Em­ploy of the Duke and Duchess of Kent

Black Country Bugle - - YOUR LETTERS -

Be­cause of his po­si­tion in the house­hold Fred would have be­come very close to his em­ploy­ers, see­ing them on a daily ba­sis. The na­ture of his job meant he lived in Lon­don and his mo­bile of­fice, which was the Rolls Royce and other cars that were used by the Duke and Duchess for their royal du­ties, was based at Kens­ing­ton Palace. He was present dur­ing a tur­bu­lent era of British pol­i­tics, the Royal Ab­di­ca­tion at the pin­na­cle of these events, but he was also still em­ployed as the chauf­feur of the Duke and Duchess of Kent when the fam­ily were hit by tragedy.

Crashed

It was on Au­gust 25 1942 that a Mark 3 Short S.25 Sun­der­land took off from RAF In­ver­gor­don on the Cro­marty Firth at 1305 GMT in foggy weather. Thirty-seven min­utes later it veered off its flight plan track and crashed into the re­mote Ea­gle’s Rock. The of­fi­cial board of in­quiry con­cluded that the plane crashed into the hill­side due to an er­ror of nav­i­ga­tion. Four­teen of the fif­teen man crew and pas­sen­gers, in­clud­ing HRH The Duke of Kent were killed in the crash.

The Duke of Kent was the first mem­ber of the Royal Fam­ily to die on ac­tive mil­i­tary ser­vice for over 450 years and his re­mains were re­turned to Lon­don and buried at St Ge­orge’s Chapel, Wind­sor, later in­terred in the Royal Burial Ground, Frog­more. The Duchess was left a widow at the age of 36 hav­ing only just given birth to a third child, Prince Michael. Prince Ed­ward and Princess Alexan­dra were her other two chil­dren. The loss of her hus­band Prince Ge­orge af­fected her deeply, but she soon be­gan her royal du­ties again which in turn would have kept Fred­die very busy.

Charm

When Princess Ma­rina died sud­denly in 1968 aged 61 she was mourned widely. Born in Greece she had carved out a royal role for her­self in her adopted coun­try and her pass­ing prompted trib­utes say­ing she had beauty, grace and charm and was greatly ad­mired and loved.

Fred Field couldn’t have wished for bet­ter em­ploy­ers and the fond mem­o­ries of his time as a royal chauf­feur is re­flected in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing pho­to­graphs, some of which Peter Ed­wards reck­ons have never been pub­lished be­fore. The pho­tog­ra­pher is un­known but the sub­ject mat­ter re­flects a fam­ily very much in love with life and duty.

The Duke of Kent in 1938 with Fred­die stand­ing be­hind

Two charm­ing pic­tures of the Duchess Of Kent and her daugh­ter Princess Alexan­dra en­joy­ing a spin on their bi­cy­cles

Fred Field, far right, takes a break from his chauf­fer­ing du­ties at a Royal event. His Rolls Royce can just be seen

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