Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick: 12 Facts About The Royal Turned Fashion Designer

The House of Windsor is bigger than most people — aside from the most avid of royal watchers and historians — know. While we are, of course, familiar with the British royals closer to the throne, such as King Charles III's sons, William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, there's a whole slew of family members who aren't as well known to the public. These low-key royals often have titles of their own, but their distance from the crown allows them to lead more normal lives. One such royal is Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick. You may not have heard of him, but he's been present at many royal gatherings. Edward — who goes by Eddy Downpatrick — is the first cousin twice removed of the late Queen Elizabeth II. His grandfather, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, is a working royal whose father, Prince George, was the younger brother of Elizabeth's father, King George VI.

Edward's position allows him a life of privilege free of the trappings of working royal life. That doesn't mean he doesn't work hard, though — Edward has made a name for himself in the fashion world and beyond.

He views being born into the royal family as 'complete luck'

The position of Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, in the royal family is a sort of limbo. He's only a distant cousin of King Charles III, but the fact that his grandfather's grandfather was a monarch means that he's not a commoner, either. Edward's title, Lord Downpatrick, is a courtesy title with no legal standing. He will presumably inherit the title formally one day, though, as it's one of the titles of his grandfather, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. Prince Edward also holds the subsidiary titles of Earl St. Andrews and Baron Downpatrick, with the former being used as the courtesy title of his son, George Windsor. Edward is second in line to the dukedom after his father and is set to hold all three titles in his own right some day.

In spite of this, Edward Windsor had a relatively normal upbringing, aside from his grandfather having his own protection detail. He told Tatler that it took some time for him to come to terms with his royal standing, saying, "Only with age – and with a degree of cynicism – can you possibly tell that some people treat you differently because you haven't got a Mr in front of your name." He views his noble status as a fluke more than anything, saying, "It's complete luck that it happens to be you but it's quite cool that it has."

He was Princess Diana's godson

Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick may not be too close to the crown, but "close" in this case is relative. Some might argue that Edward's place in the royal family is preferable; he's not burdened with the sort of pressure that led to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle relinquishing their duties (leading to Harry's rift with the royal family), but he's still royal enough to enjoy some sweet perks, like having the late Princess Diana as his godmother.

Princess Diana had 17 godchildren and was reportedly quite committed to all of them, never letting her many responsibilities get in the way of remembering to send each one a birthday gift every year. "Everyone wants the best for their child — and there simply wasn't any better godmother than Diana," a mother of one of Diana's godchildren told The Mirror.

Sadly, Edward was only eight years old when Diana was killed in a tragic car crash, so he didn't get to know her very well, but their names will forever be linked.

He's barred from the line of succession

Being the great-great-grandson of a monarch means that Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, should be eligible to inherit the crown one day, but there are dozens of people ahead of him in the line of succession. That's not the only thing preventing him from being king one day, though. In order for Edward to reign, he would have to change religions. That's because Edward is Roman Catholic, making him ineligible to inherit the throne due to The Act of Settlement of 1701, which prohibits Roman Catholics from ruling the country.

As discriminatory as the policy might sound, there's a practical reason for it. The monarch of Great Britain is also the head of the Church of England, officially known as the Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Therefore, the monarch must be a member of the Church of England. 

Previously, marrying a Catholic was enough to bar someone from the line of succession, which happened to Edward's father, George Windsor, when he married his mother, Sylvana Tomaselli. While 2013's Succession to the Crown Act restored George's place in the line of succession, he was not part of it at the time of Edward's birth, which Edward was not allowed to wear the special christening robe worn by members of the royal family — something that reportedly upset his godmother, Princess Diana.

Edward Windsor started his career in finance

A career in fashion design isn't a traditional choice for a member of the royal family and a future duke. Before following creative pursuits, Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, pursued a more expected path: finance. As one might expect for someone of his background, the young Edward attended elite institutions, graduating from Eton, the alma mater of his cousins, William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Edward then went on to study French and German at the University of Oxford, obtaining a master of arts degree.

