Prince George, Duke of Kent

December 1902 – August 1942

Prince George was born on 20 December 1902 at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. His parents were King George V and Queen Mary, his father was at the time of George's birth, Prince of Wales, son of King Edward VII and his Danish-born wife Queen Alexandra. His mother, who was then Princess of Wales was the daughter of Francis, Duke of Teck, a morganatic scion of the House of Wurttemberg who was of German and Hungarian descent and a distant descendant of Vlad Dracul. Queen Mary's mother, Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck, formerly Princess of Cambridge, was a granddaughter of King George III.

The new arrival was baptised in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on 26 January 1903 and was given the names George Edward Alexander Edmund. He was the fifth of six children born to the Yorks. At his birth, he had 3 elder brothers, David (later Edward VIII), Albert (later George VI) and Henry and a sister Mary, a further brother, Prince John, arrived to complete the family in 1905.

Prince George and Prince Henry Prince George and Prince John

The young Prince was initially taught at home by a tutor, but later attended St Peter's Court, a preparatory school at Broadstairs, Kent. He completed his education at the naval college at Osborne and Dartmouth.

Marriage

George married his second cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark on 12 October 1934, at Westminster Abbey. Princess Marina was the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, the third son of George I of Greece and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia. Prior to the occasion of his marriage, he was created Duke of Kent, Earl of St Andrews, and Baron Downpatrick by his father the King. The couple had 3 children and 7 grandchildren.

(1) Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (9 October 1935) who married Katharine Worsley on 8 June 1961. They had three children-

(i) George, Earl of St Andrews

(ii) Lady Helen Windsor

(iii) Lord Nicholas Windsor

(2) Princess Alexandra of Kent (25 December 1936), who married Rt. Hon. Sir Angus Ogilvy on 24 April 1963. They had two children-

(i) James Ogilvy

(ii) Marina Ogilvy

(3) Prince Michael of Kent (4 July 1942) married Marie Christine von Reibnitz on 30 June 1978. They have two children-

(i) Lord Frederick Windsor

(ii) Lady Gabriella Windsor

The Prince was rumoured to be bi-sexual and was said to have had relationships with several men including writer Cecil Roberts and Noel Coward as well as fathering an illegitimate child by his mistress. He had a string of mistresses including romantic novelist Barbara Cartland, who was to become the step-grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales. George possessed an artistic temperament and enjoyed playing the piano and fast cars. He also experimented with drugs, rumour states that his elder brother, Edward had to wean George off morphine and cocaine in the 1920s after he was introduced to them by the notorious Kiki Preston, an American socialite known as 'the girl with the silver syringe'. Gossip suggested that George and Kiki had illegitimate son, Michael Temple Canfield, who was adopted by American publisher Cass Canfield. Death

On 25 August 1942, seven weeks after the birth of his younger son, Prince Michael, the Duke of Kent set off with 14 other people, in an RAF Short Sunderland flying boat from Invergordon, Ross and Cromarty, to fly to Reykjavik Iceland. Sadly, the aircraft, at a height of around 650 feet, near Dunbeath in Caithness. George and 14 of his comrades were killed, only one, flight Sergeant Andrew Jack survived. It has been alleged that George had a briefcase containing 100 krona notes, which were quite worthless in Iceland, handcuffed to his wrist. This has led to speculation that the flight was a military mission to Sweden, the currency of Sweden. An inquiry into the disaster found the aircraft ‘was flown on track other than that indicated in the flight plan given to the pilot and at too low altitude to clear rising ground on track. Weather encountered should have presented no difficulties to experienced pilot and examination showed that the engines were under power when aircraft struck ground.’ A granite cross had been erected at the site of the crash, which was visited by George's widow, Princess Marina.

The Duke of Kent's body was transferred to St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and he was laid to rest in the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore.