Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Duke of Kent marries "in elaborate rite"

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June 8, 1961

The Duke of Kent, eighth in the line of succession to the British throne, was married today to Miss Katharine Worsley, the daughter of a Yorkshire baronet, reports the New York Times.

The marriage took place at York Minster and was conducted by the Archbishop of York.  Queen Elizabeth II and other Royal Family members journeyed north to attend the ceremony, which was televised.  The more than 2,000 guests included twenty-four members of European royal families, members of the Cabinet, and Members of the Parliament.  This was the first royal wedding at York Minster in 633 years.

The streets were filled with "proud Yorkshiremen" as the one of their own married into the royal family.  The "golden-haired" bride is the daughter of Sir William Worsley, Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding.  The Worsley family has lived at Hovingham Hall for more than 500 years.

The "solemn young bride and her father stepped stiffly through the west door of the cathedral" and were greeted "with a fanfare by trumpeters of the Royal Scots  Greys."   The Duke is a member of this regiment.

The bride and her father "moved slowly to the altar, her long white train sweeping behind her."  She was attended by eight little girls, including ten-year-old Princess Anne, the Queen's daughter, and three little page boys, all dressed in white. The bride's gown was designed by John Cavanagh.  The Times of London described the gown as "a statuesque and simple dress. It was of white silk gauze, with a specially woven design that shimmered lightly."

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The Duke of Kent, 25, dressed in the ceremonial uniform of the Royal Scots Greys, waited for his bride at the altar.  His best man was his younger brother, Prince Michael.  

The bride, who is three years older than the Duke, chose the wedding ceremony from the Church of England's 1928 Prayer book, "instead of the original 1662 version."   The newer version omits the word obey in the bride's pledge, but "it was used by the Archbishop at her request."

After the Duke placed a plain gold band on Katharine's finger, and the vows were exchanged, the couple "moved to the altar and knelt there while the golden-robed Archbishop bent over them, giving them his address in a low voice that only the wedding couple could hear."

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The newlyweds emerged from the cathedral and passed under "an arch of swords held by noncommissioned officers from Royal Scots Greys.  The crowds cheered as the Duke and his new Duchess got into the car for the twenty-three-mile drive to Hovingham Hall "for the huge wedding reception."

Later today, the newlyweds will leave for Scotland to start their honeymoon at Birkhall, the Queen Mother's residence in Scotland.

The Members of the Royal family who attended the wedding included the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and Antony Armstrong-Jones, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Princess Royal, accompanied by the Earl and Countess of Harewood and the Hon. Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Lascelles, the Duchess of Kent, accompanied by Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael of Kent.  The Court Circular did not list the foreign royals who attended the wedding.

In its coverage of the wedding, the Times noted that this was a Yorkshire wedding.  The people "who lined the streets to cheer in the tentative sunlight were the people of the city and of the East, West, and York Ridings.  In London, it would have been certain that at least a tenth of them would be Americans."

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The Court Jeweller said...

So beautiful - her wedding dress is one of my all-time favorites. I love when a gown can be both classic and "of its time" at the same time!

Little Sis said...

Here is a link to a video of the wedding in color!

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

thanks - it is the same video that's on the DVD Royal Weddings of the 20th Century.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

the video is available on both sides of the pond