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Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, CI, GCVO, GBE (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Μαρίνα της Ελλάδας και Δανίας; 13 December [O.S. 30 November] 1906 – 27 August 1968) was a princess of the Greek royal house, who married Prince George, Duke of Kent, fourth son of King George V of the United Kingdom in 1934. They had three children: Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Michael of Kent.
The princess was widowed in 1942, when her husband was killed in a plane crash on active service. In later life, she carried out many royal engagements, including the independence celebrations for Ghana and Botswana.
Princess Marina was born in Athens, Greece, on 13 December 1906. Her father was Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, the third son of George I of Greece. Her mother was Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, a granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. She was the youngest of the couple's children. One of her paternal uncles was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, the father of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
She was baptised near the end of 1906, and her godparents were: the King of Greece (her paternal grandfather); the King of the United Kingdom (her great-uncle by marriage); the Princess of Wales; Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (her paternal uncle); Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia (her maternal uncle); and Grand Duchess Victoria Fyodorovna of Russia (her maternal aunt).
The family was generally poor and forced into exile when she was 11, following the overthrow of the Greek monarchy. They later moved to Paris, while the Princess stayed throughout Europe with her extended family.
In 1932 Princess Marina and Prince George, Duke of Kent, a second cousin through Christian IX of Denmark, met in London. Their betrothal was announced in August 1934. On 29 November 1934, they married at Westminster Abbey, London. The wedding was followed by a Greek ceremony in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace. This was the most recent occasion on which a foreign-born princess married into the British Royal Family.
Her eight bridesmaids were her first cousins, Greek princesses Irene, Eugenie and Katherine, her maternal first cousin Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia, her first cousin once removed Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, her husband's niece Princess Elizabeth of York, her husband's cousins the Lady Iris Mountbatten and Lady Mary Cambridge.
The couple had three children:
The Duke of Kent was killed on 25 August 1942, in an aeroplane crash at Eagles Rock, near Dunbeath, Caithness, Scotland, while on active service with the Royal Air Force. The Duchess, according to royal biographer Hugo Vickers, was "the only war widow in Britain whose estate was forced to pay death duties".
After her husband's death, the Duchess of Kent continued to be an active member of the British Royal Family, carrying out a wide range of royal and official engagements. She was the president of the Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for 26 years. She was President of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution from 1943 until her death and was awarded the RNLI's Gold Medal in 1967 to mark this contribution. Her first cousin Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, married her niece, the future Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1952, the Duchess also visited Sarawak (then a British Crown Colony), where she laid the foundation stone of the Cathedral of St. Thomas in Kuching. She also visited the Batu Lintang camp, a Japanese internment camp during World War II which had been converted to a teacher training college, and the town of Sibu, where she opened the outpatient department of the Lau Kheng Howe Hospital.
In March 1957 when the Gold Coast (later Ghana)—gained independence from Britain, the Duchess of Kent was appointed to represent the Queen at the celebrations. Fifty years later, at the 50th Anniversary of Ghana's Independence, it would be her son, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who would be appointed by the Queen to represent her.
In September 1966, when the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland became the new Republic of Botswana, the Princess was appointed again to represent the Queen at the celebrations.  The main public hospital in Gaborone, the new Botswana's capital, is named "Princess Marina Hospital".
She served as the first Chancellor of the University of Kent at Canterbury from 1963 until her death from a brain tumour at Kensington Palace at 11.40 am on 27 August 1968, aged 61. Funeral service for the Princess was held at the St. George's Chapel on 30 August. She was buried in the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore. Her funeral was the final royal ceremony attended by her brother-in-law, the former Edward VIII.
The Kinks recorded "She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina" for their 1969 album Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). The song was written by Ray Davies. In 2017, Clare Holman portrayed Princess Marina in the season 2 finale of The Crown.
Princess Marina gave her name to many facilities, including:
British and Commonwealth honours
|Ancestors of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark|
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Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark
Cadet branch of the House of OldenburgBorn: 13 December 1906 Died: 27 August 1968
|Chancellor of the University of Kent