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Duchess of Gloucester
First holderEleanor de Bohun
Present holderBirgitte van Deurs Henriksen
StatusCurrent

Duchess of Gloucester is the principal courtesy title used by the wife of the Duke of Gloucester. There have been five titles referring to Gloucester since the 14th century. The current duchess is Birgitte, the wife of Prince Richard. He inherited the dukedom on 10 June 1974 upon the death of his father, Prince Henry, the third son of George V.

History

When Thomas of Woodstock, youngest son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, was created duke of Gloucester around 1385, his wife Eleanor de Bohun, daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford, and Joan Fitzalan, became duchess of Gloucester.[1] Thomas was stripped of his dukedom after being declared guilty of treason in 1397. Their son Humphrey, 2nd Earl of Buckingham, did not inherit. Thomas died in 1397 and his duchess, Eleanor in 1399.[citation needed]

The next duchess was Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut, daughter of William II, Duke of Bavaria, and Margaret of Burgundy, the wife of Humphrey of Lancaster, Duke of Gloucester, who had been created duke in 1414. They married in 1422 but the marriage was annulled in 1428.[2] Humphrey then married his mistress, Eleanor Cobham, of the Cobham family, after the annulment of his marriage of Jacqueline, but this married was also annulled.[3] Humphrey died in 1447 with no legitimate issue, thus the dukedom was extinct.[citation needed]

Anne, Dowager Princess of Wales, widow of Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, married Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who had been made duke in 1461, in 1472. The dukedom merged with the crown upon his accession to the throne in 1483 and Anne became queen consort.[4]

The next dukes of Gloucester, Henry Stuart, died unmarried. The next two, Prince William and Prince Frederick, were only styled as Duke of Gloucester and died unmarried or were unmarried during their time styled as duke.[citation needed]

The next iteration of the title was as the joint dukedom of Gloucester and Edinburgh, created in 1764 for Prince William Henry, younger brother of George III. Prince William Henry married Maria Waldegrave, Dowager Countess Waldegrave, the illegitimate daughter of Sir Edward Walpole, in 1766, thus making her the first Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh.[5] Prince William Henry died in 1805. His son and successor, Prince William Frederick, married his first cousin Princess Mary in 1816. They had no children and Prince William Frederick died in 1834, the dukedom becoming extinct on his death.[6]

George V created his third son Prince Henry duke of Gloucester in 1928. When he married Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott in 1935, she became his duchess.[7] They had two sons, Prince William and Prince Richard. Prince Henry died in 1974, Prince William predeceased him and he was thus succeeded by his second son Prince Richard, whose wife, Birgitte van Deurs Henriksen, whom he had married in 1972, became duchess and has remained so since.[8]

List of titleholders

Duchess of Gloucester (England, 1385–1397)

Other titles: Duchess of Aumale, Countess of Buckingham, Countess of Essex

Duchess Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Eleanor de Bohun
Bohun family
1385–1397
c. 1366

daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford, and Joan Fitzalan
1376
Thomas of Woodstock
5 children
3 October 1399
aged 32 or 33

Duchess of Gloucester (England, 1414–1447)

Other titles: Countess of Pembroke

Duchess Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut
House of Wittelsbach
1422–1428
15 July 1401
Le Quesnoy, County of Hainaut

daughter of William II, Duke of Bavaria, and Margaret of Burgundy
1422–1428 (annulled)
Humphrey of Lancaster
1 child (stillborn)
8 October 1436
aged 35
Eleanor Cobham
Cobham family
1428–1441
c. 1400
Starborough Castle, Surrey

daughter of Reynold Cobham, 3rd Baron Cobham, and Eleanor Culpeper
1428–1441 (annulled)
Humphrey of Lancaster
2 children
7 July 1452
aged 51 or 52

Duchess of Gloucester (England, 1461–1483)

Duchess Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Anne, Dowager Princess of Wales
House of Neville
1472–1483
11 June 1456
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, and Anne Beauchamp
1472
Richard, Duke of Gloucester
1 child
16 March 1485
aged 28

Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (Great Britain, 1764–1834)

Other titles: Countess of Connaught

Duchess Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Maria Waldegrave, Dowager Countess Waldegrave
Walpole family
1766–1805
10 July 1736
St James's, Westminster

daughter of Sir Edward Walpole and Dorothy Clement
6 September 1766
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
3 children
22 August 1807
aged 71
The Princess Mary
House of Hanover
1816–1834
25 April 1776
Buckingham House, London

daughter of George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
22 July 1816
Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
No children
30 April 1857
aged 81

Duchess of Gloucester (United Kingdom, 1928–present)

Other titles: Countess of Ulster, Baroness Culloden

Duchess Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott
Montagu Douglas Scott family
1935–1974
25 December 1901
Montagu House, London

daughter of John Montagu Douglas Scott, 7th Duke of Buccleuch and 9th Duke of Queensberry, and Lady Margaret Bridgeman
6 November 1935
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
2 children
29 October 2004
aged 102
Birgitte van Deurs Henriksen
Henriksen family
1974–present
20 June 1946
Odense, Denmark

daughter of Asger Henriksen and Vivian van Deurs
8 July 1972
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
3 children
 –
now 77 years, 248 days old

Possible future duchesses

Richard and Birgitte's only son Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster, married Claire Booth in 2002. They are currently known by the courtesy titles Earl and Countess of Ulster. As George is three generations removed from the crown he is not a prince. Upon his accession Claire would be styled Her Grace The Duchess of Gloucester.

Alexander and Claire’s only son Xan, born in 2007, is currently unmarried.

References

  1. ^ Ward, Jennifer C. (2013). English Noblewomen in the Later Middle Ages. Routledge. p. 133.
  2. ^ Alison Weir: Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy, p. 128. [retrieved 19 June 2015].
  3. ^ Moorhouse, Dan (31 December 2021). "Timeline of the Hundred Years War 1337–1453 | Eleanor Cobham". The Hundred Years War.
  4. ^ Kendall P.M., Richard III, 1955. Reprinted: Kendall, Paul Murray (2002). Richard the Third. W.W. Norton. p. 608. ISBN 978-0393007855.
  5. ^ "Berkshire History: Biographies: Maria Walpole, Duchess of Gloucester (1737–1807)". Archived from the original on 23 October 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2007.
  6. ^ Purdue, A.W. (2004b). "William Frederick, Prince, second duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1776–1834)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29457. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ Bowles, Hamish (18 May 2018). "The Royal Bride Who Wore Pink". Vogue. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  8. ^ "The Duchess of Gloucester". The Royal Family. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2017.