Prince William of Gloucester

Last updated

Prince William
Prince William of Gloucester visiting Tywyn 2 (1549704) (cropped).jpg
Prince William of Gloucester visiting a cattle farm in Wales in 1971
Born(1941-12-18)18 December 1941
Hadley Common, Barnet, Hertfordshire
Died28 August 1972(1972-08-28) (aged 30)
Halfpenny Green, Staffordshire
Burial2 September 1972
Full name
William Henry Andrew Frederick
House Windsor
Father Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Mother Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott

Prince William of Gloucester (William Henry Andrew Frederick; 18 December 1941 28 August 1972) was a grandson of King George V and paternal cousin of Elizabeth II. At the time of his birth he was the fourth in line to the throne.

Descendants of George V and Mary of Teck Wikimedia list article

This is a complete list of every known descendant of George V, the founder of the House of Windsor, and his queen Mary of Teck. The list includes deceased members, members who have become Catholic, royal and non-royal, legitimate and illegitimate members openly acknowledged by their parents. The table includes generational data and birthdays and image data. The list is more comprehensive than the line of succession to the British throne which is a list of living non-Catholic descendants of George V's sons.

George V King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India

George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936.

Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms

Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.


A Cambridge and Stanford graduate, he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, serving in Lagos and Tokyo, before returning to take over royal duties. He led an active life, flying Piper aircraft, [1] trekking through the Sahara, [1] and even ballooning. [1]

University of Cambridge University in Cambridge, United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Stanford University private research university located in Stanford, California, United States

Leland Stanford Junior University is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), commonly called the Foreign Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for protecting and promoting British interests worldwide and was created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.

He remains the most recent descendant of George III to be diagnosed with porphyria, probably hereditary, which is widely believed to be the illness that most likely caused George III's mental breakdown. [2]

Porphyria An inherited metabolic disorder that involves certain enzymes in the heme bio-synthetic pathway resulting in the overproduction and accumulation of porphyrins.

Porphyria is a group of diseases in which substances called porphyrins build up, negatively affecting the skin or nervous system. The types that affect the nervous system are also known as acute porphyria, as symptoms are rapid in onset and last a short time. Symptoms of an attack include abdominal pain, chest pain, vomiting, confusion, constipation, fever, high blood pressure, and high heart rate. The attacks usually last for days to weeks. Complications may include paralysis, low blood sodium levels, and seizures. Attacks may be triggered by alcohol, smoking, hormonal changes, fasting, stress, or certain medications. If the skin is affected, blisters or itching may occur with sunlight exposure.

Prince William died in 1972, aged 30, in an air crash while piloting his plane in a competition.

Early life

William in Canberra as a young boy, with his parents (far left and far right) and Lord and Lady Louis Mountbatten. Gloucesters and Mountbattens.jpg
William in Canberra as a young boy, with his parents (far left and far right) and Lord and Lady Louis Mountbatten.

Prince William was born at Hadley Common, [3] Hertfordshire. His father was Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third son of George V and Queen Mary. His mother was Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, the third daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch and Lady Margaret Bridgeman.

Hertfordshire County of England

Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region.

Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester British soldier and Governor-General of Australia

Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was the third son and fourth child of King George V and Queen Mary. He served as Governor-General of Australia from 1945 to 1947, the only member of the British royal family to hold the post.

Mary of Teck 20th-century queen consort of the United Kingdom and Empress of India

Mary of Teck was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India as the wife of King George V.

He was baptised in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on 22 February 1942 by Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury. His godparents were George VI (his paternal uncle), Queen Mary (his paternal grandmother), Princess Helena Victoria (his cousin), Lady Margaret Hawkins (his maternal aunt), Major Lord William Montagu Douglas Scott (his maternal uncle) and Lord Gort, who was unable to attend. Because of the war, newspapers did not identify the actual location of the christening, and said instead that it took place at "a private chapel in the country". [4] [5]

Windsor Castle Royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire

Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture.

Cosmo Gordon Lang British archbishop and clergyman

William Cosmo Gordon Lang, 1st Baron Lang of Lambeth,, known as Cosmo Gordon Lang, was a Scottish Anglican prelate who served as Archbishop of York (1908–1928) and Archbishop of Canterbury (1928–1942). During the abdication crisis of 1936, he took a strong moral stance, his comments in a subsequent broadcast being widely condemned as uncharitable towards the departed king.

Archbishop of Canterbury senior bishop of the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

At the time of his birth, and for months afterwards, Prince Henry was away on military duties, some of which meant considerable risk. This prompted George VI to write to his sister-in-law, promising that, if anything should happen to his brother, he would become Prince William's guardian. [6]

George VI King of the United Kingdom

George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death on 6 February 1952. He was the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth.

