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Princess Alexandra
Princess Alexandra in a blue hat and dress
Princess Alexandra in 2010
The Hon. Lady Ogilvy (more)
Personal details
Born Princess Alexandra of Kent
25 December 1936(1936-12-25) (age 86)
Belgravia, London, England
Spouse(s) Angus Ogilvy (m. 19632004)

Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, KG GCVO CD[1] (Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel; born 25 December 1936) is a member of the British royal family.

Alexandra was born to Prince George, Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. She is a first cousin of the current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and since her mother was a first cousin of the queen's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, she was also his first cousin once removed.

Alexandra is the widow of businessman Sir Angus Ogilvy, to whom she was married from 1963 until his death in 2004. As of March 2021, she is 55th in the line of succession to the British throne; at the time of her birth in 1936, she was sixth.

Early life

Alexandra aged 11 by Hay Wrightson

Princess Alexandra was born on 25 December 1936 at 3 Belgrave Square, London.[2][3] Her parents were Prince George, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary, and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, a daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia. She was named after her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra; her grandmother, Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia; and both of her maternal aunts, Countess Elizabeth of Törring-Jettenbach and Princess Olga of Yugoslavia. She received the name Christabel because she was born on Christmas Day, like her aunt Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. Her birth was the last to have the tradition of having the Home Secretary present to verify the birth of potential heirs to the throne.[4] Sir John Simon was present and was the last to do this.

As a male-line granddaughter of the British monarch, she was styled as a British princess with the prefix Her Royal Highness. At the time of her birth, she was sixth in the line of succession to the British throne, behind her cousins Elizabeth and Margaret, her uncle the Duke of Gloucester, her father the Duke of Kent, and her elder brother Prince Edward. She was born two weeks after the abdication of her uncle King Edward VIII.

The Princess was baptised in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace, on 9 February 1937, and her godparents were King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (her paternal uncle and aunt); the Queen of Norway (her grand-aunt); Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark (her maternal grandmother); Princess Olga of Yugoslavia (her maternal aunt); the Princess Beatrice (her paternal great-grand-aunt); the Earl of Athlone (her paternal grand-uncle); and Count Karl Theodor of Törring-Jettenbach (her maternal uncle by marriage). Of her godparents, only the King and Queen and Lord Athlone were present.[5]

Princess Alexandra spent most of her childhood at her family's country house, Coppins, in Buckinghamshire. She lived with her grandmother, Queen Mary, the widow of George V, during World War II at Badminton.[3] Her father was killed in an aeroplane crash near Caithness, Scotland on 25 August 1942 while serving in the Royal Air Force. Princess Alexandra has the distinction of being the first British princess to have attended a boarding school, Heathfield School near Ascot.[3][6] She then studied in Paris.[7] She was also trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Princess Alexandra of Kent on a visit to the Netherlands in June 1961

She was a bridesmaid at the 1946 wedding of Captain Lord Brabourne and The Hon. Patricia Mountbatten.[8] The following year, she served as bridesmaid at the wedding of her cousins, the then-Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh, on 20 November 1947. The Queen is Princess Alexandra's paternal first cousin; the Duke of Edinburgh was Princess Alexandra's maternal first cousin once removed.

She was also a bridesmaid at the 1962 wedding of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and her second cousin, Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark.

Marriage and personal life

On 24 April 1963, she married the Hon. Angus James Bruce Ogilvy (1928–2004), the second son of the 12th Earl of Airlie and Lady Alexandra Coke, at Westminster Abbey.[6][9] Ogilvy presented Alexandra with an engagement ring made of a cabochon sapphire set in gold and surrounded by diamonds on both sides.[10] The wedding ceremony was attended by the royal family[11] and was broadcast worldwide on television, watched by an estimated 200 million people.[9]

The bride wore a wedding gown of Valenciennes lace, with matching veil and train, designed by John Cavanagh with the City of London diamond fringe tiara.[12] She made her way with her brother, the Duke of Kent, from Kensington Palace to the church.[11] The bridesmaids included Princess Anne and Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, and the best man was Peregrine Fairfax.[11] The Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey conducted the service.[11] Angus Ogilvy declined the Queen's offer to be created an earl upon marriage,[9] so their children carry no titles.

