Rare 1909 photo gallery with six children of King George V and Queen Mary featuring ‘Lost Prince’ John
Rare 1909 photo of the ‘Lost Prince’: photo of King George V’s son, Prince John, four years old – nine years before he died of an epileptic seizure – being auctioned
- In the 1909 photo, Prince John was posing for a photo with the Queen’s father
- The 4.5 by 3.75 inch photo is of the children of King George V and Queen Mary
- It was signed by them, but it is possible that someone signed John’s name for him
- Prince John suffered from epilepsy and autism and died in 1919 at the age of 13 after a massive attack
A rare photo has come to light of King George VI’s younger brother who was kept out of the public eye because he was mentally disabled.
The 1909 image shows the ‘lost prince’ John posing for the camera with the queen’s father and her uncle, the future Edward VIII.
The group portrait of all six children of King George V and Queen Mary is signed by them, although it is possible that someone signed John’s name for him.
Prince John suffered from epilepsy and autism and died of a severe attack in 1919 at the age of 13, having spent his final years separated from his siblings in a house in Sandringham.
The 1909 image shows the ‘lost prince’ John posing for the camera with the queen’s father and her uncle, the future Edward VIII
The group portrait of all six children of King George V and Queen Mary is signed by them, although it is possible that someone signed John’s name (left with Edward). Prince George, Duke of Kent (right), died in a plane crash in Scotland in 1942
The future King Edward VIII is depicted with the Duke of York (future King George VI), Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Prince George, Duke of Kent in the 1930s
The ‘lost prince’ John who was exiled to Sandringham where he died at the age of 13
The young prince was exiled to an isolated farm when his epilepsy, diagnosed at the age of four, increased.
His father, the king-emperor, could not allow his “weakness” to be discussed publicly by his subjects.
After his death in 1919, after a serious attack at the age of 13, Prince John was quickly written out of family history.
At least one family tree published by the House of Windsor has had its name removed.
And in the years when his eldest brother, the Prince of Wales, grew up to be King Edward VIII, before throwing his throne to Mrs. Simpson, he was quickly forgotten.
In the photo, John, then four, is sitting on the knee of Prince Edward, with Princess Mary beside him.
Prince Henry is on the far left, with Prince Albert in the middle and Prince George on the right.
Both Henry and George are wearing a sailor’s uniform, the others dressed in formal attire.
The 4.5-by-3.75-inch photo was said to once belong to a member of the royal family, a friend of theirs, or a nanny taking care of the young Royals.
It is now being sold by a private collector with the Malaga-based international signature auction for £ 3,000.
Auctioneer Francisco Pinero said, “This item is important because it is extremely difficult to find an autographed photo of all six of King George V’s children.
At the age of four, Prince John was sent to Sandringham House and kept away from the public eye, which is why his signature is very rare.
“The photo was probably given to a member of the royal family, someone nearby, or perhaps a royal babysitter.”
Attitudes toward mental disabilities were very different a century ago, with a lack of understanding that avoided people with conditions.
This was typified in a cool-hearted letter from Edward, Prince of Wales, written shortly after John’s death, which was discovered in 2015.
Prince John (left) was the youngest of the six children of King George V and Queen Mary and the fifth boy. The only girl was Mary (right, with Viscount Lascelles and their son George Henry Hubert Lascelles’ in 1923)
In it, he revealed that he only considered him a ‘brother in flesh’ and ‘more of an animal’.
He added that the John family only visited once or twice a year and that his death was “the greatest relief they could imagine” for them.
The sale will take place on July 22.