Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO, 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 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.

Prince Richard
Duke of Gloucester (more)
Born (1944-08-26) 26 August 1944
St. Matthew's Nursing Home, Northampton, England[1]
Full name
Richard Alexander Walter George[2]
FatherPrince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
MotherLady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott

Early life

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 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. He was baptised at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park on 20 October 1944 by the retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang.[6] 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. He is 27th in line to the throne as of May 2019. 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.

Education and career

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.[7] In 1963, he matriculated at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he read Architecture,[7] 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 took on other responsibilities in 1972, after the death of his elder brother Prince William, who crashed his plane in a flying competition. Richard became heir apparent to his father's dukedom and had to take on additional family obligations and royal duties. He resigned his partnership and began representing his cousin, 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. 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. With his background in architecture, the Duke of Gloucester takes 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]

On 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]

Marriage and family

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:

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester's official residence is at Kensington Palace in London.[15] They have leased their private home, Barnwell Manor, since 1994.


The Duke of Gloucester, accompanied by the Duchess, represented his cousin Elizabeth II at the Solomon Islands independence celebrations on 7 July 1978.[16][17]

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.[18] 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.[19] He shares a name with another Duke of Gloucester, Richard III, and has been the patron of the Richard III Society since 1980.[20] He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Royal United Services Institute.[21][22] Since 1972, the Duke has been a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.[23] He is also an honorary fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers.[24]

During 2009, the Duke became patron of the De Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre[25] in support of its bid to raise funds through private means and through a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding. Other patronages include: British Society of Soil Science,[26] the International Council on Monuments and Sites,[27] Action on Smoking and Health,[28] British Association of Friends of Museums,[29] British Mexican Society,[30] St Bartholomew's Hospital,[31] as well as numerous other organisations and charities.[7]

In July 2011, the Duke visited the Isle of Man to meet with the representative of Manx National Heritage and the Council of Cancer Charities.[23] 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.[32]

On 19 March 2013, the Duke represented Elizabeth II at the Vatican for the inauguration of Pope Francis.[33]

On 11 March 2015, the Duke visited the Royal School Dungannon in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland to celebrate their 400th anniversary since James I opened the school; presenting a commemorative plaque and raising an anniversary flag on the grounds.[34] On 22 and 26 March 2015, the Duke represented the Queen at the ceremonies marking the reburial and commemorations of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral. Richard III had held the title Duke of Gloucester before his ascension to the English throne.[35]

In March 2018, the Duke travelled to Malawi to attend the Commonwealth Day celebrations, and visited projects related to health services, wildlife, and climate change.[36][37]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 26 August 1944 – 10 June 1974: His Royal Highness Prince Richard of Gloucester[38]
  • 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



Honorary military appointments

New Zealand
United Kingdom


Coat of arms of the Duke of Gloucester
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-pattées 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.[44]
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.

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.

The Duke of Gloucester's Standard (or Banner) displays his personal Arms, granted in 1962.[47] (In Scotland: )
As in the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom, the first and fourth quarters represent England, the second Scotland and the third Ireland.


Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster24 October 197422 June 2002Claire BoothXan Windsor, Lord Culloden
Lady Cosima Windsor
Lady Davina Windsor19 November 197731 July 2004
Divorced 2018
Gary LewisSenna Lewis
Tāne Lewis
Lady Rose Gilman1 March 198019 July 2008George GilmanLyla Gilman
Rufus Gilman


See also


  1. "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. The Times, 21 October 1944
  4. The Times, 5 August 1942
  5. "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page – Royal Christenings". Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  6. 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".[3][4][5]
  7. "HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO" (PDF). Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  8. "HRH Prince Richard The Duke of Gloucester". University of Worcester. 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  9. "Our Patron". Construction Youth Trust. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  10. "Royal Patron for ABS". Architects Journal. 6 March 2003. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  11. "Royal Patron visits HFH Hale County". Habitat for Humanity GB. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  12. "Board of Directors". St. George's Society of New York. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018. 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. "Royal residences: Kensington Palace". Official website of the Royal Family. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013.
  16. Gloucester, Duke and Duchess of, Solomon Islands Historical Encyclopaedia 1893-1978, Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  17. "Solomon Islands to Get a Royal Visit'". Solomon Islands Times. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  18. "HRH Prince Richard The Duke of Gloucester". University of Worcester. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  19. "Royal support for homeopathy". British Homeopathic Association. March 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  20. Walker, Tim (2 March 2013). "Duke of Gloucester's concern for Richard III's 'dignity'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  21. "Charities and Patronages". The Royal Family. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  22. "The Duke of Gloucester Lecture Series: Flooding and the British Armed Forces". RUSI. 12 November 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  23. "Duke of Gloucester to visit Isle of Man". BBC. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  24. "History of the Institution of Structural Engineers" (PDF). Institution of Structural Engineers. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  25. "Court Circular: May 16". The Times. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  26. "Patron". British Society of Soil Science. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  27. "ICOMOS-UK Launches Cultural Heritage Manifesto in 50th Anniversary Year". ICOMOS-UK. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  28. "ASH Spokespeople". ASH. August 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  29. "About BAFM". British Association of Friends of Museums. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  30. "BMS Organisation". British Mexican Society. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  31. "A Royal visit for St Bartholomew's". Barts Health NHS Trust. 3 October 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  32. Lennon, Chris (9 November 2011). "Royal opening of University of Hertfordshire law court". Welwyn Hatfield Times. WGC. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  33. "Cousin stands in for Queen at Pope Francis 'crowning'". Evening Standard. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  34. Murrison, Andrew (11 March 2015). "Duke of Gloucester visits Northern Ireland". Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  35. "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.
  36. "The Duke of Gloucester visits Malawi". The Royal Family. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  37. "Royal Visit: The Duke of Gloucester to visit Malawi in the Commonwealth Week". CNBC Africa. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  38. As a patrilineal grandson of the British monarch, he was styled His Royal Highness Prince Richard of Gloucester from birth.
  39. Mussell, John W. (2004). Mackay, James (ed.). The Medal Yearbook 2004. Devon, UK: Token Publishing Ltd. p. 236. ISBN 9781870192620.
  40. "Royal orders presented at Palace". Matangi Tonga Online. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  41. Archived 28 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  42. "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.
  43. Olvera Ayes, David A (2011). La Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca: apuntes para su historia. Mexico: Cuadernos del cronista. p. 719. ISBN 978-6070047213.
  44. "Burke's Peerage – The Royal Family – HRH The Duke of Gloucester". Burke's Peerage & Gentry and The Origins Network. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  45. "No. 56269". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 July 2001. p. 8120.
  46. "No. 54519". The London Gazette. 9 September 1996. p. 12011.
  47. "Duke of Gloucester". Archived from the original on 1 February 2009.
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
10 June 1974 – present
Heir apparent:
Earl of Ulster
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Earl of Snowdon
Gentlemen Succeeded by
The Duke of Kent
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