A Placentia-born woman who married into the Royal Family is about to visit her birthplace for the first time since childhood.
Sylvana (Tomaselli) Windsor will be joined by her husband, George Windsor. He’s the great-grandson of King George V, and the eldest son of Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent and the Queen’s first cousin.
The couple — whose titles are the Earl and Countess of St. Andrews — will be in Placentia from Sept. 13 to 16 as part of the town’s 350th anniversary celebrations.
“We’re excited to be hosting one of our very own back in Placentia,” says Wayne Power, a town councillor and chairman of the board for Placentia 350, the not-for-profit that’s been organizing anniversary events all year.
The countess was born in Placentia in May 1957 and baptized at the Holy Rosary Parish that July. Her father was a civil engineer working on the American base at Argentia at the time.
She moved to Europe as a toddler and has never been back, although she has lived and studied in Canada.
In 1988, she married George Windsor.
With the nuptials, he gave up his place in the succession to the British throne.
Because his wife was Catholic, the Act of Settlement barred him from the crown.
The couple has three children, a boy and two girls. The two oldest converted to Catholicism and are also blocked from the line of succession. The youngest, Lady Amelia Windsor, is currently 30th in line.
During their stay in Placentia — which is not an official Royal visit — Lord and Lady St. Andrews will be guests at a Sept. 14 civic dinner and at the launch of the Voices of Placentia Bay Festival the next day.
As well, on Sept. 16, they are scheduled to attend mass at Holy Rosary and a morning coffee at the Freshwater Community Centre following the church service.
“And we have a couple of other public opportunities for people to meet and greet,” Power says. “They’re very anxious to get here, first and foremost for her to explore the place she was born, but they are also very interested in meeting the people.”
The earl and countess are expected to spend a few days exploring the Avalon Peninsula before returning to the U.K.
Lady St. Andrews is a Cambridge scholar, who lectures on philosophers such as Mary Wollstonecraft and supervises papers on the history of political thought.
Her publications focus on political thought and intellectual history from the late 17th century to the mid-19th century.
The earl was educated at Cambridge, served in the British diplomatic service, and has worked on antiquarian books and manuscripts as well as an Internet-based world history project.
Each of them also have extensive involvement in intellectual and charitable organizations.
The countess told The Telegram in January 2011 she “very much” hoped to return to Placentia some day.
That day is now less than a week away.