Category Archives: British Royals

Prince George’s Christmas List

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(From Susan: I used to teach preschool way back when and I think this is adorable.)

From November 29 – 30, 2017, The Duke of Cambridge undertook a visit to Finland at the request of the Foreign Office. However, William had another task on his visit to Finland. He delivered Prince George’s Christmas list to Father Christmas/Santa Claus. On a pre-printed Christmas list, four-year-old George had circled at the top that he had been “nice”, filled in one of the five lines provided for gift requests with “police car”, and wrote his name.

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Breaking News: Meghan Markle’s Engagement Ring

Meghan Markle’s engagement ring was reportedly designed by Prince Harry with the help of Cleave and Company, Court Jewellers and Medallists to The Queen. The ring which is on a gold band features a cushion diamond from Botswana and two outside stones from the personal collection of Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

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Meghan Markle

by Susan Flantzer

By Genevievederivative work: Firebrace (talk) – DSC_3441, CC BY 2.0,

Rachel Meghan Markle, born on August 4, 1981, in Los Angeles, California, is the daughter of Thomas Markle and Doria Radlan. Her father is a cinematographer and lighting director and worked on the primetime shows Married With Children and Facts of Life and the daytime shows General Hospital and Santa Barbara. He is the winner of two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series and was nominated six other times. Meghan’s mother has a master’s degree in social work and works as a clinical therapist and yoga instructor. Meghan told Elle magazine in 2016, “My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white.” Meghan has two much older half-siblings from her father’s first marriage: Samantha Markle Grant born in 1965 and Thomas Markle Jr. born in 1966.

Meghan grew up and was educated at private schools in Los Angeles, California. She attended elementary school at Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse and then attended Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girls high school. Meghan graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago Illinois in 2003 with a double major in theater and international relations. In 2011, Meghan married her long-time boyfriend Trevor Engelson, a film and television producer. The couple divorced in 2013.

Growing up in Hollywood and with a lighting director as a father, Meghan was around the entertainment industry and knew she would end up in show business in some capacity. Her first acting job was a one episode role on the daytime show General Hospital in 2002. Thereafter, she had small roles on television shows and in several films. To help support herself, Meghan took on freelance calligraphy jobs. Starting in 2011, Meghan appeared on Suits, an American legal drama television series, playing Rachel Zane, a senior paralegal with dreams of going to law school.

Meghan Markle attends the Wimbledon tennis tournament in June 2016

On November 8, 2016, Kensington Palace confirmed Meghan was “a few months” into a relationship with Prince Harry in a statement from the prince asking for the media harassment of Meghan and her family to end. Harry and Meghan were introduced by a mutual woman friend.

In March 2017, after finished filming the seventh season of Suits, it was announced that Meghan was “ready to be done with Suits” and with “acting in general.” A source told E! News, “Even before Harry, she was starting to think about transitioning out of acting. She wants to focus on other worldly endeavors she is passionate about, like her philanthropy.” In 2016, Meghan had become the Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada, traveling to Rwanda for the Clean Water Campaign. She has also worked with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women as an Advocate.

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Meghan and her mother Doria Radlan attend the Invictus Games with Prince Harry

In September 2017, Prince Harry and Meghan made their first public appearances together at an official royal engagement, the wheelchair tennis event and the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada.

Meghan is a direct descendant of John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford, Chamberlain to King Henry VIII’s daughter Mary, the future Queen Mary I. Lord Hussey’s wife Lady Anne was one of Mary’s attendants. Lord Hussey was beheaded for his participation in the 1536 uprising the Pilgrimage of Grace. Prince Harry and Meghan share common ancestors: Richard Bowes (circa 1497 – 1558) and his wife Elizabeth Aske  (1505 – circa 1572). Meghan’s maternal great-great-great grandfather was a slave on a Georgia plantation before being emancipated when slavery was abolished in 1865.

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The engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was announced on November 27, 2017.  The couple will marry on May 19, 2018, at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle where many royal weddings have been held and will reside in Nottingham Cottage adjoining Kensington Palace in London.

Meghan Markle’s engagement ring was reportedly designed by Prince Harry with the help of Cleave and Company, court jewelers to The Queen. The ring which is on a gold band features a cushion diamond from Botswana and two outside stones from the personal collection of Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

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Meghan made her first appearance with the British Royal Family on Christmas Day 2017 as they walked to church at the Sandringham Estate.

