1964: The Year of Royal Babies

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Four royal babies: 1964.

Today there is a media frenzy when a royal baby is born. This wasn’t always the case in the previous century because the media hadn’t become quite as intrusive and the general population was more inclined to allow the royal family more privacy than they do today.

Yet imagine what today’s media would have made of the news in 1964 when four royal babies were born, including one to Queen Elizabeth II, within the space of just 62 days. By the time the last one was born, possibly even the most ardent royalist was getting a little weary of the royal propensity to breed like rabbits?

The first baby – a Leap Year Baby

The first royal lady to give birth in 1964 was the glamorous Princess Alexandra, the queen’s cousin. Her father was the dashing Prince George, Duke of Kent who tragically died during the Second World War and his elegant wife, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark.

Alexandra, who has spent much of her life performing royal duties on behalf of the queen was married to businessman Angus Ogilvy and gave birth to her first child, James, on February 29th. Coincidentally, Alexandra herself was born on another notable day of the year. One of her forenames is Christabel as she had been born on Christmas Day, 1936. James is the only member of the royal family throughout its history that had been born on February 29th.

The second baby – Prince Edward

Next it was the turn of Queen Elizabeth II. Just ten days after her cousin Alexandra has given birth to a son, the queen produced her fourth child, Prince Edward om March 10th. Her last child, Edward joined the family of siblings comprising Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew.

At the time of his birth he was third in line to the throne. Sons of monarchs are traditionally made dukes upon their marriages and when Edward married in 1999 he was created Duke of Wessex. He will ultimately inherit the title of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The third baby – Lady Helen Windsor

Prince Edward was only forty nine days old when the newest royal baby arrived on April 28th. This was Helen, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. The duke is the brother of Alexandra above who gave birth to the first 1964 royal baby. The duke, Edward and his sister Alexandra were five and six years old respectively when their father was killed in WW2.

Lady Helen’s mother is another stylish royal. The Duchess of Kent was formerly Katherine Worsley, a Yorkshirewoman. Lady Helen was her second child and the couple had a further son in 1970. When she grew to womanhood, Lady Sarah was named ‘Melons’ by the popular press due to her …. um ….. ample bosom. She was the first member of the royal family to be photographed topless.

The fourth baby – Lady Sarah Chatto

Lady Helen was a mere three days old when the next royal baby came into the world. This time the mother was the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret. She had been unable to marry the love of her life, Group Captain Peter Townsend. He was married and even had he divorced, marriage to a divorcé would have been impossible for the princess in those days.

Allegedly on the rebound, Margaret married society photographer Antony Armstrong Jones. He was given the title of Lord Snowdon. Sarah was their second and final child; their son David had been born in 1961.

The cousins turn twenty-one

By 1985 the four royal cousins were known as the ‘queenyboppers’.  That year, when they celebrated their twenty-first birthdays the queen threw a party for them at Windsor Castle. No small get-together, there were six hundred guests.

I bet that was some party 🙂


Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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