About Princess Alexandra
Princess Alexandra is The Queen’s cousin and a working member of the Royal Family. She is patron or president of over 100 organisations which reflect her wide-ranging interests, from the arts to health care. She also supports The Queen in her duties as Head of State, attending ceremonial occasions alongside other members of the Royal Family.
Medical and welfare
Mental health care, palliative care and international aid remain close to the Princess’s heart. She is Joint-President of Cancer Research UK with The Duke of Gloucester and was Patron of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust for 47 years. She has been Patron of the Florence Nightingale Foundation - which provides scholarships for nurses, midwives and health visitors to study - since 1957 and is also Patron of St. Christopher's Hospice, Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, MIND and the Mental Health Foundation.
In June 2014 - as Deputy President of the British Red Cross Society - Princess Alexandra joined The Prince of Wales at a special Garden Party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the work of the Red Cross over 150 years and, in particular, its efforts during the First World War. Around 6,000 of its supporters, volunteers, and full-time staff from across the country attended.
Princess Alexandra has been Patron of Alzheimer's Society since 1990, and has hosted The People Awards at St James's Palace which help to recognise the contribution of the people who work at and volunteer for Alzheimer's Society.
Known for her work for the blind, Princess Alexandra is Patron of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and of Action for Blind People as well as being President of Sightsavers. In 2014 Her Royal Highness attended the World Bank River Blindness Fortieth Anniversary Summit in Washington DC, USA and learned about the river blindness prevention programmes which continue to be replicated across other neglected tropical diseases. The Princess returned to Washington in 2016 in her capacity as President of Sightsavers to attend a conference on ending neglected tropical diseases.
The Princess is President of Alexandra Rose Charities, founded in 1912 by King Edward VII's wife Queen Alexandra initially to raise money for hospitals through the sale of roses. Today the charity promotes and assists projects for the welfare and development of children and young people in London through the Rose Voucher Scheme, whereby mothers on low incomes can be helped to feed their young children healthy food.
Arts and heritage
Princess Alexandra has a great interest in classical music and opera. She is Patron of the Chopin Society, the English National Opera, and the London Philharmonic Choir. Her Royal Highness regularly attends galas and performances to lend her support to events.
She is also Patron or President of a number of museums and organisations which seek to preserve historic locations along with art and artefacts.
Princess Alexandra has links with a number of academic institutions. She was Chancellor of the University of Lancaster from 1964-2004; she has received honorary law doctorates from Queensland, Hong Kong, Mauritius and Liverpool Universities, as well as an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Lancaster.
Her Royal Highness is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow; of the Royal College of Anaesthetists; the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Physicians.
The Princess’s military affiliations include her honorary role as Royal Colonel of 3rd Battalion The Rifles and Colonel in Chief of The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's). She is also Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Lancers and Honorary Royal Colonel of The Royal Yeomanry.
Her Royal Highness has been Patron and Air Chief Commandant of Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service since November 1966 and was Royal Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Cottesmore until 2013.
Princess Alexandra (baptised Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel) was born on Christmas Day 1936 at 3 Belgrave Square, her family's London home. She is the second child and only daughter of the late Duke and Duchess of Kent. Her father, who was brother to King George VI, was killed in a wartime flying accident in 1942 when Princess Alexandra was just five years old. Her brothers are the present Duke of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent. The Princess is cousin to The Queen.
Princess Alexandra was the first British Princess to go to an ordinary school when, in 1947, she went to Heathfield School near Ascot. At the age of 11, during her first term at school, she was one of the bridesmaids at the wedding of her cousin Princess Elizabeth (who would be Queen). Princess Alexandra later went on to attend a finishing school in Paris, studying French and music.
Marriage and family
The engagement of Princess Alexandra to Angus Ogilvy, second son of the Earl of Airlie, was announced on 19 November 1962. They were married on 24 April 1963 in Westminster Abbey at a grand service attended by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and other members of the Royal Family. Princess Alexandra's brother, The Duke of Kent, gave her away and her chief bridesmaid was The Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, aged 13.
Princess Alexandra and Sir Angus Ogilvy's two children are James, born in 1964, and Marina, born in 1966. Their children do not carry out official Royal duties. Sir Angus Ogilvy (who was knighted in 1989) died on 26 December 2004, after several years of illness. Before his death, Princess Alexandra and Sir Angus carried out numerous Royal engagements and official overseas visits together.
Princess Alexandra was created a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in 1960, and made a Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG) in 2003.
Supporting The Queen
Princess Alexandra has supported The Queen throughout her reign, through representing Her Majesty in the UK and overseas, and attending events of national significance such as the annual Trooping the Colour and Remembrance events.
Her Royal Highness represented The Queen at the Nigerian Independence celebrations in 1960, first attending a searchlight tattoo preceding the midnight Independence Ceremony, when the Union Jack was symbolically lowered and the new green-white-green-striped Nigerian flag hoisted. The following morning, thousands of spectators and dignitaries gathered to witness the handing over by Princess Alexandra to the Prime Minister of the ‘instruments of Government’. During the ceremony Princess Alexandra read a message from The Queen, wishing the new nation ‘a great and noble future’.
Since then, Her Royal Highness has embarked on a number of other overseas visits in support of The Queen, including visits to Rome, Oman and Hungary in 1998, Gibraltar in 1999, the Falkland Islands and Norway in 2000 and Thailand and Brunei in 2003. More recent overseas visits have included the USA, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
Princess Alexandra often supports or represents The Queen at commemoration events. In April 2015 the Princess laid a wreath, on behalf of Her Majesty, at a Parade and Service of Remembrance at the Canada Memorial in London. In July 2015 Her Royal Highness joined The Queen, and other members of the Royal Family, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for a special RAF flypast to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Princess Alexandra continues to support The Queen at official receptions and annual events such as Her Majesty's Birthday Parade (also known as Trooping the Colour). She also regularly attends receptions for The Queen’s Award for Enterprise winners and The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.