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After the engagement, Meghan began the years-long process of becoming a British citizen.  In preparation for the wedding, Meghan was baptized and confirmed into the Church of England on March 6, 2018, by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin WelbyThe private ceremony, performed with holy water from the River Jordan, took place in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.

Wikipedia: Meghan Markle

Breaking News: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged!

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On the morning of November 27, 2017, Clarence House made the following announcement on Twitter: “The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle.  The wedding will take place in Spring 2018.  Further details about the wedding will be announced in due course. His Royal Highness and Ms. Markle became engaged earlier this month.  Prince Harry has informed Her Majesty The Queen and other close members of his family. Prince Harry has also sought and received the blessing of Ms. Markle’s family. The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace.”

Wedding of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips

by Susan Flantzer

By Source, Fair use,

Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips on November 14, 1973, at Westminster Abbey in London, England.

Princess Anne’s Early Life

Princess Anne with her parents and elder brother in October 1957; Photo Credit – By Library and Archives Canada, e010949328 / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, e010949328 –, CC BY 2.0,

Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise was born at Clarence House in London, England on August 15, 1950. She was the second child of four children and the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born a Prince of Greece and Denmark). Anne had one elder brother Charles and two younger brothers, Andrew and Edward.

At the time of Anne’s birth, her mother was Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh and the sovereign was her grandfather, King George VI. The children of a daughter of a British sovereign would not usually have been accorded the style Royal Highness or the titles Prince/Princess as in the case of Anne’s own children. However, on October 22, 1948, Anne’s grandfather King George VI issued letters patent allowing the children of his eldest daughter and heiress presumptive, to use the style and title of a royal prince or princess. Therefore, Anne was Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of Edinburgh at birth.

King George VI died on February 6, 1952, and his elder daughter Princess Elizabeth became Queen. Upon her mother’s accession to the throne, Anne was styled Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne. Anne was too young to attend her mother’s coronation, but she did make an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Catherine Peebles who was the governess of Prince Charles was also Anne’s governess and she was responsible for Anne’s early education. In 1959, a Girl Guides company, 1st Buckingham Palace Company was formed at the palace to allow Anne to socialize with other girls. Similar Girl Guide companies had been formed at Buckingham Palace for Anne’s mother and her aunt Princess Margaret. From 1963-1968, Anne attended Benenden School, an independent boarding school for girls in Kent, England.

From a young age, Princess Anne was passionate about riding and she soon became an excellent equestrienne. In 1971, Anne won the European Eventing Championship and was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. For more than five years Anne competed with the British eventing team, winning a silver medal in both individual and team disciplines in the 1975 European Eventing Championship. In the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics, Anne competed as a member of the British equestrian team.

For more information, see Unofficial Royalty: Princess Anne, The Princess Royal

Mark Phillips’ Early Life

Mark Phillips, 1973; Photo Credit – By Peters, Hans / Anefo – [1] Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989, Nummer toegang Bestanddeelnummer 926-7769, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl,

Mark Anthony Peter Phillips was born on September 22, 1948, to Major Peter Phillips and the former Anne Tiarks (whose father was an Aide-de-Camp to King George VI). He had one sister, Sarah, who passed away.

Following his education at Stouts Hill Preparatory School and Marlborough College, Phillips entered the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. After passing out, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Queen’s Dragoon Guards, eventually reaching the rank of Captain in 1975. He retired from the Army in March 1978.

An avid horseman, Philips was a member of the British Equestrian Team with whom he won the Team Three-Day Event world title in 1970, the European title in 1971, and Olympic Gold in 1972. He also won Silver at the 1988 Olympics and is a four-time champion at the Badminton Horse Trials.

For more information, see Unofficial Royalty: Mark Phillips

The Engagement

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On May 29, 1973, Buckingham Palace announced: “It is with the greatest pleasure that the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh announce the betrothal of their beloved daughter the Princess Anne to Lieutenant Mark Phillips, the Queen’s Dragoon Guards, son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Phillips.” The couple had become engaged six weeks earlier at the Badminton Horse Trials, the major equestrian event in the United Kingdom, in which both Anne and Mark competed.

It was through their mutual love of horses that Mark met Princess Anne. The couple first met at the equestrian events during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City where Mark was a reserve member of the British equestrian team. Prior to their engagement, Anne and Mark competed together at equestrian events throughout Europe. Their love of horses was inherited by their daughter Zara who won a silver medal in the Three-Day Event with the British equestrian team in 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Anne’s engagement ring was a classic ring of a sapphire between two diamonds made by Garrad Jewelers.

