Queen's cousin celebrates birthday, but who is the Duke of Gloucester?

First cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, and 28th in line to the throne, the Duke of Gloucester celebrates his 78th birthday.

Queen's cousin celebrates birthday, but who is the Duke of Gloucester?
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Queen's cousin celebrates birthday, but who is the Duke of Gloucester?

The Duke of Gloucester celebrates his 78th birthday today. He is the first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II and is a full-time working member of the Royal Family.

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Early life

As stated in the Royal Family official website, the Duke of Gloucester was born in 1944 to the late Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and the late Princess Anne, Duchess of Gloucester. He is the younger of their two children.

As a baby, he travelled to Australia, where he spent two years while his father served as Governor-General.

He was home-schooled before attending Wellesley House, Broadstairs and then Eton.

Prince Richard studied architecture at Magdalene College, Cambridge. In 1969, he became a partner in a firm of London architects.

He was planning a full-time career in architecture when tragedy struck the family. In 1972, his older brother, Prince William, died in an accident. Prince Richard became his father’s sole heir and took on more royal duties. With the increased responsibility of being an active working royal, the prince quit his partnership.

In 1972, Prince Richard announced his engagement to Brigitte van Deurs. The pair were married in the July of the same year. They have three children together: The Earl of Ulster, The Lady Davina, and The Lady Rose Gilman, none of whom carry out royal duties.

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Life as a working Royal

As a working royal, the Duke of Gloucester attends national and international events. He first represented the Queen overseas in 1970 at the wedding of Crown Prince Birendra of Nepal.

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Over the years, he has also attended the independence celebrations of Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Vanuatu. And more recently, Prince Richard attended the inauguration of Pope Francis in 2013.

He also engages in public duties that reflect his interests: international humanitarian issues, heritage and the built environment and military veterans. He is associated with more than 150 charities and associations. Lots of his patronages are related to architecture and conservation.

He has also acted as Counsellor of State for the Queen. The first time was in 1966 when Her Majesty was on a Caribbean Tour. In other words, the Queen delegates certain state functions and powers when Her Majesty is not in the country.

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