Friday, October 14, 2005

Royal Profile: Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent

Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, was born on December 13, 1906 in Athens, the youngest daughter of Prince Nicholas and Princess Helene of Greece. Like her first cousin Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, she was brought up outside of Greece after her family was forced into exile.

Her family moved to Paris where she attended finishing school and studied painting. She was an accomplished linguist and a skillful dressmaker. She was also widely reknowned for her style and beauty.

On November 29, 1934 she married Prince George, Duke of Kent in Westminster Abbey. Princess Marina belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church and following the service at Westminster Abbey, a second ceremony with Greek Orthodox rites was held in the private chapel in Buckingham Palace. The couple made their home at Number 3 Belgrave Square, and at Coppins, Iver in Buckinghamshire, a home that the Duke inherited from his aunt, Princess Victoria Alexandra. The couple had three children, Prince Edward, the present Duke of Kent born in 1935, Princess Alexandra born in 1936, and Prince Michael of Kent born in 1942.

Seven weeks after the birth of their youngest son, the Duke was killed in a flying accident. No financial provisions had been made and during wartime, the Duchess was not granted funds from the civil list. This resulted in many of the Duke's valuable pictures and objects being sold. After her husband's death she assumed many of his duties, including the presidencies of several organizations and the chancellorship of the University of Kent. Her interests included music, the theatre and ballet, and she enjoyed reading, painting and tennis.

When her son Prince Edward married in 1961, to distinguish her from her daughter-in-law, she adopted her former title and became known as HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. She moved to Kensington Palace and lived there until her death on August 27, 1968. She is buried beside her husband in the Frogmore Burial Ground.

© Marilyn Braun

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