Monday, December 13, 2010

Remembering... Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent

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Born on this day in 1906, the much-loved Princess Marina was the last foreign-born Princess to marry into the British Royal Family; already a Princess of both Greece and Denmark she became a Princess of Great Britain when she married the current Queen's handsome and dashing uncle Prince George, The Duke of Kent, in November 1934.

Together they had three children: Edward, the current Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy, and Prince Michael of Kent, who famously married a monster. Throughout the years of their brief marriage the Duke and Duchess cut a pair of dashing figures in London society, during which time she was frequently photographed by Cecil Beaton.

Following her husband's untimely death in August 1942, Princess Marina maintained a steady calendar of royal duties, the highlight of which was the celebration of the independence of Ghana in March 1957, which she attended on behalf of her niece. She also attended the independence of Botswana in September 1966, and so grateful were the people of the capital Gaborone that they named their brand new hospital after her. For many years Her Royal Highness was president of Wimbledon's All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

The year after her August 1968 death she was mentioned in a song by The Kinks; She's Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina appears in their 1969 rock opera Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire).

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