It has been speculated that The Queen offered – and Mark declined – a peerage upon marriage, but this has never been confirmed or denied by any member of the Royal Family.

The Wedding Guests

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British Royal Family

  • Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh, the bride’s parents
  • The Prince of Wales, the bride’s brother
  • Prince Andrew, the bride’s brother
  • Prince Edward, the bride’s brother
  • Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the bride’s grandmother
  • Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and The Earl of Snowdon, the bride’s aunt and uncle
  • Viscount Linley, the bride’s first cousin
  • Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, the bride’s first cousin
  • The Duchess of Gloucester, the bride’s great aunt by marriage
  • Prince and Princess Richard of Gloucester, the bride’s first cousin once removed and his wife
  • The Duke and Duchess of Kent, the bride’s first cousin once removed and his wife
  • Earl of St Andrews, the bride’s second cousin
  • Lady Helen Windsor, the bride’s second cousin
  • Prince Michael of Kent, the bride’s first cousin once removed
  • Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Mrs. Ogilvy and The Hon. Mr. Angus Ogilvy, the bride’s first cousin once removed and her husband
  • Mr. James Ogilvy, the bride’s second cousin
  • Miss Marina Ogilvy, the bride’s second cousin
  • Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, the bride’s first cousin three times removed and great-great aunt by marriage
  • Lady Mary Whitley, the bride’s second cousin once removed

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Some Other Royal Guests

  • Dowager Queen Ingrid of Denmark
  • King Carl XVI of Sweden
  • King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
  • Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco
  • Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands
  • Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja of Norway
  • Prince Juan Carlos and Princess Sofia of Spain

The Wedding Attendants

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Anne chose to have only two attendants because of her personal experience as a bridesmaid trying to keep younger attendants in line.

  • Best Man: Captain Eric Grounds
  • Bridesmaid: Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, the bride’s nine-year-old first cousin and the daughter of Princess Margaret
  • Page Boy: Prince Edward, the bride’s nine-year-old brother

The Wedding Attire

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To design her wedding dress, Anne picked Maureen Baker, the chief designer for the ready-to-wear label Susan Small, who had previously designed outfits for her. A number of Anne’s ideas were also incorporated into the dress. The Tudor-style silk wedding dress had a high collar and medieval sleeves. The train, which measured only seven feet, and the veil were simple and delicate.

Anne’s veil was crowned by Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara. Queen Mary had this tiara made from a necklace Queen Victoria had given her as a wedding present. In 1936, Queen Mary gave the tiara to her daughter-in-law Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother). In 1947, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) loaned the tiara to her daughter Elizabeth for her wedding and then loaned it to her granddaughter Anne for her wedding.

Lieutenant Mark Phillips wore the full scarlet and blue uniform of his regiment, the Queen’s Dragoon Guards.

The Wedding Ceremony

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Princess Anne and Mark Phillips were married on November 14, 1973, at 11:30 AM at Westminster Abbey in London. Princess Anne and her father left Buckingham Palace in the Glass Coach for the ride to Westminster Abbey. As they entered the Abbey, a fanfare especially written for the wedding was played by trumpeters from the groom’s regiment. The Duke of Edinburgh escorted his daughter down the aisle to the hymn Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken.

As the 2,000 guests in the Abbey and the 500 million television viewers watched, Princess Anne and Mark Phillips were married by Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was a simple ceremony from the 1662 Anglican Book of Common Prayer in which the bride promises to obey.

Some family traditions were followed. Princess Anne’s ring was made from the same nugget of Welsh gold that the rings of her grandmother, her mother, and her aunt were made. In her bouquet was a cutting from a myrtle bush grown from a sprig from Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds moved to the Edward the Confessor Chapel where the wedding register was signed. Princess Anne then made a deep curtsey to her mother while Mark respectfully bowed and the couple made their way down the aisle followed by their families as Charles-Marie Widor’s Toccata in F Major; Johann Strauss’s “Radetzky” March, the regimental march of the groom’s regiment, and the finale from Louis Vierne’s Organ Symphony No. 1 were played.

For more information, see Westminster Abbey: Marriage of H.R.H The Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips

The Wedding Reception

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After the bride and groom made the customary appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, 120 guests attended the wedding breakfast at the Palace. The guests dined on lobster, partridge, fresh peas, peppermint ice cream, and a wedding cake made exactly five-feet six-inches tall – the height of the bride.

