- The royal family's refusal to acknowledge any human frailty is not new. Prince John, who would have become brother-in-law to both the Queen Mother and Princess Alice had he lived, was born in 1905.
His life was transformed when he was four and had his first epileptic fit. His health-obsessed parents, later George V and Queen Mary, were appalled.
He was excluded from official family photographs. He was not allowed to be present at his father's coronation in 1911.
Early in 1917, John was removed from any risk of public discovery forever. He was consigned - with a nanny and two robust male attendants to hold him down whenever he had fits - to Wood Farm, on a corner of the Sandringham estate. He was never to see his parents again.
Two years later John died in his sleep. The King and Queen drove the three miles from the main house at Sandringham to view his body.