Royal Guests at the Wedding of the Duke of Kent

People often forget how well related the Kent branch of the British Royal Family is to other Royal Families. The current Duke of Kent, Prince Edward, and his siblings –Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael– are not only the grandchildren of King George V through their father, their mother also came from a royal background. Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark was the granddaughter of King George I of Greece and great-granddaughter of King Christian IX of Denmark through her father, she was also a great-granddaughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia through her mother, who was born a Russian Grand Duchess. Needless to say that these royal relations translated into quite a guest list for the Wedding of the current Duke of Kent to Katharine Worsley on this day in 1961, 60 years ago!

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The British Royal Family was present in full force for the wedding. Including, of course, the groom’s mother -Princess Marina- and his siblings: Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael of Kent, the bridegroom’s supporter.

Queen Elizabeth II, a paternal first cousin of the Duke of Kent, was among the most illustrious guests, being accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, himself a maternal first cousin once removed of the groom. Both Prince Charles and Princess Anne, a bridesmaid, were present.
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, a paternal aunt of the Duke of Kent, was present, and so were Princess Margaret and her then-husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones.

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Also present at the wedding were Princess Mary, paternal aunt of the Duke of Kent, accompanied by her son and daughter-in-law, the Earl and Countess of Harewood, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, uncle and aunt of the groom, accompanied by their elder son, Prince William of Gloucester.
There were two granddaughters of Queen Victoria, both paternal first cousins twice removed of the groom: Lady Patricia Ramsay and Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. Princess Alice was also the Duke of Kent’s paternal great-aunt by marriage.

Another member of the family present was Lord Mountbatten, a second cousin once removed of the groom. He was accompanied by his two daughters and their husbands: Lady Patricia and Lord Brabourne and Lady Pamela and David Nightingale Hicks.

The groom’s only surviving maternal aunt was present, Princess Olga. She was accompanied by her husband, Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, and her son and daughter-in-law, Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and Princess Maria Pia of Savoy. Prince Paul and Princess Olga had played an important role in Yugoslavia, Paul being the regent from 1934 to 1941, after the assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. Princess Olga acted as First Lady of the country throughout her husband’s time as regent. Their son, Prince Alexander, who was commissioned in the British Royal Air Force during World War II, was accompanied by his then-wife, Princess Maria Pia, herself a daughter of Umberto II, the last King of Italy (having reigned formally as King for a total of 34 days). The couple divorced 6 years later.

Besides Princess Olga, other members of the Greek Royal Family present were then Crown Prince Constantine of Greece -who became King in 1964- and his sister, Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, both maternal second cousins of the groom. It was during the events related to the wedding that Sophia became better acquainted with Infante Juan Carlos of Spain, who she married the next year. Together, they became King and Queen of Spain in 1975.

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Other Greeks present were the Duke of Edinburgh’s eldest sister, Princess Margarita, and Helen, Queen Mother of Romania, who was born a Princess of Greece and Denmark as a daughter of King Constantine I. She married Crown Prince Carol of Romania in 1921, with whom she had a baby boy, who later became Michael I, the last King of Romania. Both Princess Margarita and Queen Helen were maternal first cousins once removed to the Duke of Kent.

Another distinguished guest present was Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, a paternal first cousin twice removed of the bridegroom, the only daughter of Princess Beatrice, herself the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria of the UK. Born Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, she was raised in Queen Victoria’s household and was said to be called “the little treasure” by the Queen. In 1906, she married King Alfonso XIII of Spain, who was King of Spain from the time of his birth as the posthumous son of King Alfonso XII. The King’s mother acted as his regent until he became of age. Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenie left Spain in exile after the 1931 elections caused a Republic to be declared in the country. Except for a brief visit to Spain in 1968 for the baptism of current King Felipe VI, she spent the rest of her life in exile. For the wedding of the Duke of Kent, Victoria Eugenie was accompanied by the Count of Barcelona, her only son to retain dynastic rights to the Spanish crown, and his son, Infante Juan Carlos.

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands‘ representative was her second daughter, Princess Irene. Irene, a third cousin of the Duke of Kent through his mother, caused a constitutional crisis in her country only three years after the Duke of Kent’s wedding when it was discovered she secretly converted to the Roman Catholic church in order to marry Prince Carlos, Duke of Parma, a contender to the Spanish throne.

Besides Constantine of Greece and Juan Carlos of Spain, two other future monarchs present were Harald of Norway, a paternal second cousin to the groom, and Margrethe of Denmark, a paternal and maternal third cousin to the Duke of Kent. Both were the heirs to the crown of their respective countries and were representing their parents at the wedding, the King of Norway and the King of Denmark.

Other cousins present were Princess Eugenie of Greece, a granddaughter of King George I of Greece, and Prince George and Princess Anne of Denmark. Prince George was a great-grandson of King Christian IX and Princess Anne was a niece of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Learn More about the Wedding of the Duke of Kent and Katharine Worsley!

This article has been written by assistant editor Gabriel Aquino


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