Henry, 1st Duke of Gloucester

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Henry, Duke of Gloucester

Prince Henry William Frederick Albert, 1st Duke of Gloucester KG , KT , KP , GCStJ , GCMG , GCVO , PC (born March 31, 1900 in York Cottage , Sandringham ; † June 10, 1974 in Barnwell Manor , Northamptonshire ) was the third Son of the British monarch Georg V. As a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (from 1917 House Windsor ) he was an uncle of today's Queen Elisabeth II. From 1945 to 1947 the Prince was Governor General of Australia .

Origin and youth

Prince Henry (back row, middle) with his siblings, 1910

Prince Henry was born in 1900 as the third son of Prince George, Duke of York and his wife Princess Maria von Teck in York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate . The monarch at the time was his great-grandmother, Queen Victoria . After his grandfather, father, and two older brothers, Henry was fifth in line to the throne, and the throne seemed out of reach. After bringing up his older brothers Eduard and Albert in Sandringham together, Henry attended St. Peter's Court in Broadstairs from September 1913 and then attended the elite boarding school at Eton College .

Service to the Crown

Unlike his brothers, who both served in the Royal Navy , Henry joined the Army . As a cadet of the Sandhurst Military Academy , Prince Henry completed his officer training from 1919 and subsequently served in the King's Royal Rifle Corps and the 10th Royal Hussars . On March 31, 1928, his father, George V, bestowed on him the titles of Duke of Gloucester , Earl of Ulster and Baron Culloden and in this capacity he took on official duties for the royal family. For example, he represented the British Empire in 1930 at the coronation of Haile Selassie as Emperor of Abyssinia in Addis Ababa .

Henry, Duke of Gloucester, with his wife Alice and the British royal couple before leaving for Australia, 1945

In 1936 Georg V died and in the course of the abdication crisis his eldest brother abdicated as Edward VIII and Prince Albert ascended as Georg VI. the throne. The new king appointed Prince Henry as potential regent for the minor heir to the throne, Princess Elizabeth , and obliged him not to leave the United Kingdom. Henry retired from military service a year later. However, after the outbreak of World War II , he returned to active service in 1939. Prince Henry became a liaison officer and later deputy commander of the 20th Armored Brigade . In 1940 he was slightly injured in an air raid.

In late 1944, Prince Henry was surprisingly named Governor General of Australia . The then Australian Prime Minister, John Curtin , had only proposed Australians to the Crown for this office. However, due to the circumstances of World War II, this time Curtin chose a member of the royal family to strengthen Britain's willingness to participate in the defense of Australia and to make it clear that Australia was not a dependence of the United States . Although the Duke and Curtin became close friends, the award was not a complete success. Prince Henry was a man with little foresight and strict views. He was very formal and unable to relate to the Australians. After Curtin died in 1945, Prince Henry's appointment became invalid. He left Australia in 1947 after only two years in office. After his return to Europe, he served from May 1949 temporarily as Lord High Commissioner (political representative of the king at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland ). From 1957 to 1963 he was President of the Football Association , the English football association.

Marriage and offspring

On November 6, 1935, the Duke of Gloucester married the noble Lady Alice Christabel Montagu-Douglas-Scott , daughter of the then Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensbury , in the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace . The marriage had two sons:

Late years and end of life

Prince Henry attended the coronation of his niece Elizabeth II. Because of his services to the Empire, he was appointed Field Marshal in 1955 and Marshal of the Royal Air Force in 1958. As they got older, Henry and Alice retired to Barnwell Manor in Northamptonshire and seldom stayed in their apartment at St James's Palace in London.

In 1972 his eldest son was killed in a plane crash and Henry's health deteriorated noticeably after several heart attacks. As the last descendant of George V and Queen Mary, he died on June 10, 1974. His grave is on the Royal Burial Ground in Frogmore .

Title and coat of arms

Coat of arms of the Duke of Gloucester
  • March 31, 1900 - January 22, 1901: His Royal Highness Prince Henry of York
  • January 22nd - November 9th, 1901: His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Cornwall and York
  • November 9, 1901 - May 6, 1910: His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
  • May 6, 1910 - March 31, 1928: His Royal Highness The Prince Henry
  • March 31, 1928 - June 10, 1974: His Royal Highness Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, Baron Culloden
  • January 30, 1945 - March 11, 1947: His Royal Highness and Excellency The Duke of Gloucester, Governor-General of Australia (in Australia)



Web links

Commons : Henry, Duke of Gloucester  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files
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New title created Duke of Gloucester