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The Royal Army Catering Corp supplied the wedding cake. It weighed 145 pounds and among its ingredients were 10 pounds each of butter and sugar, 84 eggs, 12½ pounds of flour, 70 pounds of fruit, peel, and nuts, and two bottles of brandy. The top layer had a silver vase of flowers, the coat of arms of Princess Anne, and the regimental crest of Mark Phillips.

The groom cut the cake with his sword while the Grenadier Guards band played “A Bunch of Roses” and “Bless the Bride.” The Duke of Edinburgh, the bride’s father, toasted to the health of the bride and groom and the groom’s father Major Peter Phillips made the reply toast.

After the wedding breakfast, Princess Anne changed into a sapphire blue velvet dress and a short cropped jacket with mink collar and cuffs. Guests showered the couple with flower petals as they left the palace.

The Honeymoon

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The day after the wedding, Anne and Mark flew to Barbados where they boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia. Their cruise around the islands of the Caribbean was disrupted to due storms and high waves and for most of the first week, the couple suffered from seasickness. Eventually, the storms subsided and the newlyweds could enjoy the scenes of the Caribbean. The couple ended their honeymoon in the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.


The couple had two children: Peter, born in 1977 and Zara, born in 1981. Sadly, Princess Anne and Mark Phillips separated in 1989 and their divorce was finalized on April 23, 1992. Both Anne and Mark remarried.

Works Cited

  • (2017).  [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].
  • (2017). Wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].
  • Frayman, J. (2017). Princess Anne Is Engaged to an Army Lieutenant. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].
  • (2017). BBC ON THIS DAY | 14 | 1973: Crowds cheer marriage of Princess Anne. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].
  • (2017). Tiara Thursday: Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].
  • Shuster, A. (2017). Princess Anne Wed Amid British Pageantry. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].
  • Stern, M. (2017). A Big Day for the Bridegroom’s Home Town. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Anne, Princess Royal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Mark Phillips, first husband of Anne, The Princess Royal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, King Consort of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

The eldest surviving child of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox and Lady Margaret Douglas, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was born on December 7, 1545, at Temple Newsam in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Temple Newsam, a Tudor country house, was built between 1500 and 1520. In 1537 Thomas, Lord Darcy was executed for the part he played in the Pilgrimage of Grace and the property was confiscated by the Crown. In 1544, King Henry VIII gave it to his niece Lady Margaret Douglas and her husband Matthew Stuart, 4th Earl of Lennox.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley is generally known as Lord Darnley (or Darnley), his courtesy title as the heir apparent to the Earldom of Lennox. Darnley had one brother who died in infancy and one surviving brother:

Darnley’s mother Lady Margaret Douglas was the only child of Margaret Tudor (daughter of King Henry VII of England and the older sister of King Henry VIII of England) and her second husband Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.  Margaret Tudor was first married to James IV, King of Scots and they were the parents of James V, King of Scots and the grandparents of Mary, Queen of Scots. Margaret Tudor’s third marriage to Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven was childless.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley was brought up in England. His mother had left Scotland in 1528 and had been brought up at the English court with her first cousin, the future Queen Mary I of England, who remained her lifelong friend. Darnley’s father lived in exile in England. He had been declared guilty of treason in Scotland for his part in the war of the Rough Wooing, siding with the English. Darnley had claims to both the Scottish and English thrones as he was descended from both James II of Scotland and Henry VII of England. Darnley’s family was Catholic and represented an alternative succession to the English throne. He had been well educated and was very conscious of his status and heritage.

Darnley in 1555; Credit – Wikipedia

14-year-old Darnley was sent to the French court to complete his education. This coincided with the short reign of François II, King of France, the first husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, Darnley’s first cousin. Upon the death of François II in 1560, Darnley was at once proposed as a suitable husband for the 18-year-old widowed Queen of Scots. Mary, Queen of Scots had lived in France since she was five-years-old. During Mary’s thirteen year absence, the Protestant Reformation had swept through Scotland, led by John Knox who is considered the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Therefore, Catholic Mary returned to a Scotland very different from the one she had left as a child.

Mary needed an heir, so a second marriage became necessary. After considering Carlos, Prince of Asturias, known as Don Carlos, eldest son and heir of King Philip II of Spain and Queen Elizabeth I’s candidate Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, Mary became infatuated with her first cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Both Mary and Darnley were grandchildren of Margaret Tudor. The couple married at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh on July 29, 1565.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

The marriage angered Queen Elizabeth I who felt that Darnley, as her cousin and an English subject, needed her permission to marry. James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray was also angered by his sister’s marriage to a prominent Catholic and joined other Protestant lords in a rebellion. Mary soon became disillusioned by Darnley’s uncouth behavior and his insistence upon receiving the Crown Matrimonial which would have made him co-sovereign of Scotland. Mary refused and their relationship became strained.