Angus Ogilvy was knighted in 1988 (when Princess Alexandra assumed the style of The Hon. Lady Ogilvy), later being sworn of the Privy Council in 1997. Princess Alexandra and Sir Angus had two children, James and Marina, and four grandchildren:

  • James Robert Bruce Ogilvy (born 29 February 1964 in Thatched House Lodge, Richmond Park, Surrey). He married Julia Caroline Rawlinson on 30 July 1988 at St Mary's Church in Saffron Walden, Essex. The couple have issue:[13]
    • Flora Alexandra Vesterberg (born 15 December 1994 in Edinburgh, Scotland). She married Timothy Vesterberg on 26 September 2020.[14]
    • Alexander Charles Ogilvy (born 12 November 1996 in Edinburgh, Scotland)
  • Marina Victoria Alexandra Ogilvy (born 31 July 1966 in Thatched House Lodge, Richmond Park, Surrey) she married Paul Julian Mowatt (Hendon, 28 November 1962) on 2 February 1990 and divorced on 15 October 1997. They have two children:
    • Zenouska May Mowatt (born 26 May 1990 in Roehampton, England). Currently works as Head of Marketing for Halcyon Days Ltd.
    • Christian Alexander Mowatt (born 4 June 1993 in London, England)

Marina's first pregnancy, which was announced in late 1989, caused a controversy as the couple were not married. This resulted in a feud with her parents who suggested she either marry her companion or have an abortion.[15][16]

Activities

Princess Alexandra on her tour of Australia in 1959

Since the late 1950s, Princess Alexandra has carried out an extensive programme of engagements in support of the Queen, both in the United Kingdom and overseas. Taking part in roughly 120 engagements each year, Princess Alexandra was one of the most active members of the royal family.[3] She made 110 engagements in 2012. However, in late June 2013 she cancelled her engagements due to arthritis.[17] As of 2017, she is still listed on the official website of the British Monarchy as a working member of the Royal Family, attending numerous ceremonial and charitable engagements.[18]

In 1959, she carried out an extensive tour of Australia, and attended the Queensland Centenary Celebrations.[9] The Alexandra Waltz was composed for this visit by radio legend, Russ Tyson, and television musical director, Clyde Collins. It was sung for the princess by teen-aged Gay Kahler, who later changed her name to Gay Kayler.[19] In 1961 Princess Alexandra visited Hong Kong and made a visit to Aberdeen Fish Market, Lok Ma Chau police station and So Uk Estate, a public housing complex.[20][21] Princess Alexandra returned to Australia in 1967 for a private holiday, but also carried out engagements in Canberra and Melbourne.[22] The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane is named in her honour.

During her visit to Hong Kong in 1961, Princess Alexandra greets Cantonese opera performers Yam Kim-fai and Bak Sheut-sin after their performance of The Romance of the White Snake

Princess Alexandra represented the Queen when Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom[9] on 1 October 1960, and opened the first Parliament on 3 October. Later overseas tours included visits to Canada, Italy, Oman, Hungary, Norway, Japan, Thailand, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands.[9] Princess Alexandra launched the New Zealand Leander-class frigate HMNZS Waikato at Harland and Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1965.[23] Princess Alexandra opened the Victoria to Brixton section of London Underground's Victoria line on 23 July 1971.[24]

Princess Alexandra opened the new hospital in Harlow, Essex, named in her honour on 27 April 1965. The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust was announced by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in September 2019 to be part of the government's new health infrastructure programme to build a new hospital.