Edward initially planned to enter military service, but multiple rugby injuries, including a torn rotator cuff, prevented him from his dreams of being in the army. Instead, he embarked on a career as an analyst for JP Morgan. He's held other jobs in the finance sector, most recently at digital financial advisory Fintuity, where he currently serves as strategy director. The company is based in the U.K. but has plans to expand in Europe, which means that those German and French language skills may well come in handy for the entrepreneur. Edward is also a regular contributor to Fintuity's blog.

He launched the fashion brand Fidir

In 2017, Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, launched the menswear line Fidir. The brand is inspired by his love for Scotland; he told Tatler that he first began to form the idea for the brand while hiking there. "It was a very hot day and I hadn't brought any water with me and whether I was beginning to hallucinate or not, I began to have ideas for T-shirts and jackets and jumpers that I might like to put together one day," he said.

Fidir is a Gaelic word meaning "'feel' or 'experience'," and the brand is so named because, as Edward told The Glass Magazine, "We wanted a name that connected the brand to its source of inspiration and Gaelic presented us with some beautiful words from which to choose ... despite some people's problems pronouncing it."

Fidir designs are inspired by Scotland's landscape and embody a rough and natural aesthetic; one example Edward gave to the outlet is that the line's t-shirts and henleys feature "unfinished, flat-lock hems silhouetted to ape a particular ridge atop Beinn Dearg, a hike up which formed part of my inspiration to create the brand in the first place." Other items incorporate imagery of the country. Edward said that he wanted the designs to be flattering and neat, rejecting the modern trend of loose-fitting leisurewear. The brand's logo is a golden eagle feather; golden eagles are plentiful in the Scottish countryside.

His heart is in Scotland

Although Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, grew up in England, he has long held a soft spot for Scotland. The country not only provided inspiration for his fashion company, Fidir but is also a place that he long imagined himself living in. In 2020, he fulfilled his dream of having a home in Scotland, nabbing a cottage in scenic Inverness-shire.

Years before making the move, Edward told Tatler that having a house in Scotland was his "number one aim in life," and said that he would also like to have a physical location for his fashion brand in the country. While, at the time of this writing, it looks like Fidir is still online-only with no physical address, it could one day have a physical storefront in Scotland. "From a vanity point of view, I would absolutely love to have a shop," he mused. "And from an even vainer point of view I'd love it to be somewhere such as Braemar or Ullapool or even ­Portree in Skye." Edward went on to speak of his love for Scotland's natural beauty, adding, "­Despite the horizontal rain and the gloom, as I've grown up I've appreciated the Highlands more and more, and that's just really where I long to be."

His move to Scotland wasn't just the fulfillment of a dream, but it also helped him truly find himself. He told the Scottish Mail on Sunday that he has no regrets about leaving his posh London lifestyle behind for a more rustic locale. "My life is so much more 'me' now and I feel a sense of peace and fulfillment," he said.

Edward Windsor loves to travel

While Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, may think of himself as a Scotsman at heart, he's also quite the globetrotter. His adventures have taken him far and wide, and he's particularly drawn to cold climates, telling Tatler that when he travels he finds himself "compelled to jump into bodies of icy water."

That compulsion has brought him to some of the coldest parts of the world, and he has been hiking, climbing, and skiing across the in places like British Columbia, Ethiopia, and Austria — where he once suffered a nasty fall on a mountain, resulting in multiple broken ribs. "There is something more rewarding about it," he said of his adventures in nature. "It's just you and the mountain. Often you end up talking with strange things like a stream or a bird or marmot."

Edward has even documented some of his travels as a journalist, including a piece for Tatler on a helicopter adventure through the Himalayas, a guide to France's best ski slopes for Gentleman's Journal, and a Tatler essay on skiing in Macedonia.

He offers curated trips through his travel company

Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick's love of travel not only inspired his fashion brand, it also inspired another business endeavor. Fittingly, Edward combined his passions and started a travel company, Aristeia Travel, in 2021. The company started off giving tours of Edward's favorite place, the Scottish Highlands. "The popularity of the Highlands as a travel destination has never been higher and I can show people a unique perspective and enable them to engage with people and places they wouldn't otherwise get a chance to," he told the Scottish Mail on Sunday. Edward's royal connections mean he can offer some unique accommodations, including privately owned castles in the country. He also provides tours for fans of "Outlander," bringing them to places such as the site of the Battle of Culloden, which is featured on the show.

