At the time of his birth, George’s parents were the Prince and Princess of Wales and he was fifth in the line of succession behind his father and three older brothers, Edward, Albert and Henry. George was initially educated by a tutor before following his brother, Henry, to prep school in Kent, however he was only thirteen when he entered naval college at Osborne. George remained on active service in the Royal Navy until March 1929, serving on HMS Iron Duke and HMS Nelson.
As a young man, George was reputed to have had numerous affairs with both men and women, including musical star, Jessie Matthews, and playwright, Noël Coward. However, it was his relationship with American socialite, Kiki Preston, which caused the royal family the most concern as the couple were rumoured to be addicted to morphine and cocaine. Various attempts were made to keep the pair apart, however nothing worked until Kiki was forced to leave England. There were rumours George had fathered a son with Kiki but these have never been confirmed.
Second World War
Hoping George would settle down, a marriage was quickly arranged with Marina of Greece and Denmark and they married on 29 November 1934 at Westminster Abbey. The couple went on to have three children: Edward, born 9 October 1935; Alexandra, born 25 December 1936; and, Michael, born 4 July 1942. On 12 October 1934, George was created Duke of Kent, Earl of St. Andrews, and Baron Downpatrick.
In 1936, George was appointed as personal aide-de-camp to his eldest brother, Edward VIII, and following the abdication, he was then appointed as personal naval aide-de-camp to his brother, Albert, who took the regnal name of George VI. In March 1937, he was granted a commission in the Royal Air Force as a group captain and was promoted to air vice-marshal in June 1939. After the outbreak of the Second World War, George relinquished his rank as an air officer to assume the post of staff officer at RAF Training Command in the rank of group captain.
On 25 August 1942, George was killed when his flying boat crashed into a hillside near Caithness, Scotland, while flying from Invergordon to Iceland on non-operational duties. George was buried in the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore, directly behind Queen Victoria’s mausoleum.