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Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
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Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, Richard Alexander Walter George Windsor (born August 26, 1944) is a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and a member of the British Royal Family.

His Royal Highness Prince Richard Alexander Walter George, KG, GCVO, GCStJ, Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, Baron Culloden was born at Barnwell Manor in Northamptonshire, the second son of the late Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. His father was the third son of King George V and Queen Mary. His mother is the third daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch, who had been a fellow midshipman of the future king George V. His elder brother, Prince William of Gloucester, was heir to their father's dukedom.

When he was four months old, Prince Richard of Gloucester, as he was then styled, 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 before going to school at Wellesley House, Broadstairs, and then Eton. In 1963, he went to Magdalene College, Cambridge to read architecture. He received a bachelor of arts in June 1966 and joined the Office Development Group of the then-Ministry of Public Buildings and Works for a year's practical experience. He then returned to Cambridge for an additional two years and gained a Diploma in Architecture in June 1969. After completing further training, he went into practice as a firm of London architects.

On 8 June 1972, Prince Richard of Gloucester married Birgitte van Deurs, the daughter of Asger Henriksen and Vivian van Deurs of Denmark, at St. Andrew's Church, Barnwell, Northamptonshire. The event received minor press coverage, the main point of interest being that Prince Richard had to ask the Queen's permission to marry, in accordance with the 1772 Royal Marriages Act. Less than two months after the wedding, everything changed when Prince William died in an air crash. Prince Richard abandoned his architectural career for full-time royal duties and to look after the 2500 acre (10 km²) Barnwell estate. On 10 June 1974, the Duke of Gloucester died and Prince Richard succeeded to the title.

The new Duke of Gloucester succeeded his father as the Grand Prior of the Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem on 12 June 1974. Earlier, as Prince Richard of Gloucester, he received the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in the Queen's New Years' Honours in 1974. On 24 April 1997, the Queen invested the Duke as a Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG). He received the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav from King Olav V of Norway in 1973 and the Grand Cross of the Order of the Northern Star from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden the following year.

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; serves as president of the Soviet of Architect-Artists; and serves as a commissioner of the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage).

Although the Duke of Gloucester did not serve in the military, as a member of the royal family, he holds several honorary appointments in the British Army and the Royal Air Force. He served as colonel-in-chief of the Royal Gloucestershire Regiment (1975-94) and the Royal Pioneer Corps (1977-93). He is currently the colonel-in-chief of the Royal Army Medical Corps (from 2003); the deputy colonel-in-chief of the Royal Logistic Corps (from 1993) and of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire, and Wiltshire Regiment (from 1993); the royal honorary colonel of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) (from 1977); and honorary air commodore of the RAF Odiham. The Duke of Gloucester holds the rank of an honorary air marshal in the RAF.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have three children, none of whom carry out royal duties:

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have leased Barnwell Manor since 1994. Their Royal Highnesses, along with the their daughters and the Duke's elderly mother, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, currently reside at Kensington Palace, in London.

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Preceded by:
Arthur Chatto
Line of Succession to the British throne Followed by:
Earl of Ulster