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The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester PC, KG, KT, KP, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, KStJ (Henry William Frederick Albert; 31 March 1900 – 10 June 1974) was a member of the British Royal Family, the third son of George V of the United Kingdommarker and Queen Mary, and thus uncle to Elizabeth II. He was appointed potential regent for his niece, when his brother (George VI) came to the throne in 1936, and was required to stay in the United Kingdom until she came of age in case her father died and she ascended the throne under age.

The Duke served as the eleventh Governor-General of Australia, from 1945 to 1947. At his death, he was the last surviving knight of the Order of St. Patrick.

Early life

Prince Henry was born, on 31 March 1900, at York Cottage, on the Sandringham Estatemarker. His father was Prince George, Duke of York, the eldest surviving son of Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. His mother was The Duchess of York, the only daughter of The Duke and Duchess of Teck. In 1898, Queen Victoria issued letters patent granting the children of the Duke and Duchess of York the style Royal Highness. Thus he was styled His Royal Highness Prince Henry of York from birth.

He was baptised at the Private Chapel of Windsor Castlemarker on 17 May 1900, by Randall Thomas Davidson, Bishop of Winchester, and his godparents were Queen Victoria, William II, German Emperor, Princess Henry of Battenberg, the Duchess of Cumberland, Princess Maud of Denmark, Prince George of Greece, Prince Alexander of Teck and the Earl Roberts.

Prince Henry attended Eton Collegemarker from September 1913 and during the First World War the house in which he lived, Mr. Lubbock's was also home to Crown Prince Leopold of Belgiummarker (later Leopold III).

Military service

Unlike his brothers, Prince Henry joined the Army instead of the Royal Navy. He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurstmarker in 1919. He later served with The King's Royal Rifle Corps and the 10th Royal Hussars before retiring from active service in 1937. Following the outbreak of World War II, he rejoined the Forces, serving as a Chief Liaison Officer. He was appointed a Field Marshal in 1955 and a Marshal of the Royal Air Force in 1958.

Duke of Gloucester

On 31 March 1928, his father created him Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden, three titles that linked him with three parts of the United Kingdom, namely Englandmarker, Northern Irelandmarker and Scotlandmarker. On 2 November 1930 he attended the coronation of Haile Selassie of Ethiopiamarker in Addis Ababamarker. In 1934, with the agreement of the Irish President of the Executive Council, Eamon de Valera, George V (as King of Ireland) made him a Knight of St Patrick, Ireland's chivalric order. It was the second to last time this order was awarded (the last appointment being the Duke of York, later George VI, in 1936); at the time of his death the Duke of Gloucester was the only remaining knight.


On 6 November 1935, Henry married Lady Alice Christabel Montagu-Douglas-Scott, a daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. The marriage was originally planned to take place at Westminster Abbeymarker, but was moved to the more low key Chapel Royal at St James's Palacemarker owing to the death of Lady Alice's father shortly before the wedding.

Following their wedding, Alice was known as HRH The Duchess of Gloucester. Together they had two sons:

Stamp of Australia, 1945, figuring the Duke of Gloucester and his wife, when he became Governor-General of Australia.

Governor-General of Australia

In late 1944 the Duke was unexpectedly appointed Governor-General of Australia. His younger brother, the Duke of Kent, had been offered the position, but he was killed in an air tragedy in Scotland. The Labor Party of the Prime Minister, John Curtin, had a policy of appointing Australians to the vice-regal post. In the circumstances of wartime, Curtin decided that appointing a member of the Royal Family would have three advantages. It would improve the likelihood that Britain would maintain its commitment to the defence of Australia, make the point that Australia had not become a dependency of the United Statesmarker, and would be more politically neutral than appointing an Australian.

Although Gloucester formed a close friendship with Curtin, some considered the appointment was not an enormous success. The Duke had made a successful visit to Australia earlier in 1934. The Duke was shy and appeared stiff and formal to some. He and the Duchess travelled widely using his own plane during their time in office. When Curtin died in 1945, the Duke appointed Frank Forde as prime minister. Gloucester left Australia in March 1947, after two years in the job, due to the need to act as Regent during the absence in South Africa of his brother, King George VI. As a parting gift he left his own plane for use by the government and people of Australia.

Later life

Returning to the UK, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester acquired Barnwell Manor in Northamptonshiremarker, while retaining an apartment in Kensington Palacemarker.

In May 1949, the Duke temporarily served in the office of Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. This appointment afforded him, for its duration, its Scottish precedence (immediately below the King) and style, His Grace The Lord High Commissioner.

The Duke attended the coronation of his niece, Elizabeth II in 1953. Both the Duke and Duchess carried out royal engagements, including several overseas tours. In 1954 the Duke served as the Treasurer of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn. He suffered a series of strokes in later years, and was too ill to attend the funeral of the Duke of Windsor in 1972.

In 1972, the Duke's eldest son, Prince William, died in a plane crash. The Duke was the last surviving child of King George V and Queen Mary. When he died on 10 June 1974, his second eldest son, Prince Richard inherited the title of Duke of Gloucester. The Duke's wife, Alice, received permission from Queen Elizabeth II to be styled Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester to distinguish herself from Prince Richard's wife. She survived until 2004, becoming the longest-lived member of the British Royal Family in history.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


  • 31 March 1900 – 22 January 1901: His Royal Highness Prince Henry of York
  • 22 January 1901 – 9 November 1901: His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Cornwall and York
  • 9 November 1901 – 6 May 1910: His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
  • 6 May 1910 – 31 March 1928: His Royal Highness The Prince Henry
  • 31 March 1928 – 10 June 1974: His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester
    • in Scotland: May 1949, May 1961, May 1962, May 1963': His Grace The Lord High Commissioner




In 1921, Prince Henry was granted a personal coat of arms, being the royal arms, differenced by a label argent of three points, the centre bearing a lion rampant gules, and the outer points crosses gules.



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