Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

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Prince Richard
Duke of Gloucester (more)
Duke of Gloucester (Grand Prior).jpg
The Duke of Gloucester, in the robes of the Order of St John, in October 2015
Born (1944-08-26) 26 August 1944 (age 73)
St. Matthew's Nursing Home, Northampton, England[1]
Spouse Birgitte van Deurs (m. 1972)
Full name
Richard Alexander Walter George[2]
House Windsor
Father Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Mother Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO, SSI, GCStJ (Richard Alexander Walter George; born 26 August 1944) is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. He practised as an architect until the death of his elder brother placed him in direct line to inherit his father's dukedom of Gloucester, which he inherited, as the second duke, in 1974. He is currently 24th in the line of succession to the British throne as well as the first in line not descended from King George VI. He is also the senior male line descendant of three British monarchs: Victoria, Edward VII and George V.[3]

Early life[edit]

Prince Richard was born at St. Matthew's Nursing Home in Northampton on 26 August 1944.[1] 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 at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park on 20 October 1944 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang.[7] When Richard was four months old, he accompanied his parents to Australia, where his father served as Governor-General from 1945 to 1947. The family returned to Barnwell Manor in 1947, where Richard was largely raised.

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. William died in 1972 when the plane he was piloting crashed at Halfpenny Green near Wolverhampton. Richard then became heir apparent to his father's dukedom and inherited it two years later upon the death of the first duke.

Education and career[edit]

The Duke in 1989, by Allan Warren

Prince Richard's early education took place at home, under the instruction of Rosamund Ramirez, who had also tutored young King Faisal II of Iraq; later, he attended Wellesley House School at Broadstairs and Eton College. In 1963, he matriculated at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he studied Architecture, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in June 1966; he proceeded as MA (Cantab) in 1971.

Later in 1966, straight after university, Prince Richard joined the Offices Development Group in the Ministry of Public Building and Works for a year of practical work. He returned to Cambridge in 1967, completing both parts of the Diploma in Architecture degree in June 1969. Upon passing his exams, he became a practising partner in Hunt Thompson Associates in London, an architectural firm.[8]


Richard intended to practise full-time as an architect, but had to take on other responsibilities after the death of his elder brother Prince William in 1972, when he crashed his plane in a flying competition. Richard became first in line to his father's dukedom and took on additional family obligations and royal duties. He resigned his partnership and began representing his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II on royal duties.

On 10 June 1974, Prince Richard succeeded to his father's titles as Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden. The Duke remains particularly interested in architecture and conservation. He was elected as a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (and FRIBA) in 1972. He is President of the Society of Architect Artists.[8] He serves as a Commissioner of the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage).

The Duke has been Patron of construction charity Construction Youth Trust[9] for many years and has a wide set of charitable interests, many of which benefit young people. With his background in architecture The Duke of Gloucester takes a keen interest in the work of the Trust and frequently visits their projects, in addition to giving his name to their long standing Duke of Gloucester Young Achiever's Scheme Awards. The Duke is also patron of the Architects Benevolent Society[10].

He is Royal Patron of the UK branch of the charity Habitat for Humanity,[11] Royal Patron of the St. George's Society of New York,[12] and President of The London Society.

A keen motorist, Prince Richard passed the Advanced Driving Test of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, of which he was President for more than 32 years. On his appointment in 1971,[13] it was recorded that the new President was "currently [driving] an Austin 1300", reflecting the modest image with which he has always been identified. He stood down as President in January 2005.[14]

The Duke has a longstanding interest in conservation and education. In 10 April 2008, the Duke was installed as Founding Chancellor of the University of Worcester in a ceremony at Worcester Cathedral. A former teacher training college, the institution was raised to university status in 2006.[8]


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

On 10 April 2008, the Duke of Gloucester was officially installed as inaugural Chancellor of the University of Worcester at a ceremony in 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.

The Duke is also patron of the Severn Valley Railway and the Pestalozzi International Village Trust. He is also a patron of the British Homeopathic Association, a charity dedicated to the study, research and promotion of homeopathy. He shares a name with another Duke of Gloucester, King Richard III, and is the patron of the Richard III Society.[15] On 22 March 2015, he attended ceremonies for the reinterment of Richard III in Leicester.

