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Remembering those who died in 2016

Many friends and relatives of the Royal Family have died this year, as well as royals from across Europe and the world. Here we remember some of those who passed away in 2016.

The Duke of Westminster

In August, Major-General Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, The Duke of Westminster, died at the age of 64 after suffering a heart attack.

The billionaire landowner died at Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire.

He was a particularly close to Prince Charles and a trustee of Princess Diana. The Queen sent a private message of condolence to the family, and members of The Royal Family attended a memorial service.

Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke’s only son, succeeded his father to the Dukedom of Westminster.

The Hon. Margaret Rhodes

The Queen’s cousin and best friend, Margaret Rhodes, died in November at the age of 91 following a short illness.

Born just a few months apart from Her Majesty, Mrs Rhodes probably knew the monarch better than anybody else. The Queen and Mrs Rhodes remained best of friends from childhood until her passing.

Margaret was the youngest daughter of Sidney Buller-Fullerton-Elphinstone, 16th Lord Elphinstone – The Queen Mother’s brother-in-law. She was a constant playmate and companion of the young Princess Elizabeth.

The friendship continued, and in 1947, she was one of eight bridesmaids at Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip.

Up until recently, Mrs Rhodes invited The Queen to her house most Sundays for a cup of tea after church. In actual fact, the 91-year-old lived in the parklands of Windsor Castle, a home Her Majesty gifted to her three decades ago.

The Queen broke away from protocol in December to attend Margaret’s funeral.

Henry Worsley

One of The Duke of Cambridge’s close friends, explorer Henry Worsley, died in January after falling ill whilst attempting a solo crossing of Antarctica.

The 55-year-old ex-army officer was just 30 miles short from his goal of becoming the first person to cross Antarctica unaided.

Prince William paid tribute to his friend in a statement released by Kensington Palace.

“Harry and I are very sad to hear of the loss of Henry Worsley. He was a man who showed great courage and determination and we are incredibly proud to be associated with him.”

“Even after retiring from the Army, Henry continued to show selfless commitment to his fellow servicemen and women, by undertaking this extraordinary Shackleton solo expedition on their behalf.

“We have lost a friend, but he will remain a source of inspiration to us all, especially those who will benefit from his support to the Endeavour Fund.

“We will now make sure that his family receive the support they need at this terribly difficult time.”

King Bhumibol Adulyadej

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who was also known as King Rama IX, died in October at the age of 88.

A year of mourning was declared in Thailand following the news. The King had been in poor health for some time.

King Bhumibol was the longest reigning monarch in the world during his lifetime. His health had been poor for quite some time and he had not appeared in public in the last year of his life.

Shortly before his death, he had undergone a procedure to drain fluids from his spine. Afterwards he was placed on a ventilator and was said to be in an unstable condition.

Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn succeeded his father to the throne, and became King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.

Raine Spencer

Raine Spencer, the stepmother of Diana, Princess of Wales died at the age of 87 in October. Her son, William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth confirmed her death, which came after a short illness.

The family released a short statement saying, “Raine, Countess Spencer, died peacefully at her home in London on 21st October 2016, after a short illness.”

She was born Raine McCorquodale on 9 September 1929 as the only child of novelist Dame Barbara Cartland and Alexander McCorquodale.

During her early life, Raine served in her local government for many years. As a member of the Conservative Party, she became the youngest member of the Westminster City Council at the age of 23.

Raine, the Countess Spencer is survived by her four children and her grandchildren.

Lady Elizabeth Longman

Lady Elizabeth Longman, the Queen’s cousin and bridesmaid, died on Thursday 8th December at her home, aged 92.

The news of her death came just a couple of weeks after The Hon. Margaret Rhodes, meaning Her Majesty lost two close friends in as many weeks.

In total, Queen Elizabeth had eight bridesmaids. Only Princess Alexandra and Lady Pamela Hicks are still alive today.

Lady Elizabeth Longman was born on 16 October 1924 and was the daughter of  Field Marshal Frederick Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan and Lady Hester Joan Byng. On 20 July 1949, two years after being a bridesmaid to the then Princess Elizabeth, she married Mark Frederic Kerr Longman, son of Henry Kerr Longman.

ogether, the couple had three children; Caroline Elizabeth Longman born 24 Dec 1951, Jane Longman born 11 Jul 1955, and Emma Longman born 14 Jan 1959.

Lady Elizabeth’s husband, Mark Frederic Kerr Longman died 6 September 1972 leaving her a widow.

Lady Elizabeth has remained close to The Queen, being part of some of her biggest milestones such as her Diamond Anniversary in 2007 at Westminster Abbey.

Queen Anne of Romania

Queen Anne of Romania, the wife of Romania’s last monarch, King Michael I, has died in August at the age of 92. Crown Princess Margareta, Prince Radu, Princess Helen, Princess Sophie and Princess Marie were at the Queen’s bedside.

Queen Anne was born as Princess Anne Antoinette Françoise Charlotte Zita Marquerite of Bourbon-Parma on 18 September 1923 as the only daughter of Prince René of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Margaret of Denmark.

Although never crowned, the late Queen received a funeral with full state honours, with a day of national mourning held in both Romania and Moldova.

The Queen’s husband, King Michael of Romania, was too ill to attend the funeral and had to stay in a Swiss hospital on the advice of medics.

The Earl of Strathmore

After a long battle with cancer, The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, better known Lord Strathmore has died in February.

Michael Fergus Bowes-Lyon was cousin to The Queen, and died in hospital in London at the age of 58 on February 27th.

He was once an army captain and had four sons and two step-daughters. He was the 18th earl of the estate in Angus, a frequent spot the Queen Mother visited as a child.

In a statement, the Bowes-Lyon family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Michael Fergus Bowes-Lyon, 18th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Princess Brigitta of Prussia

Princess Brigitta of Prussia, wife to the late Prince Michael of Prussia, died at the age of 77 in November.

Princess Brigitta committed suicide at her home after she told neighbours that she was going away for a few days, however, when she didn’t return after a week and wasn’t answering her mobile phone, police were called.

The Princess was struggling to come to terms with the death of her husband two years prior.

Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern

Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern, the husband of Princess Birgitta of Sweden died in March at the of 83. The Prince died in his sleep after a brief illness in a hospital in Munich, Germany. King Carl XVI Gustaf released the following statement:

‘I and my family received the news with great sadness that Princess Birgitta’s husband Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern died. Our thoughts are with Princess Birgitta and family.’ 


Prince Mikasa of Japan

Prince Mikasa of Japan was the world’s oldest living member of a Royal Family when he died earlier this year at the age of 100.

The Prince died of cardiac arrest. He was the youngest brother of Emperor Hirohito and the uncle of the current Emperor Akihito.

He was born on 2 December 1915 as Prince Takahito and the fourth son of Emperor Taisho. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1936 and served in the cavalry regiment. He graduated from the Military Staff College in 1941 and served as an Imperial Japanese Army officer under a pseudonym in 1943. He was a major when the Second World War ended. fter the war he studied Ancient Oriental history and taught at several universities. As the only living member of the Japanese Imperial family with military experience, he was a great advocate for peace.

On 22 October 1941, Prince Mikasa married Yuriko Takagi and they had five children. He has long suffered from heart problems and he underwent surgery for this in 2012. He recovered from this surgery but suffered acute pneumonia in May of this year. He remained in hospital due to a weakened heart function. His condition suddenly deteriorated and he died at 8.34am. He had been fifth in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the time of his death. There are now only four men remaining in the line of succession.

He was survived by his wife, who is 93, two daughters and nine grandchildren. His three sons all predeceased him.