The engagement of Princess Alexandra of Kent, only daughter of George, Duke of Kent and Marina of Greece and Denmark, to Angus Ogilvy, second son of the 12th Earl of Airlie, was announced on 19 November 1962.
The couple first met in 1955 when both were attending a ball at Luton Hoo, a manor house, and the relationship had the royal seal of approval from the start as the Ogilvys had been connected to the royal family for generations. Angus’s grandmother, Mabell, was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Alexandra’s grandmother, Queen Mary, and Angus’s father was Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
Since Alexandra was the granddaughter of George V, the wedding took place at Westminster Abbey and was attended by all of the royal family, however it was not regarded as a state occasion so there was no appearance on the balcony.
Alexandra’s wedding dress was designed by John Cavanagh who had a long association with the Kent family, having already made the dress for Alexandra’s sister-in-law, Katharine Worsley. Alexandra wanted to keep the gown simple, however she wanted the same Valciennes lace her late grandmother, Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, had used for her wedding veil. The problem was the intricate lace pattern of oak leaves and acorns could only be made in France, and that posed a problem since it was customary for British royal brides to use materials sourced from Britain. As the purchase of French-made lace would provoke controversy if the press got hold of the story, a deal was struck with British customs to keep the arrival of the lace a secret.
The beautiful lace was layered over white tulle, although the sleeves were left translucent, and extra lace was added to the neckline and cuffs. The veil was made of the same lace and held in place with the Kent Fringe tiara which had been a wedding gift to the bride’s mother, Marina, Duchess of Kent.
The Ogilvys had a long and happy marriage which ended on 26 December 2004 with Angus’s death. The couple had two children, James, born in 1964, and Marina, born in 1966, both of whom were able to grow up without the stress of being part of the royal family. Ogilvy had been offered an earldom since he was marrying the granddaughter of a king, however his refusal meant children born to the couple would have no titles. Alexandra retained her style of HRH Princess Alexandra, but was now officially known as the Honorable Mrs. Angus Ogilvy.