In 1947, Prince William was a page boy for his cousin Princess Elizabeth at her wedding to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. [7] The other page boy was Prince Michael of Kent. In 1953, he attended the coronation of Elizabeth II.

Prince William spent his early childhood at Barnwell Manor in Northamptonshire and later in Canberra, Australia, where his father served as Governor-General from 1945 to 1947. After returning to England, he received his education at Wellesley House School, a prep school at Broadstairs in Kent, then at Eton College, where he achieved mention in the Eton College Chronicle for his performance in junior cricket [8] and achieved house colours for football. [9] After leaving Eton in 1960, he went up to Magdalene College, Cambridge, to read history, graduating with a BA degree in 1963, subsequently raised to an MA (Cantab.) degree in 1968. After Cambridge, he spent a post-baccalaureate year at Stanford University, studying political science, American history, and business.


After returning to Britain, he took a position with Lazards, a merchant bank. [1]

Prince William was the second member of the British royal family to work in the civil service or the diplomatic service (the first was his uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent, in the 1920s). He joined the Commonwealth Office in 1965 and was posted to Lagos as the third secretary at the British High Commission. [1] In 1968, he transferred to Tokyo as second secretary (commercial) in the British Embassy. [1]

By 1970, the health of his father, the Duke of Gloucester, had become critical after further strokes. [1] William had no choice but to resign from the diplomatic service and return to Britain in order to take care of his father's estate and, as he put it, take on the full time job of a royal prince. [1] On his way back, he represented the Queen at the celebrations to mark the termination of Tonga's status as a protected state. For the next two years, he managed Barnwell Manor and began to carry out public duties as a member of the royal family. [1]

Apart from taking over many engagements his father could no longer perform, William took particular interest in St John Ambulance, where he became increasingly active. He was also President of National Ski Federation Supporters' Association, the Magdalene Society (Cambridge), the East Midlands Tourist Board, and the Royal African Society. His patronages included the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain, the British Schools Exploring Society and the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society. [10]

Prince William served on some occasions as Counsellor of State in the absence of his cousin, the Queen. [1]

Personal life

Shortly before transferring to Tokyo in August 1968, Prince William was examined by a Royal Air Force doctor, Headly Bellringer, at the request of the prince's mother. William told the doctor that he had suffered from jaundice, beginning in December 1965 and lasting several months. He had subsequently noticed that his skin was prone to a blistering rash, particularly on exposure to sunshine. Bellringer tentatively diagnosed porphyria, prescribed sunblock cream and gave him a medical warning card regarding the need to avoid certain medications. Although he was aware of the theory of the royal family's history of porphyria then being proposed by Professor Ida Macalpine and Dr Richard Hunter, [11] he stated he "tried not to let it influence him...with all the symptoms, I was left with little option but to diagnose the Prince's condition as porphyria." [12] William was later examined by haematologists at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and also by a Professor Ishihara in Tokyo, both of whom also concluded he was suffering from variegate porphyria, by then in remission. [13]

A member of the British royal family being reliably diagnosed with porphyria added credence to the theory—first proposed by Professor Macalpine in the late 1960s—that porphyria was the source of the ill-health of both Mary, Queen of Scots (an ancestor of both of William's parents) and of George III, and that the disorder had been inherited by some members of the royal families of the UK, Prussia and several German duchies and principalities. [2]

Former model and stewardess Zsuzsi Starkloff said in a Daily Mail interview in 2012 that William had a long-standing relationship with her and wanted to marry her. According to Starkloff, the two met in Japan in 1968. She speculates that because she was twice divorced and a mother of two small children, William's family refused to acknowledge or accept their relationship, and that Starkloff met with displeasure from courtiers because she was Jewish and Hungarian. According to Starkloff, William continued a relationship with her until his accidental death in 1972, [14] but the last time they met in person was in August 1970. [15] The relationship with Zsuzsi Starkloff was further explored in the 2015 Channel 4 TV documentary, The Other Prince William. [16]

Despite the alleged reluctance of senior members of the royal family to take William's relationship with Starkloff seriously, the standards regarding marriage in the royal family at the time were no longer as strict as they had been. Princess Margaret, while not encouraging William, did sympathize with him of this regard, telling him to "wait a bit" and to "see how everything looks" once he returned to Britain. [1] Furthermore, once back in England, Starkloff went to stay with William's family at Barnwell Manor, where his parents were kind and accommodating to her. [16]

While William's intentions regarding his relationship with Starkloff are unclear, marriage was probably not one of them. In the year of his death, he gave an interview to Audrey Whiting for the Sunday Mirror , in which he declared that if he ever married, he would do so to a woman not only right for him, but right in "the eyes of other members of the Family". [1]

In the early 1970s, Prince William began a relationship with Nicole Sieff (née Moschietto). [17] She had two sons with her ex-husband, Jonathan Sieff. [18] She laid a wreath at Prince William's funeral.

