Prince George, Duke of Kent

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On 25 August 1942, George and 14 others took off in a RAF Short Sunderland flying boat W4026 from Invergordon, Ross and Cromarty, to fly to Iceland on non-operational duties. The aircraft crashed on Eagle's Rock, a hillside near Dunbeath, Caithness, Scotland. George and all but one of those on board were killed. He was 39 years old. [46]

Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince have written about the crash in their book Double Standards, which, however, has been criticised for its "implausible inaccuracy". [47] They alleged that Kent had a briefcase full of 100 Swedish krona notes, worthless in Iceland, handcuffed to his wrist, leading to speculation the flight was a military mission to Sweden, the only place where Swedish notes were of value. [48]

His death in RAF service marked the first time in more than 450 years that a member of the royal family died on active service. [49] The prince's body was transferred initially to St George's Chapel, Windsor, and he was buried in the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore, directly behind Queen Victoria 's mausoleum. [50] His elder son, six-year-old Prince Edward, succeeded him as Duke of Kent. Princess Marina, his wife, had given birth to their third child, Prince Michael, only seven weeks before Prince George's death. His will was sealed in Llandudno in 1943. His estate was valued at £157,735 (or £5 million in 2022 when adjusted for inflation). [51]

One RAF crew member survived the crash: Flight Sergeant Andrew Jack, the Sunderland's rear gunner. [52] Flight Sergeant Jack's niece has claimed that Jack told his brother that the Duke had been at the controls of the plane; that Jack had dragged him from the pilot's seat after the crash; and that there was an additional person on board the plane whose identity has never been revealed. [53]

Portrait by Philip de Laszlo, 1934 Duke of Kent1934.jpg
Portrait by Philip de László, 1934

The Duke's early life is dramatised in Stephen Poliakoff's television serial The Lost Prince (2003), a biography of the life of the Duke's younger brother John. In the film, the teenage Prince 'Georgie' is portrayed as sensitive, intelligent, artistic and almost uniquely sympathetic to his brother's plight. He is shown as detesting his time at the Royal Naval College and as having a difficult relationship with his austere father.

In May 2008, the BBC aired its Radio 4 comedy, Hut 33 , Series 2, Episode 1, titled "The Royal Visit". The main guest character for this episode was Duke of Kent, played by Michael Fenton-Stevens. The show is set at Bletchley Park with a team of code breakers. The Duke has been chosen to make an impromptu visit, and the code breakers have been told to hide all evidence of their real work and invent a story. On no account should the Duke be told what really happens at Bletchley because he is a Nazi spy. He is also portrayed as promiscuous and bisexual, as he tries to gain sexual favours from one of the male staff, and one of the female characters recalls a previous liaison with the Duke. [54]

Much of George's later life was outlined in the documentary film The Queen's Lost Uncle. [55] He is a recurring character in the revival of Upstairs, Downstairs (2010/2012), played by Blake Ritson. [56] 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. [56]

George and his eldest brother the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, are shown in Stephen Poliakoff's BBC television serial Dancing on the Edge (2013), in which they are portrayed as supporters of jazz and encouragers of Louis Lester's Jazz Band. A sexual attraction to Louis on George's part is also insinuated. [57]

Honours and arms



New Zealand
United Kingdom


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.

Prince George
Duke of Kent (more)
Prince George, Duke of Kent.jpg
George in 1934
BornPrince George of Wales
(1902-12-20)20 December 1902
York Cottage, Sandringham, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Died25 August 1942(1942-08-25) (aged 39)
Morven, Caithness, United Kingdom
Cause of death Dunbeath air crash
Burial29 August 1942
(m. 1934)
George Edward Alexander Edmund
Father George V
Mother Mary of Teck
Signature PrinceGeorgeSignature.svg
Coat of Arms of George, Duke of Kent.svg
Royal Standard of Prince George, Duke of Kent.svg
Royal Standard of Prince George, Duke of Kent (in Scotland).svg
Prince George's coat of arms
George's banner of arms
George's personal banner of arms in Scotland


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Further reading

Prince George, Duke of Kent
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 20 December 1902 Died: 25 August 1942
Masonic offices
Preceded by Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New title Duke of Kent
Succeeded by