During 2009, the Duke became patron of the De Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre[16] 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.[17]

On 19 March 2013, the Duke represented Queen Elizabeth II at the Vatican for the inauguration of Pope Francis. [18]

He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Royal United Services Institute.[19]

On 11 March 2015, the Duke visited the Royal School Dungannon in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland to celebrate their 400th anniversary since King James I opened the school; presenting a commemorative plaque and raising an anniversary flag on the grounds. [20]

On 22 and 26 March 2015, the Duke represented the Queen at the ceremonies marking the reburial and commemorations of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral. The King had held the title Duke of Gloucester himself before his ascension to the English throne.[21]

Marriage and family[edit]

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and his wife, Birgitte
Combined coat of arms of Richard and Birgitte, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

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

  • Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster, born 24 October 1974. He married Claire Booth 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 Lewis, born 19 November 1977. She married Gary Lewis 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 Gilman, born 1 March 1980. She married George Gilman 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 Duke and Duchess of Gloucester's official residence is at Kensington Palace in London.[22] 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[23]
  • 10 June 1974 – present: His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester

His Royal Highness 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

British honours[edit]

Commonwealth honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

Honorary military appointments[edit]

Australia Australia
New Zealand New Zealand
United Kingdom United Kingdom



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. ^ a b "No. 36678". The London Gazette. 29 August 1944. p. 4017. 
  2. ^ As a titled royal, Richard needs no surname, but, when one is used, it is Windsor.
  3. ^ "Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester – Royal Family History". Royal Family History. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  4. ^ The Times, 21 October 1944
  5. ^ The Times, 5 August 1942
  6. ^ "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page – Royal Christenings". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  7. ^ His godparents were his paternal aunt, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Marie Louise (his cousin), the Countess of Athlone (his cousin, for whom her daughter, Lady May Abel Smith stood proxy), the Duke of Buccleuch (his maternal uncle), the Marquess of Cambridge (his cousin), Lady Sybil Phipps (his maternal aunt), and General the Earl Alexander of Tunis (for whom his wife, then 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".[4][5][6]
  8. ^ a b c "HRH Prince Richard The Duke of Gloucester", 2008, University of Worcester, accessed 21 April 2016
  9. ^ "Construction Youth Trust". Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  10. ^ "Architects Journal 'Royal Patron for ABS' 6 March 2003".  External link in |website= (help)
  11. ^ "Habitat for Humanity GB". Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  12. ^ "St. George's Society of New York". Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "Appointments Register". Motor. 9 October 1971. p. 57. 
  14. ^ Resignation Press Release Archived 17 May 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "The Richard III Society". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Mosquito Aircraft Museum – de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  17. ^ Lennon, Chris (9 November 2011). "Royal opening of University of Hertfordshire law court". Welwyn Hatfield Times. WGC. 
  18. ^ "Cousin stands in for Queen at Pope Francis 'crowning'". Evening Standard. 15 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "RUSI International". 
  20. ^ Murrison, Andrew (11 March 2015). "Duke of Gloucester visits Northern Ireland". 
  21. ^ "Order of Service for the Reinterment of the Remains of King Richard III" (PDF). 26 March 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Royal residences: Kensington Palace". Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. 
  23. ^ As a patrilineal grandson of the British monarch, he was styled His Royal Highness Prince Richard of Gloucester from birth.
  24. ^ Mussell, John W. (2004). Mackay, James, ed. The Medal Yearbook 2004. Devon, UK: Token Publishing Ltd. p. 236. ISBN 9781870192620. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ "No. 56269". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 July 2001. p. 8120. 
  27. ^ "No. 54519". The London Gazette. 9 September 1996. p. 12011. 
  28. ^ "Duke of Gloucester". Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. 

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
Prince Henry
Duke of Gloucester
5th creation, 2nd Duke
10 June 1974 – present
Heir apparent:
Earl of Ulster
Academic offices
New creation Chancellor of the University of Worcester
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Earl of Snowdon
Gentlemen Succeeded by
The Duke of Kent