What became of the royal children in this Christmas portrait?

What became of all the royal children in this delightful newly found Christmas portrait? And who went on to cause a scandal by posing in a rubber jumpsuit and crown on the front of a fetish magazine, asks RICHARD KAY

  • Photograph, which was unearthed from the Daily Mail archives, is thought to be the first time that these ten young royals had been pictured together
  • It was taken on Christmas Day in 1969 and the royal children were pictured with Prince Charles and Princess Anne
  • The royals were pictured in the shadow of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle 

Formal photographs seldom say too much, but every so often they say everything. A little over 50 years ago, the camera clicked on a family group in the shadow of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

It was Christmas Day and the royal children had just emerged from divine worship. There, trying to bring order to the chattering tribe of siblings, cousins, second cousins and a goddaughter, was a young Prince Charles and his fashionably stylish teenage sister Princess Anne.

If 1969 was a momentous year for mankind — the Apollo 11 moon landing, Concorde’s maiden flight and The Beatles’ last public performance — then it was brimming with significance for the Royal Family.

It saw the death of Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice, Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales and the Queen making her first appearance at Trooping the Colour on her horse Burmese, the black mare she would ride for the next 18 years.

Now, 52 years on, the Queen is at Windsor Castle again for Christmas in another year marked by personal loss and extraordinary resilience.

For the first time there will be no Prince Philip at her side and rather than a gathering of extended family, only a handful will make the trip to join her amid concern over rising Covid cases.

But it will be a private occasion with none of the ritual usually associated with royal Christmases, such as the annual walk to church.

Back in 1969, one familiar tradition was missing. For the first time since coming to the throne in 1952, the Queen did not deliver a Christmas broadcast.

Scroll down to see who is pictured in this family photograph. 

This charming photograph was unearthed from the Daily Mail archives. It is thought to be the first time that these ten young royals had been pictured together

The official explanation was that with Charles’s investiture and the screening that summer of the fly-on-the-wall documentary Royal Family, the public had had a surfeit of royal television coverage.

But, in fact, the Queen had grown rather tired of the formulaic ‘my husband and I’ festive address to the Commonwealth and wanted a change. As Philip put it in a TV interview: ‘To sit in front of a TV camera and just deliver a message simply doesn’t get across. Somehow we have to find a better technique. So we thought we would take this year off and scratch our heads and see if we can do something better.’

Instead, filmmaker Anthony Craxton, an old school friend of Philip, was invited to run a live relay from Windsor, both inside and outside the chapel, so that BBC viewers could, for the first time, join the royals in worship on Christmas morning. Which was where this charming photograph, unearthed from the Daily Mail archives, comes in. It is thought to be the first time that these ten young royals had been pictured together.

Its existence owes as much to the expertise of a former Mail photographer, Clive Limpkin, as the banter between Princes Charles and Andrew, the smiling and suited figure standing between his big brother and sister. The cause of all the mirth was a shouted warning to the cameraman to watch out for any unexpected surprises deposited by the Queen’s corgis.

Limpkin, who died aged 82 two years ago, later recalled how Andrew had warned him to watch his step. ‘At some point Andrew told Charles to belt up, despite being a younger brother,’ Limpkin said. ‘I remember it as a very happy occasion. They all seemed in great spirits.’

It was another 48 hours before the resulting picture was published. In common with other national newspapers at the time, the Daily Mail did not print an edition on Boxing Day. These days, of course, we do.

So what does this photograph tell us about the Royal Family and, more pertinently, the future direction of the monarchy? Charles is, naturally, centre stage, smiling but rigid with formality. With his blue suit tightly buttoned and one hand sliding into a pocket, it is the early manifestation of one of his most frequent tics. He is 21.

Princess Anne, on the other hand, looks so much more relaxed. She had only just embarked on her public duties after leaving Benenden School with six O-levels and two A-levels a year earlier. Fashion conscious, she was soon to become the pin-up of the Queen’s family. She is flanked by nine-year-old Andrew and Prince Edward, then just five.

