* Coronation Tiaras *
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, wore the Kent Festoon Tiara for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953
Members of the British Royal Family attend the coronation of King George VI and Queen Consort Elizabeth, 1937.
The ‘minor’ Royals are the very best of British
The Telegraph commentary article by Madeline Grant | Published 21 December 2022
A few years back, a BBC documentary shone an unwittingly hilarious light on the lives of the minor working royals. The Queen’s first cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, has been sent to open a new IT department at a school in Croydon. “There are some things that you’re interested in, and some that you’re not” he admits. “It is slightly difficult to feign an interest”. We then cut to some school-children dancing (badly) to a song from Footloose. Trying to make conversation with a teacher, the Duke points to the ceiling of the sports hall and asks, “Is this an insulated roof?”
The Duke’s small-talk proved an unexpected hit on social media; at my birthday I realised to my astonishment that half my guests could quote the scene word for word – perhaps not the most obvious viral sensation among a bunch of 30-year-olds. But there is something rather moving, as well as relatable, about it. While the Sussexes redefine the concept of “service” to mean whatever is convenient to them; those sliding down the pecking order with each new royal arrival continue their efforts on behalf of the institution. No frills, no tantrums, dull events, small-talk galore – and lasting loyalty.
The Princess Royal’s unshowy work ethic has won great public respect. This week the 72-year-old once again topped the list as the most industrious working royal. The Earl and Countess of Wessex carry out public engagements in the background, without fanfare. Royals will often be patrons of the same charity for 40 or 50 years; understanding the DNA of these organisations; and many keep serving well beyond the official retirement age.
The late Queen’s cousins the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, 87 and 85, still regularly perform royal duties. At Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, the Duke joined in the procession, having previously flanked George VI’s coffin as a teenager in 1952. He looked unsteady on his feet at times; but there he was, faithfully serving his cousin as he had all his life. The Duchess of Kent quietly worked as a music teacher in Hull for 13 years and would often be found mopping the floors of a local hospice where she was a longtime volunteer.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have remained working royals well into their 70s, spending decades giving unshowy support to their good causes. A passionate tennis-lover, the Duchess has been Honorary President of the Lawn Tennis Association for over two decades and may well enjoy glamorous occasions, such as appearing in the Royal Box at Wimbledon. But she is much more often found far from the limelight, cheerfully opening public courts in Tottenham or watching unknown British hopefuls battling it out in the dreary fastnesses of indoor tennis centres in Telford or Bolton.
When the couple married in 1972, her husband was working as an architect. Just six weeks later his dashing older brother, Prince William of Gloucester, died in a flying accident and the couple were propelled into royal duties. Their quiet, steady work, plus the wackier gigs – representing Queen Elizabeth at the coronation of King George Tupou V of Tonga in 2008, for example – has never excited much media attention; and were it not for the death of the Duke’s brother, they would have probably led much more independent lives. But they rose to the occasion uncomplainingly. As the Duke explains in the documentary “I don’t expect huge crowds lining the street, as if Her Majesty came. It’s valid, even without a great deal of fuss.”
The King’s aspirations for a slimmed-down monarchy are well-known, but the sheer number of royal duties means scores of lesser lights are surely required to share the load and represent the crown overseas. The monarch and his immediate heirs could never physically fulfil half the commitments requiring a royal presence.
The minor royals don’t just opt for less glamorous causes; but also more historic and esoteric ones. The Earl of Wessex is a tremendous ambassador of the ancient sport Real Tennis, while the Duke of Gloucester is patron of the Richard III Society. They make many charities viable; supporting the quirky sports, passions and amateur pursuits woven into the nation’s social fabric.
Of course, in this sense The Firm is like any other institution: so many of which run through the hard work of unseen individuals doing unglamorous jobs. Churches depend on people giving up their time as wardens, vergers, and church council members. It is their quiet graft that keeps some of our most ancient buildings in good repair. The bishops would do well to remember them next time they pontificate on political matters.
This feels like a generational divide – and one I’ve been thinking about a lot since I lost my grandma this year. She was a stalwart of the community and an indefatigable volunteer who put in countless hours baking cakes for the church, Girl Guides and tennis club, and running the WI and local Country Market. What will happen to civic society without such people around? I am reminded of George Eliot’s beautiful words at the end of Middlemarch, “the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts … the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs”.
We may not hear so much about them, but members of the late Queen’s extended family, well beyond the core royals, continue to follow her example of lifelong duty, as do thousands of community-minded “good eggs” up and down the country. All our lives are richer for their service.
Happy 90th birthday to Katharine, Duchess of Kent!
Born on February 22nd 1933, Katharine Lucy Mary Worsley is the fourth child and only daughter of Sir William Worsley, 4th Baronet, Lord-lieutenant of North Riding, and his wife Joyce Morgan Brunner, and wife to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.
The couple have three children: George, Earl of St Andrews, Lady Helen Taylor, and Lord Nicholas Windsor. In the 90s Katharine stepped down from her royal duties and is now a music teacher.
Many congratulations to HRH the Duchess of Kent on her 90th birthday! After the death of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip the Duchess of Kent becomes the oldest member of the British royal family.
Katherine Mary Lucy Worsley married Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, on 8 June 1961. The royal couple have three children.