Princess Alexandra served as Chancellor of Lancaster University from its foundation in 1964 until she relinquished the post in 2004[25] (when she also accepted an honorary degree in Music). She also served as the first Chancellor of the University of Mauritius.[26] She is also an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow,[27] Faculty of Anæsthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England,[28] the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists,[29] and the Royal College of Physicians. She is also the President of Alexandra Rose Day, which was founded in honour of her great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra.[30] She was also patron of The Royal School, Hampstead.[31] The Princess was president of WWF-UK until 2011.[32]

Until it was abolished in 2013, Princess Alexandra received £225,000 per year from the Civil List to cover the cost of official expenses,[33] although as with the other members of the royal family (except the Duke of Edinburgh) the Queen repaid this amount to the Treasury. Alexandra lives at Thatched House Lodge in Richmond, London, a Crown property purchased on a 150-year lease from the Crown Estate Commissioners by Sir Angus Ogilvy after their wedding in 1963. She also has use of a grace-and-favour apartment at St James's Palace in London.[34]

The Princess is the patron of the Blackie Foundation Trust, a charity dedicated to the promotion of research and education in homoeopathy. She is also a patron of the English National Opera;[35] the London Philharmonic Choir;[36] the Florence Nightingale Foundation;[37] the not-for-profit housing association Anchor;[38] the charity Independent Age;[39] St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham, England;[40] Core, a National charity in London dedicated to funding research into digestive diseases and which also publishes information leaflets on the most common diseases of the gut and liver;[41] the Nature in Art Trust[42] and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA),[43][44] the oldest drama school in the English-speaking world. She has been the patron of the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in Brighton since 1954.[45] She is also the Royal Patron of Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB),[46] a charity dedicated to reuniting children who have been separated from their families. She is patron of the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in London, which received its royal style in 2012 during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.[47] In her role as president of Sightsavers UK, the Princess visited Washington D.C. in October 2016 to attend the Neglected Tropical Diseases NGDO Network conference partnership reception.[48] In November 2016, one month ahead of her 80th birthday, the Queen held a reception at Buckingham Palace in honour of the work of Princess Alexandra's charities.[49]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 25 December 1936 – 24 April 1963: Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Kent
  • 24 April 1963 – 31 December 1988:[50] Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Mrs. Ogilvy
  • 31 December 1988 – present: Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy

Honours

Orders
Decorations
Medals
Foreign
  • Japan 1962: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown
  • Netherlands 18 November 1982: Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown
  • Thailand Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Chula Chom Klao
List of places named after her
  • The Alexandra Hospital in Redditch Worcestershire is named after the Princess which she opened on 2 April 1987.
  • The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, was named by the Princess on 27 April 1965.[56]
  • The Princess Alexandra Hospital (formerly South Brisbane Hospital) was named by and in honour of the visit by the Princess to Queensland in 1959.
  • The Princess Alexandra Gardens at Leeds Castle[57] are named after her in honour of her involvement as Patron of the Leeds Castle Foundation

Appointments

Academic
  • 1964–2004: University of Lancaster, Chancellor
  • 1972–1996: University of Mauritius, Chancellor
Honorary academic degrees
  • University of Queensland, Doctor of Laws
  • University of Hong Kong, Doctor of Laws
  • University of Mauritius, Doctor of Laws
  • University of Liverpool, Doctor of Laws
  • University of Lancaster, Doctor of Musical Arts

Honorary military appointments

Canada Canada
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Hong Kong Hong Kong
  • 1969–1997: Commandant General, Royal Hong Kong Police Force[71]

Arms

Arms of P
Coat of Arms of Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy.svg
Notes
As a descendant of George V, Princess Alexandra's arms are based on the Royal Arms. The following explains the way in which her arms are differenced from those of the Queen.
Adopted
1961
Coronet
Coronet of a Grandchild of the Sovereign
Crest
On the coronet of children of other sons of the Sovereign, composed of four crosses-pattées alternated with four strawberry leaves a lion statant guardant or, crowned with the like coronet and differenced with a label as in the Arms.
Escutcheon
The Royal Arms differenced with a five-point label—the standard differentiation for a male-line grandchild of a British Monarch. The first and fifth points bear a heart gules, the second and fourth points bear an anchor azure, and the third point bears a cross gules.
Supporters
The Royal Supporters differenced with the like coronet and label.
Orders
The Order of the Garter circlet.
HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE
(Shame be to him who thinks evil of it)
Banner
Royal Standard of Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy.svg The Royal Standard of the United Kingdom labelled for difference as in her arms. (In Scotland: Royal Standard of Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy (in Scotland).svg)
Symbolism
As with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom. The first and fourth quarters are the arms of England, the second of Scotland, the third of Ireland.

