Prince Edward
The Duke of Kent

Full name
Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick
Born 9 October 1935 (age 84)
Belgrave Square, London
Spouse Katharine, Duchess of Kent (m. 1961)
George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews
Lady Helen Taylor
Lord Nicholas Windsor
House House of Windsor
Father Prince George, Duke of Kent
Mother Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark
The Royal Family of the
United Kingdom
and the
other Commonwealth realms
Badge of the House of Windsor.svg

HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

v · d · e

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick; born 9 October 1935) is a member of the British royal family. He is a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II through their fathers, Prince George, Duke of Kent, and King George VI. Since his mother, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark was a cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Edward is both a second cousin and first cousin once removed to Prince Charles and his siblings.

He has held the title of Duke of Kent since the age of six, after the death of his father in a plane crash in 1942. He carries out engagements on behalf of the Queen. He is president of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, presenting the trophies to the Wimbledon champion and runner-up, and served as the United Kingdom's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, retiring in 2001. He is president of The Scout Association, the Royal United Services Institute, and the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and since 1967 Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. He is also patron of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, an independent road safety charity which specialises in training and advice for post-licence drivers and riders.

Early life and family Edit

Prince Edward was born on at 2:05 am 9 October 1935, at No. 3 Belgrave Square, London.[1] Home Secretary Sir John Simon was present to verify the birth. Prince Edward's father was Prince George, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary. His mother was Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.

He was baptised 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 and 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); and the Duchess of Argyll.[2]

Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Coppins, in Buckinghamshire, which his father inherited from Princess Victoria of Wales, a daughter of King Edward VII.[2]

Edward has two younger siblings, Princess Alexandra (born 1936) and Prince Michael (born 1942).

On 25 August 1942, Prince Edward's father, the Duke of Kent, was killed when his plane crashed in bad weather in Caithness. Prince Edward, who was almost seven, succeeded his father as Duke of Kent,[3] Earl of St Andrews and Baron Downpatrick.

As a member of the royal family, Prince Edward began performing engagements at an early age. In 1952, at the age of 16, he walked behind the coffin of his uncle, George VI, at his state funeral, which was also the first time he saw his uncle, the former Edward VIII, who had left the country after having abdicated when the young prince was just twelve months old.[4] In 1953, he attended the coronation of his cousin, Elizabeth II, paying homage at her throne after her coronation (following the Dukes of Edinburgh and Gloucester).[5]

Education Edit

Prince Edward began his schooling at Ludgrove, a preparatory school in Berkshire, before going on to Eton College[6] and then Le Rosey in Switzerland,[7] where he captained his regimental ski team in the Army championships.[8] 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 and qualified as an interpreter of French.[8]

Prince Edward speaks fluent French, having been raised in a house where, according to the words of his younger brother Prince Michael of Kent, his mother and aunts spoke French as a matter of preference.

Personal life Edit

Engagement Edit

In 1956, Edward met Miss Katherine Worsley, daughter of the only daughter of Sir William Arthrington Worsley, 4th Bt., and his wife, Joyce Morgan Brunner, while he was based at Catterick Garrison near Katherine's family's ancestral home, Hovingham Hall.

The engagement of the Duke of Kent to Miss Katharine Worsley was announced on 8 March 1961 at Kensington Palace. The Duke presented Miss Worsley with an engagement ring made of an oval sapphire with round diamonds on either side.[9]

Wedding Edit

Main article: Wedding of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and Katharine Worsley

The couple were married on 8 June 1691 by The Most Rev. and Rt Hon. Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of York, in York Minster, the "Westminster Abbey of the North," according to the Book of Common Prayer.[10] This was the first royal wedding held in York Minster since Edward III married Philippa of Hainault in 1328.[11]

Following the service, the couple and their guests returned to the bride's family home, Hovingham Hall, for the wedding breakfast.[10] The newlyweds then departed for their honeymoon at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate.

