Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Richard Alexander Walter George; born 26 August 1944) is a member of the British Royal Family, the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. He has been Duke of Gloucester since his father's death in 1974. The Duke is currently 19th in the line of succession. The Duke of Gloucester carries out royal engagements on behalf of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II.
Prince Richard was born on 26 August 1944 at Hadley Common in Hertfordshire. 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.
Richard was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on 20 October 1944 by Lord Lang of Lambeth and his godparents were: Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother), Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (for whom her daughter, Lady May Abel Smith 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). 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.
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 took place at home; later, he attended school at Wellesley House in Broadstairs and Eton College. In 1963, he matriculated at Magdalene College, Cambridge to read architecture and received the degree of BA degree in June 1966. Subsequently, he was awarded the MA (Cantab.) degree in 1971.
After earning his B.A. 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.
Although he had intended 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 increased his family obligations and royal duties. He therefore resigned his partnership and began to represent his cousin The Queen at royal engagements.
On Thursday, 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 promotes the University overseas.
The Duke carried out the first of these duties on the 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 that runs from Kidderminster in Worcestershire.
During 2009 The Duke of Gloucester became Patron of the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre in support of its bid to raise funds though 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 July 1972, Prince Richard married the Danish Birgitte van Deurs, daughter of Asger Henriksen and Vivian van Deurs, at St Andrew's Church, Barnwell, in Northamptonshire. Together the couple have three children:
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.
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.
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 became the founding Chancellor of the University of Worcester in October 2007.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester's official residence is at Kensington Palace in London. They have leased their private home, 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 in history.
The Duke of Gloucester is one of only six living grandchildren of King George V and Queen Mary. He is joined by Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood.
Prince Richard shares a name with another Duke of Gloucester, King Richard III of England, and is the Patron of the Richard III Society http://www.richardiii.net/.
Since the death of his father, Prince Richard has been the most senior agnatic descendant of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, making him the most senior exclusively-male-line male in the House of Windsor and, therefore, of the entire House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Commonwealth realms honours
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.
A banner of the coat of arm's is used as the Duke's personal standard, which along with his coat of arms was granted in 1962.
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.
His patrilineal descent (the principle behind membership in Germanic royal houses) can be traced back through the generations—which means that if The Duke of Gloucester were to choose an historically accurate house name it would be Wettin, as all his male-line ancestors have been members.
The line diverges from the British royal line at Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, and from then on follows his paternal ancestors.
Descent before Conrad the Great is taken from fabpedigree.com and may be inaccurate.
House of Wettin
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