George, Duke of Kent (1902-ka1942) and Princess Marina (1906-1968)

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My apologies if I am asking a question that's been asked before but could those much more knowledgeable than I recommend some books on Prince George, Duke of Kent and his wife Princess Marina
Princess Marina was the president of the Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for 26 years.

In Long to Reign?, A. W. Purdue wrote:

It has been suggested that there were plans, supported by Lord Mountbatten, for him (Prince George, Duke of Kent) to become King of Poland.

During the Second World War, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, enrolled as an auxiliary nurse at University College Hospital in London under the pseudonym "Nurse Kay".
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Thanks for posting this video! What a beautiful voice Princess Marina had - I do wish people still spoke like that :lol:
I think its the first time I've ever heard her voice,British Pathe is a wonderful archive for such video's.
She has a French accent ! A class act .
I think its the first time I've ever heard her voice,British Pathe is a wonderful archive for such video's.

I've heard Marina speak once before on another video (I think it is Pathe too) when she is interviewed just before her wedding - I believe she was visiting Paris for some shopping. Anyway, again, her English was cut-glass perfect with only a slight accent. British Pathe is indeed an amazing source for old footage of royals all over the world.
Sadly Priscilla was widowed along side Princess Marina. John was one of the other 14 people on board when George's plane crashed. John and Priscilla were married 5 years. He had 1 son.
I'm far from being a conspiracy nut, but I've always thought there was something rather fishy about the plane crash in which the Duke of Kent died.
I'm far from being a conspiracy nut, but I've always thought there was something rather fishy about the plane crash in which the Duke of Kent died.

Why? I'm not being argumentative. Other than the fact it occurred during WWII I know nothing about it so I'd be interested in your opinion. Thanks.
I've read about it over the years and some things don't really add up, IMHO. I certainly don't subscribe to the wild theories that Hess was on board or even a long held rumour that dozens of foreign banknotes were found by those retrieving what was left of the bodies.

There seems to have been a lot of documentation that authors have tried to access over the years on the accident that has conveniently gone missing. Access has been denied to the Royal archives.

The one person who survived the crash, Flt Sgt Jack, tucked away in the tail of the plane, refused to speak about the incident for the rest of his life. (He died in 1978.) While he was injured and in hospital following the crash he was visited by two very senior RAF officers. They paid him a private visit.

The one thing he did say as an old man was that he thought there was no pilot error. (The pilot, who died, and the air crew, were very experienced.) The Duke was an Air Commodore but was not very experienced at flying aircraft.

The plane veered inexplicably away from the planned flight path quite early in the flight. There was poor visibility and where they crashed was hilly.

It is said that at the time friends of the Duke of Kent were staying at Langwell House, close to the site of the crash.

The last known message from the fight deck was "Let's go down and have a look...."

The Duke was a man who liked taking risks. I have no evidence at all to back up my theory, apart from the above scraps. It's all speculative. However, I believe it may well be possible that the Duke of Kent was at the controls of the plane and intended to buzz Langwell House, giving his friends and himself a laugh. He wasn't terribly experienced, and the plane crashed and burned.
In 1938 at King's School Prince George signed his name with a diamond pen on a pane of glass. He commemorated the completion of the rebuilding of the school.
I’ve just finished the latest Christopher Warwick biography of George and Marina. Interestingly, I had heard before that King Olav of Norway had proposed to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother but according to Warwick, QEQM was actually recruited by the King of Denmark as a go between to offer Marina the chance to marry Olav in 1955. Which Marina declined.

She did however push very hard indeed for a marriage between Crown Prince Harald and Princess Alexandra and was desperate for Prince Edward to marry either Margarethe of Denmark or Beatrix of the Netherlands.

The book really is a great insight into Marina’s personality and life after her husband’s death and reveals (with the blessing of her children) her love affairs following George’s death and officially confirms his bisexuality.

The book also quotes from Noel Coward’s diaries in which he revealed that Princess Marina and Princess Alexandra were less than impressed with Princess Margaret’s choice of husband and cites this as being common among European Royal families who opted not to bother to send representatives as they didn’t believe it would last. How prophetic!
That is interesting. Does the author show any documents about these ambitions or is it merely deduction?

