Who Is Queen Elizabeth's Cousin, Princess Alexandra?

Annie Goldsmith
Photo credit: Stuart C. Wilson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stuart C. Wilson - Getty Images

From Town & Country

Few people can say they attended Queen Elizabeth's wedding to Prince Philip. Even fewer can claim they were one of her bridesmaids. Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy, had such an honor, among countless other privileges obtained as the Queen's first cousin and a member of the British royal family. Here, we take a look at the Princess's extraordinary life.

Alexandra was the first British princess to attend normal school.

Princess Alexandra, whose full name is Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel, was born on Christmas Day, 1936. Her father was Prince George, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary; Alexandra's father was brothers with Queen Elizabeth II's father, King George VI. At the time of her birth, Princess Alexandra was sixth in line to the British throne, but now she is 53rd in the line of succession.

The Princess is also royal on her mother's side, with ties to Greece, Denmark, and Russia. Her mother was Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, a daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.

Photo credit: Hulton Deutsch - Getty Images
Photo credit: Hulton Deutsch - Getty Images

Alexandra is the second child and only daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. Her older brother, Prince Edward, became the new Duke of Kent when, in 1942, their father died tragically in a wartime flying accident. The siblings also have a younger brother, Prince Michael of Kent.

At age 11, rather than being homeschooled, Alexandra became the first British princess to attend regular school. The Princess went to Heathfield School, a boarding school near Ascot. She later studied in Paris.

Her husband also came from nobility.

In 1963, Princess Alexandra married Angus Ogilvy, the second son of the Earl of Airlie. The pair had a lavish wedding at Westminster Abbey, attended by the Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret. A young Princess Anne was Princess Alexandra's chief bridesmaid.

Photo credit: Harry Benson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Harry Benson - Getty Images

The couple had two children, James, born in 1964, and Marina, born in 1966, though neither currently carries out official royal duties. In 2004, Sir Angus Ogilvy passed away after a long illness.

Alexandra is especially involved in healthcare and the medical system.

The Princess is patron or president of more than 100 organizations, with many pertaining to healthcare and helping those affected by physical or mental illness. Alexandra is currently Joint-President of Cancer Research UK with her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester and Deputy President of the British Red Cross Society. She has also served as patron of various organizations including the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the Alzheimer's Society, the Mental Health Foundation, hospitals and hospices, and charities related to aiding the blind.

She is also a patron of the arts.

The Princess is clearly a fan of both the arts and sciences. She is particularly fond of classical music and opera. You can spot her attending many society events, galas, and performances around the world in order to show her support. She also acts as patron of the Chopin Society, the English National Opera, and the London Philharmonic Choir.

Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

Alexandra often acts as the Queen's stand-in.

As one can imagine, Queen Elizabeth II is quite busy, and cannot always be where she's needed. That's where Princess Alexandra sometimes steps in. Throughout Queen Elizabeth's reign, the Princess has often represented her at events both in the UK and around the world. She'll also attend national ceremonies alongside the Queen, like Trooping the Colour and some state dinners.

The Princess has traveled far and wide representing the Crown. Over the years, her trips have included official visits to Thailand and Brunei, Rome, Gibraltar, Norway, the United Arab Emirates and the USA and Canada.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

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