip’s four sisters eventually came of age to marry, and one by one left the family to marry German noblemen. Deciding that they were now secure with husbands, Prince Andrew ran off a few years later to be with his mistress. Princess Alice had a nervous breakdown and was sent for treatment in Switzerland. The only member of the family left, the future Consort of Queen Elizabeth II, was only ten years old.
When it was thought that he might marry Elizabeth, Philip had to renounce his title and his Orthodox Greek religion and become a member of the Church of England. After WWII, Philip eventually made his intentions known to the king about Elizabeth, and the Princess was thrilled. George VI was wary, worried that she was too young. The King took his family on a trip to South Africa while Philip stayed behind. He figured it would give his daughter time to think about her impending engagement. After they returned from the 6 month tour, Elizabeth’s mind was still made up – she wanted to marry Philip. He officially proposed, giving her an engagement ring fashioned from a few diamonds from his mother’s old tiara. The engagement was announced publicly July 10, 1947 and the wedding was set for November 20 of that year.
Being of a traditional sort, Philip discussed with Elizabeth about the taking of his new surname, Mountbatten. As a royal prince, he never had a last name, so Lord Mountbatten, his mother’s younger brother, offered his own name as a solution when Philip was to marry Elizabeth. The king and many other members of the family were extremely cagey towards Lord Louis and were agitated beyond belief that he had actually publicly toasted to the House of Mountbatten, which had now “risen from obscurity from the banks of the Rhine”. The thought of Elizabeth changing her name or the name of the royal house was not an idea her father or Queen Mary wanted to entertain. Elizabeth put off the name controversy for a few years, but eventually, when she became Queen, she instituted that all her descendants will bear the name Mountbatten-Windsor. That way, the official name of the house would not be changed, but her children and their descendants would bear Mountbatten as part of their names.
The Prince and Princess, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, took on more and more of the king’s official engagements as his health was declining. George had cancer, and it was building up in his lungs. He went ahead with an operation to have one of his lungs removed, which proved successful. For a time he was well and back to his old self, but unfortunately it would not last long. Elizabeth and Philip went on an African tour – one of her father’s engagements – and George saw them off at the airport with the Queen and Princess Margaret. It would be the last time Elizabeth would see her beloved father again.
Life Without Father
King George VI died in his sleep February 6, 1952, emaciated by cancer. The healthful effects of the operation had lasted a greviously short time, and the king died during his daughter’s tour in Africa.
A courtier from the palace contacted Philip’s servant and friend Michael Parker to tell him to inform the Princess, now Queen Elizabeth II, that her father had passed away. Lilibet, as royal protocol declared, had her funeral clothes on hand, and during the plane ride home changed from her summer cottons to a plain black dress. At Heathrow, the new Queen was greeted by Winston Churchill, among others, with the Royal black Daimlers.
“Oh, they’ve brought the ‘hearses’,” she commented sadly of the large, black royal automobiles.
In accordance to what she had been taught all of her life, the new Queen did not show much emotion. She greeted the men waiting for her on the tarmac, and then set off in the Royal Daimlers towards Buckingham Palace to sign the Accession Papers, cementing her destiny. Elizabeth II’s reign had begun.
“She didn’t cry – at that moment – but, my God, she was crying inside,” said Lady Pamela Hicks (younger daughter of Lord Mountbatten and Philip’s first cousin). Elizabeth had been very much her father’s daughter and she loved him dearly, and taking on the new responsibilities as Queen and to have him gone like this was going to be a great deal to bear.
One of the first acts of her reign was to bring back her father’s old Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. He was by far her most favorite PM, and got along with him very well. He provided her with guidance in her early years of reign, and he was, as several people noted, a “little in love” with his monarch. Everyone, in fact, adored her; as a princess and as queen. She reigned well, and the monarchy was more popular than ever.
At age twenty-five, Elizabeth became Queen not only of Britain but also of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. Much of the Empire had dwindled during her father and grandfather’s reign, becoming a Commonwealth of countries. There are 13 British dependent territories, which are: British Indian Ocean Territory, Gibraltar, Bermuda, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory, St Helena and its dependencies (Ascension and Tristan da Cunha), Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, and the Pitcairn Group of Islands. (Hong Kong, a former dependent territory, was handed back to China on 1 July 1997.)