Three decades earlier Edward and Alexandra would have been rather logical candidates indeed. If fact, Edward would have been the first candidate for any Dutch diplomat: English, royal, no chance of succeeding, protestant, healthy and from a reigning family. But all involved had other plans in the sixties.

In the mid sixties some ministers were concerned that Princess Beatrix was not married yet. Joseph Luns -minister of foreign affairs and later NATO secretary general- urged prince Bernhard to make a list of suitable candidates. In 1965 the Dutch ambassador in the UK, Herman van Rooijen, organized a few diners with English noblemen. Afterwards a few German dinners were organized where the princess reacquainted Claus von Amsberg.

The duke of Kent was already married at the time of course.
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The author had access to Marina’s archive but also was able to interview her children for the book so I assume that it was first hand accounts given by the Duke of Kent and his siblings. The present Duchess of Kent also gave him an interview and the details about her relationship with Marina are fascinating. It does sound as if she was quite the matriarch.

According to Warwick, Marina made Edward and Katherine wait for 3 years before she would agree to their marriage during in which time she hoped that he would change his mind. She eventually accepted Katherine Worsley but arranged the wedding herself, even down to the dress the bride would wear.

As you say, at the time of Marina’s dynastic plans there was a possibility but I don’t think Alexandra in particular ever wanted a royal match for herself. According to Warwick, Marina felt that Alexandra should be a Queen consort and her first preference was Norway because of Alexandra’s relation to Queen Maud. There’s no detail given however about how seriously King Harald ever took Marina’s suggestion, if he ever considered it all.

One relationship that is well documented in the book is Marina’s long love affair with Sir Philip Hay who served as her private secretary after the war. She also engaged in a relationship with Sir Malcolm Sargant but remained close to Philip throughout her widowhood.
Interesting. Thanks for telling about it. I didn't know that much about Marina, but it sounds as if she was a bossy rather snobbish woman.
I did see Lady Colin Campbell on some TV programme saying that Mariana had a very acive love life after she was widowed.. but I know how dubiuous LCC can be...
I think that of all Princess Nicholas' daughters, Marina was the most like her mother. She belonged to a different era which in the 1960s must have been a huge challenge. Prince George always said that his wife was bossy but he welcomed that given his rather unorthodox life before his marriage. She was a stabilising influence but I don't think many members of the British Royal Family were ever able to warm to her.

After the war, she spent much of her time socialising with her own family and friends which was very much comprised of continental royalty (albeit deposed) who shared her views. Considering the strong influence of the Queen Mother on the British court, it's no wonder that Marina was somewhat alienated. Especially as it's no great secret that Marina and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother didn't exactly get along very well.
The QM was faily conservative in her views too, but Not I suppose to the same extent as Marina. She sounds a nightmare.. and Edward and Alexandra were lucky that thty managed to marry as they wished.. even if the DOK's marriage hasn't been 100% successful.
I suppose if Marina did mix with her old ciricle of Contientnal royalty, esp if they were largely "ex royals", she was obsessed with the old ways of matchmaking and "marrying other royals" and wanted that for her children...
But I'm interested to know that Lady Colin is actually right for once in saying that M had a healthy sexual appetite and had quite a few lovers....
Haha! It’s a rare thing indeed when Lady Colin offers accurate commentary.

The distance between Marina and QEQM was really based on the Queen Mother’s insecurities rather than Marina’s dislike of her. The Queen Mother was intimidated by foreign royalty as it served to remind her that she was *only* the daughter of an Earl. We know from her official biography that the Queen Mother didn’t like the idea of lots of foreign royals marching about Buckingham Palace and she was lucky in that George V sympathised somewhat with that view after the First World War. George VI didn’t really provide any opposition either.

But Princess Marina was very much a part of the grand extended royal family tree and the book mentions the fact that during state visits, Marina would often be the one the visitors spent their time with. One anecdote tells how the Queen Mother was left in a temper after Marina cut short an introduction to warmly embrace a foreign Prince whom Marina knew very well but who was a stranger to the Queen Mother. I imagine over the years these little tensions grew into a frosty relationship.

