HRH Prince Henry Duke of Gloucester
HRH Prince George had a successful tour of South Africa earlier in 1934 and was then scheduled to undertake this tour to Australia and New Zealand. However, it was quickly arranged for him to marry Princess Marina in November 1934 and so Prince Henry was allocated to take his place.
A special committee was set up to make the arrangements, an example letter is shown on the next page.
At the time there was also speculation about Prince Henry’s affair with a married woman, a future pilot, Beryl Markham. The trip was therefore a way to distance them. He did pay regular monies to her to avoid a public scandal right up to her death in 1985.
Whilst there were many duties to undertake on the tour such as the dedication of the Shrine of Remembrance on 11th November and the opening of the Anzac War memorial in Sydney on 24th November, the principal reason for the visit was to be the Royal representative at the Centenary celebrations in Victoria on 18th October.
There were discussions about a special stamp issue for Prince George’s visit using his portrait, though there are no records in the archives to prove it got to a design stage. Had this happened it would have been the first stamp issued to commemorate a British Royal Visit to the commonwealth. Due to the short notice no special stamps were issued for the visit of Prince Henry, though the Centenary celebrations were marked by the issue of a set of three stamps.
The Prince set off from Hendon Aerodrome on 4th September 1934. He flew the Prince of Wales’s “Dragon Moth” to Paris. Having dined at the British Embassy they then travelled by train to Marseilles. On September 5th the royal party boarded HMS Sussex and sailed at 11.00 am.
A souvenir guide of HMS Sussex which includes a picture of the Prince boarding the Ship.