Happy Birthday to the Duchess of Kent, who turns 85 today! One of the longest-working members, who has been largely retired for the past few decades, the Duchess is not the most known member of the family, but still has quite a number of admirers. To mark the Duchess’ 85th Birthday, @Princeroyal99, one of the biggest fans, has written a guest post, telling 85 Facts about the Duchess of Kent-
1. The Duchess met her future father-in-law, Prince George at the age of 3, when he visited her father at Hovingham Hall.
2. She wasn’t good at latin(at school).
3. She uses iPhone.
4. Her favourite raper is Tinie Tempah.
5. She loves Michael Bubblé songs.
6. She is the godmother of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
7. She saw the King and Queen with their daughter, Princess Elizabeth in 1944 during their visit in the North Riding.
8. Before the marriage she had worked in her mother’s orphanage.
9. In her final exams she passed music but got low grade.
10. During her journey to India she used surname- Mrs. Mills.
11. She had the first Royal Wedding York Minster in 633 years, after the 1328 wedding of King Edward III to Phillipa of Hainault.
12. After a separation of a year, enforced by his mother who opposed “thought of a commoner marrying her eldest son”, the Duke of Kent literally fell head over heels in love when he broke a bone in his foot as he ran down steps to greet her.
13. The Duchess famously had Jana Novotna cry on her shoulder in 1993, after the latter lost the Wimbledon Tennis Championship Finals.
14. She is one of the few royals who has effectively led a private life in retirement, teaching children as “Mrs Kent“
15. She was the first prominent member of the Royal Family to have converted to Catholicism since the 1701 Act of Settlement
16. She was one of the few royals to speak out about her depression following a stillbirth
17. On top of full time royal duties, the Duchess also spent time as a young army wife in Hong Kong and Germany
18.She spent a lot of money on clothes in 1980s, according to bills released by Royal Family.
19. She visited Jordan in 1984 at the invitation of King Hussein and Queen Noor. Together with Princess Basma of Jordan involved in local charities.
20. Katharine gifted her pair of earrings during her visit at Helen House to Susan, a girl who suffered from inoperable brain tumour.
21. Katharine about relation with Diana: “I understood Diana very well, for obvious reasons, I understood the difficulties as well as the advantages, and we kept in touch through thick and thin. That is what friendship means”/ Daily Telegraph
22. She hardly missed a flight to Australia, because she wanted to spend some time with Gavan, a dying boy at the hospital who she had met during her last visit. He asked her about bringing him back a koala bear in Australia.He died when The Duchess was getting on the plane.
23. She met Pope John Paul II in 1994.
24. Katharine worked as a Samaritan’s volunteer and answered calls from people who needed help. She must have ceased doing this, because people wanted to mainly talk with The Duchess.
25. She is left-handed.
26. Duchess of Kent about teaching in Hull: “I have always loved talent, I love that tickle up the neck when you see talent and I began to realise I was teaching some very, very gifted children.”
27. Katharine was born at the day of 6th birthday of her brother Oliver.
28. She is descendant of Oliver Cromwell.
29. She is very shy and doesn’t like public appearances.
29. She plays the piano, violin and organ.
30. She attended funeral of Mother Teresa in 1997.
31. The Duchess about converting to Catholicism:” I do love guidelines and the Catholic Church offers you guidelines. I have always wanted that in my life. I like to know what’s expected of me. I like being told: You shall go to church on Sunday and if you don’t you’re in for it!”
32. She wants to be known as a “Katharine, Duchess of Kent” or Katharine.
33. The Duke and Duchess spent their honeymoon in Majorca. The Duchess was sunbathing too much and has got sunstroke.
34. She worked at a nursery in London.
35. She taught playing piano.
36. She visited Macedonia, South Africa and India.
37. Diana, Princess of Wales about Katharine: “Feel sorry for her [The Duchess of Kent]. Would look after her if I had to.”/ Diana: Her True story – In Her Own Words, Andrew Morton (Michael O’Mara 1997).
38. She is one of six people to have the Queen’s Royal Family Order, given to members of the family for dedication and commitment, at the Queen’s discretion.
39. She wasn’t glad when her son, George married divorcee Sylvana Tomaselli.
40. In an radio interview she admitted that she really likes raper Dido and chose his song “Thank You” as her favourite./ BBC Radio 3, 2005
41. Duchess about her health: none of us goes through life unscathed”/ Daily Mail, 1999
42. Her father, William Worsley was amateur first-class cricketer.
43. She had a particular fondness for pearls and chokers, and they are one of her trademark pieces of jewellery.
44. Despite we didn’t see The Duchess of Kent at Wimbledon at the royal box, she was there incognito, she sat in a “normal” place.
45. After finished banquet she ran into a footman who was drunk and muttered something under breath. She didn’t reported him and thanks to her he didn’t lose his job.
46. The Duchess of Kent handed out the Trophies at Wimbledon from 1969 to 2001
47. In the 1970s, the Duchess was moved that none of Martina Navratilova’s family members could be there for her Wimbledon victory and helped her mother get a visa to the UK.
48. She is the only current HRH, who has stopped using her title.
49. From the time of her wedding to 1972, she resided at Coppins in Buckinghamshire, which was sold due to financial difficulties
50. The Couple and their three children lived at York House in London, residing there for two decades until their move to Wren Cottage in Kensington Palace.
51. The Duke and Duchess used Amner Hall, now the country residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as their country home from 1972 to 1990.
52. The Duchess lost money in the Lloyd’s scandal, invested in the Gooda Walker syndicate, which led to the couple downsizing and selling family jewels.
53. The Duchess borrowed the Kent Festoon Tiara, now belonging to Princess Michael of Kent, from her mother-in-law for a couple of Independence Celebrations in the 1960s, a fact not known by many people.
54. As a wedding gift she received a diamond bandeau tiara, belonging to Queen Mary, which was her principal tiara for years.
55. Sometime in the 1970s, the Bandeau Tiara disappeared and the Duchess started to wear a Pearl and Diamond Fringe Tiara, which many suspect was built from the Bandeau as their bases are similar.
56. The Tiara of the largest parure belong to the Kents, the Cambridge Sapphires, was sold due to financial difficulties, but the Duchess created a button tiara out of some clusters from the necklace.
57. In the 1990s, the Duchess wore an Aquamarine Tiara for a couple of occasions, which was most likely a loan and was sold at Sotheby’s in 2014.
58. Despite being junior members of the Royal Family, the Duke and Duchess represented the Queen at a plethora of Foreign Royal events, before the Queen’s children came of age.
59. The Duchess regularly attended the State Opening of Parliament, until 1999, when royal attendants were reduced.
60. The Duchess has not attended royal events for the past few years, but does attend the Queen’s annual Christmas Luncheon at Buckingham Palace.
61. She and her sister-in-law, Princess Michael are both Catholic, though since she converted after her marriage, her husband didn’t lose his place in the line of succession. Prince Michael’s place was reinstated in 2013.
62.She had three brothers: Marcus, Oliver and John.
63. She is the Colonel-in-Chief of The Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire, Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, of Adjutant General’s Corps, Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, of Royal Dragoon Guards, abd Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of Royal Logistic Corps
64. She is the namesake of the The Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital in Sandy Bay, Hong Kong (1970)
65. The Duchess of Kent Hospital in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia was also named after her.
66. She attended funeral of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor in 1986.
67. She is the namesake of the Duchess of Kent Wing at St.Peters Hospital at Chertsey
68. The Duchess was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1977, allowing her to wear the Sash and Star of the Order at Formal Occasions.
69. The Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, Berkshire was named in her honour.
70.From 1965 to 1998 she was Chancellor of the University of Leeds.
71. In 2005, the Duchess of Kent presented the Young British Classical Performer of the Year Award to Natalie Clein.