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The Kents

The sad anniversary that gives the Duke of Kent a place in the history books

The Duke of Kent marks a poignant anniversary in August and one that cements a strange and unlooked for place in the history books.

Prince Edward is the only person in recorded history to hold a royal dukedom for eighty years.

His Royal Highness, 87, became Duke of Kent on August 25th 1942 at the age of six when his father was killed in a plane crash.

He has now held his title for eight decades, easily the longest that anyone has ever been a royal duke.

The anniversary is a moment of deep personal sadness as well as reflection for the Duke who last year said he has just a few memories of his father.

Prince George, Duke of Kent was the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was born in 1902 and served with the Royal Navy before working for the Foreign Office and Home Office. After the outbreak of World War Two, he served with the RAF. On August 25th 1942, he was on board a flying boat headed to Iceland from Scotland on non operational duties. It crashed soon after take off, killing George and all but one other person on board. The Duke of Kent was buried at Frogmore.

He had been made Duke of Kent just eight years earlier, just before his marriage to Princess Marina of Greece. His elder son, Edward, succeeded him on his death and, this August, will have been Duke of Kent for 81 years.

The Duke still carries out engagements and is a highly valued member of the Royal Family. He was at the centre of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II in June 2022, when he stood at his cousin’s side as Her Late Majesty took a salute from the balcony of Buckingham Palace at Trooping the Colour. His Royal Highness sat outside St. James’ Palace on the morning of September 10th 2022 to hear the official proclamation of King Charles III and was at the heart of the royal party attending the Coronation in May 2023.

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About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.