Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
|Duchess of Gloucester (more)|
Birgitte in 2015
|Born||Birgitte Eva Henriksen
20 June 1946
|Spouse||Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (m. 1972)|
|Issue||Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster
Lady Davina Lewis
Lady Rose Gilman
|House||Windsor (by marriage)|
|Mother||Vivian van Deurs|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Royal Family of
the United Kingdom and the
other Commonwealth realms
Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, GCVO (born Birgitte Eva Henriksen on 20 June 1946; formerly van Deurs), is the wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who is a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary and first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. Together with her husband, Birgitte undertakes royal duties on behalf of the Queen.
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.
The couple have three children and six grandchildren:
- Alexander Patrick Gregers Richard Windsor, Earl of Ulster, born 24 October 1974. He married Claire Alexandra Windsor, Countess of Ulster (née Claire Alexandra Booth on 29 December 1977) on 22 June 2002. The couple have two children:
- Xan Richard Anders Windsor, Lord Culloden (born 12 March 2007)
- Lady Cosima Rose Alexandra Windsor (born 20 May 2010)
- Lady Davina Elizabeth Alice Benedikte Lewis (née Windsor), born 19 November 1977. She married Gary Christie Lewis (born 25 August 1970) on 31 July 2004. The couple have two children:
- Senna Kowhai Lewis (born 22 June 2010)
- Tāne Mahuta Lewis (born 25 May 2012)
- Lady Rose Victoria Birgitte Louise Gilman (née Windsor), born 1 March 1980. She married George Gilman (born 20 September 1981) on 19 July 2008. The couple have two children:
- Lyla Beatrix Christabel Gilman (born 30 May 2010)
- Rufus Frederick Montagu Gilman (born 2 November 2012)
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[clarification needed] of two Royal Navy ships: HMS Gloucester and HMS Sandown. She is also the Royal Patron of the Bermuda Regiment. She is patron of Bliss, the special care baby charity, and also 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.
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. In March 2006, she opened the Prostate Centre.
The Duchess lives in London at Kensington Palace, her official royal residence.
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 Member of the 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
- 1 August 2008 Dame Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Tonga
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.
- Name change is mentioned in parish register of Th. Kingo, Odense (Regional Archive, Odense)
- "The Duchess of Gloucester – Early life and education". royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- "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 – Marriage and family". royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- "The Duchess of Gloucester – Public role". royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Special Report: Princess Diana, 1961–1997". Time. 18 September 1997. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- "About us - History". Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- "Prostate Research receives royal attention". PR Newswire. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- "About The Prostate Centre". The Prostate Centre. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- "The Duchess of Gloucester: Honours". Royal Household. Archived from the original on 11 October 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- The Duchess of Gloucester at the Royal Family website]
|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
Lady Sarah Chatto
HRH The Duchess of Gloucester
The Duchess of Kent