03 June 2022

The Queen's Royal Ladies Part 2

In continuing celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, here is Part 2 of the list of royal women who have lived during her reign. Part 2 includes all of the ladies born since the death of Queen Victoria, who previously held the record as longest reigning British monarch. Click here to read Part 1.

by Dorothy Wilding via Wikimedia Commons

Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott
(1901-2004) Born on Christmas Day, she was a daughter of Scotland's largest landowner, the 7th Duke of Buccleuch. Atypical for women of her era, she traveled the world as a young woman and did not marry until her mid 30s. When she married King George V's third son Prince Henry, she became the Duchess of Gloucester. During World War II, she was Air Chief Commandant of the Women's Royal Air Force. In the middle of the war, however, the Duke was appointed Viceroy in Australia and they underwent a harrowing journey through enemy-laden waters with their two young sons to get to the post. After the Duke's death, her niece, Queen Elizabeth II, granted her the right to be called Princess Alice. She lived to be 102. Nearly 20 years later, she still holds the record for longest lived member of the British Royal Family. (Read my post about Princess Alice.)

Princess Marina of Greece (1906-1968) was the last foreign princess to marry into the British Royal Family. As a granddaughter of King George I of Greece, she was a first cousin of Prince Philip, consort of Queen Elizabeth. She married George V's fourth, and arguably most handsome, son Prince George Duke of Kent. When he was killed in a plane crash in World War II, she was left as a young widow with three small children, including a six-week-old infant. She raised her children to be dutiful members of the British Royal Family but kept them connected to their many royal cousins on the continent. Her oldest son, Prince Edward Duke of Kent, stood beside Queen Elizabeth on the balcony during the Trooping the Color ceremony. P.S. Like her sisters-in-law Mary and Alice, she also took on one of the female military branches. In her case, it was the Women's Royal Naval Service. (Read my post, Young Royal Widows.)

Princess Margaret (1930-2002) was the Queen's younger sister. Although they were four and a half years apart, they were usually dressed alike and were almost constantly together. During World War II, the sisters were hidden at a "house in the country", which was actually Windsor Castle. They remained close throughout their lives, including during Margaret's controversial relationship with a divorced man that rocked the early years of the Queen's reign. The family rejoiced when Margaret married society photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones and was heartbroken when it ended in a divorce with both couple's caught in affairs. Margaret always continued her loyal service to her sister and to the Crown, but her later years were troubled by serious health problems. Having suffered yet another stroke, she passed away at age 71 weeks before the death of her mother.  (Read my post about Princess Margaret.)

from Queensland State Archives via Wikimedia Commons

Katharine Worsley
(1933-  ) met Prince Edward Duke of Kent when he was a young Army officer serving near her home in Yorkshire. She was a charming addition to the family. Despite three successful pregnancy, she also endured unsuccessful ones, which led her into deep depression. She eventually found some solace by converting to the Roman Catholic Church. her greatest solace and passion, however, has always been music. Both a performer and music teacher, she eventually opted to discontinue her royal work. For the last two decades, she has preferred to be known in her daily life as Katharine Kent only being addressed as HRH Duchess of Kent when on the rare occasions when she participates in major royal occasions. (Read my post, Meet the Duchess of Kent.)

Princess Alexandra of Kent (1936-  ) is the only daughter of the King's uncle Prince George who died in a wartime plane crash when Alexandra and her brothers were young. Well-connected to Europe's royal families through her mother Princess Marina of Greece (above), Alexandra has spent a lot of time visiting other courts. Nevertheless, she began her life as a working member of the British Royal Family when she was just a teenager, initially at her mother's side. She married Sir Angus Ogilvy, a younger son of the 12th Earl of Airlie. Now widowed and in her eighties, she has had to slow down her royal work in recent years, but continues to be one of the most well-loved members of the family. (Read my post about Princess Alexandra.)

Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz (1945-  ) was born in the German-controlled Sudetenland, now part of the Czech Republic, in the waning months of World War II. After the war, the family abandoned their estates and her parents divorced. Her mother took her and her brother to grow up in Australia. She moved to London to study at Victoria and Albert Museum and married a banker. After meeting Prince Michael of Kent, she had her first marriage annulled and married the prince a month later. She was the first divorced person to marry a British royal in centuries. Her Catholicism also made him ineligible for the throne. (That rule was reversed in 2015 and he was restored to the Line of Succession.) Known as Princess Michael of Kent, she and Michael are not officially working members of the British Royal Family although they carry out occasional engagements and participate in major events. She is one of the less popular and more controversial members of the family, with accusations of plagiarism and racism to her credit. She works as an author and interior designer. (Read my post about Princess Michael of Kent.)

By Richard Gough by Wikimedia Commons

Birgitte van Deurs
(1946-  ) was working at the Danish Embassy in London when she met an aspiring young architect, who just happened to be a Prince. As the younger son of the duke of Gloucester, however, Prince Richard offered Birgitte a relatively quiet life on the very edges of the British Royal Family. within two years of their marriage, however, Richard's older brother died in stunt flying accident and his father passed away making him them the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and full-fledged working royals. In 50 years of royal service, they are among the few members of the royal family who have never been touched by scandal or negative publicity. (Read my post, Birgitte's 45 Royal Years.)

Camilla Shand (1947-  ) met Charles Prince of Wales when he was still on active duty in the Royal Navy. Their romance ended when he shipped out and she married her on-again-off-again boyfriend Andrew Parker Bowles though she remained a confidante of the Prince even after he married. As his marriage broke down, they resumed their romance and she became the world's most hated woman. After Camilla and Charles had both divorced, they quietly continued the relationship, finally marrying in 2005 when they were both in the fifties. She uses his secondary title and is known as the Duchess of Cornwall. Over the years, her cheerful attitude and and obvious support for her husband have helped her win over a much of the British public. (Read my post about Camilla.)

