Prince Richard
Duke of Gloucester
Predecessor Henry
Heir apparent Alexander
Full name
Richard Alexander Walter George
Born 26 August 1944 (age 76)
Hadley Common, Hertfordshire
Spouse Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester (m. 1972)
Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster
Lady Davina Windsor
Lady Rose Gilman
House Windsor
Father Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Mother Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott
The Royal Family of the
United Kingdom
and the
other Commonwealth realms
Badge of the House of Windsor.svg

HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

v · d · e

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Richard Alexander Walter George; born 26 August 1944) is a member of the British Royal Family. Prince Richard 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 a paternal cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, and currently 27th 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.

Early life Edit

Prince Richard was born at 12:15 on 26 August 1944 at St Matthew's Nursing Home in Northampton.[1] His father was Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third-eldest son of 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 and Lady Margaret Bridgeman.

Richard was baptized in the private chapel of Windsor Castle on 20 October 1944 by Lord Lang of Lambeth and his godparents were the Queen (his paternal aunt and wife of George VI), 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 actual location of the christening, and said instead that it took place at "a private chapel in the country".

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. As of 2020, he is 27th in line to the throne. 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 on the death of the first duke.

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 Edit

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.[2] In 1963, he matriculated at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he read Architecture, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in June 1966; he proceeded as MA (Cantab) in 1971.

Career Edit

After earning his BA in 1966, Prince Richard 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 architectural firm.[3]

Although he had intended to practice full time as an architect, the death of his brother, Prince William, in 1972 when the plane he was piloting crashed near Wolverhampton, 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 The Queen at royal engagements.

Personal life Edit

Engagement and marriage Edit

Main article: Wedding of Prince Richard of Glouceester and Birgitte van Deurs

In the late 1960’s Prince Richard met Danish Birgitte van Deurs, daughter of Asger Henriksen and Vivian van Deurs, who was attending Bell School of Languages at Cambridge University. Their engagement was announced on February 1972. Prince Richard designed the silver and coral engagement ring that he presented to his soon-to-be bride.[4] The couple married on 8 July 1972 at St Andrew's Church, Barnwell, in Northamptonshire.[5]


Together the couple have three children:

  • Alexander Patrick Gregers Richard Windsor, Earl of Ulster, born 24 October 1974 at St Mary's Hospital, London. He married Claire Booth) in 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, born 19 November 1977 at St Mary's Hospital, London. She married Gary Lewis in 2004. They divorced in 2018. They have two children.
    • Senna Kowhai Lewis, born 22 June 2010
    • Tāne Mahuta Lewis, born 25 May 2012
  • Lady Rose Victoria Birgitte Louise Gilman, born 1 March 1980 at St Mary's Hospital, London. She married George Gilman in 2008. The couple have two children.
    • Lyla Beatrix Christabel Gilman, born 30 May 2010
    • Rufus Frederick Montagu Gilman (born 2 November 2012

The three Gloucester children do not carry out royal duties. As great-grandchildren of a British Sovereign, they do not possess royal titles and are styled as the children of a non-royal Duke.


The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester's official residence is at Kensington Palace in London.[6] They have leased their private home, Barnwell Manor, since 1994.


The Duke is 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).


Upon the death of Prince Richard's father (Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester) on 10 June 1974, the Prince succeeded to the titles Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster and Baron Culloden.

Royal dutiesEdit

On 10 April 2008, Prince Richard was officially installed as the 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.

In March 2009, Prince Richard officially opened the University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus 'phase two' buildings. The ceremony included renaming one of the buildings after Colin Campbell, a former Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Prince Richard is also a patron of the Severn Valley Railway and the Pestalozzi International Village Trust.

During 2009 The Duke of Gloucester became Patron of the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre 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.

Titles, styles, honours, and armsEdit

Titles and stylesEdit

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

His title in full is: 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 Order of St. John, Service Medal of the Order of St. John.


Commonwealth realms honoursEdit

Foreign honoursEdit

Honorary military appointmentsEdit

  • Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Anglian Regiment
  • Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Army Medical Corps
  • Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Logistic Corps
  • Royal Colonel, of the 6th (V) Battalion, The Rifles
  • The Royal Honorary Colonel, of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia)
  • Honorary Air Commodore, of RAF Odiham
  • 16 June 2001, Honorary Air Commodore, of 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force
  • 1 September 1996, Honorary Air Marshal, Royal Air Force
Commonwealth realmsEdit
  • Australia: Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Australian Army Education Corps
  • New Zealand: Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corp


As a descendant of George V, the Duke of Gloucester's arms are based on the Royal Arms. The following explains the way in which his arms are differenced from those of the Queen.

Is that of the Royal Arms, differenced by a label of five points argent (white), the centre and two outer points charged with a cross gules (red), and the inner points with a lion passant guardant also of gules (red).
On the coronet of children of other sons of the Sovereign, composed of four crosses-patées alternated with four strawberry leaves, a lion statant guardant or (gold), crowned with the like coronet, and differenced with the label as in the Arms.
Are those of the Royal Supporters, differenced with a coronet as in the crest, and label as in the Arms.

References Edit

  1. No. 36678. The London Gazette. 29 August 1944. p. 4017
  2. HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO. PDF
  3. HRH Prince Richard The Duke of Gloucester. University of Worcester
  4. Before they were royal: The life of the Duchess of Gloucester. Royal Central
  5. Royal Wedding Rewind: the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. Royal Central
  6. Royal residences: Kensington Palace. Official website of the Royal Family

External linksEdit

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