Birgitte, The Duchess of Gloucester

The Duchess of Gloucester
The Duchess of Gloucester
British Royal Family

The Duchess of Gloucester (born 20 June 1946), is a member of the British Royal Family, the wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a grandchild of King George V.

The Duchess of Gloucester, with her husband, undertakes royal duties on behalf of the Duke's cousin, Queen Elizabeth II

Early life

Birgitte was born Birgitte Eva Henriksen -- she took her mother's maiden name, van Deurs, when her parents separated -- in Odense, Denmark. She is the younger daughter of the late Asger Preben Wissing Henriksen, a lawyer, and his former wife, the late Mrs. Vivian van Deurs.

Birgitte moved to Cambridge, England and also worked at the Danish Embassy in London.


In February 1972, Birgitte became engaged to Prince Richard of Gloucester, the second eldest son of The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and The Duchess of Gloucester. The marriage took place on 8 July 1972 at St. Andrew's Church, Barnwell, Northamptonshire. At that date 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 to the Dukedom and upon his father's death in 1974, the couple became Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

Together the couple have three children:

None of the children carry out any Royal Duties.

Official role

The Duchess of Gloucester is patron of a large number of organisations, many of which have medical, educational or welfare connections. She has also accompanied the Duke of Gloucester on his official visits overseas: her first such visit was in 1973, when The Duke and Duchess represented The Queen at the 70th birthday celebrations of King Olav V of Norway.

The Duchess is also sponsor of two Royal Navy Ships: HMS Gloucester and HMS Sandown.

Titles and Honours


  • Frøken Birgitte Henriksen (20 June 1946 - ?)
  • Frøken Birgitte van Deurs (? - 8 June 1972)
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Richard of Gloucester (8 June 1972 - 10 June 1974)
  • Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester (10 June 1974 - 23 June 1989)
  • Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester, GCVO (23 June 1989 - present)


Styles of
The Duchess of Gloucester
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Ma'am
  • Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St. John (elevated from Dame)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Royal Family Order

Honorary Military Appointments

  • Colonel-in-Chief of The Bermuda Regiment
  • Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Army Dental Corps,
  • Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of the Adjutant General's Corps
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Army Educational Corps
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Educational Corps
  • Royal Colonel, 7th (V) Battalion The Rifles
Preceded by:
Lady Louise Windsor
Order of precedence in England and Wales
Succeeded by:
Katharine, The Duchess of Kent

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