Issue

Name Birth Marriage Issue
James Ogilvy 29 February 1964 30 July 1988 Julia Rawlinson Flora Vesterberg
Alexander Ogilvy
Marina Ogilvy 31 July 1966 2 February 1990
Divorced 4 December 1997
Paul Mowatt Zenouska Mowatt
Christian Mowatt

Ancestry

Since Princess Alexandra's mother was a first cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, she is a second cousin to Charles, Prince of Wales and his siblings, in addition to being their first cousin once removed because her father was the Queen's uncle.

Notes

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Knights of the Orders of Chivalry". Debrett's. http://www.debretts.com/forms-of-address/titles/knight/knights-of-orders-of-chivalry.aspx. "Although HRH The Princess Royal and HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy, are both female they are actually included with the Royal Knights Companions and they bear the post-nominal letters KG (not LG)." 
  2. "No. 34354". 28 December 1936. p. 8413. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34354/page/8413 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Panton 2011, p. 37.
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  6. 6.0 6.1 Mishael, Herbert (24 April 1963). "Princess Alexandra to wed Ancestral foe". London. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=OFBVAAAAIBAJ&pg=6980,3292048&dq=princess+alexandra&hl=en. 
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  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Panton 2011, p. 38.
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  13. "Royal baby for leap year day". BBC. 29 February 1964. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/29/newsid_2758000/2758983.stm. "The Ogilvy baby was one of several royal babies due within months of each other. The 9lb 6oz boy will be unique among them in having no title. Master Ogilvy is currently 13th in line to the throne but will soon be displaced to 16th" 
  14. "Princess Alexandra's granddaughter Flora Ogilvy marries Timothy Vesterberg". Tatler. 1 October 2020. https://www.tatler.com/article/flora-ogilvy-timothy-vesterberg-wedding. 
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  17. "Princess Alexandra steps down from public duties". Royal Central. 30 June 2013. http://royalcentral.co.uk/uk/the-kents/princess-alexandra-steps-down-from-public-duties-indefinitely-10414. 
  18. "Princess Alexandra". Official website of the Royal Family. https://www.royal.uk/princess-alexandra. 
  19. Gay song for a princess, Woman's Day, 7 January 1963
  20. Acheson, Mark (29 June 2017). "Watch: Hong Kong's Royal visit in 1961". Portsmouth News. https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/heritage/watch-hong-kong-s-royal-visit-in-1961-1-8032533. 
  21. "Farewell To Hong Kong (1961)". British Pathé. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlnQm6oyjU8. 
  22. "Princess Alexandra's Visit (1967)". British Pathé. YouTube. 13 April 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6YkhCe9TxI. 
  23. "HMNZS Waikato (Leander-class Frigate)". National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy. http://navymuseum.co.nz/hmnzs-waikato-leander-class-frigate/. 
  24. Green, Oliver (1988). The London Underground – An Illustrated History. Ian Allan. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-7110-1720-7. 
  25. "Chancellor's Installation". Lancaster University. http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/about-us/ourpeople/meet-our-chancellor/chancellors-installation/. 
  26. "Port Louis – Princess Alexandra visits Mauritius – 1972". http://vintagemauritius.org/port-louis/port-louis-princess-alexandra-visits-mauritius-1972/. 
  27. "HRH Princess Alexandra (b.1936), GCVO, in Evening Dress". Art UK. 1960. https://www.artuk.org/discover/artworks/hrh-princess-alexandra-b-1936-gcvo-in-evening-dress-139185. "The painting is on display in the Alexandra Room in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (Princess Alexandra became an Honorary Fellow in 1960)." 
  28. "Faculty of Anæsthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England". July 1967. pp. 537–539. Digital object identifier:10.1111/j.1365-2044.1967.tb02794.x. 
  29. "Honorary Fellows". Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/about-us/membership/membership-categories/honorary-fellows/. 
  30. "History". Alexandra Rose Charity. http://www.alexandrarose.org.uk/our-history. "Our Patron is her great granddaughter, HRH Princess Alexandra." 
