Prince George, Duke of Kent

photo: Wikipedia

Prince George, Duke of Kent

Prince George, Duke of Kent (born George Edward Alexander Edmund of Wales) was the 5th of 6 children of the future King George V and Queen Mary. He was born on December 20, 1902, at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate. He had five siblings:

King Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor
King George VI
Princess Mary, Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Prince John

He was christened on January 26, 1903, in the private chapel at Windsor Castle. His godparents were:

King Edward VII – his paternal grandfather
Queen Alexandra – his paternal grandmother
Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia – sister of Queen Alexandra
Prince Valdemar of Denmark – brother of Queen Alexandra
Prince Louis of Battenberg (later Marquess of Milford Haven) – cousin-in-law of his father
Princess Helena (Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein) – sister of his grandfather

Prince George (front, right) with his siblings, 1910. Photo: Wikipedia

His education began privately at home, and then he attended St Peter’s Court Preparatory School in Kent. He then attended the Royal Naval College at Osborne, and later at Dartmouth and served in the Royal Navy until 1929. He then became the first member of the British Royal Family to work as a civil servant, taking up positions in the Foreign Office and then the Home Office.

In August 1934, Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Prince George to his second-cousin, Princess Marina of Greece (both are great-grandchildren of King Christian IX of Denmark). They married at Westminster Abbey on November 29, 1934, followed by a Greek Orthodox service held in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace. This would be the last time a foreign princess married into the British Royal Family. The month prior to the wedding, Prince George was created Duke of Kent, Earl of St Andrews, and Baron Downpatrick. The couple had three children:

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (1935)
Princess Alexandra of Kent (1936)
Prince Michael of Kent (1942)

In 1937, George was given a commission as a Group Captain in the Royal Air Force (RAF). And in 1938, he was appointed to become the next Governor-General of Australia, beginning in November 1939. However, the appointment was postponed due to the outbreak of World War II. The Duke of Kent returned to active military service, working briefly in the Intelligence Division of the Admiralty. In 1940, he transferred to the RAF. By then he’d been elevated to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal, but voluntarily relinquished the rank and reverted to Group Captain so as not to outrank more experienced officers. He worked as a Welfare Officer, part of the Inspector General’s staff. In this role, he traveled extensively, visiting troops and facilities to help boost morale.

It was on one of these trips, that Prince George’s life would come to an end. On August 25, 1942, just six weeks after the birth of his youngest child, George boarded an RAF flying boat in Scotland, headed for Iceland. Sadly, the plane crashed near Dunbeath, Caithness in Scotland, killing all except for one person aboard. The Duke of Kent was just 39 years old. There is much speculation as to the nature of this trip. While officially it was a standard visit to troops in Iceland, there are allegations and suggestions that it was some sort of “secret mission”. The Duke’s body was found with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, full of 100 kroner notes. These had no value in Iceland at the time. And the Duchess of Kent met several times with the lone survivor over the years, allegedly trying to find out why her husband had died.

The Duke of Kent’s funeral was held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and his remains placed in the Royal Vault. Following his wife’s death, almost exactly 26 years later, his remains were moved to the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore, where his beloved Marina was then buried by his side.

 

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Royal News: Saturday 20 December 2014

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December 20: Today in Royal History

Prince George of the United Kingdom (Duke of Kent) on the right with his brother Prince John; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

December 20, 860 – Death of King Ethelbald of Wessex; buried at Sherborne Abbey in Dorset, England
Wikipedia: Ethelbald of Wessex

December 20, 1537 – Birth of King John III of Sweden at Stegeborg Castle in Söderköping, Sweden
Wikipedia: John III of Sweden

December 20, 1904 – Death of Alexandrine of Baden, wife of Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, at Schloss Callenberg in Coburg (Germany)
Wikipedia: Alexandrine of Baden

December 20, 1902 – Birth of Prince George, Duke of Kent, son of King George V of the United Kingdom, at York Cottage, Sandringham in Norfolk, England
Full name: George Edward Alexander Edmund
Wikipedia: Prince George, Duke of Kent

December 20, 1963 – Birth of Infanta Elena of Spain, daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain, in Madrid, Spain
Full name: Elena María Isabel Dominica de los Silos de Borbón y de Grecia
Unofficial Royalty: Infanta Elena of Spain

December 20, 1981 – Birth of Princess Akiko of Japan, in Tokyo, Japan
Wikipedia: Princess Akiko of Japan

Another baby for Princess Madeleine of Sweden

photo: Brigitte Grenfeldt, Swedish Royal Court

The Swedish Royal Court has issued the following statement:

Princess Madeleine and Mr. Christopher O’Neill are delighted to announce that The Princess is expecting their second child.

The birth is expected to take place in the summer of 2015.

“We are very happy and look forward to welcoming a new member to our family,” says Princess Madeleine and Mr. Christopher O’Neill.”

This will be the couple’s second child.  Their daughter, Princess Leonore, Duchess of Gotland, was born in New York City on February 20, 2014.

Royal News: Friday 19 December 2014

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Japan
Japan Times: Palau President Remengesau seeks visit by Emperor, Empress in 2015

Multiple Monarchies
Swedish Royal Court: The King and Queen attend Queen Fabiola’s funeral

Norway
Hello!: Norwegian royals get in the festive spirit with Christmas photoshoot
Norway Today: Crown Prince lighted candles Peshawar victims
Norway Today: Got the dinner served by Crown Prince and Princess

Romania
Romania Insider: Monarchy vs republic: what do Romanians prefer?

