Friday, August 25, 2017

Duke of Kent killed in flying boat accident

Embed from Getty Images

 August 25, 1942

The Duke of Kent, the youngest brother of King George VI, was killed today "in the service of his country," reports the New York Times.  He was 39 years old.

He was a "passenger aboard a Sunderland flying boat which crashed in Scotland."  All on board were killed.   The Duke served as an Air Commodore "on the staff of the Inspector General of the Royal Air Force."

The flying boat was bound for Iceland.

The Duke was the second youngest son of the late King George V and Queen Mary.  He is the first member of the royal family "to be killed on active service in this war."

He became a father for the third time on July 4, when his wife, Princess Marina, gave birth to a son.   The infant prince was baptized on August 4 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of the eight godparents.

Embed from Getty Images

The news of the Duke's death was released shortly before midnight.  "The Air Ministry deeply regrets that Air Commodore His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent was killed on active service this afternoon when a Sunderland boat crashed in North Scotland.  His Royal Highness, who was attached to the Inspector General of the Royal Air Force, was proceeding to Iceland on duty.  All the crew of the flying boat also lost their lives."

Since the "war broke out", the Duke of Kent "filled almost every minute of his time with a variety of official duties."   At times he had been "under fire" and "often he had been missed by bombs by narrow margins."

Embed from Getty Images

 Due to wartime restrictions "the movements of members of the royal family cannot be printed without special permission."  It is impossible at this time to know where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were when they received the "grim news."

Prince George Edward Alexander Edmund was born on December 20, 1902, at York Cottage, Sandringham,  the fifth of six children of the late King George VI and Queen Mary.  A younger brother, Prince John, died in January 1919.    On November 29, 1934, he married Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark.  Shortly before the wedding, Prince George was created Duke of Kent, Earl of St. Andrews and Baron Downpatrick.

Embed from Getty Images

Theirs was a "successful marriage" and the couple made an "extremely attractive couple" wherever they went.

Embed from Getty Images

 The births of their three children helped "strengthen their grip on the affection of the Empire."

The Duke of Kent's elder son, Prince Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick, who was born on October 9, 1935, succeeds to his father's peerages.    The couple's two other children, are Princess Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel, born on Christmas Day in 1936, just a few weeks after the abdication of Edward VIII.

Embed from Getty Images

His youngest son, Prince Michael George Charles Franklin was born on July 4th.

The Duke of Kent is survived by his wife and three children, his mother, Queen Mary,  and his brothers,  King George VI, the Duke of Gloucester, currently serving in the British Army, and the Duke of Windsor, who is the Governor-General of the Bahamas, and his sister, Princess Mary, the Princess Royal.

Embed from Getty Images

No comments: