Princes William, Charles and Edward Step Out for Thanksgiving Service for Friend of Royal Family

Simon Perry

Prince William returned to the magnificent place where he wed Kate Middleton to help pay tribute to a friend of the royal family who died recently.

William, 37, joined Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Charles’s younger brother Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Wessex, for the grand occasion honoring the life and work of Sir Donald Gosling.

The service of thanksgiving took place at Westminster Abbey at noon in London on Wednesday.

Gosling, who made a multimillion dollar fortune running a major parking garage company in the U.K., was a benefactor of naval charities and causes. He died in September at age 90.

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This is the kind of occasion that former naval officer Prince Andrew, who has withdrawn from public life after the furor that followed his disastrous interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, might have attended.

Gosling’s Foundation gave more than $130 million to charity – mostly related to the Royal Navy, in which he served during WWII.

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Gosling’s Naval associations originally brought him close to members of the royal family. A friendship developed, and decades ago he would “go shooting with Lord Mountbatten and Prince Charles,” The Times reported when he died in the fall.

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He would have certainly endeared himself to them when he helped organize a fund to build a replacement for the family’s beloved Royal Yacht Britannia after a decision had been made to scrap it in 1994 because it had become too expensive to keep.

Gosling put up an initial $7 million or so of his own money to kick-start the fund – but the political winds were changing, and the government went ahead with the plans to scrap it. In 2012 the Queen made him an honorary vice-admiral.

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