The Queen’s Duties As Head of State
Her Majesty carries out hundreds of official engagements every year – but it’s all in a day’s work for the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. In 1998, for example, the Queen had a total of 440 engagements on native soil and 55 overseas visits. A lot of visits around the country and overseas give Elizabeth the chance to meet people from various backgrounds.
The Queen also attends many meetings with the government, including government ministers in the Privy Council and the Prime Minister, and gives audiences to foreign and British ambassadors.
Elizabeth contends with truckloads of paperwork, consisting of letters from supporters of monarchy, government officials, and the top secret papers in the “red boxes” – Government and Commonwealth policy documents and other State papers – which arrive every day of the year, wherever she is. She even “does the boxes” at her holiday residence of Balmoral (working while on vacation – now that’s dedicated!)
The Queen cannot just rule arbitrarily. She conducts weekly meetings with the Prime Minister – usually on Tuesdays – to see what is happening in the government and the general political goings on. She, on almost all matters, acts on the advice of the government of the day. Her Majesty is only a constitutional monarch, meaning she does not have absolute rule over her country. She must take Parliament’s and other members of government’s views into consideration.
The Civil List
The Civil List is the sum of money that covers most expenses generated by the Queen performing her state duties, such as state visits, employing staff, and maintenance of the Royal Households.
During George III’s reign, taxes had become the prime source of revenue for the United Kingdom and Parliament. An agreement was reached that the lands owned by the Crown and the revenue generated from them would be surrendered to Government management. In return, Parliament would fund the Civil List, the fixed annual payment to the King.
The Crown Estate
To avoid confusion between Government property and Crown land, the latter was renamed The Crown Estate and was set up to be managed by an independent board called the Crown Estate Commissioners.
The Crown Estate – a property portfolio of royal lands – generates a large amount of revenue for the Exchequer (treasury) every year. It even surpasses the cost of the Civil List. In the year 2000, the Crown Estates generated a £132.9 million profit, a sum that greatly exceeded the Civil List allotment of £9.7 million per annum to Her Majesty.
In short, the Crown Estate pays into the Treasury in return for a Royal allowance of £7.9 million, the sum established in 1990.
The Duchy of Lancaster
Only the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh receive funding from the Civil List. The official duties and staff of other members of the Royal Family are funded from a Parliamentary Annuity – like the Civil List – the amount of which is repaid by the Queen from the private monies put into the Privy Purse from income from the Duchy of Lancaster.
The Duchy of Lancaster is one of the two Royal Duchies in England. The other is the Duchy of Cornwall, of which Prince Charles is Duke. These are the personal and inherited property of the monarch.
The Lancaster inheritance dates back to 1265, when Henry III granted to his younger son, Edmund, the lands forfeited by the Earl of Leicester. Later, Edmund’s grandson Henry of Grosmont was made Duke of Lancaster by Edward III. After Henry Grosmont’s death, a charter of 1362 conferred the dukedom on his son-in-law John of Gaunt.
The Duchy merged with the crown in 1399 when Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt, became Henry IV of England.
Interestingly, the title does not change for a king or a queen. Her Majesty is loyally toasted as the Duke of Lancaster.
The Privy Purse is the Sovereign’s remaining private income, mostly from the Duchy of Lancaster. The Queen is not entitled to the Duchy’s capital, but the net revenues of the Duchy are the property of the Sovereign.
The Privy Purse meets both official and private expenditure. The Keeper of the Privy Purse looks after the Sovereign’s personal financial affairs as well as the expenditure of public funds voted by the Parliament to the Sovereign.
- The text of HM’s Coronation, 2 June, 1953
- The Queen and her Commonwealth
- The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
- Reflecting on 50 years – The Queen’s Jubilee
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In a speech to the House of Commons two days after Charles’ birth, Winston Churchill remarked: Our ancient Monarchy renders inestimable services to our country and to all the British Empire and the Commonwealth of Nations. 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. 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.”
The little Prince was soon followed by a sister, Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise. She was two years younger, and was a boisterous little girl. Younger but tougher, she took after their father, Prince Philip. When she grew older, her personality was certainly that of Philip’s. Anne had a no-nonsense approach to life and often spoke her mind, although sometimes it was a bit gruff. Charles, on the other hand, was gentle and shy like his mother.
