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Prince George, Duke of Kent

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Prince George, Duke of Kent

Prince George
Duke of Kent
Successor Prince Edward
Born (1902-12-20)20 December 1902
York Cottage, Sandringham
Died 25 August 1942(1942-08-25) (aged 39)
Morven, Scotland
Burial 29 August 1942
Windsor and later Frogmore Royal Mausoleum
Spouse Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark (m. 1934; d. 1942)
Issue Prince Edward, Duke of Kent
Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy
Prince Michael of Kent
Full name
George Edward Alexander Edmund
House House of Windsor
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father George V
Mother Mary of Teck

Prince George, Duke of Kent Duke of Kent from 1934 until his death in a military air-crash on 25 August 1942.


  • Early life 1
  • Education and career 2
  • Marriage 3
  • Personal life 4
  • RAF career 5
  • Death 6
  • In popular culture 7
  • Titles, styles, honours and arms 8
    • Titles and styles 8.1
    • Honours 8.2
      • Appointments 8.2.1
    • Arms 8.3
  • Ancestry 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13

Early life

Prince George was born on 20 December 1902 at King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. His mother was the Princess of Wales (later Queen Mary), the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Teck.[2] At the time of his birth, he was fifth in the line of succession to the throne, behind his father and three older brothers. As a grandchild of a British monarch in the male line, he was styled His Royal Highness Prince George of Wales.

George was baptised in the Private Chapel at River Jordan.[3]

Education and career

Prince George received his early education from a tutor and then followed his elder brother, Prince Henry (later the Osborne and, later, at Dartmouth.[1] He remained in the Royal Navy until March 1929, serving on HMS Iron Duke and later HMS Nelson.[1] After leaving the navy, he briefly held posts at the Foreign Office and later the Home Office, becoming the first member of the royal family to work as a civil servant.[1]

From January to April 1931 Prince George and his elder brother the Prince of Wales travelled 18,000 miles on a tour of South America. Their outward voyage was on the ocean liner Oropesa.[4] In Buenos Aires they opened a British Empire Exhibition.[5] They continued from the River Plate to Rio de Janeiro on the liner Alcantara and returned from Brazil to Europe on the liner Arlanza, landing at Lisbon.[6] The princes returned via Paris and an Imperial Airways flight from Paris–Le Bourget Airport that landed specially in Windsor Great Park.[7][8]

In October 1938 George was appointed Governor General of Australia in succession to Lord Gowrie with effect from November 1939.[9][10] On 11 September 1939 it was announced that, owing to the outbreak of the Second World War, the appointment was postponed.[11]

At the start of the Rear Admiral, briefly serving on the Intelligence Division of the Admiralty. In April 1940, he transferred to the Royal Air Force. He temporarily relinquished his rank as Air Vice-Marshal (the equivalent of Rear Admiral) to assume the post of Staff Officer at RAF Training Command in the rank of Group Captain.


The Duke and Duchess in 1934

On 12 October 1934, in anticipation of his forthcoming marriage to his second cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark he was created Duke of Kent, Earl of St Andrews, and Baron Downpatrick.[2][12][13] The couple married on 29 November 1934 at Westminster Abbey.[14] The bride was a daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and a great-niece of Queen Alexandra.

Princess Marina became known as HRH The Duchess of Kent following the marriage. She and her husband had three children:

Personal life

British Royalty
House of Windsor
George V
Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor
George VI
Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Prince George, Duke of Kent
Prince John
Prince William of Gloucester
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent
Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy

Both before and after his marriage, Prince George had a string of affairs with both men and women, from socialites to Hollywood celebrities. The better known of his lovers included banking heiress Poppy Baring, socialite Margaret Whigham (later Duchess of Argyll and involved in a notoriously scandalous divorce case), and Barbara Cartland (who believed him to be the father of her daughter Raine McCorquodale).[15] There were "strong rumours" that he had affairs with musical star Jessie Matthews[16] and Noël Coward,[17] a relationship which Coward's long-term boyfriend, Graham Payn, denied.[18] The security services "reported that Coward and Kent had been seen parading together through the streets of London, dressed and made up as women, and had once been arrested by the police for suspected prostitution".[19]

The Duke of Kent is rumoured to have been addicted to drugs, especially Argentinian ambassador to Britain.[23] Other alleged sexual liaisons were with the art historian and Soviet spy Anthony Blunt and maharani of Cooch Behar, Indira Raje.[16]

In his attempt to rescue his cocaine-addicted brother from the influence of Kiki, Cannes and had to be removed almost by force.[26]

It has been alleged for years that American publishing executive Michael Temple Canfield (1926–1969) was the illegitimate son of Prince George and Kiki Preston. According to various sources, both Prince George's brother, the Duke of Windsor and Laura, Duchess of Marlborough, Canfield's second wife, shared this belief.[27][28][29][30] Canfield was the adopted son of Cass Canfield, American publisher of Harper and Row.[31]

Early on the duke came to the opinion that the future lay in aviation. It became his passion, and in 1929 the duke earned his pilot's licence. He was the first of the Royal family to cross the Atlantic by air. Prior to his flying days, he entered the Royal Navy, and was trained in intelligence work while stationed at Rosyth.[32]

RAF career

The Duke of Kent before he crossed the Atlantic by air.

In 1937, he was granted a commission in the Royal Air Force as a group captain.[33] He was also made the Honorary Air Commodore of No. 500 (County of Kent) Squadron Auxiliary Air Force.[34] Just before war broke out he became an RAF Air Vice-Marshal (approximately equal in rank to his Rear Admiral status earlier in the Royal Navy). In a characteristic gesture, he relinquished that rank in 1940 so that he would not be senior to more experienced officers, becoming a lower-ranked group captain and, in July 1941, an air commodore in the Welfare Section of the RAF Inspector General's Staff. In this role he went on official visits to RAF bases to help boost wartime morale.[35] His death while in the service of the RAF marked the first time in 500 years that a member of the Royal family died on active service. [36]


Prince George died on 25 August 1942, at the age of 39, along with fourteen others, on board RAF

  1. ^ a b c d "Duke of Kent once called sailor prince". Pittsburg Post Gazette. 26 August 1945. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Upstairs life of a royal rogue". Daily Express. 26 February 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Yvonne's Royalty Home Page— Royal Christenings
  4. ^ Erskine, Barry, "Oropesa (II)", Pacific Steam Navigation Company, retrieved 15 December 2013 
  5. ^ Nicol, Stuart (2001). MacQueen's Legacy; Ships of the Royal Mail Line Two. Brimscombe Port and Charleston, SC:  


See also


Around the time of his elder brother Prince Henry's twenty-first birthday, Prince George was granted the use of the Royal Arms, differenced by a label argent of three points, each bearing an anchor azure.



British honours


Prince George's coat of arms

At the time of his death, Prince George's full style was His Royal Highness The Prince George Edward Alexander Edmund, Duke of Kent, Earl of Saint Andrews and Baron Downpatrick, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Royal Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

  • 20 December 1902 – 6 May 1910: His Royal Highness Prince George of Wales
  • 6 May 1910 – 12 October 1934: His Royal Highness The Prince George
  • 12 October 1934 – 25 August 1942: His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent
    • in Scotland from May 1935: His Grace the Lord High Commissioner

Titles and styles

Titles, styles, honours and arms

[40] George and his elder brother the

[2] He is portrayed as a caring brother, terrified of the mistakes that his family is making; later, he is portrayed as an appeaser of the German regime, but also as a supportive friend of Hallam Holland.[2].Blake Ritson (2010), played by Upstairs, Downstairs He is a recurring character in the revival of [39] The Duke's early life is dramatised in

In popular culture

The Duchess of Kent gave birth to her third child, Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore, directly behind Queen Victoria‍ '​s mausoleum. He was succeeded as Duke of Kent by his eldest son, Edward.


