Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy
Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, KG, GCVO, CD 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 is 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 2019, she is 53rd in the line of succession to the British throne; at the time of her birth in 1936, she was sixth.
Early lifePrincess Alexandra was born on 25 December 1936 at 3 Belgrave Square, London. 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. 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 ; the Queen of Norway ; Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark ; Princess Olga of Yugoslavia ; the Princess Beatrice ; the Earl of Athlone ; and Count Karl Theodor of Törring-Jettenbach. Of her godparents, only the King and Queen and Lord Athlone were present.
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. 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. She then studied in Paris. She was also trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
She was a bridesmaid at the 1946 wedding of Captain Lord Brabourne and The Hon. Patricia Mountbatten. 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 is 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 lifeOn 24 April 1963, she married the Hon. Angus James Bruce Ogilvy, the second son of the 12th Earl of Airlie and Lady Alexandra Coke, at Westminster Abbey. Ogilvy presented Alexandra with an engagement ring made of a cabochon sapphire set in gold and surrounded by diamonds on both sides. The wedding ceremony was attended by the royal family and was broadcast worldwide on television, watched by an estimated 200 million people.
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. She made her way with her brother, the Duke of Kent, from Kensington Palace to the church. The bridesmaids included Princess Anne and Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, and the best man was Peregrine Fairfax. The Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey conducted the service. Angus Ogilvy declined the Queen's offer to be created an earl upon marriage, so their children carry no titles.
Angus Ogilvy was knighted in 1988, 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. He married Julia Caroline Rawlinson on 30 July 1988 at St Mary's Church in Saffron Walden, Essex. The couple have issue:
- * Flora Alexandra Ogilvy
- * Alexander Charles Ogilvy
- Marina Victoria Alexandra Ogilvy she married Paul Julian Mowatt on 2 February 1990 and divorced on 15 October 1997. They have two children:
- * Zenouska May Mowatt. Currently works as Head of Marketing for Halcyon Days Ltd.
- * Christian Alexander Mowatt
ActivitiesSince 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. She made 110 engagements in 2012. However, in late June 2013 she cancelled her engagements due to arthritis. 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.
In 1959, she carried out an extensive tour of Australia, and attended the Queensland Centenary Celebrations. 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. 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. Princess Alexandra returned to Australia in 1967 for a private holiday, but also carried out engagements in Canberra and Melbourne. The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane is named in her honour.
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 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. Princess Alexandra launched the New Zealand Leander-class frigate HMNZS Waikato at Harland and Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1965. Princess Alexandra opened the Victoria to Brixton section of London Underground's Victoria line on 23 July 1971.
Princess Alexandra served as Chancellor of Lancaster University from its foundation in 1964 until she relinquished the post in 2004. She also served as the first Chancellor of the University of Mauritius. She is also an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Faculty of Anæsthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 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. She was also patron of The Royal School, Hampstead. The Princess was president of WWF-UK until 2011.
Until it was abolished in 2013, Princess Alexandra received £225,000 per year from the Civil List to cover the cost of official expenses, although as with the other members of the royal family 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.
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; the London Philharmonic Choir; the Florence Nightingale Foundation; the not-for-profit housing association Anchor; the charity Independent Age; St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham, England; 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; the Nature in Art Trust and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, 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. She is also the Royal Patron of Children and Families Across Borders, 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. 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. 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.