by Scott Mehl
Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent
Prince Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick of Kent was born on October 9, 1935, at No.3 Belgrave Square, his parents’ London residence. He is the eldest child of Prince George, Duke of Kent (a son of King George V, and younger brother of Kings Edward VIII and George VI), and Princess Marina of Greece. Through his father, he is a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, and through his mother, he is a first cousin once removed of The Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Edward was christened in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace on November 20, 1935. His godparents were:
- King George V and Queen Mary – his paternal grandparents
- Prince Nicholas of Greece – his maternal grandfather
- The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor) – his paternal uncle
- Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood – his paternal aunt
- Prince Arthur, The Duke of Connaught – his grandfather’s uncle
- Princess Louise, The Duchess of Argyll – his grandfather’s aunt
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. Two younger siblings were born – Princess Alexandra in December 1936, and Prince Michael in July 1942. Prince George, Duke of Kent, was killed in a plane crash on August 25, 1942. Just 6 years old, Prince Edward succeeded his father as Duke of Kent, Earl of St. Andrews and Baron Downpatrick.
Edward attended Ludgrove School and Eton College in England, and Le Rosey in Switzerland. He then entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, graduating in July 1955, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys. He went on to serve in the British Army for 21 years. In 1976, the Duke retired from active service, having reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was later made Honorary Major General in 1983, and Honorary Air Marshal in 1993.
- George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews (1962) – married Sylvana Tomaselli in 1988, 3 children
- Lady Helen Taylor (1964) – married Tim Taylor in 1992, 4 children
- Lord Nicholas Windsor (1970) – married Paola de Frankopan in 2006, 3 children
The family lived at Coppins until 1972, when they moved to York House at St James’ Palace. They remained at York House until 1996, taking up residence at Wren House, on the grounds of Kensington Palace. They also own a country home, The Old Forge, in Brightwell Baldwin, Oxfordshire, which they purchased in 2002. Prior to that, they leased Anmer Hall (now the country home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate from 1972-1990, and from 1989-1996 owned Crocker End House in Nettlebed, Oxfordshire.
After retiring from the Army, the Duke of Kent served as Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, promoting Britain and British businesses both within the UK and abroad. He stepped down In 2001, after 25 years, and was succeeded in the role by Prince Andrew, The Duke of York.
The Duke of Kent continues as an active member of the Royal Family, representing the Queen at events around the world. He holds several royal appointments:
- Personal Aide-de-Camp to The Queen
- Colonel of the Scots Guards
- Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
- Colonel-in-Chief of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment
- Royal Colonel, 1st Battalion, The Rifles
- Colonel-in-Chief of the Lorne Scots Regiment in Canada
- Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
- Honorary Air Chief Marshall (RAF)
- Honorary Air Commodore, RAF Leuchars
In addition, he is patron of numerous organizations. He is probably most recognized from his role as President of The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, a position to which he succeeded upon his mother’s death in 1968. In this role, he presented the champion’s trophies at Wimbledon each year.
Some of The Duke of Kent’s other organizations and patronages:
- President, The Scout Association (since 1975)
- President, Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- RAF Benevolent Fund
- Royal National Lifeboat Institution
- The Stroke Association
- The Royal Institution
- Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI)
Along with being a Royal Knight of the Order of the Garter, and Personal Aide-de-Camp to The Queen, The Duke is Grand Master of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, a position he has held since 1967. He has been a Freemason since 1963, and since 1967 has served as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, the governing body of Freemasonry in England and Wales. He also serves as Chancellor of the University of Surrey.
Despite a minor stroke in March 2013, the Duke made a very quick recovery and returned to his official duties just a few weeks later. And in June 2013, in the Duke of Edinburgh’s absence, The Duke of Kent rode in the Queen’s carriage at the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony and accompanied The Queen on the saluting base. Prior to 2013, the Duke traditionally rode on horseback behind the Queen’s carriage, as one of the Royal Colonels. However, he appears to have given that up, instead riding in a carriage along with his sister, Princess Alexandra, in 2014.
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