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British RoyalsThe Kents

The Duchess of Kent at 90 – a lifelong passion for music

For many years, the Duchess of Kent was a military wife while her husband, Prince Edward, was actively serving in the military. Following on from this, she became a working member of The Royal Family, supporting Queen Elizabeth II in an official capacity until 1996, when she decided to pursue her musical interests. 

Born Katharine Worsley to Sir William Worsley, 4th Baronet, and Joyce Brunner, The Duchess’s early life in Kent was quite carefree as the youngest child of the family. 

Katharine did not formally attend school until the age of 10, but she was able to blossom at school once she was introduced to music. While at Queen Margaret’s School and Runtin Hill School, she learned to play the violin, the piano, and the organ. 

After finishing her secondary schooling, Katharine did apply to the Royal Academy of Music but unfortunately was not accepted. She then studied at Miss Hubler’s Finishing School in Oxford where she spent much of her time studying music. 

After she retired from being a working royal in 1996, The Duchess once again turned to her passion. She worked as a music teacher at Wanbeck Primary School in Kingston Upon Hull, and also gave private piano lessons in a studio near to Kensington Palace. 

Although she rarely speaks publicly now, The Duchess has shared her belief in the importance of musical education. When speaking to the Hull Daily Mail in 1996, she said, ”I’ve studied music all my life, it’s my passion… My other passion is children – being able to share and pass on your love of music to children is the greatest privilege a teacher can have.

Although she stopped using the style of Her Royal Highness officially in 2002, The Duchess still serves as the Patron of Making Music. 

She also helped to cofound Future Talent, a not-for-profit organisation that offers support to young people who come from low-income backgrounds to work towards a career in music. In the spring of 2016, she hosted a concert at Buckingham Palace for children involved with the organisation. 

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