When approached by photographers, he would let them snap a few shots and offer a small ‘Hello’. Anne would not have it. If she was not in the mood to be photographed, she would crinkle her nose in disgust and hold up her hand to shoo them away. But despite different personalities, Charles and Anne were very close, bonded by the fact that they were the only children of the Queen and Prince Philip at the time and very close in age. When they were older, they even went on royal tours together, representing their mother during her reign.
Even though Charles had Anne for companionship, a large part of his life was spent in the care of nannies and his grandparents, the king and queen. While he loved and admired his parents, it was the nannies and his grannie with whom he formed personal relationships. When Charles was little, his mother was quite busy with royal duties. She was having to take on more and more as her father’s illness grew worse.
Prince Philip, meanwhile, was often away at sea as a naval officer in command of his own ship. When King George died February 6, 1952, Elizabeth succeeded him as Monarch. This was quite a change in everyone’s life, especially that of the little Prince. When she became Queen, Philip had to leave the Navy and the workload increased 100-fold for both of them. With all of that, the time for their children grew even slimmer. Everyone’s time was now being devoted to arranging royal tours to present the new Sovereign to her people. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother stepped in most times, doting on the young lad. Their bond was as strong as ever into Charles’ adulthood due to her care and devotion when he was a child.
Travel plans aside, the most important thing now was to organize Elizabeth II’s coronation. At four years old, Charles probably did not understand the significance of the grand event, but little did he realize that he was witnessing his own future.
Royal School Days
Elizabeth had ascended the throne, and Philip was now in charge of the household and the heir’s schooling.
Philip was educated at Cheam School and at Salem, a spartan and rigorous school in Southern Germany. Salem’s headmaster, Kurt Hahn, moved to Scotland to start Gordonstoun, a British version of Salem. Philip followed Hahn to Gordonstoun and was a promising student. He excelled in sport and enjoyed the challenging way of life it presented. Philip thought it fit for his son, but the sensitive and quiet Charles was of a completely different opinion.
He was not comfortable at Gordonstoun at all. Even after being there for a couple of years, life was still miserable. Charles wrote letters home complaining of the bullying:
It’s such hell here, especially at night… The people in my dormitory are foul. Goodness they are horrid… They throw slippers all night long or hit me with pillows or rush across the room and hit me as hard as they can… It’s such a HOLE this place!”
He was teased mercilessly about his ears, which was cruel to say the least. Lord Mountbatten, his great-uncle and mentor, told the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to surgically fix the problem, but to no avail. As Charles grew older though, he ‘grew into’ his ears, thus eliminating a need for surgery.
Charles spent part of the school year in 1966 as an exchange student in Melbourne, Australia – the first member of the British Royal family to attend an overseas school in the Commonwealth. He had a delightful time there, and although activities could be just as strenuous as Gordonstoun’s at times, Charles felt happy being part of a group and making friends. The boys with him at Timbertop were much nicer than in Scotland’s spartan school, and although he was much farther from home, Charles was not stricken with homesickness.
Between 1967 and 1970, the Prince read archaeology and anthropology and, for his last two years, history at the University of Cambridge. He particularly 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 in Caernarvon Castle on July 1 of that same year. Soon after, he graduated from Cambridge with a BA degree in 1970. He is the first Prince of Wales to obtain a university degree.
King Edward VIII, Charles’ great-uncle ‘David’, said he dreaded having to dress in the uniform of silk breeches and carry out the investiture. He claimed it was a “perposterous rig” and felt embarassed at the thought of his schoolmates seeing him in this costume. 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.
The Prince of Wales 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, and now holds a number of Service appointments. 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. He operated the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and in early 1976 he took command of the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington.
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. He currently holds the rank of Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy, Major-General in the Army and Air Vice-Marshal in the Royal Air Force.
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 (1950–52) and to Queen Elizabeth II for two more 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 moved on to Sarah’s younger sister, Diana, whom he had met several years previous. When they met again at a shooting party, the 19-year-old Diana had blossomed into a lovely young lady and Charles took an interest.
Their engagement became official on February 24th, 1981. Diana wanted their July 29th wedding to be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral because Westminster Abbey would remind her too much of her parents’ marriage. 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.
