Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

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Prince Richard,
Duke of Gloucester
Duke of Gloucester (more)
The Duke of Gloucester in 2008 cropped.jpg
HRH The Duke of Gloucester in 2008
Spouse Birgitte van Deurs
 (m. 1972)
Issue Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster
Lady Davina Lewis
Lady Rose Gilman
Full name
Richard Alexander Walter George[1]
House House of Windsor
Father Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Mother Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
Born (1944-08-26) 26 August 1944 (age 70)
Hadley Common, Hertfordshire
Religion Church of England

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO (Richard Alexander Walter George; born 26 August 1944) is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. He succeeded as Duke of Gloucester upon his father's death in 1974 and is currently 23rd in the line of succession to the British throne, and the first person in line who is not a descendant of King George VI.

The Duke of Gloucester carries out royal engagements on behalf of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II.

Early life[edit]

Prince Richard was born on 26 August 1944 at Hadley Common[2] in Hertfordshire. His father was Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third son of King George V and Queen Mary. His mother was Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (née Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott), a daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch.

He was baptised in the private chapel of Windsor Castle on 20 October 1944 by Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Lang. His godparents were his paternal aunt, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Marie Louise (his cousin), the Countess of Athlone (his cousin, for whom her daughter, the Lady May Abel Smith stood proxy), the Duke of Buccleuch (his maternal uncle), the Marquess of Cambridge (his cousin), The Lady Sybil Phipps (his maternal aunt), and General the Hon Sir Harold Alexander (for whom his wife, the Lady Margaret Alexander, stood proxy). Because of the war, newspapers did not identify the precise location of the christening, saying only that it took place at "a private chapel in the country".[3][3][4]

As a grandson of the British monarch in the male line, he was styled His Royal Highness Prince Richard of Gloucester at birth. At the time of his birth he was fifth in the line of succession to the throne and second in line to his father's dukedom, behind his brother, Prince William of Gloucester, who died in 1972 when the plane he was piloting crashed at Halfpenny Green, near Wolverhampton. When Prince Richard was four months old, he accompanied his parents to Australia, where his father was Governor-General from 1945 to 1947. The family returned to Barnwell Manor in 1947.

Education and career[edit]

The Duke in 1989, by Allan Warren

Prince Richard's early education took place at home; later, he attended school at Wellesley House School at Broadstairs and Eton College. In 1963, he matriculated at Magdalene College, Cambridge to read Architecture and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in June 1966. Subsequently, he proceeded as MA (Cantab) in 1971.

After graduating as BA in 1966, the Prince joined the (then) Offices Development Group of the Ministry of Public Building and Works for a year of practical work. He returned to Cambridge in 1967, and in June 1969, he passed both parts of the exam for his Diploma in Architecture. Upon completion of his training, he went into practice as a partner in a London architects firm.

Although he had intended to practice full-time as an architect, the death of his brother Prince William in 1972, when he crashed his plane in a flying competition, left Richard first in line to his father's dukedom and increased his family obligations and royal duties. He therefore resigned his partnership and began to represent his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, at royal engagements. On 10 June 1974, Prince Richard succeeded his father as Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden. The Duke remains particularly interested in architecture and conservation; he became a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1972 and serves as a commissioner of the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage). He is the royal patron of the UK branch of the charity Habitat for Humanity,[5] and President of The London Society.

Prince Richard has published three books of photographs under the name Richard Gloucester: On Public View: a Selection of London's Open-air Sculpture, with Paul William White (London, Hutchinson, 1971); The Face of London (London, Phaidon Press, 1973); and Oxford and Cambridge, with Hermione Hobhouse (London : Macdonald General Books, 1980). A keen motorist, Prince Richard was president of the Institute of Advanced Motorists for more than 32 years. He had passed the Institute's Advanced Driving Test in 1965. On his appointment in 1971, it was recorded that the Institute's new President was "currently [driving] an Austin 1300".[6] He stood down as President in January 2005.[7]

Royal duties[edit]

The Duke of Gloucester at Christ Church Cathedral in 2006, robed as Grand Prior of the Order of Saint John.

On 10 April 2008, Prince Richard was officially installed as founding Chancellor of the University of Worcester in a ceremony at Worcester Cathedral. In this role, the Prince officiates at degree ceremonies and major events, as well as promoting the University overseas. The Duke carried out the first of these duties on 5 and 6 November 2008 at the Graduation Award Ceremonies.

Prince Richard is also Patron of the Severn Valley Railway and the Pestalozzi International Village Trust. He shares a name with another Duke of Gloucester, King Richard III, and is the Patron of the Richard III Society.[8]

During 2009, the Duke became Patron of the De Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre[9] in support of its bid to raise funds through private means and through a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding to help develop this learning experience, protect the priceless exhibits and improve visitor access to the oldest aviation heritage centre in Britain. It celebrated its 50th anniversary on 15 May 2009.

On 8 November 2011 he opened the new Law School Building at the University of Hertfordshire on the de Havilland campus site of the former de Havilland Aircraft factory.[10]

Among his duties as the Chancellor of the University of Worcester, the Duke of Gloucester was present at the opening of the new University library: The Hive—Europe's first joint public and university library—which was officially opened by his cousin, The Queen, on 11 July 2012.