What makes this gathering so intriguing is that at the time all ten of these children were expected to have a life of formal duty. All these years on and its future rests only on Charles, Anne and, to a lesser extent, Edward.

Prince Andrew, who then was his brother’s understudy as heir in line to the throne, is now removed from royal life and almost completely marginalised by the toxic Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

The others are barely recognisable to all but the most devoted of royal fans. Yet once upon a time they were as familiar on the Buckingham Palace balcony at ceremonial events such as Trooping the Colour as Princes George, Louis and their sister Princess Charlotte are today.

So who are they all and what has happened to them in the half century that has elapsed since this picture was taken?

Here, we take a look…


1. James Ogilvy

James Ogilvy

Aged five in 1969, James is the elder child and only son of the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra and the late Sir Angus Ogilvy. When he was born, he was 13th in line to the throne and is now 58th. Educated at Eton College and the University of St Andrews, he went on to become a publisher. Now 57, he is said to be the Queen’s favourite godson. He survived a shark attack in 1997 while on holiday in Florida with elegant wife Julia and their two children.

2. Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones

Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones

Then five, Lady Sarah is the Queen’s adored niece. Now 57, the daughter of Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon became Lady Sarah Chatto after marrying artist Daniel Chatto in 1994. At the time of her birth she was seventh in the line of succession. Today she is 28th. She is godmother to Prince Harry.

3. George, Earl of St Andrews

George, Earl of St Andrews

Then aged seven, George is the elder son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. At the time of his birth he was tenth in line to the throne. Now 59 and 42nd in the line of succession, he attended Eton and Cambridge. A godson of Prince Philip, he is married to a Canadian academic and is chancellor of Bolton University. Their three children include Royal Family pin-up Lady Amelia Windsor.

4. Lady Helen Windsor

Lady Helen Windsor

Then aged five, Lady Helen is the 57-year-old sister of George (see above). She is currently 47th in line to the throne. After five years at the all-girls St Mary’s, Wantage, she moved to Gordonstoun for the sixth form where she was nicknamed Melons because of her shapely figure. Married to art dealer Tim Taylor, with whom she has four children.

5. Viscount (David) Linley

Viscount (David) Linley

Then aged eight and the son of Princess Margaret, he became the 2nd Earl of Snowdon on the death of his photographer father in 2017. He is a furniture maker and former chairman of auction house Christie’s. At the time of his birth he was fifth in line to the throne. Today he is 25th. Now 60 he is separated from his wife Serena, daughter of the Earl of Stanhope with whom he has two children.

6. Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew

The first child to be born to a reigning monarch for 103 years and was second in the line of succession until the birth of Prince William. He is now ninth.

7. Marina Ogilvy

Marina Ogilvy

Then three, Marina was the baby of the family. Now 55, the younger sister of James Ogilvy is a goddaughter of Prince Charles. She was married for seven years to photographer Paul Mowatt with whom she had two children and is 61st in the line of succession. Something of a royal wild child, Marina was briefly the Windsor’s most infamous back sheep. Famously pregnant before marrying Mowatt — in black — in 1990, she once posed for a fetish magazine in a rubber jumpsuit and crown surrounded by corgis. It led to a fall out with her parents, Princess Alexandra and Sir Angus Ogilvy. They were reconciled and after her marriage ended she reverted to her maiden name. Today she is a teacher and musician.

8. Prince Edward

Prince Edward

Then five, was third in line to the throne — today he is 14th. He married former PR girl Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 and the couple have two children.

  • In 1969 Princess Anne was embarking on her life of royal duty. Twice married and with two children, she is consistently the hardest working member of the Royal Family and will continue to occupy a principal role after her brother becomes king. Charles was being prepared for kingship in 1969. The next year he graduated from Cambridge. At 73, he is the oldest and longest-serving heir to the throne.

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