The prince is consistently described by friends as adventurous (almost to the point of recklessness), warm, tender and extremely generous. But of all his qualities, the one most often mentioned is that of loyalty to his friends. One account describes how William was particularly kind to friends who were either "ill, unpopular with others, or even downright embarrassing". [1] On the other hand, his status and circumstances had also influenced his personality and he could, at times, be "tiresomely selfish". [1]

Regarding his family, Prince William considered himself extremely lucky compared to other members of the royal family. He had a very close relationship with both his parents, especially with his mother of whom he said, "She is a human being and she must possess some faults. But so far as I am concerned she has no faults at all". [1] He was also very fond of his father, one friend describing William's love and tenderness for him as "infectious". [1] William acknowledged his father couldn't have been very happy as a young man, as a result of the strict upbringing he had received, so he was very grateful to him for the freedom he had given him throughout his life. [1]


A licensed pilot and President of the British Light Aviation Centre, [19] Prince William owned several aircraft and competed in amateur air show races. In August 1972, he was competing in the Goodyear International Air Trophy at Halfpenny Green, near Wolverhampton, with Vyrell Mitchell—a pilot with whom the prince had often raced—listed as a passenger. Shortly after their takeoff and at a very low altitude, the Piper Cherokee banked abruptly to port, with an extreme increase in the rate of turn and corresponding loss of altitude; the wing hit a tree and sheared off, and the out-of-control plane flipped over and crashed into an earthen bank, bursting into flames. Prince William and Mitchell were killed. [20] [21] The crash happened before 30,000 spectators, the fire took two hours to control, and the bodies were identified at inquest the next day from dental records. [19]

His father, Prince Henry, was in such poor health at the time of his death that his mother hesitated whether to tell him. She later admitted in her memoirs that she did not, but that he may have learned of their son's death from television coverage.

Prince William was buried in the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore. The comprehensive school in Oundle, which he opened in 1971, was renamed Prince William School in his memory.

William was the heir apparent of his father's peerages, Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden. Upon his death, his younger brother Prince Richard of Gloucester became heir apparent, and succeeded to these peerages in 1974. William was the first grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary to die.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Prince William's coat of arms Coat of Arms of William of Gloucester.svg
Prince William's coat of arms

Titles and styles



For his 21st birthday, in 1962, Prince William was granted the use of the Royal Arms, differenced with a label argent of five points, the outer pair and central point bearing lions gules, the inner pair crosses gules. [23]


Related Research Articles

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge 20th and 21st-century member of the British royal family

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is a member of the British royal family. He is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales. Since birth, he has been second in the line to succeed his grandmother Elizabeth II, who is queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms.

House of Windsor royal house of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms

The House of Windsor is the reigning royal house of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The dynasty is originally of German paternal descent and was a branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, itself derived from the House of Wettin, which succeeded the House of Hanover to the British monarchy following the death of Queen Victoria, wife of Albert, Prince Consort.

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester Youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. He practised as an architect until the death of his elder brother placed him in direct line to inherit his father's dukedom of Gloucester, which he inherited, as the second duke, in 1974. He is a paternal cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, and currently 27th in the line of succession to the British throne as well as the first in line not descended from King George VI. He is also the senior male line descendant of three British monarchs: Victoria, Edward VII and George V.

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester Wife of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, was the wife of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third son of George V and Queen Mary. She was the mother of Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent Grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, is a member of the British royal family.

Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge mother of Queen Mary, the consort of George V

Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge was a member of the British royal family, a granddaughter of George III, grandmother of Edward VIII and George VI and great-grandmother of Elizabeth II. She held the title of Duchess of Teck through marriage.

Captain Alexander Arthur Alfonso David Maule Ramsay of Mar DL was the only child of Princess Patricia of Connaught, who renounced her royal title and style when she married then-Captain the Hon. Alexander Ramsay in February 1919. His mother was the youngest child of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, the third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. His father was the third son of John Ramsay, 13th Earl of Dalhousie. Alexander was the first cousin of the Queen Ingrid of Denmark, Prince Gustaf Adolf and their siblings, because their mother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, was Alexander's aunt and wife to the Crown Prince of Sweden.