On 19 March 2013, Prince Richard represented The Queen at the inauguration of Pope Francis at The Vatican.

He is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Royal United Services Institute.

Marriage and family[edit]

On 8 July 1972, Prince Richard married the Danish-born Birgitte van Deurs, at St Andrew's Church, Barnwell in Northamptonshire. They have three children:

  • Earl of Ulster (Alexander Patrick Gregers Richard Windsor), born 24 October 1974. He married Claire Booth on 22 June 2002. The couple has two children:
    • Lord Culloden (Xan Richard Anders Windsor), born 12 March 2007
    • Lady Cosima Rose Alexandra Windsor, born 20 May 2010
  • The Lady Davina Elizabeth Alice Benedikte Lewis, born 19 November 1977. She married Gary Lewis on 31 July 2004. The couple has two children:
    • Senna Kowhai Lewis, born 22 June 2010
    • Tāne Mahuta Lewis, born 25 May 2012
  • The Lady Rose Victoria Birgitte Louise Gilman, born 1 March 1980. She married George Gilman on 19 July 2008. The couple has two children:
    • Lyla Beatrix Christabel Gilman, born 30 May 2010
    • Rufus Gilman, born October/November 2012

Their children are not expected to carry out Royal Duties. As with most great-grandchildren of a British Sovereign, they do not hold royal rank but are entitled to be formally styled as children of a Duke.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester's official residence is at Kensington Palace in London.[11] They have leased their private home, Barnwell Manor, since 1994.

Titles, styles, honours and Arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]


  • 26 August 1944 – 10 June 1974: His Royal Highness Prince Richard of Gloucester
  • 10 June 1974 – present: His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester

Formal style[edit]

  • His Royal Highness The Prince Richard Alexander Walter George, Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster and Baron Culloden, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Grand Prior of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.


See also: List of honours of the British Royal Family by country

Commonwealth honours[edit]


Foreign honours[edit]

Honorary military appointments[edit]

Australia Australia
New Zealand New Zealand
  • New Zealand Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corp
United Kingdom United Kingdom


Arms of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
Coat of Arms of Richard, Duke of Gloucester.svg
HRH The Duke of Gloucester's armorial bearings are based on the Royal Arms as set down for descendants of George V. The following explains how his Arms are different from those of The Queen and other members of The Royal Family.
Coronet of a Grandchild of The Sovereign
On a Coronet of children of other sons of the Sovereign, composed of four Crosses-patées alternated with four Strawberry Leaves, a Lion statant guardant Or, crowned with the like Coronet, and differenced with a Label as in the Arms.
The Royal Supporters, differenced with a Coronet as in the Crest and Label as in the Arms.[14]
The shield is surrounded by the Garter circlet, whose motto states:
(Shame be to him who thinks evil of it)
Other elements
Differences from the Royal Arms are a Label of five Points Argent, the centre and two outer Points charged with a Cross Gules, and the inner Points with a Lion passant guardant also Gules.

VOSJ Grand Priory Coat of Arms.JPG As Grand Prior, like other Bailiffs Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem, HRH is entitled to augment the Arms of the Order in chief.

Royal Standard of the Richard, Duke of Gloucester.png HRH The Duke of Gloucester's Standard (or Banner) displays his personal Arms, granted in 1962.[17]
As in the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom, the first and fourth quarters represent England, the second Scotland and the third Ireland.


Name Birth Marriage Issue
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 Lewis
Lady Rose Gilman 1 March 1980 19 July 2008 George Gilman Lyla Gilman
Rufus Gilman


Patrilineal descent[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As a titled royal, Richard holds no surname, but, when one is used, it is Windsor.
  2. ^ Royal Children by Charles Kidd & Patrick Montague-Smith
  3. ^ a b The Times, 21 October 1944
  4. ^ "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page – Royal Christenings". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Appointments Register". Motor: page 57. 9 October 1971. 
  7. ^ Resignation Press Release[dead link]
  8. ^ "The Richard III Society". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Mosquito Aircraft Museum – de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  10. ^ Lennon, Chris (9 November 2011). "Royal opening of University of Hertfordshire law court". Welwyn Hatfield Times (WGC). 
  11. ^ "Royal residences: Kensington Palace". 
  12. ^ Mackay, James, Editor; Mussell, John W.; Editorial Team of Medal News (2004). The Medal Yearbook 2004. Devon, UK: Token Publishing Ltd. p. 236. ISBN 9781870192620. 
  13. ^ "Honours of the Duke of Gloucester". The Royal Household. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Burke's Peerage – The Royal Family – HRH The Duke of Gloucester". Burke's Peerage & Gentry and The Origins Network. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56269. p. 8120. 10 July 2001. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 54519. p. 12011. 9 September 1996. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  17. ^ "Duke of Gloucester". 

External links[edit]

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
Born: 26 August 1944
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Arthur Chatto
Line of succession to the British throne
son of Henry, son of George V
Succeeded by
Earl of Ulster
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Prince Henry
Duke of Gloucester
5th creation, 2nd Duke
10 June 1974 – present
Heir apparent:
Earl of Ulster
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Viscount Linley
HRH The Duke of Gloucester
Succeeded by
The Duke of Kent