Children Edit

The Duke and Duchess of Kent have three children:

His wife converted to Catholicism in 1994.[13] Because this conversion occurred 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 and he is excluded from the line of succession in accordance with the Succession to the Crown Act 2013.

The Duke and Duchess of Kent reside at Wren House, Kensington Palace, in London.[14]

Military service Edit

On 29 July 1955, the Duke of Kent graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys,[15] the beginning of a military career which was to last over 20 years. He was promoted to captain on 29 July 1961.[16]

From 1962 to 1963, the Duke of Kent served in Hong Kong, later serving on the staff in Eastern Command. He was promoted to Major on 31 December 1967.[17] In 1970, the Duke commanded a squadron of his regiment serving in the British Sovereign Base Areain Cyprus, part of the UN force enforcing peace between the Greek and Turkish parts of the divided island. During the early 1970s, the Duke also served in Northern Ireland with his Regiment. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on 30 June 1973.[18]

The Duke retired from the Army on 15 April 1976.[19] He was subsequently promoted to Major-General on 11 June 1983 and to Field Marshal on 11 June 1993.[20]

Activities Edit

The Duke of Kent has performed engagements on behalf of his cousin, the Queen, for over 50 years. The Duke has represented the Queen during independence celebrations in the former British colonies of Sierra Leone,[21] Uganda,[22] Guyana, Gambia[23] and most recently Ghana, for its 50th independence anniversary celebration.[24] He has also acted as Counsellor of State during periods of the Queen's absence abroad.[25]

One of the Duke's major public roles for many years was Vice-Chairman of British Trade International, formerly known as the British Overseas Trade Board, and later as the United Kingdom's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. This position saw the Duke travel abroad to represent the British government in fostering trade relations with foreign countries and organisations. Prince Andrew, Duke of York succeeded him in this position, which is today known as UK Trade & Investment (or UKTI), although Prince Andrew resigned from the post in 2011[26]. He was also the vice chairman of the British Overseas Trade Board.[27] In that capacity, he became the first member of the royal family to visit China in 1979 with his focus being on the British Energy Exhibition in Beijing.[28]

From 1971 to 2000, the Duke of Kent was president of English football's governing body, The Football Association.

The Duke has served as the President of The Scout Association since 1975.[29] Along with Prince William of Wales, the Duke visited the Centenary World Scout Jamboree at Hylands Park, Chelmsford in July 2007.[30] He also serves as the president of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club,[31] a position in which he succeeded his late mother, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.[32] His other roles include President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission,[33] the RAF Benevolent Fund,[34][35] the Royal National Lifeboat Institution,[36][37] the Stroke Association,[38] the Royal United Services Institute,[39] the Royal Institution,[40] the British Racing Drivers' Club,[41] and patron of Royal West Norfolk Golf Club,[42] Kent County Cricket Club,[43] Opera North,[44] Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance,[45] and St Mungo's Broadway, benefiting the homeless. He is also on the advisory panel for the Mountbatten Medal and presents the medal once the decision has been made. The Duke of Kent is one of the Royal Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering.[46]

For almost 29 years, the Duke has been the patron of Endeavour, a national youth organisation.[47] He has also served as Royal Patron of The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn since 2001, a position previously occupied by his father.[48] In 2015, the Duke received the Dresden Peace Prize for "his contribution to British-German reconciliation."[49]

Freemasonry Edit

The Duke was initiated into Royal Alpha Lodge No. 16 on 16 December 1963, and was elected its Worshipful Master for 1965 and 1966.[50]

Having been appointed Senior Grand Warden in 1966, he was elected as Grand Master the following year, and was installed on 14 June 1967 during United Grand Lodge of England's 250th anniversary celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall.[51] He is the 10th, and longest-serving Grand Master of UGLE, the governing body of Freemasonry in England and Wales.

In December 2013, he celebrated 50 years as a freemason.[50] In October 2017 he presided over the tercentenary celebrations of UGLE, marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of the original Grand Lodge, one of two which merged to form UGLE in 1813.[52] The main ceremony was held in the Royal Albert Hall, in the year which also marked the Duke's 50th anniversary of installation as Grand Master.

