Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Royals & Semi-Royals I Most Want to See Tomorrow

Katharine, Duchess of Kent. This beautiful lady was the "Diana" of her day. She married the Queen's cousin [also Prince Philip's cousin] H.R.H. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. According to her biographer, theirs was the first "War of the Wales" marriage. Katharine, exposed to German Measles at the wrong time in a pregnancy, underwent a medically sanctioned abortion. She then descended into repeated bouts of deep depression that worsened after a final child was still born. Then she converted to Catholicism, taking her sons (eventually) into the Church with her. She and her husband have been virtually estranged for years, not divorcing, just leading very separate lives. She renounced her H.R.H. and taught music in various State [i.e., public to Americans] schools--mostly in disadvantaged areas. Her son, Lord Nicholas Windsor, was married at the Vatican and at least his younger son, Leopold, was Christened there as well. By contrast The Duke of Kent is the head of Freemasonary in the United Kingdom. The Daily Mail has an article on her today which you can read HERE.

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Marina Ogilvy and her children Zenouska and Christian Mowatt. Marina caused a stir years ago by being publically pregnant and unmarried--a no-no in the House of Windsor. Her Godfather is Prince Charles, she spent part of her school years at Gordonstoun and has become rather middle aged now and settled into, reportedly, a career doing music scores for film and tv. At one time she was reported to be on welfare. Her daughter used to be seen with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

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Alexander, Earl of Ulster. Heir to H.R.H. Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Alexander is a professional soldier. His wife is a physician. They have two exotically named little children--Xan and Cosima. Like his father, who intended to be a working architect until his elder brother [the first Prince William] died in a plane crash, Alexander is would likely NEVER be recognized by anyone. He will become the first non-royal Duke of Gloucester in hundreds of years--possibly even the first ever.

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Countess Mountbatten of Burma (Patricia Mountbatten) Her famous "IRA Facelift" and undaunted courage in the aftermath of the bombing that killer her famous father and one of her twin sons (as well as her elderly mother-in-law) makes her one of my heroines. Stooped now with age (she is between the Queen and her first cousin, Prince Philip, in age) she none-the-less pins on her row of medals when called for and otherwise does what she can to show she is proud to be her Father's daughter and proud of her country. She once wrote a brave piece about her stillborn second child in the Times (if I remember correctly). She gave birth to EIGHT children--the most since Queen Victoria. One stillborn, one killed by the IRA, the rest an interesting group. Her eldest, know Lord Brabourne, but known for years by his given name "Norton Knatchbull," was a close friend of Prince Charles and is one of Prince William's godfather, has recently been in the news for ditching his wife (a close friend of Prince Philip's). HIS son and heir, William's schoolmate Nicholas Knatchbull, is a huge drug addict who just announced he's marrying a single mom he met doing drugs. Very colorful.

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The Earl of Harewood. He's been allowed back in the fold for several years now, supposedly. He fathered a son out-of-wedlock in the early 60s and subsequently divorced and remarried. Big scandal at the time--they had to go to the U.S. to get married. His brother did the same thing--had child with a lady not his wife, whom he apparently later married. Harewood's sons have carried on the tradition of out-of-wedlock children. Viscount Lascelles heir is something like his 3rd born child. You have to be born to married parents to inherit a pile like Harewood House and it took David that long to get around to marrying! Like Prince Michael of Kent, who appears to monarchist-Russians to look like Nicholas II reincarnated, [he IS a close relative to the late Tzar] George Harewood looks very, very like their Grandfather, George VI. Most interesting though is George's career--after being in Colditz during World War II, he went on to have a huge career in Opera--behind the scenes, not as a performer. His memoirs were fascinating. His sons have followed in the music business and do their best to hide (live down?) their royal connections and since the death of their Grandmother (the late Princess Mary, daughter of George V) in the mid-60's, have rarely been scene even on the Balcony for Trooping the Colour.


I would have included India Hicks, but she's EVERYWHERE now telling the same stories over and over. Still I really enjoy her and like her style. Her mother, Lady Pamela Hicks, has been writing her memoirs. Given who her late husband was AND her royal connections AND who her PARENTS were, they should be a GREAT read next year! Lady Margaret Rhodes, the Queen's first cousin [her Mother's family] has also written her memoirs. She's always interesting when interviewed and her book is also on my to-read-the-minute-it-comes-out-list. I wonder, too, if any of Prince Philip's sisters' grandchildren will be there--another VERY interesting group of people--enough for a post of their own some day!


Jeanne said...

I'll be there - tonight! On the telly, anyhow. Should be fun!!

Becky said...

How adorable is Xan!

Susan said...

I have tried to leave this comment 3x ... let's hope it works ... I love all the obscure royals you know - did you see many of them? Fascinating about all the Mountbatten dirt! I agree, IH is everywhere lately. Her mom must be pretty old since she was in the Queen's wedding, but she's looking good. I was up at 5 and thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was lovely, and I have much higher hopes for them than Charles and Di. And yes - nice that her dress still looked good when she exited the car!

Hopewell said...

Did see the Duchess of Kent--who apparently overslept and wore no makeup. Sad she's always been so beautiful. The media showed mostly Elton John and Becks/Posh so no good shots of the other royals, though the Ulsters were there. The kids all looked adorable! No big family group photo this time, which is too bad if only for historians.

Ian Winskill said...

The information on the Duchess of Kent is incorrect. While her youngest son, Lord Nicholas did convert to Roman Catholicism, her eldest son, George, Earl of St. Andrews and heir to the Dukedom, did not convert to Catholicism. The Earl remains a member of the Church of England. He did, however, lose his place in the Line of Succession by marrying a Roman Catholic.

However, the elder two of his three children (Baron Downpatrick and Lady Marina Windsor) have been confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church and upon that confirmation, gave up their places in the Line of Succession. The youngest daughter, Lady Amelia Windsor has not become a Roman Catholic at this point and remains in the Line of Succession after her grandfather, HRH The Duke of Kent.

The odd thing about The Duke of Kent is that he remains in the Line of Succession despite being married to a Roman Catholic - the Duchess. Because she converted after their marriage, he retains his place in the Line of Succession because the Act of Settlement does not have any sections relevant to a spouse converting after marriage.

Hopewell said...

Ian thank you for stopping by. However, you are incorrect. Lord St. Andrews is not in the succession because he married a Catholic--the law of the land is quite clear on this point. His father, the Duke of Kent, married a protestant who later converted--he IS still in the succession. I attach links to various lists for your inspection:

Official British Monarchy site: