Prince William of Gloucester (1941-1972)

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Aug 13, 2003
1972: Prince William killed in plane crash

Prince William of Gloucester has been killed after his light aircraft crashed and burst into flames.
The prince was taking part in an air race near Wolverhampton in the west Midlands.

His plane, a yellow and white Piper Cherokee Arrow, banked sharply soon after take off, hit a tree and plunged to the ground.

Prince William, 30, and his co-pilot, Vyrell Mitchell, were trapped in the wreckage.

Three boys who tried to reach them were beaten back by the flames.

One of them, Derek Perton, described their frantic rescue attempts.

"We tried to break into the plane's doors and then tried to break it in half by pulling at the tail.

"But it was no good, we had to go back because of the heat," he said.


Firemen arrived on the scene a few minutes later but were unable to get near because of the heat of the blaze.

Prince William, a bachelor, was ninth in line to the throne.

He was the eldest son of the Queen's uncle, the Duke of Gloucester.

The Queen has called off a visit to the Olympic Games and ordered family mourning until Prince William's funeral.

Princess Anne has also cancelled her plans to travel to the Olympics and the Duke of Edinburgh, who is already in Munich, will return for the funeral.

The Prime Minister, Edward Heath, has sent messages of condolence to the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Queen.

Government air safety experts have begun an investigation into the crash.

A crowd of about 30,000 people were watching the race at Half Penny Green Airfield.

The race's chief steward, Beverley Snook, has appealed to amateur photographers to submit any cine film and pictures of the accident to investigators.

(more at this link plus a short video of the good-looking Prince William of Gloucester..... :heart: )
Prince William of Gloucester
From Wikipedia, (Biography)

Prince William of Gloucester (December 18, 1941-August 28, 1972 was the elder son of the late Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.

His Royal Highness Prince William Henry Andrew Frederick was born at Barnet, Hertfordshire. He spent his early childhood at Barnwell Manor in Northhamptonshire and in Australia, were his father served as governor general from 1945 to 1947. He received his education at Wellesley House Prepratory School, Broadstairs, Kent, and at Eton. After leaving Eaton in 1960, he went to Magdalene College, University of Cambridge to read history. After graduating in 1963, he spent a post-baccalaureate year at Stanford University studying political science, American history, and business. Upon returning to Great Britain, he took a position with Lazards, a merchant bank.

Prince William was the second member of the British Royal Family to work in the civil service or the diplomatic service. (The first was his late uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent in the 1920s). He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1965 and was posted to Lagos as the third secretary to the British High Commission. In 1968, he transfered to Tokyo to accept the post of second secretary (commerical) in the British Embassy. In 1970, the Duke of Gloucester's health began to fail. Prince William resigned from the diplomatic service and returned to Britain. For the next two years, he managed Barnwell Manor and began to carry out public duties as member of the royal family.

A certified pilot, Prince William of Gloucester owned several aircraft and competed in several air shows. He died when the plane he was piloting crashed at Halfpenny Green, near Wolverhampton. He was buried at Frogmore Royal Burial Ground.

Prince William was the heir apparent of his father's peerages, Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden. Upon his death, his younger brother Prince Richard of Gloucester became heir and succeeded to these peerages in 1974. :heart:
(Adorable picture of a young Prince William of Gloucester... :heart: )
(a handsome Prince William of Gloucester....the greek god Adonis has nothing on him :heart: !!!)
I dont remind that Prince William of Gloucester before!

I knew that Princess Alice in Majesty Magazine when she become 100 year old with Her Majesty the Queen 2 and Princess Margaret before Princess Margaret died.

Sara Boyce
Prince William of Gloucester was the eldest son of Princess Alice, (Duchess of Gloucester) and Henry, Duke of Gloucester. Duke Henry died two years after his son William in 1974. Their youngest son Richard became Duke of Gloucester shortly after.
More information on the family of Gloucester

Henry was the third son of George V and Queen Mary. He was born at York House, Sandringham.
Henry stuttered like his older brother Bertie, and often burst into tears or spasms of high laughter for no apparent reason.

It was because of this that people thought he wasn't that bright.

Because he always seemed to be ill, his parents decided not to put him into the Royal Navy like their older sons had done. Instead, they sent him to Broadstairs Prep School, a first for the Royal Family.

After he was finished school, he still didn't want to join the Navy, so he opted for the Cavalry instead. He ended up loving it, and kept up the job until after the abdication.

Henry often drank too much, but it was something his brothers did as well. A reaction to the strict childhood they had.

In 1928, the King created Henry the Duke of Gloucester.

In the summer of 1935, Henry proposed to Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott. He wasn't a romantic man, though, and according to Alice, he just mumbled it to her while they were walking.

Alice's father died just three weeks before their planned huge wedding at Westminster Abbey, so the wedding ended up being a toned-down, private family affair.

Bridesmaids at the wedding included the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

The King died a few months after the wedding, and chaos came upon the Royal Family. The new King, soon to the the Duke of Windsor, abdicated, and the second brother, Bertie, became King.

After this happened, there were only two brothers left (Henry and George, Duke of Kent) to carry out Royal duties. This meant that Henry had to give up his cherished career in the cavalry and become a full-time Royal. He was apparently none too happy about this, but under the circumstances, he had no choice.

Henry spent some time in France in 1941-42, at the Allied HQ. Then, in 1942, when the Duke of Kent died in a plane crash, and Henry became the Governor General of Australia.

In the meantime, Alice had had a number of miscarriages, but they finally had two children. Richard was only a few weeks old when they left for Australia.

Just after they were married, Henry and Alice bought a house, Barnwell Manor, in Northamtonshire. Alice still goes there sometimes. They were very country- oriented people, and didn't live in the city or in palaces often at all. Both of the loved riding, and enjoyed gardening and farming.

Henry suffered his first stroke in the 1960s. He had several other ones in the years that followed, and these impaired his abilities. By the time he died, he was basically a vegetable.

He did not even understand that his son William had died in 1972.

Alice was born in Montagu House, London, on Christmas Day 1901. She was the second daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queenbery. Alice's family were a very, very noble, rich family. They could easily pass for royalty. However, Alice herself was and is a woman with very simple tastes. Alice had two siblings, a sister named Sybil and a brother named Billy. Billy joined the army when WWI broke out. Alice and Sybil were sent to school when Alice was 12. The school was for the highly upper-class, and the girls were taught proper etiquette and how to speak Italian. Alice has since forgotten it all (the Italian, at least).

Alice traveled a lot in her youth, especially in Africa. She also visited Billy in India for an extended period of time.

She is a very good watercolourist.

After she married Henry, her story is pretty much what we've got written up there about his life. She was devastated when William was killed in 1972, and this was probably made worse by the fact that Henry didn't comprehend what had happened.

Henry's death didn't seem to devasate her as much as one would expect. But this is perhaps because she was expecting it for some time. Also, by this time she had a new daughter-in-law, and her first grandchild was born just three months after Henry died.

After Henry's death, she continued to take on Royal engagements and such, but lately, due to her age and poor health, she has slowed down considerably. She was even unable to attend the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh's Golden Wedding service because of illness.

William was the first child of Henry and Alice. Queen Mary doted on him big time. He was a daredevil kind of person, and when he was a little boy, he was apparently bad (so was Richard). He was prepped to be Duke, but he never really outgrew the daredevil streak. He learned how to fly airplanes, and entered a flying race. Something went wrong mechanically during the race and his plane crashed, killing him instantly.
It was actually two years after William died that his younger brother Richard became Duke, but since his father was pretty much out of things, he really started his duties of being a duke right off the bat.

Richard also had his new wife to think about, as he had gotten married maybe six weeks before William was killed. Since he had never had to train to be a Duke, Richard had sort of an aimless life. He couldn't decide what to be.

However, since he had liked playing with building blocks when he was little, his brother suggested architecture. So, he went to Cambridge and studied just that.

While at college, Richard met Birgitte van Deurs, who was born in Odense, Denmark. They dated, but after Birgitte finished her school course, she went back to Denmark. Not long afterwards, though, she was back in England, working in the Danish Embassy. They were married within the year.

The family is very quiet, very out of the spotlight.
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:cry: The good always die young! Some of the best good looking guys died in plane crashes! You have Prince William of Gloucester (30), Joseph "Joe" Kennedy, Jr (28)- (who died in World War II, the oldest brother of President John Kennedy), and John Kennedy, Jr (35) and countless of others. It is depressing that they didn't even begin to have a life (marriage and/or family). How sad, indeed! :heart:
I love the Glouchester family. Thank You for this thread and the info.
Could somebody send the pictures of him ?

Amazing story about an ambitious man! To bad, he left this world to soon. :heart:
Howcome that the story said that William and Richard were apparently bad?
Duke, Duchess and Prince of Gloucester
Henry and Alice, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, with their son Prince William at Eton College on St Andrews Day. (1956)

Prince William on Aircraft Wing
Prince William of Gloucester on the wing of his Piper Twin Comanche aircraft at Cambridge Airport ready to depart on a 3 week trip to Japan. Prince William was killed in 1972 while taking part in the Goodyear Air Race. (August 19, 1968)

He looks so handsome... :heart:
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was prince charles close to this man, i think i heard something about this...
Prince Charles was close to his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, who was killed by terrorists. Was this Prince William gay? To be 30 and unmarried at that time seems a bit unusual.
Prince William had been having affairs with married women. In her autobiography, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, said something about feeling sure he was just about ready to settle down and get married when he died, but that might just be wishful thinking.

One of the books about the Charles and Diana problems started off by saying that Prince Charles had looked up to Prince William of Gloucester and tried to emulate him, hence his inclination to have lots of relationships, including with married women. I don't know if the author had any facts to back that up or was just expressing an opinion. Even though Prince William of Gloucester was of the same generation as the Queen (since their fathers were brothers), he was much closer in age to Prince Charles. I've seen a photo somewhere (maybe in the Duchess of Gloucester's book) of her two sons, William and Richard, playing with Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
Prince William of Gloucester

I just read, in Forbes on-line, that Prince William had been diagnosed with porphyria in 1968. (This was from one of the articles discussing George III's madness and a link to arsenic.) The article stated that other members of the modern Royal Family had also been diagnosed with porphyria.

Have any of you heard that also? I seem to remember some discussion years ago that Margaret had it.
It isn't clear from the reports of the research into George III how they know Prince William was diagnosed. I assume that doctor-patient confidentiality would prevent doctors talking to each other about their patients, so it's possible that this is hearsay. It's also possible that it's true, but without seeing the wording in the research paper in the Lancet, it's hard to know what was actually said.
thissal said:
The title of this thread almost gave me a fit of apoplexy at first. :shock: :blink:

This newbie read the title of this older thread too fast-and I nearly had a heart attack!! And you won't believe this-I'm listening to my copy of the late Princess Of Wales Funeral as I read the subject line! I swear my first gray hair just popped up! I'll have to check the mirror.

Very said about this other Prince William. I had read a little bit about him before but not much. RIP dear Prince. :(
Elspeth said:
...One of the books about the Charles and Diana problems started off by saying that Prince Charles had looked up to Prince William of Gloucester and tried to emulate him, hence his inclination to have lots of relationships, including with married women.
Sigh. It's like 'the sins of the fathers' being repeated by the sons. King Edward VII and his grandson The Duke Of Windsor seemed to have the same respect for marital vows as well. :(
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I've edited the thread title to add "of Gloucester" to avoid any more newbie heart attacks!
I have read that, in the early 1970s, Mrs. Trowbridge decided to make a play for Prince William (and through her acquaintance with Prince William she met Prince Michael of Kent). After Prince William's death, her relationship with Prince Michael blossomed... and then she became our Marie-Christine (aka Princess Michael). Maybe I'm just repeating gossip. :confused:
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Wisnu said:
Could somebody send the pictures of him ?


Digging into my distant memory, I know that he was standing in the background for the official photograph taken of the extended Royal Family for the Silver Wedding Anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip. I thought he was kind of non-descript looking.
iowabelle said:
I have read that, in the early 1970s, Mrs. Trowbridge decided to make a play for Prince William (and through her acquaintance with Prince William she met Prince Michael of Kent). After Prince William's death, her relationship with Prince Michael blossomed... and then she became our Marie-Christine (aka Princess Michael). Maybe I'm just repeating gossip. :confused:

I've also read that, probably in the same places you did! There's reported to be antipathy between Princess Michael and the Gloucesters, which one article said was because she courted Prince Michael while visiting Barnwell with her husband while Prince Michael was also a guest. It struck me at the time that that would be a rather prudish reason. It makes more sense that the bad feeling is because she, as a married woman, was setting her cap at Prince William, who was a lot closer to his brother than Prince Michael was. It also seemed unlikely that, if she was as ambitious and status-conscious as she seems to be, she'd be going after the younger son of a youngest son when the heir to a more senior royal dukedom was available.
Actually he wasn't in the Silver Wedding photo. Prince Michael is the man standing against the wall at the back. For some odd reason none of the Gloucesters were in that picture. It's a mystery as every other member of the Royal Family and their children were in it. I wish I could find a copy of it to post.
I think it was something to do with the fact that it was taken shortly after Prince William had died, and the Gloucesters weren't taking part in social occasions or something.
This was a great tragedy for the Gloucesters, coming just a few weeks after Richard and Birgitte were married. :( He was not positioned to be heir but both of them have I think fulfilled their roles admirably. I think William had a lot of dash and glamour that would have been a real asset to the royal family over the years but, as is so often the case, things turned out differently.
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