History - OnThisDay - 31 March 1900 - Birth of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria

On 31 March 1900 Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester was born in York Cottage
at Sandringham (United Kngdom).


Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester was the third son of King George V of the
United Kingdom and Queen Mary. He was born during the reign of his
great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.

His father was then the Duke of York, the eldest surviving son of the
Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra).

His mother was the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary), the only daughter of
the Duke and Duchess of Teck.

At the time of his birth, Prince Henry was fifth in the line of succession to the
throne, behind his grandfather, father and two elder brothers.


Prince Henry was baptized at the private chapel of Windsor Castle on
17 May 1900 by Randall Thomas Davidson, Bishop of Winchester. He had
famous godparents inter alia:

- Queen Victoria, his great-grandmother;
- The German Emperor, his cousin, for whom Prince Albert of Prussia stood proxy;
- Princess Henry of Battenberg, his paternal great-aunt;
- the Duchess of Cumberland, his paternal great-aunt
- Prince George of Greece (his cousin)
- Prince Carl of Denkmark
- Prince Alexander of Teck (his maternal uncle)
and more ...

Childhood and education

When he was a young child, Prince Henry suffered from ill health very much
like his older brother Albert. He was an extremely nervous child and he had
a combination of speech disorders.

By 1909, Henry's poor health became a serious concern for his parents.

On 6 May 1910, Prince George became King and Henry was the third in line
to the throne. Henry went to a school where he could interact with boys of his
age. So, Prince Henry became the first son of a British monarch to attend a

Prince Henry stayed 3 years at St. Peter's Court as a day boy. He was not very
bright, although he was good in mathematics. Henry's interests were sports
specially cricket and football.

In September 1913, Prince Henry started at Eton College. During the First
World War, Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium (later King Leopold III)
was a member of his house.

Duke of Gloucester

On 31 March 1928, his father granted Prince Henry the title:
Duke of Gloucester. The same year Prince Henry visited Canada.

Later he went to Nairobi (Africa) where he started an affair with
Beryl Markham. She was the first woman who flied solo non-stop
across the Atlantic Ocean.

This affair shocked the Queen. The King arranged quickly a series
of events to keep Prince Henry busy.

In 1929 he went to Japan. In 1930 he attended the coronation of
Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

In 1934, King George V made him a Knight of St. Patrick (Ireland's
chivalric order).

Love and Marriage

When he returned from his trip to Japan in 1929 his affair with Markham
ended. The Duke and Beryl never met again.

On 6 November 1935, Prince Henry married at the Private Chapel of
Buckingham Palace to Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott, who was the
sister of Prince Henry's best friends: Lord William Montagu Douglas Scott.

The Royal Couple would have two sons.

Military Career

Prince Henry joined the Army. He attended the Royal Military College at
Sandhurst in 1919 and he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the
King's Royal Rifle Corps on 16 July 1919. On 16 July 1921 he was
promoted to Lieutenant in the 10th. Royal Hussars.

On 1 January 1937, Prince Henry was effectively retired from active duty
and he received a ceremonial promotion to major-general.

At the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the British Expeditionary
Force and he was appointed as a Chief Liaison Officer on 4 September 1939.

He was slightly wounded in 1940, when his staff car was attacked from the

Governor-General of Australia

In 1944 the Duke was appointed Governor-General of Australia after his
younger brother, the Duke of Kent, died in an aeroplane crash in Scotland.

The Duke made a successful visit to Australia in 1934. Gloucester left
Australia in 1947.

Later life

In 1953, the Duke attended the coronation of his niece Queen Elizabeth II.
Both the Duke and Duchess carried out royal engagements including
overseas tours.

In 1965, Prince Henry had his first stroke. In 1972 the Duke's elder son,
Prince William died in a plane crash.


Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester was the last surviving child of
King George V and Queen Mary. He died on 10 June 1974. He was
buried in the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore.

His second son, Prince Richard, inherited the title Duke of Gloucester.

Source pictures: Wikipedia

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