Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
|Duchess of Gloucester (more)|
The Duchess in 2015
|Born||Birgitte Eva Henriksen|
20 June 1946
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (m. 1972)
|House||Windsor (by marriage)|
|Mother||Vivian van Deurs|
|Royal family of|
the United Kingdom and the
other Commonwealth realms
Birgitte was born Birgitte Eva Henriksen, in Odense, Denmark, the younger daughter of Asger Preben Wissing Henriksen, a lawyer, and his wife, Vivian van Deurs. She was educated in Odense and at finishing schools in Lausanne and Cambridge.
She took her mother's ancestral name van Deurs on 15 January 1966, when her parents separated. After studying for three years in Copenhagen, she moved back to England in 1971 to work at the Danish Embassy in London.
Birgitte first met Prince Richard of Gloucester, the younger son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, in the late 1960s in Cambridge. In February 1972, they became engaged. The groom designed her coral and silver engagement ring. They married on 8 July 1972 at St Andrew's Church, Barnwell, Northamptonshire. The bride's wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell. It had a "high collar, simple skirt and small train, and long sleeves all done in white Swiss organdie with a floral embossing." Instead of wearing a tiara, the bride wore stephanotis flowers on her hair which secured the veil.
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.
The Duchess of Gloucester has accompanied the Duke of Gloucester on his official visits overseas: her first 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 Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV of Tonga on 19 September 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 Nukuʻalofa.
Birgitte is sponsor of two Royal Navy ships: HMS Gloucester and HMS Sandown. She is also the Royal Patron of the Bermuda Regiment. She is patron of SeeAbility, a charity for people with learning disabilities and sight loss; Bliss, the special care baby charity; and Music in Hospitals & Care. She regularly attends functions at schools of which she is president or patron: St Paul's Cathedral School; the Friends of St Paul's Cathedral; St John's School, Leatherhead; Bridewell Royal Hospital (King Edward's School, Witley); the Royal Alexandra and Albert School; the Children's Society; Parkinson's UK; Hope for Youth Northern Ireland; Scottish Opera; Lawn Tennis Association; the Royal School of Needlework; and Princess Helena College.
After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Birgitte became President of the Royal Academy of Music. She is also the patron of Prostate Cancer UK, and in March 2006, she opened the Prostate Centre.
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 – present: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester
- 1973: Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
- 1974: Dame of Justice of the Order of St. John
- 23 June 1989: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)
- 1975: Service Medal of the Order of St John
- 6 February 1977: Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
- 6 February 2002: Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
- 6 February 2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- 24 February 1975: Nepalese Coronation Medal
- 1978: Solomon Islands Independence Medal
- 1 August 2008: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Tonga
- 2018: Canadian Forces Decoration (CD)
Honorary military appointments
- Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Australian Army Educational Corps
- Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal New Zealand Army Educational Corps
- 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 Windsor||19 November 1977||31 July 2004
|Gary Lewis||Senna Lewis|
|Lady Rose Gilman||1 March 1980||19 July 2008||George Gilman||Lyla Gilman|
- "The Duchess of Gloucester". The Royal Family. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
- Name change is mentioned in parish register of Th. Kingo, Odense (Regional Archive, Odense)
- "British Engagement Rings, Part 2". The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
- "The Duchess of Gloucester's Gown". The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
- "The 22 Most Gorgeous Royal Wedding Tiara Moments of All Time (slide 15)". Harper's Bazaar Singapore. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- "The Duchess of Gloucester – Public role". Official website of the Royal Family. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Tonga Mourns King's Death". CBS News. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "His Majesty King George Tupou V of Tonga". The Daily Telegraph. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "Meet MiHC Office Staff and Patrons across the UK". Music in Hospitals & Care. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- "A Royal Celebration of St Paul's Friends and Benefactors". St Paul's Cathedral. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "Royal Visit". St John's School, Leatherhead. 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 26 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "Our Royal Heritage". Royal Alexandra and Albert School. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "HRH The Duchess of Gloucester visits The Children's Society in Manchester". The Children's Society. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "The Duchess of Gloucester, Patron". Parkinson's UK. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "HRH The Duchess of Gloucester attends 'Hope for Youth Northern Ireland' gala dinner at Belfast City Hall". GOV.UK. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "The Board of Scottish Opera". Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "Lawn Tennis Association pays tribute to Her Majesty The Queen". Lawn Tennis Association. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "Royal School of Needlework". Retrieved 11 June 2019.
- "About us - Governing Body". Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
- "Prostate Research receives royal attention". PR Newswire. 4 March 2003. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- "About The Prostate Centre". The Prostate Centre. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- Hampson, Laura (8 December 2017). "Meet Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's new neighbours - the royals who live in Kensington Palace". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
- "The Duchess of Gloucester: Honours". Royal Household. Archived from the original on 11 October 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Royal orders presented at Palace". Matangi Tonga Online. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- "TRH THE PRINCE OF WALES AND THE DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AWARDED WITH THE MEXICAN ORDER OF THE AZTEC EAGLE". Official website of the Mexican Embassy in the United Kingdom. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
- "Colonel-In-Chief of the CFDS". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- Boutell, Charles; Brooke-Little, John Philip (1978). Boutell's Heraldry (8th (revised) ed.). Frederick Warne. p. 226. ISBN 9780723220961.
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|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
Lady Sarah Chatto
HRH The Duchess of Gloucester
The Duchess of Kent