At the end of 1565, Mary became pregnant. Darnley, who was jealous of Mary’s friendship with her private secretary David Rizzio, rumored to be the father of her child. Darnley formed a conspiracy to do away with Rizzio. On March 9, 1566, Rizzio was at supper with Mary and her ladies at Holyrood Palace. The conspirators, led by Darnley, burst into the room, dragged Rizzio away and killed him in an adjoining room. Mary was roughly pushed and shoved and although the conspirators hoped she would miscarry, she did not. All the conspirators were banished except for Darnley who was forgiven. On June 19, 1566, at Edinburgh Castle, Mary gave birth to a son, christened Charles James after his godfather King Charles IX of France, later succeeding his mother as  King James VI of Scotland.  In 1603, Mary and Darnley’s son succeeded the childless Queen Elizabeth I of England as King James I of England.

James VI, King of Scots, circa 1574; Credit – Wikipedia

Mary’s marriage was all but over and she began to be drawn to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell. Bothwell entered into a conspiracy with Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll and George Gordon, 5th Earl of Huntly to rid Mary of her husband. On February 10, 1567, Kirk o’ Field, the house where Darnley was staying, was blown up. Darnley and his servant were found dead near the house in an orchard outside the city walls. Since Darnley was dressed only in his nightshirt and had no injuries, it was assumed that he was strangled after the explosion. Suspicions that Mary colluded with the conspirators in Darnley’s death or that she took no action to prevent his death were key factors that led to her loss of the Scottish crown that same year. Darnley was buried at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Matthew Stewart, his wife Margaret, their son Charles and grandson James VI of Scotland mourning Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley; Credit – Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

Works Cited

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • (2017). Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. [online] Available at:,_Lord_Darnley [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • (2017). Margaret Douglas. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • (2017). Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox. [online] Available at:,_4th_Earl_of_Lennox [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Mary, Queen of Scots. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

Breaking News: Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their first child Prince George; Photo Credit – By AshleyMott – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Kensington Palace has made the following announcement:

“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child.

The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.

As with her two previous pregnancies, The Duchess is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Her Royal Highness will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Homsey Road Child’s Centre in London today. The Duchess is being cared for at Kensington Palace.”

Prince William and Catherine Middleton were married on April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey. The couple has two children: Prince George of Cambridge (born July 22, 2013) and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (born May 2, 2015).  The new baby would be fifth in the line of succession to the British throne after its grandfather The Prince of Wales, its father, and its two siblings.

Diana, Princess of Wales – 20th Anniversary

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Diana, Princess of Wales died from injuries received in a car accident on August 31, 1997, twenty years ago. To remember Diana, here is a selection of our articles about her and the Spencer family.

The Duke of Edinburgh Retires from Royal Duties

Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh on the Buckingham Palace balcony, June 2012; Photo Credit – By Carfax2 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

For the last time, The Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) appeared in the Future Engagements area  of the official website of the British Monarchy:

2 August 2017
The Duke of Edinburgh
Buckingham Palace
Captain General, Royal Marines, will attend the closing ceremony of the 1664 Global Challenge, at Buckingham Palace.

On May 4, 2017, Buckingham Palace announced:

“His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of The Queen.  Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen. Thereafter, The Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time.”

The Duke has completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952, the year his wife succeeded to the British throne. That number does not include the engagements he attended with Queen Elizabeth II.

Wedding of Prince Andrew of The United Kingdom and Sarah Ferguson

by Susan Flantzer

Photo Credit – By Elke Wetzig (Elya) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson were married at Westminster Abbey in London, England on July 23, 1986.

Prince Andrew’s Family

HRH Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward was born February 19, 1960 at Buckingham Palace, London. Andrew was the third child of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, born HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. Elizabeth was the elder daughter and the first of two children of King George VI and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who was the youngest daughter and the ninth of ten children of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Philip’s father was HRH Prince Andrew of Greece, the son of King George I of Greece (formerly Prince William of Denmark) and Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia. His mother was Her Serene Highness Princess Alice of Battenberg. Alice was the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. During World War I, when King George V ordered his family to relinquish their German styles and titles, Prince Louis became the Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven. Princess Victoria’s mother was Princess Alice, a daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Therefore, Andrew’s parents are both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Andrew has two older siblings Prince Charles, born on November 14, 1948 and Princess Anne, born on August 15, 1950. When his mother became Queen on February 6, 1952, her duties as Queen postponed additions to the family. Prince Andrew was born eight years later and the youngest child in the family, Prince Edward, was born on March 10, 1964.

