Royals

Charles’ little known stars

They are the royal family’s A-team – the inner circle of working royals who made the cut to appear in one of a handful of official photos released to celebrate the King’s coronation.

While most of the family members posing for photographer Hugo Barnard are well-known, some are less familiar. Here’s a guide to those you may not know and why they made it into this historic shot…

The Duke of Kent

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, 87, made the line-up thanks to the fact he’s a working royal who has carried out thousands of engagements over many decades on behalf of Elizabeth II, and now represents the King.

His father, Prince George, Duke of Kent, was the younger brother of the Queen’s father, George VI, and Edward was also related to Prince Philip through his mother, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. Philip and Marina’s fathers were brothers.

Edward’s father died, aged 39, in a plane crash in Scotland in 1942 and Edward became Duke of Kent when he was six. By 16, he was carrying out official duties after his cousin Elizabeth became Queen.

Edward served in the army for more than 20 years, during which time he was posted in Cyprus and Northern Ireland.

Since retiring in 1976, the duke has been a full-time working member of The Firm. He was appointed as a special trade envoy for the UK and was the first member of the royal family to visit China. In 2015, he received the Dresden Peace Prize for his “contribution to British-German reconciliation”.

Over the years, he’s been involved with more than 140 charities and organisations, including head of the Football Association, the Scout Association, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

In 1961, he wed Katharine Worsley. She caused something of a scandal in 1994 when she converted to Catholicism, but because the switch in religions happened after her marriage, it did not cause the duke to lose his place in line to the throne, which is 40th.

For many years, the duchess accompanied her husband on engagements, but withdrew from public life in the late ’90s and asked the Queen to rescind her HRH title in 2002. She then became a music teacher at a primary school, where they had no idea Mrs Kent was a royal. Katharine, 90, is understood now to be in poor health and has not been seen in public for some time. The Duke of Kent, who had a stroke in 2013, still carries out official duties.

Sir Timothy Laurence

Strictly speaking, Princess Anne’s husband Sir Timothy Laurence, 68, shouldn’t be in this photo because he’s not officially a working royal. However, over the years, he’s been included among the upper echelons because of his wife’s senior standing and the fact he often accompanies her on engagements.

Tim regularly joins Anne on overseas tours – including her whirlwind visit to New Zealand in February – and has, on occasion, stood in for her when she has been unable to fulfil obligations. At an engagement at a London hospital last year, he made crowds laugh when he joked about being there in her place.

“Asking me to stand in for my wife at an event like this is a bit like asking Mrs Harry Kane [wife of the England football captain] to lead the England football team out. Or, possibly, to take a penalty for England.”

Tim is a retired naval officer who had a distinguished career, then served as an equerry to the late Queen from 1986-1989, which is when he met Anne, then in the last stages of her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips.

Tim and Anne, 72, were married in Scotland in 1992. He didn’t receive a royal title, but was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by his mother-in-law in 2011, a year after retiring from the navy with the rank of vice admiral. The Queen also made him a personal aide-de-camp to the Sovereign, meaning he’s one of just five people to carry the honour.

Tim now serves on the board of several charities and organisations.

The Duke & Duchess of Gloucester

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, 78, is the second son of Prince Henry, one of George VI’s siblings, which makes him another of the Queen’s cousins. Because he had an older brother, Richard never expected to inherit his father’s title. Instead, he trained to be an architect and was a partner in a firm in London.

However, he became the duke after his father’s death in 1974 because his brother, Prince William, had died in a plane crash two years earlier without leaving any heirs.

Six weeks before William’s death, Richard had married his Danish girlfriend Birgitte van Deurs Henriksen, a secretary at the Danish embassy in London. Learning they would be the next Duke and Duchess of Gloucester was a shock, but the pair threw themselves into their new roles, and have represented the monarch at hundreds of events in the UK and overseas, including the funeral of King Tupou V of Tonga in 2012.

Richard is associated with more than 150 charities and organisations, many of which are related to architecture and conservation. Other causes he supports include ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), Cancer Research UK and the British Association of Friends of Museums.

Birgitte, 76, is the patron of Parkinsons UK, Missing People and the Lullaby Trust, which promotes infant health.

Richard, who is 30th in the line of succession, was the oldest family member to walk in the cortege behind the Queen’s coffin at her funeral last year.

The Gloucesters, who live at Kensington Palace, have three children. Their middle child, Lady Davina Windsor, was married for 14 years to Kiwi carpenter Gary Lewis, who was the first person of Māori descent to marry into the royal family. The couple, who divorced in 2018, have two children, Senna Kowhai and Tāne Mahuta.

Princess Alexandra

Princess Alexandra, regarded by many as the late Queen’s best friend, is the sister of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. When she was born in 1936, she was sixth in line to the throne, today she is 56th. She was the last member of the royal family to have their birth witnessed by the Home Secretary and just five when her father, Prince George, the Duke of Kent, was killed in a plane crash.

Alexandra, 86, was in her early twenties when she started performing official duties on behalf of her cousin Elizabeth II, and in the 1950s and ’60s she was one of the best-known members of the royal family. For many years, she was also one of the busiest royals, carrying out around 120 engagements a year. Many of the 100-plus organisations and charities she supports are focused on mental health, palliative care and international aid. She’s the patron of the Mental Health Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society, and also supports the arts through her associations with organisations like the English National Opera.

When Alexandra – who had been a bridesmaid at the Queen’s wedding to Prince Philip – married Angus Ogilvy in 1963, the televised wedding was watched by a worldwide audience of 200 million people. Angus refused the Queen’s offer of a peerage, so their two children don’t have titles, but he was later knighted. Angus died in 2004.

Alexandra, also known as the Honourable Lady Ogilvy, represented the Queen on many overseas engagements. She was one of Her Majesty’s closest confidantes. When she turned 80 in 2016, the Queen held a reception at Buckingham Palace in her honour. Alexandra is still listed as a working royal.

Alexandra and her brother Edward, Duke of Kent, have a younger brother, Prince Michael of Kent, 80, who is not a working royal, so doesn’t appear in the coronation photo. He often attends family events like Trooping the Colour, and has occasionally represented the Queen at overseas funerals and other occasions.

In 1978, he married German noblewoman Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz, 78, who is known as Princess Michael of Kent. Because she is Catholic, Michael forfeited his place in the line of succession, but that was restored after new laws were passed in 2013. He’s now 51st in line to the throne.

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