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About The Duchess of Kent

The Duchess of Kent is passionate about the power of music and particularly the positive impact that music can have on young people.

For a number of years The Duchess of Kent taught music at a primary school in Hull. During this time, she soon recognised there were many children and young people of considerable talent who needed more financial support to fulfil their musical potential.

In 2004 she founded a charity, Future Talent, which aims to give every child an equal opportunity to excel in music. Future Talent seeks to do for musically talented children what teaching care and motivation did for Billy Elliot in dance.

Through tailor-made partnerships with primary schools, Future Talent is bringing music into the lives of all children, spotting talent, equipping talented children with instruments and tuition and, in exceptional cases, providing master tuition to enable them to make music their future. 

Whether children want to sing, play the violin or the electric guitar, Future Talent is giving them the chance to fulfil their potential through developing their musical talent. 

The Duchess of Kent is an ambassador for Aldeburgh Productions in Suffolk and was for 35 years, the President of the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester). She was also a Trustee of the National Foundation for Youth Music (London).

The Duchess has travelled the world for UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Fund) and VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas), highlighting specific areas of deprivation. In 1999 she visited Cambodia, Macedonia and Nepal.

Her Royal Highness has been President of NCH Action For Children and President and Board Member of Macmillan Cancer Relief. She chaired the London Committee of the Manchester Christie (Cancer) Hospital Appeal for £25m.

The Duchess is Patron of the RUC Benevolent Fund in Northern Ireland.

The Duchess of Kent has been Visitor to the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Patron of Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane, Australia, the Yehudi Menuin School (UK), the Ulster Conservatoire of Music and the Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool. 

She has been a volunteer for the Passage Night Shelter for the homeless, which was founded by Cardinal Basil Hume.

Biography

The Duchess of Kent is married to The Queen's cousin, The Duke of Kent, and is a keen musician and advocate for children and young people's welfare.

The Duchess was born on 22 February 1933, the youngest child and only daughter of the late Sir William Worsley. 

Her father, the fourth Baronet, captained the Yorkshire Cricket Club Team, was President of the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) and was for 14 years Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire. 

She grew up at the family home, Hovingham Hall near York, where the Worsleys have lived since the early eighteenth century. 

Her mother, Joyce Morgan Brunner, was the daughter of Sir John Brunner - the founder of Brunner Mond, which was to become ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries). Her uncle married the grand-daughter of the famous 18th century actor, Sir Henry Irving.

Katharine was educated at Queen Margaret's School near York and at Runton Hill School in Norfolk. 

From an early age she demonstrated a talent for music. She was taught to play the piano, organ and violin, which she still plays today. 

She worked for some time in a children's home in York and taught at a kindergarten in London, before going on to Oxford to study music.

The Duchess first met Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, when he was stationed at Catterick near Richmond in 1956. Their engagement was announced in March 1961 and they were married in York Minster on 8 June that year. 

They have three children and ten grandchildren. The children are George, Earl of St. Andrews; Lady Helen Windsor; and Lord Nicholas Windsor. The Duke and Duchess's children do not carry out official royal duties.

The Duchess of Kent holds the Honorary Freedom of five of the ancient City companies: the Worshipful Companies of Clothworkers, Dyers, Glaziers, Musicians and the Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers. 

The Duchess was created a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in 1977. She was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City of York in 1989.

In 1994 The Duchess was received into the Roman Catholic Church. 

For the last two decades, The Duchess has focused on her passion for music. In 2004, The Duchess founded the charity Future Talent with which she remains actively involved.

The Duchess retains her links with Yorkshire as the Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Dragoon Guards and is also Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of the Adjutant General's Corps and The Royal Logistics Corps.

Supporting The Queen

The Duchess of Kent has supported The Queen since her marriage to The Duke of Kent in 1961. 

The Duchess of Kent carries out Royal duties in support of a number of charities close to her heart. These include many musical organisations, and children and young people's charities.

In 1965 The Duchess accompanied The Duke of Kent on a number of overseas trips, including to Sierra Leone to celebrate its independence from the UK. The couple were representing The Queen on this historic trip.

Charities and Patronages

  • Hull & East Riding Breast Frieds

    Breast cancer support group bringing people together who are looking for support or information on what is available locally or want to know how to access our services.

    Region: UK (England)
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, Patron
  • Incorporated Society of Musicians

    Website: www.ism.org

    UK's professional body for musicians.

    Region: UK-wide
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, Honorary Member
  • Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarships

    Annual singing competition and awards open to young British and Commonwealth singers.

    Region: International
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, Patron
  • Leeds Defence Studies Dining Club

    Dining club for individuals working in the field of defence.

    Region: UK (England)
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, Patron
  • Making Music (National Federation of Music Societies)

    Supports over 2,400 voluntary music groups in the UK, including choirs, orchestras and promoters.

    Region: UK-wide
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, Patron
  • Merchant Adventurers of the City of York

    Ancient York guild society undertaking charity work and managing a medieval guild hall as a museum.

    Region: UK (England)
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, Honorary Member
  • Network Housing Association

    Manages and owns affordable housing in London and the Home Counties.

    Region: UK (England)
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, Patron
  • Northern Sinfonia Orchestra

    Orchestra based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

    Region: UK (England)
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, Patron
  • Oxford Flute Summer School Bursary Fund

    Annual summer school for flautists held in the University of Oxford.

    Region: UK (England)
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, PATRON
  • Paul Strickland Scanner Centre

    Provides medical scanning services at Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, Middlesex.

    Region: UK (England)
    Members of the Royal Family:
    The Duchess of Kent, PATRON

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