On his wedding day, July 23, 1986, Andrew was created Duke of York, the traditional title of the second son of the monarch, along with the subsidiary titles, Earl of Inverness, and Baron Killyleagh. These titles were also held by his maternal grandfather, King George VI, and his maternal great-grandfather, King George V, both of whom were second sons of monarchs.

Queen Elizabeth’s children have been unlucky in marriage. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson separated on March 19, 1992 and divorced on May 30, 1996. The couple remains on friendly terms and Sarah, no longer HRH The Duchess of York, uses the style of a divorced duchess, Sarah, Duchess of York. Charles and Diana, The Prince and Princess of Wales, separated in December 1992 and divorced in August 1996. Exactly a year later, Diana, Princess of Wales tragically died in a car accident in Paris. In 1974, Princess Anne married Mark Phillips, a Lieutenant in the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, but the couple separated in 1989 and divorced in 1992. Princess Anne married again in 1992 to Timothy Laurence, then a Commander in the Royal Navy. Prince Edward has been the most stable of the Queen’s children as far as marriage is concerned. In 1999, he married Sophie Rhys-Jones, then a public relations manager with her own firm and that marriage still continues as does Princess Anne’s marriage to Timothy Laurence. In 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles with whom he had a romantic relationship before and during his marriage.

Sarah Ferguson’s Family

Sarah and her sister Jane

Sarah Margaret Ferguson was born on October 15, 1959 in the Marylebone section of London. Her father was Major Ronald Ferguson, the son of Andrew Ferguson and Marian Montagu-Douglas-Scott, a first cousin of Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott, who married Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, third son of King George V. Sarah’s father had a career in the Army and was polo manager for the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. Sarah’s mother was Susan Mary Wright, the daughter of Lieutenant FitzHerbert Wright and The Honorable Doreen Wingfield. Mervyn Wingfield, 8th Viscount Powerscourt was Sarah’s maternal great grandfather. Sarah had an elder sister Jane Louisa who was born on August 26, 1957. The children’s parents divorced in 1974 and both remarried.

Sarah does boast a royal descent although it is from the wrong side of the sheets. Like the Duchess of Cornwall, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and the late Princess Alice of Gloucester, Sarah is descended from King Charles II via his illegitimate children. Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, son of Charles II and his mistress Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth and James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, son of Charles II and his mistress Lucy Walter are her ancestors.

The Engagement

Sarah and Andrew had crossed paths throughout their lives, but they first really noticed each other a couple of years prior to the engagement at a weekend party at Floors Castle, the Scottish home of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe. Fascinated by Sarah’s red hair, Andrew spent the weekend photographing her. However, both Sarah and Andrew were involved with others at the time. Despite this, a friendship began to develop.

Sarah visited Windsor Castle, attended Ascot Week, dined at Buckingham Palace, and attended the ballet at Covent Garden with Andrew. Their friendship was slowly becoming something more. Their budding romance was helped along by the matchmaking skills of the Princess of Wales. Diana and Andrew, having been childhood neighbors at Sandringham, were longtime friends. At one time, there had been speculation that Diana and Andrew would eventually marry. Diana was still close to her brother-in-law and Sarah was a good friend. Diana thought it would be a marvelous idea for her two dear friends to marry.

On February 19, 1986, Andrew’s birthday, at the Scottish home of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, where their romance first started, Andrew proposed to Sarah. Sarah accepted but added, “If you wake up tomorrow morning, you can tell me it’s all a huge joke.”

“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Engagement Ring

Sarah’s engagement ring was made by the crown jewelers, Garrard, from sketches Andrew himself had made. It was completed in just under a week. Featured in the ring was a Burma ruby surrounded by 10 drop diamonds. The mounting was 18 karat white and yellow gold.

