Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester

Infobox British Royalty|royal
name =Princess Alice
title =Duchess of Gloucester

imgw =203
caption =The Duchess in her later years
spouse =Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1935–1974)
issue =Prince William of Gloucester
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
full name =Alice ChristabelAs a titled royal, Alice held no surname after her marriage, but, when one "was" used, it was Windsor]
titles ="HRH" Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
"HRH" The Duchess of Gloucester
"Lady" Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott
royal house =House of Windsor
father =John, Duke of Buccleuch
mother =Lady Margaret Bridgeman
date of birth =birth date|1901|12|25|df=y
place of birth =Montagu House, London
date of death =Death date and age|2004|10|29|1901|12|25|df=yes
place of death =Kensington Palace, London
date of burial =5 November 2004
place of burial =Frogmore, Windsor|

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (born The Lady Alice Christabel Montagu-Douglas-Scott; 25 December 1901 – 29 October 2004) was the wife of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third son of George V and Queen Mary. She was thus the sister-in-law of George VI and Edward VIII, 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

Lady Alice was born, in Montagu House, London, on Christmas Day 1901 as the third daughter of John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, and his wife, the former Lady Margaret Bridgeman. She is therefore a descendant, in an unbroken male (though illegitimate) line, of Charles II. She spent much of her childhood in her family's country homes: Boughton House in Northamptonshire, Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway, and Bowhill in the Scottish Borders. She attended St James's boarding school, West Malvern, Worcestershire and later travelled to France and Kenya. The Duchess' niece, Princess Alexandra of Kent, who was likewise born on Christmas Day, shares the name Christabel in honour of their shared birthdate. The Duchess is also a first cousin of Lady Marian Louisa Montagu-Douglas-Scott, the grandmother of Sarah Ferguson, the former Duchess of York by her marriage with Prince Andrew, duke of York.


In August 1935, Lady Alice became engaged to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, third son of George V. 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. In 1935, she took a trip to open the new grounds of The Lady Eleanor Holles School.

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 (18 December 1941 – 28 August 1972)
*Prince Richard of Gloucester (born 26 August 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, was given the honorary title of Air Chief Commandant WRAF in 1945 and promoted to Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Air Force in 1990. 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 Anglian Regiment, the Royal Hussars, and the Royal Irish Rangers (27th Inniskilling). She was also the Chancellor of the University of Derby and Patron of the Girls' Day School Trust.

Change of Title

On 10 June 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 aeroplane crash in 1972). The Duke's widow requested permission from her niece, The Queen, 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 Deurs). 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. Although not specifically created a Princess by letters patent, the Princess was entitled to style herself as a British Princess, even though she was not born a British Princess.Fact|date=June 2008

Later life

In 1975, Princess Alice was the first lady to be appointed a "Dame Grand Cross" of "the Order of the Bath". In 1981, she 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".

In 1994, after the Gloucesters had to give up Barnwell Manor because of financial reasons, Princess Alice moved from Barnwell 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 2001, the Royal Family held a ceremony to acknowledge Princess Alice’s centennial birthday. This was Princess Alice's last public appearance (and also the last public appearance of Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister). On 24 July 2003, Princess Alice succeeded Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, as the oldest ever living member of the British Royal Family - a feat which is yet to be surpassed.

Princess Alice died on 29 October 2004 in her sleep at Kensington Palace, at the age of 102. Her funeral was held on 5 November 2004, at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and she was interred next to her husband, Prince Henry, and her elder son, Prince William, in the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore. The Funeral was attended by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family. A memorial service was held at St. Clement Danes, on 2 February 2005.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

*25 December 1901 – 6 November 1935: "The Lady" Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott
*6 November 1935 – 10 June 1974: "Her Royal Highness" The Duchess of Gloucester
*10 June 1974 – 29 October 2004: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester

At the time of her death, Princess Alice's full style was "Her Royal Highness" Princess Alice Christabel, Duchess of Gloucester, "Countess of Ulster and 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".


British Honours
*GCB: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, "2 April 1975"
*CI: Companion of the Crown of India, "9 June 1937"
*GCVO: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, "1948"
*GBE: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, "11 May 1937"
*DGStJ: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St. John, "1936"
*Royal Family Order of King George V, "1935"
*Royal Family Order of King George VI, "1937"
*Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, "1952"

Foreign Honours
*Flagicon|Romania Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown, "1938"
*Flagicon|Egypt Grand Cordon of the Order of the Virtues (Nishan al-Kamal), "1950"
*Flagicon|Ethiopia Grand Cross of the Order of the Queen of Sheba, "1958"


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boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;
boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;
1= 1. Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
2= 2. John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 7th Duke of Buccleuch
3= 3. Margaret Bridgeman
4= 4. William Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch
5= 5. Louisa Jane Hamilton
6= 6. George Bridgeman, 4th Earl of Bradford
7= 7. Ida Frances Annabella Lumley
8= 8. Walter Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch
9= 9. Charlotte Anne Thynne
10= 10.James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn
11= 11. Louisa Jane Russell
12= 12. Orlando Bridgeman, 3rd Earl of Bradford
13= 13. Selina Louisa Forester
14= 14. Richard Lumley, 9th Earl of Scarbrough
15= 15. Frederica Mary Adeliza Drummond
16= 16. Charles Montagu-Scott, 4th Duke of Buccleuch
17= 17. Harriet Katherine Townshend
18= 18. Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath
19= 19. Isabella Elizabeth Byng
20= 20. James Hamilton, Viscount Hamilton
21= 21. Harriet Douglas
22= 22. John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford
23= 23. Lady Georgiana Gordon
24= 24. George Bridgeman, 2nd Earl of Bradford
25= 25. Georgiana Elizabeth Moncreiffe
26= 26. Cecil Weld-Forester, 1st Baron Forester
27= 27. Lady Katherine Mary Manners
28= 28. Frederick Lumley, of Tickhill Castle
29= 29. Charlotte Mary de La Poer Beresford
30= 30. Andrew Robert Drummond, of Cadland
31= 31. Lady Elizabeth Frederica Manners


External links

* [ Official biography]
* [ The Titular Dignity of Prince in the British Royal Family since 1714]
* [ BBC News obituary]
* [ listing]


* Ronald Allison and Sarah Riddell, eds., "The Royal Encyclopedia" (London: Macmillan, 1991), ISBN 0-333-53810-2.
* Marlene A. Eilers, "Queen Victoria's Descendants" (New York: Atlantic International Publishing, 1987), ISBN 91-630-5964-9.
* Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, "The Memoirs of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester" (London: Collins, 1983), ISBN 0-00-216646-1.
* Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, "Memories of Ninety Years" (London: Trafalgar Square, 1992), ISBN 1-85585-048-6.

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