21 December 2016

Christmas Lunch with The Queen

Earlier in Queen Elizabeth II's reign the entire royal family would gather for Christmas together at Windsor Castle or Sandringham. This included ALL of the descendants of the sons of King George V, specifically, the invitation went to the children and grandchildren of Bertie (aka King George VII), Henry (Duke of Gloucester) and George (Duke of Kent). Alas, the last of these brothers died in 1974 and the last of their spouses died in 2004. The extended royal family has 77 living members. That's a lot of people for a house party!

Plus, the family now includes includes five generations descended from the brothers and more than a dozen spouses who have married into the family, some of .home are not even British and all of whom have their own family traditions even if they do hail from the UK. Therefore, several years ago, The Queen slimmed down the Christmas house party to invite her family and her sister's while creating a new tradition of holding a Christmas lunch at Buckingham are released. However, the media gathers outside to snap pics of the family coming and going. This is often the only time we catch a glimpse of some of the lesser known family members.  Let's take a look at who we saw yesterday:

This branch of the family includes the heir to the throne Charles Prince of Wales; his second wife Camilla Duchess of Cornwall; his children by his late first wife (Diana Princess of Wales) Prince Harry and William Duke of Cambridge; as well as William's wife Catherine and the Cambridges' children George and Charlotte.

This small set has just three members, The Queen's second son Andrew Duke of York and his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. Rumors abound that someone may be joining the York family soon: Eugenie is reported (not confirmed) to be engaged to her longtime boyfriend Jack Brooksbank.

The Queen's youngest son Edward Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie have two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James Viscount Severn. (Getty Images did not have any photos available of the family arriving at Buckingham Palace, so here is a photo of them together last week.)

The Queen's only daughter Anne Princess Royal has two children from her first marriage, Peter Phillips, who is married to Canadian Autumn Phillips, and Olympic equestrian Zara Phillips, who is married to retired rugby player Mike Tindall. Peter and Autumn have two daughters, Savannah (The Queen's first great-grandchild) and Isla. Zara and Mike's little girl Mia will have a new sibling in 2017. Anne and her second husband Tim Laurence celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2016.

The Queen's late sister Princess Margaret married and later divorced photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was granted the title Earl of Snowdon. Their son David Viscount Linley, heir to that title, his a high-end furniture maker married to Lady Serena Stanhope, daughter of the 12th Earl of Harrington. Their son is Hon. Charles Armstrong-Jones and their daughter Hon. Margarita was a bridesmaid when Prince William married Catherine Middleton in 2011. Margaret's daughter, Lady Sarah, is a great favorite of her aunt The Queen. She is an artist married to fellow artist Daniel Chatto. Their sons are Samuel and Arthur.

Henry Duke of Gloucester married a Scottish peer's daughter, Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott and they had two sons, Prince William and Prince Richard. Their oldest son William died unmarried at age 30 in a plane crash in 1972. Princess Alice became the longest lived British royal in history, passing away at age 102. (The oldest current member, The Queen's husband Philip Duke of Gloucester still has a long way to go to catch up as he is merely 95!) The second son Richard inherited the title upon his father's death in 1974, shortly after marrying a Danish woman named Birgitte van Deurs. They have three children, each of whom is married with two children. Alexander Earl of Ulster and his physician wife Claire Booth have Xan Lord Culloden and Lady Cosima Windsor. Lady Davina was the first member of the British Royal Family to marry someone who had non-European ancestry when she wed a Maori from New Zealand, Gary Lewis. (Will Prince Harry become the second by marrying mixed race actress Meghan Markle???) Davina and Gary's children are Senna and Tane Lewis. Lady Rose and her husband George have two little ones, Rufus and Lyla.(Only photos of the Duke and Duchess were available, so I added a photo of their children together, back in 2005.)

There are now three branches among the descendants of George Duke of Kent and his wife Princess Marina of Greece (a cousin of Philip Duke of Edinburgh, who was born a prince of Greece: The Queen's Uncle George married her husband's aunt. In fact the couple is said to have met for the first time as children at the Kent wedding in 1934.) Let's look at each of these branches individually.

George Duke of Kent died on active duty during World War II when his children were young. The current duke, Prince Edward, inherited the title when he was just six years old. He married a Yorkshire lass, Katharine Worsley. The Duchess later converted to Catholicism and has eschewed her royal titles, preferring to work as a music teacher and to be called simply Katharine Kent. Their son George Earl of St. Andrews gave up his place in the Line of Succession to marry the Catholic Sylvana Tomaselli. Changes in the succession laws mean that George (himself a member of the Church of England) is no longer barred from the throne, However, his two oldest children Edward Lord Downpatrick and Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor have been received into the Catholic Church and are therefore not eligible for the British throne. (They are still in line for the Greek and Danish thrones!) George and Sylvana's youngest child is Lady Amelia Windsor. The Duke and Duchess' youngest child and second son is Lord Nicholas Windsor, who converted to Catholicism and married Croatian/Italian noblewoman Princess Paola Doimi de Lupis Frankopan Subric Zrinski. Theirs was the first Catholic wedding in the British royal family in 500 years and their sons (Albert, Leopold and Louis) were the first to be baptized Catholic since 1688. The three boys are still officially in the Line of Succession for the throne because they are still too young to have been confirmed in the Catholic Church. They will each drop out of the line as they make their confirmations. The Duke and Duchess of Kent have one daughter, Lady Helen, who is married to Timothy Taylor. They had two sons, Columbus and Cassius, before Timothy suffered from cancer. After his survival, they added two daughters to the family, Eloise and Estella. (I think there is mis-identification in the photos: I believe Lady Marina-Charlotte is in the car with her grandmother Katharine Kent while the person identified as Marina Windsor is actually her cousin Zenouska Mowatt.)

Prince Michael of Kent was born on the 4th of July and one of his godparents was US President Franklin Roosevelt. Michael was only seven weeks old when his father George Duke of Kent died. Michael became the first modern British royal to surrender his right to succession in order to marry a Catholic, the German/Hungarian noblewoman Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz. Like his nephew the Earl of St. Andrews, as a communicant of the Anglican Church, Michael has now regained his succession rights. Michael was the first Windsor since his uncle Edward VIII to marry a divorced person. As a close relative of the Romanov dynasty (three of his four grandparents were cousins of the assassinated family), he is extremely interested in Russia and he was one of many relatives to donate DNA to confirm the identity of the martyred Romanovs when their bodies were found, Known as Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, they have one daughter Lady Gabriella Windsor and their son Lord Frederick Windsor is married to actress Sophie Winkleman. Frederick and Sophie have two children, Maud and Isabella.

Although 10 years younger, Princess Alexandra, George and Marina's only daughter, is very close to her cousin The Queen and was a bridesmaid at her wedding. Alexandra has been a working member of the Royal Family since she was a teenager. She married a younger son of a Scottish earl, The Honorable Sir Angus Ogilvy, who declined to accept a title upon his marriage to the princess. It was a decision he later regretted because he thought it set a bad example when Princess Anne later married a commoner and The Queen's first grandchildren were born without titles. Alexandra and Angus, who passed away in 2004, had a son and a daughter. Son James married Julia Rawlinson and their children are Flora and Alexander Ogilvy. Daughter Marina had two children with husband Paul Mowatt before they divorced in 1997. Their kids are Zenouska and Christian Mowatt. Princess Alexandra will be 80 years old on Christmas Day this year and The Queen recently hosted a party for all of her royal patronages. (There were no photos available of them this year, so I added earlier pics of the family.)

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