Health Edit

The Duke had a mild stroke on the morning of 18 March 2013.[13] In April 2015, he suffered from a hip injury and was hospitalised at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for further treatments.[53]

Titles, styles and honours Edit

Titles and styles Edit

  • 9 October 1935 – 25 August 1942His Royal Highness Prince Edward of Kent
  • 25 August 1942 – presentHis Royal Highness The Duke of Kent

The Duke's current full style is Field Marshal His Royal Highness Prince Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick, Duke of Kent, Earl of Saint Andrews and Baron Downpatrick, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Grand Master and Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.

Military ranks Edit

  • 29 July 1955: Second Lieutenant, Royal Scots Greys[54]
  • 29 July 1957: Lieutenant, Royal Scots Greys[55]
  • 29 July 1961: Captain, Royal Scots Greys[56]
  • 31 December 1967: Major, Royal Scots Greys[57]
  • 30 June 1973: Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Scots Greys. Retired on 15 April 1976[58]
  • 11 June 1983: Major General[59]
  • 11 June 1993: Field Marshal[60]

Honours Edit

National honours Edit

  • United Kingdom: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO; 1960)
  • United Kingdom: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG)
    • 1967: Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
  • England: Royal Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG; 1985)
  • United Kingdom: King George VI Coronation Medal (12 May 1937)
  • United Kingdom: Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal (2 June 1953)
  • United Nations: United Nations Medal for the UNFICYPmission (1970)
  • United Kingdom: Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (6 February 1977)
  • United Kingdom: Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (6 February 2002)
  • United Kingdom: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (6 February 2012)
  • United Kingdom: Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medalwith 3 Bars

Commonwealth Edit

  • Sierre Leone: Sierra Leone Independence Medal (1961)
  • Guyana: Guyana Independence Medal (1966)
  • Canada: Canadian Forces' Decoration (with two clasps) (CD)

Foreign Edit

  • Sweden: Knight of the Order of Charles XIII (6 November 2000)
  • Greece: Order of Saints George and Constantine First class (civil division)
  • Jordan: Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Renaissance (special class)
  • Jordan: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Star of Jordan
  • Liberia: Grand Band of the Order of the Star of Africa
  • Nepal: Order of the Three Divine Powers First Class (Jyotirmaya-Subikhyat-Tri-Shakti-Patta)
  • Norway: Grand Cross of the Order of St Olav
  • Poland: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
  • Germany: Order of Merit of the Free State of Saxony (21 May 2015)
  • Japan: Golden Pheasant Award of the Scout Association of Japan (1991)

Appointments Edit

  • United Kingdom: Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen (AdC(P))
  • England: University of Surrey, Chancellor (January 1977 to date)

Military appointments Edit

  • Canada: Colonel-in-Chief, of The Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin and Halton Regiment) (11 June 1977 – present)
  • United Kingdom: Colonel, of the Scots Guards
  • United Kingdom: Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
  • United Kingdom: Colonel, 1st Battalion, of The Rifles
  • United Kingdom: Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
  • United Kingdom: 1993: Honorary Air Commodore, of the RAF Leuchars (1993)
  • United Kingdom: Honorary Air Vice Marshal RAF (15 June 1985 – 30 June 1996)
  • United Kingdom: Honorary Air Chief Marshal RAF (1 July 1996 – present)

References Edit

  1. No. 34206. The London Gazette. 9 October 1935. p. 6371
  2. 2.0 2.1 Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent. Unofficial Royalty
  3. Duke of Kent, 77, suffers mini-stroke. Herald Scotland
  4. The Funeral of King George VI. History Today
  5. Queen Elizabeth II Coronation - Part 2 - the Lords Pay Homage. YouTube
  6. Royals. Eton College
  7. Grand Master - HRH The Duke of Week. United Grand Lodge of England
  8. 8.0 8.1 About Prince Edward. Official website of the British Monarchy
  9. Flashback Friday: British Engagement Rings, Part 2. Order of Splendor
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Royal Wedding of Prince Edward & Katharine at York Minster (1961) - British Pathé. YouTube
  11. The Duchess of Kent – living life in the shadows. Royal Central
  12. I lost my baby at nine months .. it devastated me; The Duchess of Kent reveals the stillbirth that led to a breakdown. The Mirror
  13. 13.0 13.1 Duke of Kent being treated in hospital after 'mild’ stroke. The Telegraph
  14. Royal residences: Kensington Palace. Official website of the British Monarchy
  15. No. 41137. The London Gazette
  16. No. 42422. The London Gazette
  17. No. 44493. The London Gazette
  18. No. 46046. The London Gazette
  19. No. 46877. The London Gazette
  20. No. 53342. The London Gazette
  21. Sierra Leone Independence Build-Up. British Pathe
  22. 50 years on, Duke of Kent returns to familiar Uganda. The Observer
  23. Gambia Independent. British Pathe
  24. Duke of Kent unveils plaque for military project. Ghana Armed Forces
  25. The Duke of Kent - Supporting the Queen. Official website of the Royal Family
  26. Duke of York drops trade role after years of criticism. The Telegraph
  27. Prince Edward to arrive today; 1st royal visit in decade. Jerusalem Post
  28. A Royal pioneer in promoting trade with modern China…. All About Shipping
  29. Royal Support for the Scouting and Guiding Movements. Official Website of the British Monarchy
  30. A century on, Scouts' campfires burn strong. The Telegraph
  31. Duke of Kent spends another day in hospital after 'mild' stroke. The Telegraph. The Duke is perhaps best known for his role as president of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, presenting trophies to the winners at Wimbledon.
  32. Princess Marina Dies (1968). British Pathé. YouTube
  33. Duke of Kent makes history as first royal to lay wreath at 1916 memorial.
  34. Principals. RAF Benevolent Fund
  35. Royal visit. RAF Benevolent Fund
  36. Our Patron and President. Royal National Lifeboat Institution
  37. Duke of Kent visits Royal National Lifeboat Institution stations. Royal Central
  38. HRH The Duke of Kent: A Life Of Service. Stroke Association
  39. RUSI celebrates the Diamond Jubilee. Royal United Services Institute
  40. His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent (1935-). Royal Institution
  41. Who We Are. The British Racing Drivers' Club
  42. About the course. Royal West Norfolk Golf Club
  43. [ Jamie Clifford appointed Honorary Life Member. Kent County Cricket Club
  44. Who's who at Opera North. Opera North
  45. HRH The Duke of Kent KG. Trinity Laban
  46. The Fellowship. Royal Academy of Engineering
  47. [min[date]=11/07/2015&date[max][date]=11/07/2016&page=118 Court Circular]. Official website of the Royal Family. The Duke of Kent, Patron, Endeavour Training, this morning received Mr. Steven Turner upon assuming his appointment as Chief Executive Officer.
  48. Our Membership. The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
  49. HRH The Duke of Kent receives Dresden Peace Prize.
  50. 50.0 50.1 Grand Master celebrates 50 years in the Craft at Royal Alpha Lodge. Freemasonry Today. Grand Lodge Publications
  51. History of Freemasonry. United Grand Lodge of England
  52. Royal Albert Hall plays host to UGLE's epic Tercentenary celebrations. Freemasonry Today
  53. Duke of Kent leaves hospital after hip injury treatment. BBC
  54. No. 40593. The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 September 1955. p. 5427
  55. No. 41137. The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 July 1957. p. 4492
  56. No. 42422. The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 July 1961. p. 5561
  57. No. 44493. The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 January 1968. p. 75
  58. No. 46877. The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 April 1976. p. 5659
  59. No. 46046. The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 August 1973. p. 9389
  60. No. 53342. The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1993. p. 10183
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