Fifteen years later, Charles and Diana’s own marriage would be dissolved. However, during their union, they produced the future king, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis (“the heir”) and his brother Prince Henry Charles Albert David (“the spare”).
Charles adores his sons, and as they have grown older he has tried to keep them as safe as possible from the prying lenses of the media. He knows that their lives are of public interest, just as his has been, but Charles is very aware that things have changed since his youth. The level of press intrusion was keenly apparent during his marriage to Diana. Her death was an especially traumatic time for the Princes, and the necessity to keep the boys shielded became even more crucial.
Charles has allowed orchestrated photo sessions with his sons, but he tries as hard as he can to help retain their privacy. The Prince is supported in this endevour whole-heartedly by Her Majesty, who has since given William and Harry the task of representing the Crown abroad. The royal family hopes that the media will be satiated by the Princes at official events, rather than come after them in their private time.
In April 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles. Upon marriage, Camilla officially became Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, but instead goes by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. It is 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.
Camilla Rosemary (née Shand) was born July 17th, 1947. The Duchess’ 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”.
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 Prince has written a book with Charles Clover about Highgrove’s garden and how he has developed it with advice from professional garden designers. The royalties from the sale of Highgrove: An Experiment in Organic Gardening and Farming, benefit The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation.
Important Prince Charles Links:
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
Date of Birth: November 14th, 1948
Residence: Highgrove Estate (Gloucestershire); Clarence House (London)
Education: Cheam Preparatory School; Gordonstoun; Geelong Grammar School (AU); Trinity College, Cambridge
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HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
Who: Prince Philip was christened as a Prince of Greece and Denmark. He was the only son in a family of four girls and the youngest child of Prince and Princess Andrew of Greece.
His Story: The Duke of Edinburgh is descended from royalty on both sides of his family. His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. His paternal side is of Danish descent: Philip’s father, Prince Andrew, was the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark.
Prince Philip began his schooling in Europe, but was sent to England to attend Cheam Preparatory School in 1928. He left at age 12 to spend a year at Salem School in Germany, run by Kurt Hahn and Prince Max of Baden.
With the anti-Jewish sentiments brewing in the run-up to World War II, Hahn left Germany and went to Scotland, where he founded Gordonstoun. Philip greatly admired Hahn and followed him to Scotland where he attended the new boarding school, built on the same principals of Salem.
Spartan but enriching, Philip flourished in the environment that Gordonstoun provided, and in turn would eventually send all three of his sons.
The regimented school was just what Philip needed. The future Duke grew up in what is now called a “broken” home. Prince Andrew, seeing his daughters securely married, ran off with his mistress. Princess Alice had a nervous breakdown and was sent for treatment in Switzerland. Philip bounced around from relative to relative, unable to find a stationary home in the wake of his parents’ separation.
He finally found a secure personal life with his uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Louis was
Alice’s brother, a charming and ingratiating man who was intent on getting Philip married into a good (and preferably wealthy) family. Back in England, Philip enlisted in the Royal Navy, where he found his niche, and before Mountbatten could do much in the way of matchmaking, World War Two broke out. Philip was posted overseas on active duty.
Philip did manage to correspond with England’s Princess Elizabeth, whom he met at Darmouth Naval College during a royal inspection by her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
Princess Elizabeth was 13 years old at the time, and Philip was just 18. He treated the princess and her younger sister Margaret as siblings, but Elizabeth felt differently. She immediately developed a crush on the handsome blond Philip. Margaret began to tease her ceaselessly, especially when Elizabeth placed a framed photo of Philip, avec beard, in her room.
Mountbatten was thrilled at the prospect of his nephew having a romance with the heir to the British throne. He decided to bide his time, as Elizabeth was still far too young for an engagement, and instead dropped little hints here and there to the King.
George was wary. He had known Mountbatten since childhood, and Louis’ reputation for scheming was legendary. Philip was just a rough-and-tumble lad with a good heart but had none of the qualities of a gentleman. The King was also very protective of his ‘Lilibet’ and did not want her to marry anyone who would not treat her well.
