Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

The Duke of Gloucester
The Duke of Gloucester

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO (Richard Alexander Walter George Windsor) (born 26 August 1944), styled HRH The Duke of Gloucester, is a member of the British Royal Family, a grandson of King George V. He has been Duke of Gloucester since his father's death in 1974. The Duke is currently 18th in the line of succession.

The Duke of Gloucester carries out royal engagements on behalf of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II.

Early life

British Royal Family

Prince Richard was born on 26 August 1944 at Barnwell Manor in Northamptonshire. His father was Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third-eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary. His mother was The Duchess of Gloucester (née Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott), the eldest daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch.

He was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on 20 October 1944 by Lord Lang of Lambeth and his godparents were: Queen Elizabeth, The Countess of Athlone (for whom her daughter, Lady May Cambridge stood proxy), The Duke of Buccleuch, The Marquess of Cambridge, Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, Lady Sybil Phipps and Sir Harold Alexander (for whom his wife, Lady Alexander stood proxy).

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.

When he was four months old, Prince Richard accompanied his parents to Australia, where his father was Governor-General from 1945 to 1947. The family returned to Barnwell Manor in 1947.



Prince Richard's early education was at home, later attending school at Wellesley House in Broadstairs, and then Eton College. In 1963, he went to Magdalene College, Cambridge to read architecture. He received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in June 1966.


After university, Prince Richard joined the (then) Offices Development Group of the Ministry of Public Building and Works for a year of practical work, returning to Cambridge in 1967. In June 1969, he passed both parts of his Diploma in Architecture at the university. After completing his training, he went into practice as a partner in a firm of London architects.

Although he planned to practice full time as an architect, the death of his brother, Prince William of Gloucester, left Richard first in line to his father's Dukedom, and increasing Royal duties. He therefore resigned his partnership, and began to represent his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, on Royal occasions.


On 8 June 1972, Prince Richard of Gloucester married Birgitte van Deurs, a Danish subject, the daughter of Asger Henriksen and Vivian van Deurs, at St Andrew's Church in Barnwell in Northamptonshire. The event was relatively low key compared to the large royal weddings of his cousins Princess Margaret and the Duke of Kent.

Together the couple have three children:

None of the children carry out royal duties, and they have no royal titles. As great-grandchildren of King George V in the male line, they are styled as the children of a Duke.

Duke of Gloucester

On 10 June 1974, Prince Richard's father died and he succeeded to the titles Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster and Baron Culloden.

Both the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester make many public appearances and are popular members of the royal family. 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).

A keen motorist, Prince Richard was president of the Institute of Advanced Motorists for 32 years. This post became a matter of review when, on 23 December 2004, he was banned from driving for six months and fined for speeding, it being his fourth similar offence in three years. He resigned in January 2005.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester's official residence is at Kensington Palace in London. They have leased Barnwell Manor since 1994. On 29 October 2004, the Duke's mother, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, died at the age of 102, the longest-living member of the British Royal Family ever.

Titles and Honours

Styles of
HRH The Duke of Gloucester
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir


  • His Royal Highness Prince Richard of Gloucester
  • His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester
  • His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, GCVO
  • His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO


The Duke has received a number of honours, including orders of knighthood and medals. The Duke of Gloucester has the following orders:

The Duke of Gloucester also has Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Medal (1953), Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee Medal (1977) and Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), among others.

Honorary Military Appointments

Coat of arms

As a descendant of Queen Victoria, 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.

  • Arms: 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).
  • Crest: On a coronet 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.
  • Supporters: Are those of the Royal Supporters, differenced with a coronet as in the crest, and label as in the Arms.


Preceded by:
The Prince Henry
Duke of Gloucester Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Arthur Chatto
Line of succession to the British throne Succeeded by:
Earl of Ulster
Preceded by:
Prince Harry of Wales
United Kingdom order of precedence
Succeeded by:
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent


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