Friday, September 16, 2011

Is Alexandra going to marry an Irish peer

September 16, 1961

Britain's popular Princess Alexandra of Kent may soon become engaged to an Irish peer, reports the Associated Press.  The lucky peer is 28-year-old Lord O'Neill, a Protestant representative of the landed gentry with a flair for industry, a modern man in a traditional setting."

Rumors about an impending engagement announcement started when Lord O'Neill bought a ring, worth $19,600 from the same jeweler "who sold the duke of Kent an engagement ring for his bride."

The Duke of Kent is Princess Alexandra's older brother.   They are first cousins to Queen Elizabeth II.

Princess Alexandra and Lord O'Neill are "vacationing on the whisky distilling island of Islay off Scotland."   Reporters, who tried to call the isolated island, received the following message:  "The number is temporarily out of service -- at the request of the subscriber."

Those who called Kensington Palace, where the princess lives with her mother, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent,  were told that "she is on holiday."  A secretary added: "I know nothing of any impending engagement."

Princess Alexandra and Lord O'Neill are staying with Mr. and Mrs. Charles Morrison.     They have known each other for many years.  The princess attended school with Lord O'Neill's sister, Fionn.

Raymond Arthur Clanaboy O'Neil, 4th Baron O'Neil, succeeded his father in 1944.  He owns estates in Ireland and Leicestershire, as well as a townhouse in a "fashionable London area."  He also "runs a chain of garages," and is one of the original investors in commercial television in Northern Ireland.

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