But Marina wasn’t all to blame. She was left in dire straits after the Duke’s death and neither the Queen nor Queen Mother were in any way speedily forthcoming with a solution. In the end, Marina had to beg Churchill to step in and secure her a permanent income which the Queen Mother was opposed to. Especially the renovation of Apartment 1 at KP which cost around £80,000 and caused a political outcry.

Marina did however get on very well with other in laws and British relations, particularly Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

Oddly, for all her snobbery, she always sent Christmas cards to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and sanctioned several relationships which at the time would have been very much illegal. Noel Coward spoke of her accepting nature but it seems that didn’t apply to her own children.
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I doubt if the QM was really bothered by the status thing, I think she simply didn't like foreigners that much, esp Germans.
As you say G V was much the same, he didn't like "abroad" at all..
I'm not surprised Q Eliz was annoyed if Marina cut short an introduction to "embrace a foreign prince".. its rude.
What Lady CC acutally said was that Marina had a lively interest in men and that she annoyed many wives by her hooking up with their husbands when she took a fancy to one...
It’s not the first time I’ve read that the Queen Mother did have something of an inferiority complex. She was equally bad tempered when the Duke of Edinburgh reminded her that his mother had spent lots of time at Windsor and Buckingham Palace during her childhood. She fabricated a very sweet public imagine but QEQM was not all sweetness and light and I think her unkindness to Marina and other foreign relations was more based in a will to assert her status than it was based on their nationality. Marina could hardly be seen as a German, neither could Queen Juliana who also earned the ire of the Queen Mother.

I think it’s understandable, especially as not every member of the British Royal Family welcomed her as Duchess of York. Even sickly sweet Princess Alice (Athlone) called her “the tea cosy”! She must have felt a need to prove herself and Queen Mary didn’t exactly hide her feelings that Marina was a far better choice than Elizabeth had been based on her pedigree. Fortunately for Elizabeth, neither George V or George VI felt that way.

The trouble was that the Queen Mother could be very over sensitive and more than a little selfish. As Marina said, it was hard to take a lecture from her on overspending during the KP renovations when in the same year, the Queen Mother spent almost twice that much in one afternoon on furnishings for Clarence House which had only been updated a decade earlier. Whilst the Queen Mother was buying champagne for herself, Marina’s house had half the roof missing.
All very interesting.

In what way did Queen Juliana earn the ire of the Queen Mother? She did accept to become godmother of Princess Irene so I suppose it must have been later.

Does the book reveal anything about the relations of George VI and his sister-in-law or about Queen Elizabeth II and her aunt?
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I believe it was during the early 1970s and was based more on the fact that she disapproved of Prince Bernhard and therefore by extension Juliana herself. This is the second biography of that generation of British royals which has made reference to a dislike the Queen Mother had for Juliana but I can’t say I’ve ever seen any reference to one incident that triggered any face to face unpleasantness.

There are certainly plenty documented between the Queen Mother and Princess Marina however.

According to the book, George VI liked Marina but he never had a chance to spend much time with her because of the cool relationship that existed between his wife and that of his brother. QEQM preferred things to be “we two” before “we four” came along and I wonder whether some of that was because of George Kent’s reputation, which most high society was aware of. Princess Mary and Prince Henry were not particularly the most friendly of people and so I think it was very much left to just George and Elizabeth and their small circle of friends which she tended to choose rather than him.

George Kent was also much closer to Duke of Windsor than he was George VI. He helped him through his withdrawal from morphine and cocaine addiction for example. As for the present Queen, she was said to be quite fond of Marina and saw far more of her than she otherwise would have done, simply because Philip treated Marina very much as a beloved aunt and the friendship between his own mother and Princess Marina was a strong one.

There’s a lovely anecdote about Marina correcting Lord Mountbatten who referred to Philip as a true English gentleman: “No he isn’t. He’s a true Greek Prince!”
I don’t think this link has been posted before but it’s the longest audio I have heard of Marina speaking.

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