  • ^ Nicol, Stuart (2001). MacQueen's Legacy; A History of the Royal Mail Line One. Brimscombe Port and Charleston, SC:  
  • ^ "Arrival at Windsor by Air",  
  • ^ "Princes Home",  
  • ^ "The Duke of Kent: Appointment in Australia", The Times (26 October 1938): 14.
  • ^ "Marina, a tragic but well-loved Princess". The Sydney Morning Herald (London). 28 August 1968. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  • ^ "Duke of Kent and Australia", The Times (12 September 1939): 6.
  • ^ Yvonne's Royalty: Peerage
  • ^ The London Gazette: no. 34094. p. 6365. 9 October 1934. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  • ^ "King and Queen". The Calgary Daily Herald. 29 November 1934. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  • ^ Thornton, Michael (24 October 2008). "A drunken husband and five secret lovers: The novel Barbara Cartland never wanted you to read". Daily Mail. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  • ^ a b Kenneth J. Panton Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy, Lanham,MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011, p.217
  • ^ Barry Day, ed., "The Letters of Noël Coward," (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), p. 691
  • ^ Brandreth, Gyles (2004). Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage. London: Century. ISBN 0-7126-6103-4, p. ??
  • ^ Thorton, Michael (9 November 2007). "How predatory Noel Coward tried to seduce me when I was 19". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  • ^ Lynn Kear and John Rossman Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career, Jefferson: NC: McFarland & Company, 2006, p. 28
  • ^ Farrant, Leda (1994). Diana, Lady Delamere and the Lord Erroll Murder, p. 77. Publishers Distribution Services.
  • ^ McLeod, Kirsty. Battle Royal: Edward VIII & George VI, Brother Against Brother, p. 122. Constable
  • ^ Nicholson, Stuart (1999). Reminiscing in Tempo: A Portrait of Duke Ellinson, p. 146. Northeastern University Press
  • ^ Ziegler, Philip (2001). King Edward VIII, p. 200. Sutton
  • ^ , p. 31. New York: Palgrave MacmillanThe People's King: The True Story of the AbdicationWilliams, Susan A. (2004).
  • ^ Kiste, John van Der (1991). George V's Children, p. 71. A. Sutton.
  • ^ Higham, Charles (1988). Wallis: Secret Lives of the Duchess of Windsor, p. 392. Sidgwick & Jackson
  • ^ Horsler, Val (2006). All For Love: Seven Centuries of Illicit Liaison, p. 183. National Archives
  • ^ Lindsay, Loelia (1961). Grace and Favour: The Memoirs of Loelia, Duchess of Westminster. Reynal
  • ^ Bradford, Sarah (2000). America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, p. 84. Viking
  • ^ , September 10, 1967Reading Eagle"The Prince's Cousin",
  • ^ Macwhirter, Robin, 'The Tragedy at Eagle's Rock', Scotsman, 24 August 1985
  • ^ The London Gazette: no. 34379. p. 1646. 12 March 1937. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  • ^ Hunt 1972, p. 314.
  • ^ "Royal family; aircraft engineer; 1942". Flight Archive. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  • ^
  • ^ "Duke of Kent Dies in an R.A.F. Crash on way to Iceland".  
  • ^ Double Standards p.424
  • ^ "The Queen's Lost Uncle". Channel 4. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  • ^ Furness, Hannah (1 February 2013). "New BBC drama to show the scandalous stories of the playboy Princes". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  • Further reading

    • Hunt, Leslie (1972). Twenty-one Squadrons: History of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 1925–57. London: Garnstone Press. (New edition in 1992 by Crécy Publishing, ISBN 0-947554-26-2.)  
    • Millar, Peter. "The Other Prince". The Sunday Times (26 January 2003).
    • Warwick, Christopher. George and Marina, Duke and Duchess of Kent. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988. ISBN 0-297-79453-1.

    External links

    • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Duke of Kent
    • Portraits of Prince George from the National Portrait Gallery
    Prince George, Duke of Kent
    Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
    Born: 20 December 1902 Died: 25 August 1942
    Masonic offices
    Preceded by
    Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
    Grand Master of the United
    Grand Lodge of England

    Succeeded by
    Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood
    Peerage of the United Kingdom
    Preceded by
    Office established
    Duke of Kent
    Succeeded by
    Prince Edward
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