Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
Together with her husband, Birgitte undertakes royal duties on behalf of her cousin-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II.
Birgitte was born Birgitte Eva Henriksen, in Odense, Denmark, the younger daughter of Asger Preben Knud Wissing Henriksen, a lawyer, and his wife, Vivian van Deurs. She took her mother's ancestral name, van Deurs, when her parents separated.
In February 1972, Birgitte became engaged to Prince Richard of Gloucester, the younger son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. The groom designed her coral and silver engagement ring.  Their marriage took place on 8 July 1972 at St Andrew's Church, Barnwell, Northamptonshire. The bride's wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell. At that time, she was styled Her Royal Highness Princess Richard of Gloucester.
Six weeks after their wedding, Prince Richard's elder brother, Prince William, was killed in a flying accident. Prince Richard unexpectedly became heir apparent to the dukedom and upon his father's death in 1974, the couple became the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
Together the couple have three children:
- Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster (born 24 October 1974)
- Lady Davina Lewis (born 19 November 1977)
- Lady Rose Gilman (born 1 March 1980)
Their children, formally being non-royal, have no obligation to carry out official duties.
The Duchess of Gloucester is patron of a large number of organizations, many of which have medical, educational or welfare connections. She attends meetings, such as the Governing Body of the Royal Academy of Music and the Council of the Lawn Tennis Association. She will periodically support The Queen at official engagements such as State Banquets, religious services, garden parties and receptions. She has also accompanied the Duke of Gloucester on his official visits overseas: her first such visit was in 1973, when they represented the Queen at the 70th birthday celebrations of King Olav V of Norway. Other joint visits have included Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, Tunisia and the United States.
She and her husband represented the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the state funeral of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga on September 19 2006. They also represented the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the coronation of King George Tupou V of Tonga on 1 August 2008 in Nuku'alofa.
Birgitte is sponsor of two Royal Navy ships: HMS Gloucester and HMS Sandown. She is patron of Bliss, the special care baby charity, as well of St Paul's Cathedral School, St John's School, Leatherhead and Bridewell Royal Hospital (King Edward's School, Witley) and regularly attends functions at all three schools.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 20 June 1946 – 15 January 1966: Miss Birgitte Eva Henriksen
- 15 January 1966 – 8 June 1972: Miss Birgitte Eva van Deurs
- 8 June 1972 – 10 June 1974: Her Royal Highness Princess Richard of Gloucester
- 10 June 1974 –: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester
Birgitte's full style and titles are: Her Royal Highness Princess Richard, Duchess of Gloucester, Countess of Ulster and Baroness Culloden, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.
- GCVO: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, 23 June 1989
- GCStJ: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St. John, 2009
- (DJStJ: Dame of Justice of the Order of St. John, 1974)
- Member of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, 1973
- Service Medal of the Order of St John, 1975
- Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal, 1977
- Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, 2002
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2012
- Dame Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Tonga, 2008
Honorary military appointments
- Colonel-in-Chief, of the Bermuda Regiment
- Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Irish Rangers (until 1992)
- Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Army Dental Corps
- Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, of the Adjutant General's Corps
- Royal Colonel, of the 7th (V) Battalion The Rifles
|Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster||24 October 1974||22 June 2002||Claire Booth||Xan Windsor, Lord Culloden
Lady Cosima Windsor
|Lady Davina Lewis||19 November 1977||31 July 2004||Gary Lewis||Senna Lewis
Tāne Mahuta Lewis
|Lady Rose Gilman||1 March 1980||19 July 2008||George Gilman||Lyla Gilman|
|Ancestors of Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester|
- As a titled royal, Birgitte holds no surname, but, when one is used, it is Windsor.
- "British engagement rings". Order of Splendor.
- Wedding Wednesday: The Duchess of Gloucester’s Gown http://orderofsplendor.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/wedding-wednesday-duchess-of.html
- "The Duchess of Gloucester - Public role". royal.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Special Report: Princess Diana, 1961-1997". Time. SEPTEMBER 18, 1997. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
- Name change is mentioned in parish register of Th. Kingo, Odense (Regional Archive, Odense)
|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
Lady Sarah Chatto
HRH The Duchess of Gloucester
The Duchess of Kent