“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

Partial Guest List


British Royal Family and Relatives

  • The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, the groom’s parents
  • The Prince and Princess of Wales, the groom’s brother and his wife
  • Prince William of Wales, the groom’s nephew
  • Prince Henry of Wales, the groom’s nephew
  • Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, the groom’s sister and her husband
  • Peter Phillips, the groom’s nephew
  • Zara Phillips, the groom niece
  • Prince Edward, the groom’s brother
  • Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the groom’s maternal grandmother
  • Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, the groom’s maternal aunt
  • Viscount Linley, the groom’s first cousin
  • Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, the groom’s first cousin
  • Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, the groom’s great-aunt
  • The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the groom’s first cousin once removed and his wife
  • Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster, the groom’s second cousin
  • Lady Davina Windsor, the groom’s second cousin
  • Lady Rose Windsor, the groom’s second cousin
  • The Duke and Duchess of Kent, the groom’s first cousin once removed and his wife
  • George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews, the groom’s second cousin
  • Lady Helen Windsor, the groom’s second cousin
  • Lord Nicholas Windsor, the groom’s second cousin
  • Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Mrs. Ogilvy and The Hon. Mr. Angus Ogilvy, the groom’s first cousin once removed and her husband
  • James Ogilvy, the groom’s second cousin
  • Marina Ogilvy, the groom’s second cousin
  • Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the groom’s first cousin once removed and his wife
  • Lord Frederick Windsor, the groom’s second cousin
  • Lady Gabriella Windsor, the groom’s second cousin
  • Lady Mary Whitley, the groom’s second cousin, once removed
  • Flora Fraser, 21st Lady Saltoun, wife of the groom’s third cousin Alexander Ramsay of Mar
  • Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, the groom’s first cousin once removed
  • Norton Knatchbull, Lord Romsey, the groom’s second cousin
  • Lady Pamela Hicks, the groom’s first cousin once removed

The Bride’s Family

  • Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Ferguson,  the bride’s father and stepmother
  • Mrs. and Mr. Hector Barrantes, the bride’s mother and stepfather
  • Jane Ferguson, the bride’s sister
  • Seamus Makim, the bride’s nephew
  • Ayesha Makim, the bride’s niece
  • Heidi Luedecke, the bride’s niece
  • Andrew Ferguson, the bride’s half-brother
  • Alice Stileman, the bride’s half-sister
  • Eliza Ferguson, the bride’s half-sister

Foreign Royalty

  • King Olav V of Norway
  • Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja of Norway
  • King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden
  • Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands
  • King Michael I and Queen Anne of the Romania
  • King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes
  • Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece
  • Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark
  • Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark
  • Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg
  • Prince Franz Josef II and Princess Gina of Liechtenstein
  • Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Michiko Princess of Japan
  • Crown Prince Hassan and Crown Princess Sarvath of Jordan
  • Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia
  • Prince and Princess Tomislav of Yugoslavia
  • Prince Nikola of Yugoslavia
  • Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia
  • Prince Christopher of Yugoslavia
  • Princess Maria Tatiana of Yugoslavia
  • Prince and Princess Alexander of Yugoslavia
  • Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia
  • Hereditary Prince Albert of Monaco
  • Prince and Princess George William of Hanover
  • Prince Georg of Hanover
  • Prince Karl of Hesse and Countess Yvonne Szapáry von Muraszombath
  • Princess Christina Margarethe, Mrs. van Eyck and Mr. Robert Floris van Eyck
  • Princess Dorothea and Prince Friedrich Karl zu Windisch-Grätz
  • The Princess of Hesse and by Rhine
  • The Prince and Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
  • Prince Andreas and Princess Luise of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
  • Prince Albrecht and Princess Maria-Hildegard of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
  • Princess Beatrix of Hohenlohe-Langenburg

Other Notable Guests

  • Sir Michael Caine
  • Sir Elton John
  • Estée Lauder
  • Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the United States


The Wedding Attire

Sarah’s wedding dress was deemed a huge success by fashion designers and royal watchers. Designed by Linka Cierach, a couturier who had a modest shop in Fulham, West London, the dress was an ornate, Edwardian gown of ivory satin, heavily embroidered with anchors and waves, symbols alluding to Andrew’s naval career; and bees and thistles, symbols of Sarah’s own coat of arms. Completing the intricate embroidery was the letter “S” on the bodice. The train was 17 1/2 feet in length, with a large bead worked letter “A” near the end. Sarah’s veil was of pure silk and the edging embroidered with hearts and sequins. Her shoes were covered in matching beaded duchess satin. The floral headdress consisted of lily of the valley, cream roses, gardenias and cream lily petals. Sewn in the underskirt of Sarah’s dress were several blue bows containing good-luck messages from her family. Estimates by experts placed the cost of the ensemble at between $7,500 and $12,000.

Prince Andrew looked handsome and poised in the dress uniform of a Royal Navy lieutenant, complete with a sword at his side, which appeared to give him some trouble when he slipped Sarah’s gold ring onto her finger.

