Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester

From Academic Kids

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Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester

Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (Alice Christabel Windsor, ne Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott) (December 25, 1901October 29, 2004) was the wife of the Duke of Gloucester — the third son of King George V and Queen Mary — and the mother of the current Duke of Gloucester. She was an aunt of Queen Elizabeth II through her marriage to the Queen's paternal uncle.


Early life

The Lady Alice was born in Montagu House in London as the third daughter of John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 7th Duke of Buccleuch and 9th Duke of Queensbury (18641935), and his wife, the former Lady Margaret Bridgeman. She spent much of her childhood in her family's country homes: Boughton House in Northamptonshire, Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfrieshire, and Bowhill in the Scottish Borders. She attended St. James's boarding school, West Malvern, Worcestershire and later travelled to France and Kenya.


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Princess Alice with her husband and son in 1956

In August 1935, Lady Alice became engaged to HRH The Duke of Gloucester. They were married in a private ceremony in the chapel of Buckingham Palace on November 6 of that year. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester initially lived at Aldershot, where the Duke was taking the Army staff course. The Duke of Gloucester left the army to take on more public duties following the abdication of Edward VIII in December 1936.

The couple received a grace and favour residence at York House, St. James's Palace, London and, in 1938, they purchased Barnwell Manor in Northamptonshire. The Duke and Duchess had two sons, Prince William of Gloucester (December 18, 1941August 28, 1972) and Prince Richard of Gloucester (born August 26, 1944).

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester travelled extensively to perform their royal duties. During World War II, the Duchess worked with the Red Cross and the Order of St. John. She became head of the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) in 1940 and was given the honorary title of Air Chief Commandant in 1945. She also served as deputy to Queen Elizabeth, the consort of George VI as Commandant-in-Chief of the Nursing Corps. From 1945 to 1947, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester lived in Canberra, where the Duke was serving as Governor General of Australia. The Duchess of Gloucester served as Colonel-in-Chief or deputy Colonel-in-Chief of a dozen regiments in the British Army, including the King's Own Scottish Borderers, the Northamptonshire Regiment, the 2nd East Anglian Regiment (Duchess of Gloucester's Own Royal Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire), the Royal Hussars, and the Royal Irish Rangers (27th Inniskilling).

Change of Title

On June 10, 1974, Prince Henry died and was succeeded as Duke of Gloucester by their second son, Prince Richard. (The couple's elder son and heir, Prince William, had been killed in an airplane crash in 1972.) The duke's widow requested permission from her niece, Queen Elizabeth II, to use the title and style "HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester" instead of "HRH The Dowager Duchess of Gloucester". The Queen allowed her aunt to adopt this title, in part to avoid confusion with her daughter-in-law, the new Duchess of Gloucester (formerly Brigitte Eva Van Duers). Princess Alice also apparently did not wish to be known as a dowager duchess and so followed the example of her late sister-in-law, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, following the marriage of her elder son in June 1961. However, Princess Marina was a princess by birth. The de facto Dowager Duchess of Gloucester was allowed to be known as Princess Alice as a courtesy from the Queen.

Later years

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Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, 1991

In 1981, Princess Alice first published her memoirs under the title The Memoirs of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. In 1991, she released a revised edition as Memories of Ninety Years.

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Princess Alice's 100th Birthday

In 1994, after the Gloucesters had to give up Barnwall Manor because of financial reasons, Princess Alice moved from Barnwall to Kensington Palace, where she lived with the current Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

In 1999, the Duke of Gloucester issued a press release announcing that due to physical frailty, his mother would no longer carry out public engagements outside the environs of Kensington Palace.

In December of 2001, the royal family held a ceremony to acknowledge Princess Alices centennial birthday, the second royal centennial birthday celebration held that year–the other being that of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. This was Princess Alice's last public appearance. (It was also the last public appearance of Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister.) On July 24, 2003 Princess Alice succeeded Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother as the oldest ever living member of the British royal family. In fact, no member of any royal family has ever lived longer.

Princess Alice died October 29, 2004 in her sleep at Kensington Palace at the age of 102. Her funeral was held November 5, 2004 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. A memorial service was held at St. Clement Danes on February 2, 2005.

Titles & Honours


  • The Lady Alice Christabel Montagu-Douglas-Scott (birth–1935)
  • Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester (1935–1974)
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (1974–2004)

At the time of her death, Princess Alice's full title was Her Royal Highness Princess Alice Christabel, Duchess of Gloucester, Countess of Ulster, Baroness Culloden, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Companion of the Imperial Order of the Crown of India, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.



External Links


  • Ronald Allison and Sarah Riddell, eds., The Royal Encyclopedia (London: Macmillan, 1991), ISBN 0333538102.
  • Marlene A. Eilers, Queen Victoria's Descendants (New York: Atlantic International Publishing, 1987), ISBN 9163059649.
  • Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, The Memoirs of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (London: Collins, 1983), ISBN 0002166461.
  • Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, Memories of Ninety Years (London: Trafalgar Square, 1992), ISBN 1855850486.

Template:Livedde:Alice Herzogin von Gloucester fr:Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott nl:Alice van het Verenigd Koninkrijk ja:アリス (グロスター公爵夫人) pl:Alicja (księżna Gloucester)


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