Spain
Getty: Spanish Royals Christmas Cards 2014
Hello!: Spanish Royals release Christmas card featuring coronation images

Sweden
Swedish Royal Court: The King and Queen hold a meeting with representatives from the Royal Palace Music Festival
Swedish Royal Court: The King holds farewell audiences with ambassadors from Ireland, Algeria and Portugal
Swedish Royal Court: The King attends a seminar on the forest industry materials research of the future
Swedish Royal Court: The Queen receives an award at a German charity gala

Thailand
Hello!: Thailand’s Prince Vajiralongkorn and Princess Srirasmi to divorce

United Kingdom
BBC: George III ‘eccentric’ drawing uncovered at British Library
BBC: Why the Queen won’t abdicate (probably)
Daily Mail: Ready for Christmas, Ma’am? The Queen arrives at Sandringham by train (but where’s the Duke of Edinburgh?)
Daily Mail: The mad nest of George III: King revealed as a HOARDER who clung on to everything from court papers to bakery flyers and even his own scribbled plans for an impossible palace
Daily Mail: Portrait of a very modern Prince: Harry cuddles up to a group of orphans (and tries his hand at photography) during Lesotho visit
Evening Standard: Santa Harry snapped on both sides of the camera on Christmas trip to visit Lesotho orphans
Getty: The Queen arrives at King’s Lynn Station For Her Christmas Break At Sandringham
Getty: The Duchess of Cornwall Visits The London International Horse Show
Hello!: Cheerful Queen is in the Christmas spirit as she arrives in Norfolk for holidays
Hello!: Prince Harry shares personal photos from trip to Lesotho
Telegraph: Oblivious passenger nearly bumps into the Queen as she takes train to Sandringham

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Tales from the Royal Bedroom on PBS December 21

Unofficial Royalty has received a press release from the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in the United States regarding a one hour show shown on the BBC, TALES FROM THE ROYAL BEDCHAMBER, which premieres Sunday, December 21, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Check your local PBS listings and set your DVRs.

From the press release:

In TALES FROM THE ROYAL BEDCHAMBER, host Dr. Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, snuggles up with Britain’s monarchs to uncover the fascinating secrets of the royal bedchamber (watch a clip here).  From Hampton Court to Hever Castle to the great English country manors, Worsley shows the opulence of Royal State bedrooms and explains how these private spaces were once very public hubs of English politics and policy. It was in these rooms that royal marriage ceremonies were held, royal births were observed by crowds eager to verify the baby’s sex. Even the process of creating royal babies took place in a semi-public context, Worsley says, because everyone had a stake in its outcome.

The eventual creation of private chambers evolved as a reaction to the overwhelmingly public nature of royal bedrooms, and affairs of state eventually were relegated to offices and the Houses of Parliament. But TALES FROM THE ROYAL BEDCHAMBER gives viewers access to the regal pomp and detailed work of these inner chambers – detailing the lavish designs of royal state beds and “pulling back the covers” on the political intrigue that occurred behind closed doors.

December 19: Today in Royal History

King Phillip V of Spain; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

December 19, 1154 – Coronation of King Henry II of England at Westminster Abbey
Wikipedia: Henry II of England

December 19, 1554 – Birth of Philip William, Prince of Orange in Buren, Guelders, Seventeen Provinces, The Netherlands
Wikipedia: Philip William, Prince of Orange

December 19, 1683 – Birth of King Phillip V, first Bourbon king of Spain, at the Palace of Versailles, France
Wikipedia: Philip V of Spain

December 19, 1751 – Death of Princess Louise of Great Britain, daughter of King George II of Great Britain, wife of King Frederik V of Denmark, at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark; buried at Roskilde Cathedral in Roskilde, Denmark
Louisa died at age 27 after undergoing painful surgery for a rupture, similar to the surgery that had killed her mother Caroline of Ansbach.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Louise of Great Britain, Queen of Denmark

December 19, 1778 – Birth of Princess Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte of France, daughter of King Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette, at the Palace of Versailles, France
Wikipedia: Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte of France

 

Royal News: Thursday 18 December 2014

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December 18: Today in Royal History

Prince William of Gloucester, Photo Credit – http://www.nga.gov.au/

December 18, 1290 – Death of King Magnus III of Sweden; buried in Riddarholmen Church in Stockholm, Sweden
Wikipedia: Magnus III of Sweden

December 18, 1626 – Birth of Queen Christina of Sweden in Stockholm, Sweden
Wikipedia: Queen Christina of Sweden

December 18, 1818 – Birth of Prince Charles III of Monaco in Paris, France
Wikipedia: Prince Charles III of Monaco

December 18, 1863 – Birth of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, whose assassination in 1914 sparked World War I, in Graz, Austria
Wikipedia: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

December 18, 1941 – Birth of Prince William of Gloucester, son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England
Full name: William Henry Andrew Frederick
Wikipedia: Prince William of Gloucester

December 18, 2004 – Death of Princess Takamatsu of Japan, wife of Prince Takamatsu, at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Tokyo, Japan; buried at Toshimagaoka Cemetery in Tokyo, Japan
Princess Takamatsu was married to a brother of Emperor Hirohito.  After the birth of Princess Aiko, only child of Crown Prince Naruhito, his wife, 90 year old Princess Takamatsu, issued a statement saying Japan should allow an empress to succeed to the throne.
Wikipedia: Princess Takamatsu of Japan

Royal News: Wednesday 17 December 2014

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