When the war was finally over, Philip went to England and was urged by his uncle Mountbatten to ask for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. The King and Queen were still a little wary, but Philip had presented himself to them several times over the years whenever he had leave. His sense of humor and good nature began to grow on the royal couple. Queen Mary, the King’s mother, also had a hand in convincing them that Philip would make a good partner for Elizabeth. When asked what kind of son-in-law he would make for a king, the dowager Queen replied curtly in Philip’s defense: “Useful”.
To marry Elizabeth, Philip made the decision to renounce his Greek citizenship, royal title, and religion. He instead became a part of the Anglican Church of England and obtained British citizenship. To cap it all off, Philip changed his name to Mountbatten, his uncle’s Anglicized surname. Instead of marrying Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark, Elizabeth would now be wedded simply to the more English-sounding Philip Mountbatten, RN.
His future father-in-law, King George VI, conferred on Philip the titles of Baron Greenwich, Earl of Merioneth, and his more commonly known title, Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip was teased as “Phil the Greek” in the media and in aristocratic circles. It irked some of the nobility that he had been given the title of His Royal Highness. They pointed out that Dukes not born of royal blood should be referred to as ‘His Grace’ only.
Eventually the remarks died down. The press and public began to realize just how right Queen Mary was, as Prince Philip has been Elizabeth’s most trusted adviser and confidant for over 60 years.
Side Note: The Duke of Edinburgh was the first member of the Royal Family to be interviewed on television. The interview took place in May 1961 when Prince Philip was interviewed by
Date of Birth: June 10th, 1921
Education: Cheam Preparatory School/Salem School; Gordonstoun
Residence: Buckingham Palace, London
Back to the [top]HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge
Who: Prince William is the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
His story: 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. His late mother 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 Prince William goes, personal policemen are never far off. Not an everyday occurrence for a young boy!
Prince William has one sibling, his younger brother Harry, who was born in 1984. The two are very close 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 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.
HM The Queen bestowed the Dukedom of Cambridge upon William for his wedding on April 29th, 2011. Kate is now known as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince William was a rambunctious little boy. The media loved reporting on his behavior, especially while bedeviling a flower girl at his uncle Andrew’s wedding with a ceremonial dagger. Such misadventures earned him the name “Billy the Basher”. As he grew older, he became more quiet and thoughtful.
Full Name: William Arthur Philip Louis
Titles/Honors: Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus; Knight of the Garter (2008)
Date of Birth: June 21, 1982
Hometown: London, England
Education: Eton College
University: St. Andrews
Residence: Anglesey, Wales/Kensington Palace
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Who: Prince Harry of Wales was born September 15th, 1984 at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. He is the second son of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Harry was third in line to the throne after his father and elder brother Prince William, born in 1982. As number three in the line of succession, Harry was not under as much pressure as William, but he was still a highly visible member of the Royal Family as a son of the Prince of Wales.
Last year Harry said goodbye to his lifelong position at third in line to the throne when his nephew George was born in 2013. Now with the impending arrival of a second baby for Prince William and his wife Kate, Harry will move down to fifth in line. He’ll still be highly visible, but knows his life as a senior royal will eventually diminish. The prince has thus carved out an admirable role for himself. The ginger-haired Harry hasn’t disappointed.
After graduating from historic Eton College, Harry took the traditional gap year and went to Australia, Argentina and Africa. It was in Africa that he made a documentary about the plight of orphans in Lesotho. Harry was deeply moved by the children whose families were devastated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It was a cause that his mother had championed, and Harry took up the reins in her memory.
It was in the tiny landlocked African country that Sentebale was born in 2006. With help from royal compatriot Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, Harry created this organization to help the local children get an education, access to recreational activities and other community projects to enrich their lives.
That same year, Harry was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals). He now holds the rank of Captain. With his full-time career in the military, Harry has been very keen on the welfare of those who are serving or who have served in the Armed Forces. The prince has performed many charitable acts to help injured soldiers.
Full Name: Henry Charles Albert David
Date of Birth: September 15, 1984
Education: Ludgrove School; Eton
Residence: Clarence House, London
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Who: The Duke of York is the second son and the third child of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
His Story: Prince Andrew was initially educated privately 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 future wife Sarah Ferguson through his sister-in-law, the Princess of Wales. Sarah and Andrew were engaged on March 19, 1986, and Sarah happily showed the world the beautiful ruby and diamond engagement ring Andrew had given her.