George V of Hanover King of Hanover

George V was the last king of Hanover, the only child and successor of King Ernest Augustus. George V's reign was ended during the Unification of Germany.

Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz German princess

Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a German princess who became, by marriage, princess of Prussia, princess of Solms-Braunfels, Duchess of Cumberland in Britain and Queen of Hanover as the consort of Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover.

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester,, is the wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld German princess

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, later Duchess of Kent and Strathearn, was a German princess and the mother of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. As the widow of Charles, Prince of Leiningen (1763–1814), from 1814 she served as regent of the Principality during the minority of her son from her first marriage, Carl, until her second wedding in 1818 to Prince Edward, son of King George III of the United Kingdom.

British prince royal title in the United Kingdom

Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a royal title normally granted to sons and grandsons of reigning and past British monarchs. It is also held by the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II. The title is granted by the reigning monarch, who is the fount of all honours, through the issuing of letters patent as an expression of the royal will.

British princess Wikimedia list article

This is a list of those who have held the title Princess of the United Kingdom from the accession of George I in 1714. This article deals with both princesses of the blood royal and women who become princesses upon marriage.

Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh British Prince

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, was a great-grandson of King George II and nephew and son-in-law of King George III of the United Kingdom.

Princess Sophia of Gloucester British princess

Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester was a great-granddaughter of King George II of Great Britain and niece of King George III.

Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh British princess

Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh was the eleventh child and fourth daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom and his consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester son of Queen Anne

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester was the son of Princess Anne, later Queen of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1702, and her husband, Prince George of Denmark. He was their only child to survive infancy. Styled Duke of Gloucester, he was viewed by contemporaries as a Protestant champion because his birth seemed to cement the Protestant succession established in the "Glorious Revolution" that had deposed his Catholic grandfather James II the previous year.

Legitimacy of Queen Victoria

The parentage of Queen Victoria has been the subject of speculation. The speculation has largely centered on the familial incidence of hereditary diseases and circumstantial evidence, and has generally been discredited.

Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten

The wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten took place on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey in London. Philip had been made Duke of Edinburgh on the morning of the wedding.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 St. Aubyn, Giles; Fleming, Launcelot (24 January 1977). William of Gloucester: Pioneer Prince. London: Frederick Muller. ISBN   978-0584102437.
  2. 1 2 Röhl, John C.G.; Warren, Martin; Hunt, David (1998). Purple Secret: Genes, 'Madness', and the Royal Houses of Europe. London: Transworld Publishers Ltd. ISBN   978-0552145503.
  3. Royal Children by Charles Kidd & Patrick Montague-Smith
  4. The Times, 23 February 1942
  5. "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page — Royal Christenings". Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  6. Cadbury, Deborah (2015). Princes at War. England. ISBN   1610394038.
  7. "60 Facts, Fact 9". Official website of the Royal Family. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  8. "Good Performances in Junior Cricket". Eton College Chronicle (3087). 4 June 1956. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  9. "Etoniana". Eton College Chronicle (3211). 10 December 1959. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Montgomery-Massingbird, Hugh (1973). Burke's Guide to the Royal Family. Burke's Peerage.
  11. Macalpine I, Hunter R (1966). "The "Insanity" of King George III: a Classic Case of Porphyria" (PDF). British Medical Journal . 1 (5479): 65–71. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.5479.65. PMC   1843211 . PMID   5323262 . Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  12. Warren, Martin J.; Smith, Alison G. (2009). Tetrapyrroles: Birth, Life and Death. Landes Bioscience. p. 21. ISBN   978-0-387-78517-2.
  13. Wilson, A.N. (2015). Victoria: A Life. Penguin Publishing Group. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  14. Wilson, Christopher (24 August 2012). "How the Queen sabotaged my passionate affair with her cousin". Daily Mail . Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  15. James, Isobel (22 August 2015). "The Other Prince William". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  16. 1 2 "The Other Prince William". Channel 4. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  17. Williams, Kathryn (3 October 2011). "The Other Prince William". Forgotten Royals. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  18. "Nicole Moschietto". The Peerage. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  19. 1 2 "Light is shed on death of prince". Shropshire Star. 2 November 2015. p. 8.Report by Adam Burling, Comment and Analysis.
  20. "Civil Aircraft Accident Report 7/73, Department of Trade and Industry" (PDF). Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  21. "1972: Prince William killed in plane crash". On This Day. BBC News. 28 August 1972. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  23. Heraldica – British Royal Cadency