Who Is Queen Elizabeth's Cousin, the Duke of Kent?

london, united kingdom june 15 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 48 hours after create date and time queen elizabeth ii and prince edward, duke of kent stand on a dais outside buckingham palace during the annual trooping the colour ceremony on june 15, 2013 in london, england today's ceremony which marks the queen's official birthday will not be attended by prince philip the duke of edinburgh as he recuperates from abdominal surgery this will also be the duchess of cambridge's last public engagement before her baby is due to be born next month photo by max mumbyindigogetty images
Who Is Queen Elizabeth's Cousin, the Duke of Kent?Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, is one of the longest-serving senior royals living today. Though he's lesser known than his late cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, the duke, now 87, has spent his life serving the monarchy. The royal veteran and tennis enthusiast is also related to several European royal families.

Read on for everything to know about him.

He became the Duke of Kent as a young boy.

The duke was born Prince Edward on October 9, 1935. He's the oldest child of Prince George—the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary—and the younger brother to Queen Elizabeth's father, King George VI.

Edward is also a royal a few times over through his mother, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.

Before her marriage, Princess Marina held the title of Princess of Greece and Denmark. To add another degree of connection, Princess Marina's mother (and Prince Edward's grandmother) was Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, a granddaughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia. That means Prince Edward is related to royals in England, Greece, Denmark, and Russia. He also has two younger siblings, Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, and Prince Michael of Kent.

In 1942, Prince George died tragically in a wartime flying accident while serving in the line of duty as part of the Royal Air Force. After his father's death, Prince Edward inherited the title Duke of Kent; he was just seven years old.

july 1943 marina, duchess of kent with her three children, prince edward later duke of kent, princess alexandra and prince michael on his first birthday, at coppins ivor, buckinghamshire photo by central pressgetty images
The Duke of Kent (left) as a boy, with his mother Princess Marina, his brother Prince Michael, and his sister Princess Alexandra.Central Press - Getty Images

He served in the British armed forces for 21 years.

Prince Edward enrolled at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst when he turned 18, and graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys cavalry regiment in July 1955. He was promoted several times before retiring from the army in 1976, and he still holds a number of senior appointments.

The duke is passionate about honoring veterans, especially those who fought in World Wars I and II. One of his major roles is acting as president of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, an organization that honors Commonwealth veterans of the two World Wars with over 23,000 memorials. He frequently travels to these sites for official visits.

He and his wife live at Kensington Palace.

Prince Edward met his wife Katharine Worsley, now the Duchess of Kent, while he was living at Catterick Camp, an English military base. The married on June 8, 1961, more than 60 years ago. The couple has three children: George, Earl of St Andrews, Lady Helen Taylor, and Lord Nicholas Windsor.

The duke and duchess currently reside at Wren House, one of a few homes on the grounds of Kensington Palace. The sprawling royal residence is located in London's Kensington neighborhood, and is home to many royal family members including the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent (the Duke of Kent's brother and his wife).

london, united kingdom april 25 prince edward, duke of kent, and katharine, duchess of kent, attend the state banquet given by former polish president lech walesa in honor of the queen on april 25, 1991 in london, england photo by georges de keerlegetty images
The Duke of Kent, with his wife Katherine, Duchess of Kent.Georges DE KEERLE - Getty Images

He is dedicated to promoting British trade with foreign countries.

The royal has also remained involved in international affairs throughout his royal career. Since his retirement from the army, he has frequently traveled overseas to represent the British government in promoting foreign trade relations, visiting countries in Europe, Japan, Australia, and the Middle East. In 1979, he attended the British Energy Exhibition in Beijing, becoming the first member of the royal family to make an official visit to China.

Per the royal family's website, "The Duke of Kent is involved with over 140 different charities, organisations and professional bodies which cover a wide range of issues, from commemorating the war dead, to fostering the development of British technology and industry. His Royal Highness undertakes numerous engagements each year in support of these organisations, both in the UK and across the Commonwealth."

He's a regular presence at Wimbledon.

Avid tennis fans may recognize the duke from his regular appearances at the famed tennis tournament. He often attends Wimbledon and presents the winners' trophies to the champions, a practice that has also become tradition for Catherine, Princess of Wales. The pair have also sat together to watch recent matches.

You Might Also Like