Tragedies for lesser-known Royals in official Coronation portraits

Many members of the Royal Family have experienced tragedies over the years, from early deaths to horrific disasters.

And while there are a great deal of terrible stories, some of the saddest have affected the senior Royals who featured in King Charles’s official Coronation portraits.

The first tragedy affected Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (standing far right) and Princess Alexandra (standing second left). The first cousins of Queen Elizabeth II have dedicated their lives to royal service and have carried out hundreds of engagements and official appearances.

The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra (L) experienced heartbreak early on

However, their lives were difficult in the early years as they lost their father, Prince George, Duke of Kent, in an RAF plane crash during World War Two.

Aged just seven at the time, Prince Edward inherited the Dukedom of Kent title. At the time of Prince George’s death in 1942, his youngest son Prince Michael, was just over a month old.

The Duke of Kent has lived through five reigns – these being King George V, King Edward VIII, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III. Despite this impressive feat, he has only taken part in two Coronation services, those being his cousin, the late Queen’s and King Charles’.

The Duke of Gloucester never expected to inherit his father’s title

Another senior Royal in the portrait who has faced challenges in life is Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

The married father-of-three was the second born son of Prince Henry and Princess Alice, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and was never directly in line to inherit the title.

His elder brother, Prince William of Gloucester, was always set to follow in their father’s footsteps – but a tragedy in 1972 propelled Prince Richard into the spotlight.

Prince William was an incredibly popular member of the Royal Family and was often referred to as ‘the daredevil prince’ thanks to his love of dangerous activities such as flying, ballooning and hiking in the Sahara Desert

Prince Richard (L) lost his elder brother in a tragic accident

In 1972, Prince William – who was a qualified pilot and owned several aircraft himself – was competing in the Goodyear International Air Trophy.

His mother was sitting in the stands to watch her son compete. Shortly after take-off, he lost control of the plane at a low altitude causing the wing to hit a tree and burst into flames. His body was identified the following day through dental records.

His tragic death made him the first grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary to die. He is buried at the Royal Burial Ground in Windsor.

He predeceased his father by two years but William’s younger brother became the next Duke of Gloucester when Prince Henry died in 1974.


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