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Special celebrations for the Queen and the rest of the British royal family

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Kent

Gemma Strong

There will be celebrations within the royal family on Monday as the Queen's cousin, the Duke of Kent, marks his 59th wedding anniversary. The royal married Katharine Worsley at York Minster on 8 June 1961. Together, they share three children; George, Earl of St Andrews, Lady Helen Taylor and Lord Nicholas Windsor – tragically their third son, Lord Patrick Windsor, was stillborn in 1977.

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The Duke and Duchess of Kent are celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary

The Queen has a good relationship with her cousin. His father was Prince George, Duke of Kent, the younger brother of King George VI, the monarch's father. And because his mother, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, was a first cousin of Prince Philip, he is also both a first cousin once removed and a second cousin to Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

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The Duke, who was born Prince Edward on 9 October 1935 at the family's London home, inherited his title at the tender age of six following the death of his father, who died in 1942 in a wartime flying accident while on active service, aged just 39.

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He first met Katharine while he was based at Catterick Garrison near the bride's family's ancestral home, Hovington Hall. The Duke had presented his future wife with a beautiful engagement ring made of an oval sapphire with round diamonds on either side.

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Edward and Catharine on their wedding day in 1961

The couple's wedding itself broke with royal convention; they chose to tie the knot in the bride's native Yorkshire, rather than continuing the long-established tradition of marrying in Westminster Abbey. Edward and Catharine had also already had to postpone their nuptials for a year; Princess Margaret had married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, and two royal weddings in one year wasn't considered the 'done thing'.

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The couple pictured with their three children

Throughout his life, Edward has been a stalwart of the royal family, supporting the Queen throughout her reign and continuing to take on some of her duties. The Duke, 84, is also a regular presence at events such as Trooping the Colour and the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph.

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The Duke of Kent has supported the Queen throughout her reign

Just last month, the Duke – who resides with his wife at Wren House, Kensington Palace – spoke of his frustration at having to miss royal visits because of the coronavirus lockdown. His comments came in a special message recorded for the RNLI in which he praised the organisation for its strength and courage in what he described as "one of the worst storms" it has ever faced. "I personally find it most frustrating to have to cancel or at least postpone a number of planned visits to lifeboat stations, which I was looking forward to," he shared.

Edward, who has been patron of the RNLI for 50 years, then spoke of his huge pride in the rescue service, saying, "to you all, my praise for your tenacity, patience and courage which could not be higher...they have been in the best traditions of the RNLI".

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