Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
|Born||Birgitte Eva van Deurs Henriksen|
20 June 1946
|House||Windsor (by marriage)|
|Mother||Vivian van Deurs|
|Royal family of|
the United Kingdom and the
other Commonwealth realms
Early life and education
Birgitte was born Birgitte Eva van Deurs Henriksen, in Odense, Denmark, the younger daughter of Asger Preben Wissing Henriksen, a lawyer, and his wife, Vivian van Deurs. She was educated in Odense and at finishing schools in Lausanne and Cambridge. She took her mother's ancestral name van Deurs on 15 January 1966, after her parents' separation.[non-primary source needed] After completing a three-year course in Commercial and Economic Studies in Copenhagen, she moved back to the United Kingdom in 1971 to work as a secretary at the Royal Danish Embassy in London.
Marriage and family
Birgitte first met Prince Richard of Gloucester, the younger son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, in the late 1960s in Cambridge, while he attended university. In February 1972, their engagement was announced. They married on 8 July 1972 at St Andrew's Church, Barnwell, Northamptonshire. The bride's wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell. Instead of wearing a tiara, the bride wore stephanotis flowers on her hair which secured the veil.
Six weeks after their wedding, Prince Richard's elder brother, Prince William of Gloucester, was killed in a flying accident. Prince Richard unexpectedly became heir apparent to the dukedom and upon his father's death in 1974, the couple became the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
The couple have three children: Alexander (born 1974), Davina (born 1977), and Rose (born 1980), They were born at St Mary's Hospital, London. The Duke and Duchess officially reside at Kensington Palace.
The Duchess of Gloucester has accompanied the Duke of Gloucester on his official visits overseas: her first visit was in 1973, when they represented the Queen at the 70th birthday celebrations of King Olav V of Norway. Other joint visits have included Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, Tunisia and the United States. Birgitte has also travelled overseas in support of her own patronages and military units, including a visit to Iraq in December 2008.
She and her husband represented the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the state funeral of King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV of Tonga on 19 September 2006. They also represented the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the coronation of King George Tupou V of Tonga on 1 August 2008 in Nukuʻalofa.
Birgitte is sponsor of two Royal Navy ships: HMS Gloucester and HMS Sandown. She is also the Royal Patron of the Bermuda Regiment. She is patron of SeeAbility, a charity for people with learning disabilities and sight loss; The Lullaby Trust, a baby charity aiming to prevent unexpected deaths in infancy and promote infant health; and Music in Hospitals & Care. She regularly attends functions at schools of which she is president or patron: St Paul's Cathedral School; the Friends of St Paul's Cathedral; the Cathedral Music Trust; St John's School, Leatherhead; Bridewell Royal Hospital (King Edward's School, Witley); the Royal Alexandra and Albert School; the Children's Society; Parkinson's UK; Hope for Youth Northern Ireland; Scottish Opera; Lawn Tennis Association; the Royal School of Needlework; Turn2us; and Princess Helena College. After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Birgitte became President of the Royal Academy of Music. She is also the patron of Prostate Cancer UK, and in March 2006, she opened the Prostate Centre.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 8 July 1972 – 10 June 1974: Her Royal Highness Princess Richard of Gloucester
- 10 June 1974 – present: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester
- 1 August 2008: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Tonga
- 3 March 2015: Sash of the Order of the Aztec Eagle
Honorary military appointments
- Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Australian Army Educational Corps
- Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal New Zealand Army Educational Corps
- Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Army Dental Corps
- Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, of the Adjutant General's Corps
- Royal Colonel, of the 7th (V) Battalion The Rifles
- Lady Sponsor, of HMS Gloucester
- Lady Sponsor, of HMS Sandown
|Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster||24 October 1974||22 June 2002||Claire Booth||Xan Windsor, Lord Culloden|
Lady Cosima Windsor
|Lady Davina Windsor||19 November 1977||31 July 2004
|Gary Lewis||Senna Lewis|
|Lady Rose Gilman||1 March 1980||19 July 2008||George Gilman||Lyla Gilman|
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- https://i.pinimg.com/originals/63/4a/c9/634ac916de4f7767735f8b59b1e58e0b.jpg[bare URL image file]
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