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The Duke of Kent at 85: His Charities and Patronages

The Duke of Kent has long been a valued working member of the Royal Family, with his main areas of interest including war commemoration, rescue, medicine, social care, sport, innovation, business, engineering, music and fostering relations between the UK and Germany.

On his 85th birthday, let’s take a look at some of the many patronages and organisations he continues to work with.

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – President

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The Kent Family has long been associated with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and the Lawn Tennis Association, which puts on the annual Wimbledon tournament. The Duke’s father was President from 1929 to 1942. After his death, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent became President until 1968, when she passed away.

The Duke of Kent has been President since 1969, presenting the trophies annually and attending the tournament and related events as well.

Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men – Patron

Perhaps fittingly for the Duke of Kent, he is Patron of the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men. The Association is devoted to ensuring the legacy, history and future of the County of Kent through promotion of its education, culture, sports, environment and youth activities.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission – President

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The Commonwealth War Graves Commission works to honour and recognise the soldiers who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars by building and maintaining cemeteries around the world.

Earlier this year, The Duke of Kent marked his 50th anniversary as President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. At the ceremony, coinciding with the Commission’s 700th meeting, The Duke said, “Each of my visits to the final resting places of those who gave their lives for us is as profoundly moving as the very first, and I commend the vital work of the CWGC, through which the sacrifice of these brave men and women will be remembered for generations to come.”

The Scout Association – President

The Duke of Kent has been the President of The Scout Association, providing adventure and outdoor skills for young people, since 1975.

Scots Guards – Regimental Colonel

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The Duke of Kent has been the Regimental Colonel of the Scots Guards, one of the Foot Guards Regiments, since 1974. The Scots Guards is one of the oldest regiments, formed in 1642 and fought in every major conflict since then, resulting in 93 battle honours and 11 Victoria Crosses.

The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George – Grand Master

The Duke of Kent has served as Grand Master of The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George since 1967. The Order is an order of chivalry that is awarded to high-ranking officials who provide “service in a foreign country, or in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs,” according to the Royal Family’s website. It is usually awarded to diplomats and those who work in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

As Grand Master, The Duke is the second-highest ranking member of the Order, following The Queen.

United Grand Lodge of England – Grand Master

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The Duke of Kent has long been associated with the Freemasons, having joined in 1963 with the Royal Alpha Lodge No. 16. In 1967, The Duke was named Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, which governs the Freemasons in England, Wales, and the Channel Islands.

The Duke is now the longest-serving Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England.

British German Association – Royal Patron

The British German Association was formed in 1951 as a way to educate British people about Germany and to help foster relations between the two countries. The Association’s large membership group allows for it to promote activities related to the history, culture, arts, politics, and economics.

In his Patron’s Message on the Association’s website, The Duke of Kent writes that, “The relationship between Britain and Germany is highly important to both our countries.  As partners in Europe, in NATO, and with huge interests in business and commerce, it is vital that we continue to forge links and deepen mutual understanding.  I have had a long relationship with Germany and it is a country I’ve visited many times.”

The Dresden Trust – Royal Patron

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Founded in 1993 to rebuild the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), the Trust has aimed to raise money and awareness for the church, which had been destroyed by British and American bombing in the Second World War. The Dresden Trust was formed in the UK following the reunification of Germany, and a million-dollar appeal was launched.

The Frauenkirche was officially reconsecrated in 2005. Since then, the Trust has shifted to reconciliation between the UK and Germany and focuses on young people through educational opportunities for German students to study in the UK.

The Duke of Kent received the Dresden Peace Prize in 2015 for his work with the Trust and his goals to promotion the prevention of conflict and the bonds of peace and reconciliation.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.