Who is our Grand Master. Talk by Liberty Lodge 5573

On 12 March 2024, the Eastern Area Team were proud to join the members of Liberty Lodge 5573 at Rochdale Masonic Hall for a talk on our Grand Master, who he is and what role he plays in Freemasonry.

As always, we kindly accepted the invitation to partake in the social board and a very enjoyable evening has had by all.

The second most important toast at our Social Board is that to our Grand Master, who is the Duke of Kent the officer who has been the figure head of our organisation since 1967.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, KG (Order of the Garter), GCMG (Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George), GCVO (Knight Grand Cross of the Victorian Order), CD (Canadian Order), ADC (Personal Aid de Camp to the Royal House Hold).

Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick, born 9 October 1935, is a member of the British royal family. The son of Prince George, Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, and first cousin of our late Queen Elizabeth II. He is 41st in the line of succession to the British throne.

Prince Edward has held the title of Duke of Kent for over 81 years. He inherited the title at the age of six, after the death of his father in a plane crash in 1942. Edward carried out many engagements on behalf of Elizabeth II and is involved with over 140 charitable organisations. He served as the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, retiring in 2001. He is president of The Scout Association, the Royal United Services Institute, and the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and since 1967 Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. The Duke of Kent has been Chancellor of the University of Surrey since June 1976. Much of his charity work revolves around war remembrance, technology, and the growth of British industry.

Prince Edward was born at No. 3 Belgrave Square, London, to Prince George and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, the Duke and Duchess of Kent. His father was the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary. His mother was the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Elena Vladi – Mirovna of Russia.

Prince Edward began his education at Ludgrove, a preparatory school in Berkshire, before going on to Eton College and then Le Rosey in Switzerland. After school he entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he won the Sir James Moncrieff Grierson prize for foreign languages. Edward speaks fluent French, having been raised in a house where, according to the words of his younger brother, Prince Michael of Kent, his mother and aunts spoke French as a matter of preference.

On 25 August 1942, Prince Edward’s father, the Duke of Kent, was killed when his plane crashed in bad weather in Caithness. Prince Edward, at six years old, succeeded his father as Duke of Kent, Earl of St Andrews and Baron Downpatrick. As a member of the royal family, Prince Edward began performing engagements at an early age. In 1952, at the age of 16, he walked behind the coffin of his uncle, George 6th, at his state funeral. In 1953, he attended the coronation of his cousin, Elizabeth II, and was the third to pay homage at her throne, following the dukes of Edinburgh and Gloucester.

On 29 July 1955, the Duke of Kent graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as a second lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys, the beginning of a military career which lasted over 20 years. He was promoted to captain on 29 July 1961. From 1962 to 1963, the Duke of Kent served in Hong Kong, later serving on the staff in Eastern Command. He was promoted to major on 31 December 1967. In 1970, the Duke commanded a squadron of his regiment serving in the British Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus, part of the UN force enforcing peace between the Greek and Turkish parts of the divided island. During the early 1970s, the Duke also served briefly in Northern Ireland with his regiment. He was promoted to leftenant-colonel on 30 June 1973.

The Duke retired from the army on 15 April 1976. He was subsequently accorded the honorary rank of major-general on 11 June 1983, and of field marshal on 11 June 1993.

At York Minster on 8 June 1961 the Duke of Kent married Katharine Worsley, the only daughter of Sir William Worsley, 4th Baronet, by his wife Joyce Morgan Brunner.
The couple have three living children.

The Duke performed engagements on behalf of his cousin, the Queen, for over 50 years.
One of his major public roles for many years was vice-chairman of British Trade International, formerly known as the British Overseas Trade Board, and later as the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. This position saw the Duke travel abroad to represent the British government in fostering trade relations with foreign countries and organisations.

From 1971 to 2000, he was president of English football’s governing body, The Football Association. He has served as the president of The Scout Association since 1975 and
as the president of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club between 1969 and 2021 He was also president of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission from 1970 until 2023. His other roles include president of the RAF Benevolent Fund, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Stroke Association, the Royal United Services Institute, and many other organisations and institutions. He is also on the advisory panel for the Mountbatten Medal and presents the medal once the decision has been made. The Duke of Kent is one of the Royal Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Kent became the oldest living grandchild of King George 5th and Queen Mary.

The Duke was initiated into Royal Alpha Lodge No. 16 on 16 December 1963, and was elected its Worshipful Master for 1965 and 1966. Having been appointed Senior Grand Warden in 1966, he was elected as Grand Master the following year, and was installed on 14 June 1967 during United Grand Lodge of England’s 250th anniversary celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall. He is the 10th, and longest-serving Grand Master of UGLE, the governing body of Freemasonry in England and Wales. In December 2013, he celebrated 50 years as a freemason. In October 2017 he presided over the tercentenary celebrations of UGLE, marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of the original Grand Lodge, one of two which merged to form UGLE in 1813. The main ceremony was held in the Royal Albert Hall, in the year which also marked the Duke’s 50th anniversary of installation as Grand Master.
Brethren! Like our late Queen Elizabeth ll his life has been dedicated to service.

A life that probably most of us was not aware of! As an epilogue to this short lecture, our Grandmaster the Duke of Kent is of the Blood Royal and as such requires a Masonic Officer to deputise for him whenever he is required to carry out Royal Engagements. This officer carries the title of Pro Grandmaster. It is distinct from the Deputy Grand Master who acts as the Grand Master’s deputy rather than as acting Grand Master. When a Grandmaster is not of the Blood Royal there is no Pro Grandmaster.

That, brethren concludes our short lecture, re our Grandmaster, Prince Edward the Duke of Kent.


Who is our Grand Master. Talk by Liberty Lodge 5573