Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester

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House  Windsor (by marriage)
Name  Birgitte, of
Religion  Church of England

Mother  Vivian van Deurs
Father  Asger Henriksen
Parents  Asger Henriksen
Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester Birgitte The Duchess of Gloucester Unofficial Royalty

Born  Birgitte Eva Henriksen 20 June 1946 (age 69)Odense, Denmark (1946-06-20)
Issue  Alexander Windsor, Earl of UlsterLady Davina LewisLady Rose Gilman
Spouse  Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (m. 1972)
Children  Lady Rose Gilman, Lady Davina Lewis, Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster
Grandchildren  Xan Windsor, Lord Culloden, Lady Cosima Windsor, Lyla Gilman, Senna Kowhai Lewis
Similar People  Prince Richard - Duke of G, Princess Alice - Duchess, Prince Henry - Duke of G, Lady Davina Lewis, Lady Rose Gilman

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, (born Birgitte Eva Henriksen on 20 June 1946; later van Deurs), is the wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.


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Early life

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester Birgitte The Duchess of Gloucester Unofficial Royalty

Birgitte was born Birgitte Eva Henriksen, in Odense, Denmark, the younger daughter of Asger Preben Knud Wissing Henriksen, a lawyer, and his wife, Vivian van Deurs, a Dutch woman. Before their marriage, her father was first married to Emma Neergaard Rasmussen, the future wife of Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller.

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She took her mother's ancestral name van Deurs on 15 January 1966, when her parents separated. She moved to Cambridge, England, and also worked at the Danish Embassy in London.


Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester Birgitte Duchess of Gloucester Unofficial Royalty

In February 1972, Birgitte became engaged to Prince Richard of Gloucester, the younger son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. The groom designed her coral and silver engagement ring. Their marriage took place on 8 July 1972 at St Andrew's Church, Barnwell, Northamptonshire. The bride's wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell. Six weeks after their wedding, Prince Richard's elder brother, Prince William, 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.

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The couple have three children: Alexander (b. 24 October 1974), Davina (b. 19 November 1977), and Rose (born 1 March 1980).


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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, Duchess of Gloucester Birgitte Duchess Of Gloucester Image Gallery HCPR

Birgitte has also travelled overseas in support of her own patronages and military units, including a visit to Iraq in December 2008.

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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 Bliss, the special care baby charity, and also of St Paul's Cathedral School; St John's School, Leatherhead; and Bridewell Royal Hospital (King Edward's School, Witley) and regularly attends functions at all three schools, as well as the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, of which she is president.

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. In March 2006, she opened the Prostate Centre.

The Duke and Duchess live in London at Kensington Palace, their official royal residence.

Titles and styles

  • 20 June 1946 – 15 January 1966: Miss Birgitte Eva Henriksen
  • 15 January 1966 – 8 June 1972: Miss Birgitte Eva van Deurs
  • 8 June 1972 – 10 June 1974: Her Royal Highness Princess Richard of Gloucester
  • 10 June 1974 – present: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester
  • Honours

  • 1973 Member of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
  • 1974 Dame of Justice of the Order of St. John
  • 23 June 1989 Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)
  • Medals
  • 1975 Service Medal of the Order of St John
  • 6 February 1977 Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
  • 6 February 2002 Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 6 February 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • Commonwealth honours

  • 24 February 1975 Nepalese Coronation Medal
  • 1 August 2008 Dame Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Tonga
  • Honorary military appointments

  • Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Australian Army Educational Corps
  • Bermuda
  • Colonel-in-Chief, of the Bermuda Regiment
  • Canada
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Dental Corps (January 2006 – present) [1]
  • New Zealand
  • Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal New Zealand Army Educational Corps
  • United Kingdom
  • Colonel-in-Chief, of the Royal Irish Rangers (until 1992)
  • 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
  • References

    Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester Wikipedia