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The Gloucesters

The token of love that was created by the Duke of Gloucester for his Duchess on a special anniversary

The Duke of Gloucester showed his love for his Duchess when he created a very special piece of jewellery to mark their golden wedding anniversary.

Prince Richard designed a brooch with their two initials intertwined to mark their 50 years of marriage. They celebrated their anniversary in 2022.

(Aaron Chown/PA/Handout)

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester wears it in a new portrait shared to commemorate the half century since they exchanged vows. It features an ‘R’ and a ‘B’ linked together.

The special portrait was taken in the garden of their home at Kensington Palace days before their anniversary.

Prince Richard married Birgitte Van Deurs on July 8th 1972 at St Andrew’s Parish Church, Northamptonshire, near to the family home of the groom’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. Richard’s father, Henry, was a younger brother of King George VI and uncle to The Queen.

But while the couple were the main focus of the wedding, there was also plenty of attention for Richard’s older brother, Prince William, who had taken an increasingly high profile role in the Royal Family as his father’s health deteriorated. While the newlyweds posed for press photos, they expected married life to be a private affair. The groom was an architect while the bride worked at the Danish Embassy in London. They planned to pursue their careers but within weeks of their wedding everything changed.

Prince William was killed in a plane accident on August 28th 1972, just six weeks after the wedding. Richard became heir to his father’s dukedom and took on a more senior royal role. He and his wife performed more public engagements and, in 1974, the unassuming couple who had planned a quiet life in the countryside became the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester on the death of Richard’s father.

Since then, they have been a continuing presence, supporting Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III with a wide range of duties and patronages.

The couple marked their anniversary quietly, celebrating with their three children and six grandchildren.

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About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.