Who is Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester?

duke of Gloucester

by Stephanie Spencer |
Updated on

First cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Richard the Duke of Gloucester is currently the most senior male-line descendant of Queen Victoria and her husband Albert.

As the second son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, Prince Richard never expected to take on the Dukedom. He trained as an architect until the sudden death of his brother when he took on royal duties full-time. As a working royal he is a familiar face at many events such as Trooping the Colour. Here’s everything you need to know about Prince Richard.

How old is Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester?

Prince Richard was born on August 26, 1944. His father, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was a younger brother of King Edward VIII and King George VI. Richard's mother, Princess Alice, was the daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch, Scotland's largest landowner.

Prince Richard spent the first two years of his life in Australia, where his father was Governor General, before the family moved back to their home at Barnwell Manor in Northamptonshire in 1947.

He had an older brother, William, who was sadly killed in a plane accident.

duke of Gloucester brother
Prince William of Gloucester (1941 Ð 1972) with his brother Prince Richard of Gloucester pictured with their dogs at their home at Barnwell Manor, Northamptonshire in June 1952. (Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

How is he related to the King?

Prince Richard the Duke of Gloucester is the late Queen Elizabeth II’s first cousin, so is King Charles' first cousin once removed.

Richard is the youngest of the nine grandchildren of George V and Queen Mary, the Queen’s grandparents.

Who is the Duke of Gloucester’s wife?

duke of Gloucester's wife
ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (R) and Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester attend day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)

Originally from Denmark, Birgitte van Deurs was a secretary studying language while the Duke was studying architecture at Cambridge. They got married in 1972  at St Andrew's Church at Barnwell, Northamptonshire, with permission from Queen Elizabeth II.

The Duke of Gloucester’s children

duke of Gloucester children

The Duke of Gloucester has three children: Alexander Windsor the Earl of Ulster, Lady Davina Lewis, and Lady Rose Gilman.

They are not working royals and largely stay out of the limelight. Pictured below is Lady Rose Windsor wearing the The Iveagh Tiara (also known as The Gloucester Leafage Tiara), accompanied by her father Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and sister Lady Davina Lewis, for her wedding to George Gilman on July 19, 2008.

duke of Gloucester daughter
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 19: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Lady Rose Windsor (wearing the The Iveagh Tiara, also known as The Gloucester Leafage Tiara), accompanied by her father Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and sister Lady Davina Lewis, arrives at The Queen's Chapel, St James's Palace for her wedding to George Gilman on July 19, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Where does the Duke of Gloucester live?

The Duke of Gloucester currently lives at Kensington Palace, in the Old Stables.

What’s his role in the Royal Family?

The Duke of Gloucester is a full time working member of the Royal Family. His roles include supporting the Head of State in their duties by attending national and international events.

Richard became heir to the Gloucester title when his brother William died aged 30 while piloting a plane in a competition in 1972.

He was an architect before his brother’s death and had just become a partner at a London architecture firm, but gave it up due to his new responsibilities. He then became duke in 1974 when his father Prince Henry died.

Many of The Duke’s Patronages are related to architecture and conservation, both areas in which The Duke remains deeply interested.

duke of Gloucester queen's funeral
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, Prince William, Prince of Wales, King Charles III, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Sir Timothy Laurence, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Mr Peter Phillips walk behind the coffin during the procession for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II on September 14, 2022 in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II's coffin is taken in procession on a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where she will lay in state until the early morning of her funeral. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Following Queen Elizabeth's death in September 2022, the Duke of Gloucester attended the state funeral and walked behind the late monarch's coffin as it processed from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.

duke of gloucester robes
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 06: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, James, Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, Princess Charlotte of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Page of Honour Ralph Tollemache, Prince George of Wales (in his role as Page of Honour), Page of Honour Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Page of Honour Nicholas Barclay, King Charles III, Queen Camilla, Page of Honour Freddy Parker Bowles, Page of Honour Gus Lopes, Page of Honour Arthur Elliot, The Queen's Companion Annabel Elliot, Page of Honour Louis Lopes, The Queen's Companion Fiona Shelburne Marchioness of Lansdowne, Princess Alexandra, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester and Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester watch an RAF flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the Coronation of King Charles III & Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023 in London, England. The Coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the other Commonwealth realms takes place at Westminster Abbey today. Charles acceded to the throne on 8 September 2022, upon the death of his mother, Elizabeth II. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Duke was also in attendance at King Charles III's coronation wearing the robes of the Order of the Garter. In fact, he is one of only five members of the royal family to have attended both Charles's crowning and that of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. The other four being the Duke of Kent, Prince Michael, Princess Alexandra, and Charles himself.

The Duke is connected with over 150 charities and organisations. His patronages reflect his professional and personal interests, including international humanitarian issues, heritage and the built environment and military veterans. He was never in the military himself, although he holds a number of honorary military titles.

duke of Gloucester military

He was elected a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1972, and is President of the Scottish Society of the Architect-Artists.

According to the official Royal family website, “The Duke is Patron or President of many charities and organisations, covering a diverse range of causes and interests”.

A few of the Duke of Gloucester’s patrons and societies and charities he supports include: several architectural preservation societies, such as the Kensington Society and the Victorian Society, as well as the International Council on Monuments and Sites, UK National Committee, ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), the British Association of Friends of Museums, British-Mexican Society to St Bartholomew's Hospital, the British Homeopathic Association, and the Japan Society, amongst others.

Stephanie Anthony is the Digital Deputy Editor of Yours.co.uk. Having worked across a variety of topics, from travel and food to pharmaceuticals, she also has a particular interest in mental health and wellness.


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