Which glamorous Royal is big news in the arts world – but once rejected a chance to sign best-selling artist Damien Hirst?
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The Windsors are better known for grand houses and palaces than ivory towers.
But if we associate the late Queen Elizabeth with horse-riding, country pursuits and a no-nonsense approach to life, there is a side to the family that has enthusiastically embraced the arts.
The Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret was a keen patron of institutions such as the Royal Ballet and was married to a respected photographer in Tony Snowdon.
Her daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, is an artist and one of her sons, Sam, is a ceramicist.
But the royal who has made perhaps the deepest inroads into the arts establishment is their cousin, Lady Helen Taylor, who for many years worked in galleries and auction houses and is credited with spotting a number of rising British talents, including Rachael Whiteread and Gary Hume.
Lady Helen Taylor, 59, is the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, first cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth II . Pictured: A 27-year-old Lady Helen in 2002
Lady Helen admitted when working with art dealer Karsten Schubert, she rejected the offer to represent Damien Hirst, who became one of the UK’s most successful artists. Pictured: Hirst in 1995
Damien Hirst became famous for artworks including animals pickled in formaldehyde and circles made up of coloured dots. Pictured: Damien Hirst at the Irish Club in London in February 1997
Lady Helen, 59, is the daughter of the late Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, 85.
Edward’s father had been Prince George, Duke of Kent, the younger brother of King Edward VIII and King George VI, who was killed in a war time plane disaster.
For all Lady Helen’s success in the arts world, however, there was one that got away.
As she admitted in a television interview, she had been working with contemporary art dealer Karsten Schubert when she rejected the offer to represent Damien Hirst.
He has since become one of the countries most successful – and lucrative – contemporary artists, of course, best known for a series works including animals pickled in formaldehyde and large circles filled with coloured dots.
Hirst is one of the Young British Artists who helped dominated the art scene during the 1990s and is reportedly the UK’s richest living artist today, with wealth estimated at £315million in 2020.
When Lady Helen was born, she was eighth in line for the throne, today she is at 47th place
Lady Helen, who is 47th-in-line to the throne, pictured with fiance and soon-to-be husband, Timothy Taylor, at St James’ Palace in 1992. Timothy is also an art dealer
The mother-of-four and her husband, Tim Taylor, at the Frieze Art Fair in October 2022
Lady Helen began her career in 1984 at Christie’s auction house in their Contemporary Department after leaving Gordonstoun School, where Princes Philip, Charles, Andrew, Edward and Zara Phillis were educated.
She then worked at the Karsten Schubert Gallery for four years where the royal reportedly worked at the front desk.
After working with Kartsten Schubert between 1987 and 1991, Lady Helen – who was known for her good looks – went on to become a brand ambassador for Calvin Klein and Bulgari.
For 17 years, Lady Helen was a fashion ambassador and muse to Giorgio Armani.
The royal, who today is 47th-in-line to the throne, met fellow art dealer Timothy Taylor, the eldest son of Commander Michael Verner Taylor, in 1983 and the pair soon hit it off.
They were married in 1992, at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
Lady Helen Taylor and her second son, Cassius, at a VIP Preview of the Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park in October this year
The bride wore a Catherine Walker design, but Giorgio Armani also provided an outfit for her wedding.
Helen and Timothy have four children: Columbus, 29, Cassius, 26, Eloise, 20 and Estella, 18.
She is the sister of George, Earl of St Andrews and Nicholas Windsor, and is aunt to their children, including socialite and model Lady Amelia Taylor.
Lady Helen once admitted she was lucky to have a lucrative part-time career as a brand ambassador as it meant that she could juggle her work with family commitments.
The mother-of-four once said: ‘It’s an absolute dream to have a job like this. I travel a lot and I’m able to spend the majority of my time with my children.’
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