They were married in Westminster Abbey on July 23, 1986. At the time of their marriage Prince Andrew was created The Duke of York; when she took her vows, Sarah became The Duchess of York.
The royal couple were blessed with 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 unravelling with the revelations about the Duchess’ affair with her financial advisor.
In March that year, it was announced that The Duke and Duchess were to separate; they were divorced in May 1996. They continue to live together with their two daughters.
Side Note: He 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
Back to the [top]HRH Princess Anne, 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
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 Benenden, a boarding school in
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 and poor
areas of the world.
Full Name: Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise
Date of Birth: August 15th, 1950
Education: Benenden School
Residence: Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire
Back to the [top]HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex
Who: HRH Prince Edward is the youngest child and third son of HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Photo ©2010 Holger Motzkau
His Story: Prince Edward’s first public appearance was after the Trooping the Color ceremony in 1964 when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, held him in her arms on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The crowds below cheered her three-month-old son.
The Earl of Wessex 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. 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.
Edward enjoys a number of sports, such as horse-riding, tennis, sailing, badminton, and skiing. He took up tennis while at University when he was forced to give up rugby due to an injury. His patronage of sporting organizations greatly reflects these interests. In early 1990, the Earl opened the Commonwealth Games in Auckland and was elected President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, succeeding The Duke of Edinburgh. He also serves as Patron of the Ocean Youth Club and the Scottish Badminton Union.
Edward is also Patron of several theatrical and musical organizations, amateur and professional, especially those supporting youth in the performing arts. Some organizations are: National Youth Music Theatre and the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester; the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland; and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
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 love of 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.
Born in Oxford on January 20, 1965, Sophie was educated at Dulwich College Preparatory School and West Kent College before pursuing a career in public relations.
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, is Viscount Severn.
Prince Edward may inherit the title Duke of Edinburgh after the death of his father, Prince Philip. The method by which this could happen is not entirely direct. By right, the dukedom should pass to Charles since he is Philip’s eldest son. However, it has been reported that an arrangement had been made to make Edward the Duke of Edinburgh after the death of both Philip AND the Queen. This is perhaps why Edward was not given a dukedom on his wedding day like his elder brothers (Andrew, the Duke of York and Charles, known as the Prince of Wales but ennobled as Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay.)
The last person styled ‘Earl of Wessex’ was Harold Godwinson, prior to his accession to the English throne as King Harold II in 1066.
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
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Who – Catherine (Kate) is Middleton is the fellow St Andrews alum who captured the heart of Prince William. Catherine made her mark in the world of royalty by proving she could keep cool in front of the hundreds of cameramen that pursued her daily.
Her story – Catherine was raised in Berkshire, England with sister Pippa (Phillipa) and brother James. Catherine’s parents Michael and Carole run their family business, Party Pieces, from their home. Though the Middletons made a hefty fortune from their successful party-supply company, the family lived an ordinary life until it was revealed that Catherine was a friend of Prince William. She was attending the same university – St. Andrews – when they met in 2001. The media immediately leapt to connect the two, though the couple were only first seen in public on a ski trip in Klosters in April 2004.
William and Catherine seemed to be a match made in heaven, but in 2007 the pair 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 staged 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, and when he and Catherine took their vows on April 29th, 2011, she became HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.
In 2007 Catherine teamed up with The Sisterhood, a group of female athletes who became the first all-women crew to cross the Channel in a traditional Chinese dragon boat.
Full Name: Catherine Elizabeth (nee Middleton)
Date of Birth:January 9, 1982
Hometown: Bucklebury, Berkshire
Secondary school: Marlborough College
University: St Andrews
Residence: Anglesey, Wales/Kensington Palace, London
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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. Her grandmother is justly proud!
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
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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.
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
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Peter Phillips is the eldest child of HRH The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips. Peter is the first grandchild of HM The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. He grew up at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire with his family.
Like his little sister Zara, Peter bears no title. His parents, (Anne in particular) were adamant about the children remaining normal people and out of the spotlight. Anne understood the difficulty of being a royal princess, constantly in the public eye, and didn’t want them to be spoiled in any way. Mark Phillips was offered a title by Her Majesty upon his marriage to Anne, but politely refused. They knew the children would have enough trouble with the spotlight being the offspring of the Princess Royal and so close to the throne.
