Princess Alexandra, photographed in 1961.

Princess Alexandra, photographed in 1961.Dutch National Archives

On Christmas Day, Dec 25, Princess Alexandra, Queen Elizabeth II's cousin celebrates her birthday but how much do you know about this hard-working Royal. 

A working member of the Royal Family, Princess Alexandra is patron or president of over 100 organisations, which reflect her wide-ranging interests, from the arts to health care. She also supports The Queen in her duties as Head of State, attending ceremonial occasions alongside other members of the Royal Family.

Medical and welfare

Mental health care, palliative care and international aid remain close to the Princess’s heart. She is Joint-President of Cancer Research UK with The Duke of Gloucester and was Patron of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust for 47 years. She has been Patron of the Florence Nightingale Foundation - which provides scholarships for nurses, midwives and health visitors to study - since 1957 and is also Patron of St. Christopher's Hospice, Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, MIND and the Mental Health Foundation.

In June 2014 - as Deputy President of the British Red Cross Society - Princess Alexandra joined The Prince of Wales at a special Garden Party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the work of the Red Cross over 150 years and, in particular, its efforts during the First World War. Around 6,000 of its supporters, volunteers, and full-time staff from across the country attended. 

Princess Alexandra has been Patron of Alzheimer's Society since 1990, and has hosted The People Awards at St James's Palace which help to recognise the contribution of the people who work at and volunteer for Alzheimer's Society. 

Known for her work for the blind, Princess Alexandra is Patron of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and of Action for Blind People as well as being President of Sightsavers. In 2014 Her Royal Highness attended the World Bank River Blindness Fortieth Anniversary Summit in Washington DC, USA and learned about the river blindness prevention programmes which continue to be replicated across other neglected tropical diseases. The Princess returned to Washington in 2016 in her capacity as President of Sightsavers to attend a conference on ending neglected tropical diseases.

The Princess is President of Alexandra Rose Charities, founded in 1912 by King Edward VII's wife Queen Alexandra initially to raise money for hospitals through the sale of roses. Today the charity promotes and assists projects for the welfare and development of children and young people in London through the Rose Voucher Scheme, whereby mothers on low incomes can be helped to feed their young children healthy food.

Arts and heritage

Princess Alexandra has a great interest in classical music and opera. She is Patron of the Chopin Society, the English National Opera, and the London Philharmonic Choir. Her Royal Highness regularly attends galas and performances to lend her support to events.  

She is also Patron or President of a number of museums and organisations which seek to preserve historic locations along with art and artefacts. 

Education

Princess Alexandra has links with a number of academic institutions. She was Chancellor of the University of Lancaster from 1964-2004; she has received honorary law doctorates from Queensland, Hong Kong, Mauritius and Liverpool Universities, as well as an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Lancaster.

Her Royal Highness is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow; of the Royal College of Anaesthetists; the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Physicians.

Military

The Princess’s military affiliations include her honorary role as Royal Colonel of 3rd Battalion The Rifles and Colonel in Chief of The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's). She is also Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Lancers and Honorary Royal Colonel of The Royal Yeomanry.

Her Royal Highness has been Patron and Air Chief Commandant of Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service since November 1966 and was Royal Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Cottesmore until 2013.

H/T: Royal.uk