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Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester

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The Duke of Gloucester
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The Duke of Gloucester

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His Royal Highness The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (Henry William Frederick Albert Windsor) (31 March 1900 - 10 June 1974), was the third son of King George V of the United Kingdom and Queen Mary, the brother of King Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor) and King George VI, and the uncle of Queen Elizabeth II. He served as the eleventh Governor-General of Australia from 1945 to 1947.

Prince Henry was born in 1900 in York Cottage, the residence on the Sandringham estate of the then Duke and Duchess of York, in the last full year in the life of his great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. In 1928, his father, by now King, created him Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden, three titles that linked him with three of the four parts of the United Kingdom, namely England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. On November 2 1930 he attended the coronation of Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. In 1934, with the agreement of the Irish President of the Executive Council, Eamon de Valera, King George V as King of Ireland made him a Knight of St Patrick (KP), Ireland's chivalric order. It was the last time this order was awarded.

In 1935 Gloucester married Lady Alice Christabel Montagu-Douglas-Scott, a daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, and they had two sons, Prince William of Gloucester (1941-1972), and Prince Richard of Gloucester (born 1944), now the 2nd Duke of Gloucester.

In late 1944 Gloucester was unexpectedly appointed Governor-General of Australia. The Labor Party of the Prime Minister, John Curtin, had a policy of appointing Australians to the vice-regal post. But in the circumstances of wartime Curtin decided that appointing a member of the Royal Family would have two advantages. It would improve the likelihood that Britain would maintain its commitment to the defence of Australia, and make the point that Australia had not become a dependency of the United States. Curtin also thought that appointing an Australian would cause unnecessary partisan division.

Although Gloucester formed a close friendship with Curtin, the appointment was not an enormous success. The Duke was a man of limited outlook and rigid views. He was very stiff and formal, and did not get on well with Australians, although the Duchess softened his image somewhat. When Curtin died in 1945 and the war ended, the justification for his appointment lost its relevance, and the new Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, was a less congenial character than Curtin had been. Gloucester left Australia in March 1947, after only two years in the job.

Back in Britain, Gloucester resumed the round of royal duties. His last years were saddened by the death of his eldest son in a 1972 plane crash. He died in Northamptonshire in 1974.

Titles from birth to death

Here is a list of the titles the Duke of Gloucester bore from birth to death in chronological order:

  • His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
  • His Royal Highness The Prince Henry
  • His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester


Preceded by:
The Lord Gowrie
Governor-General of Australia
1945–1947
Succeeded by:
Sir William McKell

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Preceded by:
New Creation
Duke of Gloucester Succeeded by:
HRH Prince Richard

Template:AustraliaGGde:Heinrich Wilhelm, Herzog von Gloucester pl:Henryk (książę Gloucester)

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