Peter did indeed stay out of the spotlight; his only true public royal event was his wedding to Canadian girlfriend Autumn Kelly in 2008. That August, Peter and Autumn moved to Hong Kong for his job with the Royal Bank of Scotland. In the summer of 2010, the couple announced Autumn’s pregnancy. The baby is the Queen’s first great-grandchild, born on December 29, 2010 at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. She was christened Savannah Anne Kathleen.
The Phillips’ second child, also a girl, was born March 29, 2012, and christened Isla Elizabeth Phillips.
Full Name: Peter Mark Andrew Phillips
Date of Birth: November 15th, 1977
Education: Port Regis Preperatory School; Gordonstoun
University: Exeter University
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Zara is the younger child of The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips. Like her elder brother Peter, she bears no royal title.
Keeping with family tradition, she went to Gordonstoun like her brother, uncles, and grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh. Like her mother and grandmother, Zara is an equestrienne par excellence. Zara even qualified as an equine physiotherapist in 2002.
Zara participated in the London 2012 Olympics where she and her team won silver in the equestrian event. Little surprise when her previous achievements include numerous eventing trophies and being nominated as both BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Equestrian of the Year in 2006.
On December 21, 2010, Buckingham Palace announced her engagement to rugby union player Mike Tindall. They married July 30, 2011, at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland. Zara wore the sparkling Greek key style Meander tiara, which originally belonged to her great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.
Full Name: Zara Anne Elizabeth
Honors: MBE (2006)
Date of Birth: May 15th, 1981
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David Armstrong-Jones is the eldest child of the Queen’s sister, HRH Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon. He currently hold the courtesy title of Viscount Linley, and is known professionally as David Linley.
David was born at Clarence House, the London home of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother).
At age five he started lessons in the Buckingham Palace schoolroom with cousin Prince Andrew. He went to the pre-preparatory school Ashdown House, then on to Millbrook House, and then finally Bedales, renowned for its arts and design. David then studied at Parnham House School for Craftsman in Wood.
Along with his father’s artistic temperament, David inherited his mother’s wit and strong character. He made a point to distance himself from the rest of the Royal Family and determined to make his own way. He set up David Linley Co Ltd., a furniture company that creates beautiful pieces, along with fine wood photo frames, candlestick holders, and more. Viscount Linley also published his
first book “Classical Furniture” in 1993 and a second book, “Extraordinary Furniture” in 1996.
In 1993, David married The Honorable Serena Stanhope. Serena was born in Limerick, Ireland, to the Earl of Harrington (formerly Viscount Petersham) and his first wife, Virginia Freeman-Jackson. Serena worked in public relations for Giorgio Armani, the notable Italian fashion designer. She opened her own company, Serena Linley Provence, in 2010.
Viscount and Viscountess Linley had their first child, Charles Patrick Inigo (1999), followed by a daughter, Margarita Elizabeth Alleyne (2002).
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Who: 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.
Her story: 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. Angus was the second son of the 12th Earl of Airlie and his wife, Lady Alexandra Coke. 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 often known as the Honorable Mrs. Angus Ogilvy.
Angus and Alexandra had two children: James, born February 29th, 1964 and Marina, born July 31st, 1966. Both James and Marina were born and raised in Thatched House Lodge, Richmond Park, Surrey. James attended Eton College and the University of St. Andrews. Marina went to the buttoned-down St. Mary’s school in Oxfordshire. Life was relatively quiet for this branch of the Kent clan. Without titles, the Ogilvy children didn’t have to contend with the stress that some of the more visible members of the family dealt with on a daily basis. Marina, however, would soon find herself in a media firestorm.
James became a settled young man with a happy marriage in 1988; Marina became the wild-child, dating a string of unsavory characters. According to an old school friend, “Once Marina said to me, after she had been out with one particularly unsuitable man, ‘Yes, I know he is quite hopeless, but can you imagine what my parents would make of him?’ I got the impression she got a bit of a kick out of that.”