  31. Carrier, Dan (5 July 2007). "Royal premiere for school's first song". Camden New Journal. http://www.thecnj.com/camden/070507/news070507_11.html. 
  32. "New President for WWF-UK". London: WWF. 9 September 2011. http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?201587/New-President-for-WWF-UK. 
  33. Kelso, Paul (6 March 2000). "The royal family and the public purse". https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/mar/06/monarchy.princessmargaret. 
  34. "The Royal Residences". Official website of the British Monarchy. http://www.royal.gov.uk/TheRoyalResidences/StJamessPalace/Today.aspx. 
  35. "ENO board". English National Opera. https://www.eno.org/about/whos-who/eno-board/. 
  36. "News". LPC. http://www.lpc.org.uk/. 
  37. "Princess Alexandra Attends Service to Commemorate the Life of Florence Nightingale". Westminster Abbey. May 2011. http://www.westminster-abbey.org/press/news/2011/may/princess-alexandra-attends-service-to-commemorate-the-life-of-florence-nightingale. 
  38. "HRH Princess Alexandra visits Augusta Court care home". Anchor. 29 September 2016. http://www.anchor.org.uk/media-centre/latest-news/augusta-court-royal-visit. 
  39. "Our people". Independent Age. https://www.independentage.org/about-us/our-people. 
  40. "HRH Princess Alexandra makes annual visit to St Christopher's Hospice". St Christopher's. 12 January 2018. http://www.stchristophers.org.uk/hrh-princess-alexandra-makes-annual-visit-st-christophers-hospice/. 
  41. "Core – The Digestive Disorders Foundation (Annual Report and Financial Statements)". Core. 31 December 2016. http://corecharity.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Final-Type-signed-Accounts-2016.pdf. 
  42. "Nature in Art – Trust". Nature in Art Trust. http://nature-in-art.org.uk/trust.html. 
  43. "LAMDA Trustees". London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. https://www.lamda.ac.uk/about-lamda/lamda-trustees. 
  44. "Opening of LAMDA". Níall McLaughlin Architects. June 2017. http://www.niallmclaughlin.com/news/opening-of-lamda/6120/. 
  45. Collis 2010, p. 288.
  46. "Who we are". CFAB. http://cfab.org.uk/who-we-are. "HRH Princess Alexandra has been CFAB's Royal Patron since 2000. She was preceded by her sister-in-law HRH The Duchess of Kent, ..." 
  47. "Royal Central School of Speech and Drama – University of London (Financial Statements)". Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. 31 July 2014. https://www.cssd.ac.uk/sites/default/files/RCSSD%20Financial%20Statements%20YE%2031%20July%202014_signed.pdf. 
  48. "Princess Alexandra visits Washington for NTDs conference". Sightsavers. October 2016. https://www.sightsavers.org/news/2016/10/princess-alexandra-ntds-conference/. 
  49. "Reception to celebrate Princess Alexandra's patronages". Official website of the Royal Family. 29 November 2016. https://www.royal.uk/reception-celebrate-princess-alexandras-patronages. 
  50. "Orders of Chivalry". St George's Chapel. http://www.stgeorges-windsor.org/history/hist_chivalry.asp. 
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  56. PAH Trust website
  57. Court Circular: June 25, 2019
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  71. Obituary

Bibliography

  • Collis, Rose (2010). The New Encyclopaedia of Brighton. (based on the original by Tim Carder) (1st ed.). Brighton: Brighton & Hove Libraries. ISBN 978-0-9564664-0-2. 
  • Panton, Kenneth J. (2011). Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy. Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-5779-7. 

External links

Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy
House of Windsor
Born: 25 December 1936
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Lady Gabriella Kingston
Line of succession to the British throne
daughter of George, son of George V
Succeeded by
James Ogilvy
Order of precedence in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland
Preceded by
Princess Michael of Kent
Ladies
HRH Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy
Succeeded by
The Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
as Lord Privy Seal
Order of precedence in Scotland
Preceded by
Princess Michael of Kent
Ladies
HRH Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy
Succeeded by
Local precedence
Academic offices
New title Chancellor of the University of Lancaster
1964–2004
Succeeded by
Sir Chris Bonington

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