Prince George, Duke of Kent

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Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of Prince George, Duke of Kent, who died on this day in 1942! The fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary, he was a younger brother of King Edward VIII and King George VI, Prince George received his early education from a tutor and then went to St Peter’s Court School, followed by Naval College at Osborne and, later, at Dartmouth. He was promoted to sub-lieutenant in 1924, then lieutenant in 1926, remaining on active service in the Royal Navy until 1929, serving on HMS Iron Duke and HMS Nelson, though he continued to be promoted, to commander in 1934, and captain in 1937. Afterwards, Prince George worked at the Foreign Office and the Home Office, becoming the first member of the royal family to work as a civil servant. In 1934, he married Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, with the couple having three children; Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Michael (born just seven weeks before his father’s death). In 1936, he was appointed a personal aide-de-camp to his eldest brother, King Edward VIII, and after his abdication, appointed a personal naval aide-de-camp to his elder brother, King George VI. The Duke was also commissioned as a Colonel in the British Army and a Group Captain in the Royal Air Force (RAF), before being appointed the Governor General designate of Australia in 1938, with effect from November 1939, though due to the outbreak of the Second World War, the appointment was postponed (it was later taken over by his elder brother, the Duke of Gloucester, in the dying days of the war). Ahead of the outbreak of war, Prince George was promoted to the ranks of rear admiral (RA) in the Royal Navy (RN), major general (MG) in the British Army and air vice-marshal (AVM) in the Royal Air Force (RAF), returning to active military service with the rank of Rear Admiral, serving in the Intelligence Division of the Admiralty. In 1942, the Duke died on board RAF Short Sunderland flying boat W4026, which crashed in Scotland, marking the first time in more than 450 years that a member of the royal family died on active service.


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