After a whirlwind romance in 1989 with photographer Paul Mowatt, Marina discovered she was pregnant. They married in February 1990, just a few months before the birth of daughter Zenouska. Marina did not wear a traditional white gown, opting instead for a black dress and red velvet bolero jacket. Angus walked her down the aisle.
The Mowatts’ son Christian was born three years later on June 4th. Angus, Alexandra, and the rest of the royals were delighted with another child in the family. Both Christian and Zenouska were educated at St George’s School, a coeducational independent Preparatory School located at Windsor Castle.
Paul and Marina remained married for seven years, but not without acrimony. The pair divorced in December 1997 after rumors of many vicious arguments. However, despite a very public divorce they are now on better terms, sharing the cost of bills and the care of their children. Marina, Christian, and Zenouska currently live in a house in Windsor Great Park where Paul often visits them.
Marina’s brother James has led a relatively quieter life, married since 1988 to Julia Rawlinson. They had two children, Flora and Alexander.
James has had a long career in business, starting his own luxury-brands business newsletter called “Luxury Briefing” in 2000. Julia started out in the public relations department of the royal jeweler Garrard and went on to become a successful managing director of the upmarket jeweler Hamilton & Inches.
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His Royal Highness Prince Edward George Nicholas Patrick Paul was born October 9th, 1935. His parents were Prince George and Princess Marina, the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
Their story: Prince George, younger son of King George V, married Princess Marina of Greece in 1934. It was an event hailed as the society wedding of the year. People were excited about the stylish, exotic princess marrying their prince; Marina was 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 and his siblings Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael. They resided at Coppins, the Kent family home in Buckinghamshire. The Duke and Duchess carried out royal duties on behalf of the King, and 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. His eldest son, Edward, became the new Duke of Kent at only six years old. Princess Alexandra was five and the youngest, Michael, was a mere six 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.
Unlike some of his peers, young Edward began his schooling at Ludgrove Preparatory School as a duke. He went on to Eton College and eventually the prestigious Le Rosey in Switzerland. After school, Prince Edward entered the Royal Military College Sandhurst, which began a military career spanning over 20 years.
The burden of balancing a royal workload with a military career would be eased with a beautiful, talented wife. On June 8th, 1961, the Duke 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 and the role was taken up by HRH The Duke of York, the Queen’s son Prince Andrew.
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.
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His Royal Highness Prince Michael George Charles Franklin of Kent was born July 4th, 1942. His parents were Prince George and Princess Marina, the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
Their story: Michael’s elder siblings are Prince Edward, the current Duke, 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.
Aside from Freddie’s work in the private banking world, reports say that he is also going to become a “brand ambassador” as the face of Savile Row. 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 herself turned her passions into a career – her love of art and design led her to create her own interior decorating firm. Eventually the princess became President of Partridge Fine Art, an art dealership which has employed the princess since 2007. Unfortunately, recent financial difficulties caused the firm to go into liquidation and in 2009 a spokesman confirmed that Her Royal Highness’ position might not be guaranteed.
“It will depend on whether the company is sold whole or broken up. It would be up to whoever takes it on whether she would keep her position.”
The financial pressures caused Marie Christine to take up her former career as an interior decorator. She also turned her artistic flair 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“. Her Royal Highness 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.
With a new daughter-in-law, their Highnesses may look forward to a new adventure in becoming grandparents. What will the next generation bring? Well, Princess Michael will probably tell you exactly what she thinks about that.
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Her Majesty The Queen
1. HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales
2. HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge
3. HRH Prince George of Cambridge
4. HRH Prince Henry of Wales
5. HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York
6. HRH Princess Beatrice of York
7. HRH Princess Eugenie of York
8. HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex
9. James Windsor, Viscount Severn
10. Lady Louise Windsor
11. HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal
12. Peter Philips
13. Savannah Phillips
14. Isla Phillips
15. Zara Phillips Tindall
16. Mia Grace Tindall
17. David Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley
18. The Hon. Charles Armstrong-Jones
19. The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones
20. Lady Sarah Chatto
21. Samuel Chatto
22. Arthur Chatto
23. HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
24. Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster
25. Xan Windsor, Lord Culloden
26. Lady Cosima Windsor
27. Lady Davina Lewis
28. Tane Mahuta Lewis
29. Senna Lewis
30. Lady Rose Gilman