Since then, Aristeia has branched out. The company's website lists a menu of trips to places across the globe to locations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The company also offers skiing and whale-watching trips. A voyage with Aristeia doesn't come cheap, though. While each trip is a unique experience, prices start at $11,000 and can cost tens of thousands depending on the location and activities. The high cost comes with a lot of benefits, though, as Edward customizes each trip for his clients. "Because we are the size we are, there's an intimacy to each trip and my guests and I get to know each other well," he explained to The Field.

He felt honored to be invited to William and Kate's wedding

Royal weddings tend to be lavish, and that was especially true for the royal wedding of William and Catherine Middleton, Prince and Princess of Wales. The couple tied the knot after years of courtship in 2011, and people all over the globe celebrated their nuptials. It was one of the most expensive weddings ever, with a hefty bill of $34 million (although the bulk of that went to security costs). 

It was also a highly anticipated social event, with many people keen to snag an invite to the big day. For Edward Windsor, though, being Lord Downpatrick meant that his invite was a given, and he was less concerned with the glitz and glamor of the event than he was with the logistics. "It's going to be a hell of an experience getting two thousand people into the Abbey and then getting them all out again," he told The Telegraph ahead of the wedding.

Still, he was happy about getting to see his cousin get married and the fact that he had been to many royal events before didn't diminish his excitement at being present at the event. "It was a great honor to be asked and it's a seminal moment in, goodness knows, all history, one might say," he said.

You won't find many selfies of Edward Windsor on his Instagram

While Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, doesn't exactly shy away from the press — he's given interviews over the years and written articles of his own — he doesn't go out of his way to attract attention, either. His title is well-known, but he prefers to go by the less eye-catching sobriquet of Eddy Downpatrick, and his media appearances tend to be related to his work. He has a verified Instagram account, @eddydownpatrick, that boasts a healthy 50,000 followers (as of this writing), but his bio makes no mention of his royal connections. Instead, they point to his entrepreneurial efforts, with a link to the Aristeia Travel website.

His posts feature his travel exploits; gorgeous views from peaks he's summited, wild animals in their natural habitat, and stunning sunsets abound. While Edward himself makes an appearance once in a while, we aren't treated to mirror selfies or pics of lads' nights. Instead, Edward posts rare pictures of himself in profile, out of frame — the landscape is the true star of his IG posts. Pinned posts boast of his travels to places like Uzbekistan, Nepal, and Norway. He could easily become an influencer, but he seems to prefer capturing the world's beauty instead of being captured on camera himself. Edward does, however, post snaps of his Parson Russell terrier, Gyda — the pooch even has her own Instagram account, @adventuresofgyda.

He has a close relationship with his siblings, Marina and Amelia Windsor

Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, shares a special bond with his younger sisters, Lady Marina Windsor and Lady Amelia Windsor. He might not share many glimpses into his personal life on social media, but his siblings do. He regularly pops up on both of their Instagram accounts and it is clear that the three Windsors have great affection for each other. While Marina keeps a rather low profile, with an Instagram account with only a few thousand followers, Amelia is signed with Storm Models and boasts over 100,000 fans on her account. Both women are engaged in philanthropy work.

Edward is also said to be close to his cousin, Princess Beatrice, and seems to get on well with the rest of his extended royal family as well. "I love the family very much," he once told The Telegraph.

He posted a touching tribute to Queen Elizabeth following her death

Although, as a distant cousin, Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, does not seem to have been especially close to the late Queen Elizabeth II, he was still shaken by her loss as was the rest of the royal family. He was present at her funeral in 2022, where he was seated in the third row, just one row behind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Aside from paying his respects to the monarch at her state funeral, Edward also posted a more personal tribute to his cousin on social media. Edward and Elizabeth shared a love for Scotland and the outdoors; Balmoral Castle, located in Scotland, is a favored royal family retreat, and the late monarch spent her final days there. Elizabeth enjoyed hiking in the area, and Edward posted a photo of her doing just that on his Instagram Story with the caption "To the eternal realms of Heilan hikes" (via the Daily Mail).

Heilan is the Gaelic word for "highland" and was considered by Edward as a name for his clothing company before he settled on Fidir. Although the two royals were generations apart, it's clear that they were kindred spirits.