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FeaturesThe Kents

Edward, Duke of Kent: a lifetime of support to the Monarchy

Edward, Duke of Kent

Prince Edward (b. 9 October 1935) has been Duke of Kent since 1942, following the sad death of his father in a flying accident when he was nearly seven-years-old. He is not only a cousin to Queen Elizabeth, by his father who was a younger brother of King George VI, but he is also related to the Duke of Edinburgh through his mother, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. She was the last foreign princess to marry a member of the Royal Family, and her paternal uncle was Prince Andrew, the father of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Like many of royals even to this day, he attended Ludgrove Preparatory School in Berkshire before moving further down the Thames to attend Eton College. He also spent some of his schooling in Switzerland, which may be an explanation for his fluency in French which led to him being awarded a language prize whilst at RMA Sandhurst. He joined the Royal Scots Greys as a Second-Lieutenant and saw service in Hong Kong and Eastern Command, before engaging in United Nations peacekeeping work in Cyprus. His military service also led him to Northern Ireland, and after leaving active service in 1976, he was eventually promoted to Field Marshal in 1993.

He has been undertaking engagements since, as a 16-year-old, he followed the coffin of his uncle, George VI in 1952. Perhaps he is best known for taking over from his late mother as President of the All England Tennis and Croquet Club, as part of this role he presents the trophies each year at Wimbledon, and occasionally comforts the losing finalist. He is President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The Duke is involved with many organisations both national and local, including the RNLI, Stroke Association, RAF Benevolent Fund and, as reported on Royal Central, after he visited a performance of theirs in Leeds, Opera North.

In addition to engagements in the United Kingdom, over the years the Duke has also represented The Queen at events abroad, including most recently visiting Ghana during celebrations of fifty years since its independence. This follows on nicely from his father, who was the first member of the British Royal Family to fly on a foreign tour.

The Duke married Katharine Worsley at York Minster in 1961, and they have three children, and ten grandchildren. Sadly, a fourth child passed during childbirth in 1977. The children are George, Earl of St Andrews who married Sylvana Tomaselli; Lady Helen Taylor who married Timothy Taylor; and Lord Nicholas Windsor who married Paola Doimi de Lupis de Frankopan.

The duchy will continue in the coming decades through the Earl of St Andrews and his eldest son, Lord Downpatrick. The Duke and Duchess live at Wren House at Kensington Palace.

By Peter Anderson