At 78, The Duke of Gloucester is well into his 4th decade as a full-time working royal. But like his first cousin, the late Queen Elizabeth, he wasn't born as high in the line of succession as he would eventually rank. Here, what to know about the Duke of Gloucester.
He wasn't planning on becoming a working royal.
The Duke was born Prince Richard of Gloucester in 1944, to the then-Duke of Gloucester (son of King George V and Queen Mary) and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. His elder brother, Prince William of Gloucester, was in line to inherit his father's titles—and as such, he planned for a non-royal professional career.
He graduated from Cambridge with a degree in architecture, and had become a partner at a London architecture firm by 1972, when Prince William died in a flying accident. Afterwards, he resigned from the firm, and took on increased royal duties. In 1974, he succeeded his father as the Duke of Gloucester.
The Duke met his wife at Cambridge.
Originally from Denmark, Birgitte van Deurs was studying in a language program while the Duke was studying architecture. Queen Elizabeth gave the Duke permission to marry Birgitte (now the Duchess of Gloucester) in 1972, prompting the New York Times to run the headline "Queen's Cousin Will Wed a Secretary."
The couple have three children together: the Earl of Ulster, Lady Davina Lewis, and Lady Rose Gilman. All three of their kids are married and have children of their own. None, however, are working royals.
These days, the Duke is still keeping up with his royal duties.
The Duke occasionally represents the royal family at official functions when the monarch can't be there. He also has myriad patronages under his purview, and is the royal family's Trustee of the British Museum.
Per the royal family's website, "The Duke of Gloucester carries out a significant number of public duties and undertakes hundreds of official engagements in the UK and overseas each year. The Duke is associated with over 150 charities and organisations. His patronages reflect his professional and personal interests, which include international humanitarian issues, heritage and the built environment and military veterans. Many of The Duke’s Patronages are related to architecture and conservation, both areas in which The Duke remains deeply interested."
Following Queen Elizabeth's death in September 2022, the Duke of Gloucester attended many of the ceremonial mourning events, and walked behind the late monarch's coffin as it processed from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.
He appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony during Trooping the Colour in the 2022 Platinum Jubilee celebration.
“After careful consideration, The Queen has decided this year’s traditional Trooping the Colour balcony appearance on Thursday 2nd June will be limited to Her Majesty and those Members of the Royal Family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of The Queen,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in early May. In fact, he appeared several times during the celebratory weekend.
He currently lives at Kensington Palace.
For years, he and his family lived in the spacious Apartment 1, but Prince Richard moved to the Old Stables, a smaller residence which is also located within the Kensington Palace grounds, at some point in 2019.
You Might Also Like