The four bridesmaids wore frothy dresses of peach taffeta silk, trimmed in ecru and peach cotton lace and beautiful floral headdresses. The page boys wore midshipmen and sailor’s uniforms of the Royal Navy from 1782, complete with sailor hats.

“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Wedding Attendants

Best Man:

  • Prince Edward, younger brother of the groom

Flower Girls and Page Boys:

  • Lady Rosanagh Innes-Ker, age 7, daughter of Guy Innes-Ker, 10th Duke of Roxburghe and Lady Jane Meriel Grosvenor
  • Alice Ferguson, age 6, younger half-sister of the bride, daughter of Major Ronald Ferguson and his second wife Susan Deptford
  • Laura Fellowes, age 6, niece of The Princess of Wales, daughter of Robert Fellowes, Baron Fellowes and Lady Jane Spencer
  • Zara Phillips age 5, niece of the groom, daughter of Mark Phillips and Princess Anne
  • Andrew Ferguson, age 8, half-brother of the bride, son of Major Ronald Ferguson and his second wife Susan Deptford
  • Peter Phillips, age 8, nephew of the groom, son of Mark Phillips and Princess Anne
  • Seamus Makim, age 5, nephew of the bride, son of Jane Ferguson and her first husband William Makim
  • Prince William of Wales, age 4, nephew of the groom, son of The Prince and Princess of Wales

“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Ceremony

In the early morning hours of July 23, 1986, Sarah prepared to walk down the aisle of Westminster Abbey to wed her Prince and become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York. Tens of thousands lined the mile-long route of the wedding procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. 800 million people were in front of their televisions, including millions of bleary-eyed, early rising Americans. As Sarah and her father Major Ronald Ferguson left Clarence House in the Glass Coach, the “Queen’s Weather” prevailed and the sun broke through the clouds.

With only minor mistakes during the ceremony, Prince Andrew, Duke of York married Sarah Margaret Ferguson. The only sign of nerves on Sarah’s part came when she repeated Andrew’s full name, Andrew Albert Christian Edward. Andrew had minor difficulty placing the ring on Sarah’s finger. His sword would not cooperate and kept getting in the way. However, despite these minor bobbles, they were pronounced man and wife at 11:50 by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Sarah had chosen the traditional service in which she pledged to “obey”.

Sarah’s wedding band was a simple one made of the same Welsh gold as Queen Elizabeth’s, Princess Margaret’s, Princess Anne’s and Princess Diana’s. Sarah caused quite a ripple of surprise when she presented Andrew with a gold pinkie band. This was not in the script of the wedding but was a royal family tradition.

“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Wedding Breakfast

After the ceremony, Andrew and Sarah made their procession down the Mall to Buckingham Palace in an open-topped, 1802 State Landau carriage, amidst cheers from the throngs of well wishers along the way.

Members of the both families sipped champagne, had photographs taken, and waited for the bride and groom to arrive. Finally, the newly married Duke and Duchess of York emerged for the traditional balcony scene. Andrew grinned and waved to the thousands of people, while Sarah teased the crowd by cupping her hand to her ear when they shouted out “We want a kiss!” The request was granted when the Duke of York kissed his beautiful bride.

Andrew, Sarah, and the wedding party returned inside to feast upon a buffet of lobster, roast lamb cutlets, strawberries and cream, fine wine, and Bollinger champagne.

After Sarah distributed gifts of bow brooches to each of the bridesmaids and cufflinks for the pages, the cake was cut. Baked by three chefs at HMS Raleigh, a Navy supply school, the six-tiered, 240-pound confection was cut by Sarah and Andrew with the Duke’s ceremonial sword.

“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Honeymoon

As family and friends, nannies, chambermaids, and cooks awaited the final appearance and eventual departure of the bride and groom, the children tossed handfuls of confetti meant for Sarah and Andrew at each other. When the newlyweds emerged, they were showered with rose petals from silver bowls held by footmen.

The couple made their way to Heathrow Airport in an open carriage, with a paper maiche satellite dish and sign attached reading “Phone Home” put there as a practical joke by Prince Edward, Andrew’s younger brother. The Princess of Wales and Viscount Linley, Princess Margaret’s son, placed a king-sized teddy bear inside the coach. Inside the courtyard, the guests ran after the carriage, shouting well wishes, including Queen Elizabeth who chased after Prince William.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York, boarded a royal jet, emblazoned with “Just Married” on the rear door, for the Portuguese Azores Islands. The couple then spent their five-day honeymoon aboard the royal yacht Britannia in the Atlantic.

“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986