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The Other Prince William
Prince William of Gloucester was born December 18, 1941, to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and Alice, Duchess of Gloucester and grandson of King George V. He was baptized in the private chapel at Windsor Castle on February 22, 1942. In 1947, the prince was a pageboy for Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth) at her wedding to Prince Phillip.
He was educated at Cambridge and Stanford Universities and always searched for adventures. After graduation, the prince took a position at the bank, Lazards but soon found it too dull. So, in 1968 he transferred to Toyko as a secretary for the British Embassy.
With all his daredevil escapades, especially flying, he became known as the James Bond of the monarchy. It indeed was a name well-deserved. The prince was incredibly close to his parents and felt a keen sense of duty to his royal duties.
Prince William Meets The Love Of His Life
While in Tokyo, the prince was spotted by a beautiful Hungarian former model Zsuzsi Starkloff who wanted to meet him and knew of a masquerade ball to be held. She sent a note via her chauffer that read:
"Dear Prince Charming, we hear a party isn't a party without you. Besides that, I'm missing a slipper," signed Cinderella. Of course, this intrigued the prince, and he showed up dressed as The Lone Ranger in a black cape and mask. He spotted Zsuzsi with friends, and he approached her and asked, "May I borrow Cinderella?"
And just like a fairy tale, before the night was over, they were falling in love. Not long after, they rented a cottage by the ocean for their secret love nest where the prince cooked Zsuzsi breakfast every morning.
By now, the news was filtering back to the royals and London. Soon Princess Margaret arrived in Tokyo supposedly to speak to the prince. It was no secret the affair was frowned on as Zsuzsi was a divorcee and mother and older than the price. And of course, the monarchy was still reeling from King Edward abdicating the throne to marry a divorcee, Wallis Simpson. So Princess Margaret suggested that the prince have patience and wait it out.
The Commitment Ring Given To Zsuzsi
Prince William had an exceptional ring commissioned for Zsuzsi with the royal crest and his initial W and another for himself. He was also aware that he would need the Queen's permission to marry, and he believed he could convenience the Queen to do so. Unfortunately, his father took ill and had a stroke requiring him to return to London to assume his duties. He would say goodbye to Zsuzsi in 1970, and it was the last time she saw him before tragedy struck. On August 28, 1972, the prince and his co-pilot, Vyrell Mitchell, competed in the Goodyear International Air Trophy at Halfpenny Green Airport. Shortly after takeoff and flying low, they hit a tree, shearing a wing off. The plane flipped, crashed, and burst into flames. Both were killed instantly and burned beyond recognition. Dental records confirmed their identities and on the prince's hand was the replica of the ring he gave Zsuzsi.
The Monarchy was devastated, and the prince's mother decided not to tell his frail father of his death.
Funeral of Prince William of Gloucester
Prince William of Gloucester was buried at the Royal Graveyard, Frogmore, London.
In 2015, Zsuzsi gave an interview and told of the grief she still feels for the man she fell in love with so long ago. She wears the ring on a necklace that the prince gave her as a commitment to their love. Later she moved to Steamboat, Colorado, with her life partner Donald Sundin. She died in May 2020.
From all appearances, this indeed was a deep love for both the prince and Zsuzsi, but fate dealt them a blow with the prince's early death at age 30.