Christmas at Windsor Castle in 1987
The Queen beamed at the waiting photographers as she exited the church service with the Duke of Edinburgh. Her Majesty wore a teal blue coat and matching hat for the occasion, accessorising with one of her signature Launer bags and patent loafers.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh spent Christmas at Windsor Castle for the first time in over 30 years in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The monarch has traditionally travelled to the Sandringham estate in Norfolk for the festive season since 1988, but when Her Majesty's children and, later, grandchildren were young, they would celebrate in Windsor.
Princess Diana led the youngest royals out of the church service on Christmas morning, including her then five-year-old son Prince William, who was dressed in a long powder blue coat. It was a significant occasion as it was the young Prince's Christmas day debut.
They were joined by Diana's nephews, Lord Frederick Windsor and Peter Phillips, and her niece Zara Phillips. Prince Charles and Diana's youngest son Prince Harry would have only been three at this point and didn't make a public appearance on Christmas Day until the following year in Sandringham.
Diana chatted with the Duke and Duchess of York after the service, who had been married just over a year at that point. The Princess opted for a checked pale yellow Escada coat.
An excited William couldn't stop waving at the waiting media as the royals made their way from the church to Windsor Castle. He walked alongside his older cousins Peter and Zara, then aged ten and six at the time.
Lord Frederick Windsor, then eight-years-old, joined his cousin, Prince William, in giving the crowds a wave as they left the service at St George's Chapel with Peter and Zara Phillips and Lady Rose Windsor.
Sarah Ferguson looked festive in a red coat and a white furry hat for the royals' last Christmas at Windsor. In January 1988, she and Prince Andrew announced the news that they were expecting their first child and Princess Beatrice arrived on 8 August.
Diana walked hand-in-hand back to Windsor Castle with Lady Rose Windsor, who is the youngest daughter of the Queen's cousin, the Duke of Gloucester and his wife Birgitte.
Lady Rose married George Gilman in 2008 and Kate Middleton was among the guests, attending the ceremony without her boyfriend Prince William, who was away on military operations in the Caribbean.
Princess Margaret was among the Queen's relatives at the last Windsor Christmas, attending the service alongside her children David Linley and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones.
The Duchess of Kent, (born Katharine Worsley), who is married to the Queen's cousin, the Duke of Kent, stood out in a bold red coat at the service.
Marina of Greece and Denmark, Duchess of Kent. It was painted by Philip de Laszlo in 1934, the year she married Prince George, who had been created Duke of Kent just before their wedding.
Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent, photographed by Cecil Beaton
What coronets do you think the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will wear at Charles' coronation? I assume Meghan will wear the bandeau tiara again?
They will wear the coronet of the child of the sovereign. It has alternating crosses and fleurs-de-lys so it's the same as the coronet of the heir without the arch. Wikipedia has a pretty good article about coronets that shows all of the different styles.
Here are the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke and Duchess of Kent wearing them for the coronation of King George VI in 1937.
The Duchess of Gloucester wore Queen Mary's Honeysuckle Tiara and the Duchess of Kent wore her Fringe Tiara. Your assumption is the same as mine, I think Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau Tiara is probably the tiara the Duchess of Sussex will wear.
June 1944 - King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and the Duke of Beaufort at the Royal Windsor Horse Show
The Duke on his way to ski in Munster in the 1950s. On a previous occasion he had forgotten his passport, causing a mini crisis at the airport. This time he remembered
In Uganda with the Duchess of Kent, 1962
Prince Charles with the Duchess of Kent at Balmoral in about 1970. They shared an interest in music, especially opera
Christmas at Windsor Castle in about 1977: The Queen with the Earl of Ulster, and in the background the Earl’s father, the Duke of Gloucester. The Royal Family loved staying at Windsor, and in particular the moment that the Queen threw open the doors and the children rushed in to get their presents
The Queen and Prince Philip enjoying a picnic lunch at Balmoral in the 1970s
The Royal Family together. Left to right (back row) – the Duke of Gloucester, Princess Marina, Queen Mary & the Duchess of Gloucester. Middle row – Princess Alexandra, the Duke of Kent & Prince Richard of Gloucester. Front row – Princess Margaret of Hesse, Prince William of Gloucester & Prince Michael of Kent
Princess Marina with her mother, Princess Nicholas of Greece, and her sister, Princess Olga. Princess Nicholas, a formidable Russian Grand Duchess, and by then a widow, lived at Psychico, a suburb of Athens. Her daughters were frequent visitors
King George VI at Coppins with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret
Princess Alexandra (left) with cousins Helen Habsburg and Hans Veit Toerring in Norfolk
Princess Marina with Winston Churchill, who came to lunch at Coppins towards the end of the war, in 1944. ‘And who is this?’ asked the great statesman on observing the Duke, then aged nine
With his father, Prince George, and sister, Princess Alexandra
Prince Edward with his parents and sister
The Duke and Duchess together at Coppins in the early days of their marriage
The Duchess of Kent with her Labrador, Columbus, and her poodle, Charlie, soon after she married the Duke in 1961
Prince Edward on a pony at Horace Smith’s riding school at Bray. The Duke found him a bit severe – he was a proper old school riding instructor who always wore highly polished boots
'I always felt I wanted to support her. That’s by far the most important thing in life': HRH The Duke of Kent, then Prince Edward, between the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret, at Frogmore House in Windsor, 1930s
Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II) lifting Prince Edward of Kent (Duke of Kent)
Inside the Duke of Kent's private royal family photo album
The Duke of Kent opens up his private royal family photo album
https://www.telegraph.co.uk | 30 April 2022