Anne Princess Royal (1950-  ) is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. An Olympic equestrienne, she met her first husband in the riding world. Always considered one of the hardest working royals, she regularly tops the list for most engagements. Her most prominent work includes Save the Children and the Olympic Committee. She attracted some negative attention when the media got hold of love letters between her and one of the royal equerries, Tim Laurence. She weathered the storm and married Tim. Their marriage has lasted three decades. (Read my post about all of the women titled Princess Royal.)

By John Mathew Smith via Wikimedia Commons

Sarah Ferguson
(1959-  ) is the daughter of Ronald Ferguson, who was polo manager to both Prince Philip and Prince Charles, which meant she met her future husband Prince Andrew when they were just children. Their romance ignited when her friend Diana Princess of Wales played matchmaker on a royal holiday. The exuberant couple, the Duke and Duchess of York, were initially popular but Sarah soon fell victim to the tabloid press's constant attacks for her weight, clothes, and boisterousness. In the end, however, she was her own worst enemy, embarking on some questionable relationships with men while her sailor husband was away at sea. After their divorce, Sarah and Andrew remained close and even live together now 30 years later. Together and separately, they have continued to cause controversy, including accusations of trading access for cash and rape. (Read my post, The Yorks After 30 Years.)

Lady Diana Spencer (1961-  ) was the youngest daughter of 8th Earl Spencer. At age 19, she was launched upon the world stage as the fiancee of Charles Prince of wales, the Queen's oldest son and heir to the throne. While the beautiful and compassionate young woman was rapturously received by an adoring public the marriage was an extreme mismatch that led to one of the most spectacular divorces in recent history, with publicly lodging complaints and accusations at each other and both admitting adultery. Devoted to big causes, Diana remained to devoted to shining a light on AIDS, homelessness, and landmines. Always pursued by the media, Diana spent her last summer in the headlines for a new romance. The whole thing came to a tragic end in a car crash in Paris leaving the world and the Royal Family devastated. (Read my post, Diana and Me.)

Sophie Rhys-Jones (1965-  ) met the Queen's youngest son because someone else called out of work. A PR hack, she got pulled into play a game of royal tennis with Prince Edward during one of his official engagements. With the failure of the Queen's children's marriages, Sophie nd Edward took a slow burn with full support of the royal family becoming the first royal couple to live together before marriage. When they finally married in 1999, the couple initially announced that they would continue their private work, her with her public relations firm and him with his television production company.. However, they were not able to avoid accusations of using their royal status for personal profit and they transitioned into life as full-time royals. They are now one the steadiest and most active pairs in the family. (Read my post about Sophie.)

By Mark Jones via Wikmedia Commons

Meghan Markle
(1981-  ) met the Queen's grandson Prince Harry of Wales on a blind date. A successful American actress, she said in their engagement interview that she was giving up her acting career. Her mixed race heritage drew a lot of racist attention from the beginning of their relationship. A short time into their marriage as Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they announced that they wanted to pursue private interests while maintaining a part-time role in the Royal Family. It was determined that they would leave their roles as working royals. They now live in California although they still have a home in Windsor. Meghan is well-known for her activism, particularly on women's issues. She even led a successful campaign that achieved national attention when she was only 10 years old. (Read my post, An American Princess for Harry.)

Catherine Middleton (1982-  ) met the Queen's grandson, future king Prince William while they were both attending University of St. Andrews. They shared a house with other classmates. After graduation, they broke up briefly before moving in together, following a similar path as his uncle Edward and Sophie in developing their relationship for years before becoming engaged. Since their wedding, they are Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She has become particularly active with organizations and issues related to early childhood development and mental health advocacy. An avid amateur photographer, she also led the Hold Still photography initiative during the Covid-19 pandemic. She also usually takes the official birthday photos of their children George, Charlotte, and Louis. (Read my post, Five Years with the Cambridges.)

Princess Beatrice of York
(1988-  ) is the oldest daughter of Prince Andrew Duke of York. She was the first British princess to attend University, earning a BA from Goldsmiths, University London. She now works for a multinational data and software company. Her marriage to Edourdo Mapelli Mozzi was delayed during the Covid-19 pandemic, but she eventually opted for a small, private wedding. Their daughter Sienna was born in 2021. Although not a working royal, she occasionally carries out engagements for the Queen and she has her own charitable patronages. She is particularly noteworthy for her work with dyslexia, which she has.

Princess Eugenie (left) and Princess Beatrice
by Carfax2 via Wikimedia Commons
Princess Eugenie of York (1990-  ) is the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew Duke of York. She graduated from Newcastle University and now works as an art gallery director. Like her sister, she is not a working royal but carries out a few engagements and has her own charitable work. Having undergone surgery for scoliosis as a child, she is now patron of Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. She also co-founded Anti-Slavery International. She and husband Jack Brooksbank recently announced that they and their son August will be living in Portugal for a while. (Read my post about Princess Eugenie.)

Lady Louise Windsor (2003-  ) is the daughter of Prince Edward Earl of Wessex. As a male-line grandchild of the Queen, she and her younger brother James Viscount Severn are entitled to royal titles. However, the Queen announced that Edward's children would be styled as the children of an Earl. There has been speculation since Louise's 18th birthday that she can opt to be styled as a princess if she wishes. She as an avid competitive carriage driver. It has not yet been announced what she plans to do next with her life. 

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (2015-  ) is the daughter of Prince William. Thanks to changes to the succession laws in 2013, she is the first British princess to be born who cannot be pushed down the Line of Succession by the birth of a younger brother. After her father becomes king, she could be given the title Princess Royal, which is reserved for the oldest daughter of the monarch.

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