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British RoyalsThe Gloucesters

The Duke of Gloucester picks his favourite buildings in the UK

Richard, Duke of Gloucester in 2008
By Charlie Dave -, CC BY 2.0, Wiki Commons

The Duke of Gloucester found a unique way to mark World Architecture Day this week: he took to the Royal Family Twitter account to share his top three favourite buildings in the United Kingdom.

To mark the special day, on October 5th 2020, Prince Richard’s first pick was Maggie’s Centre in Leeds, which he calls “a ‘special’ building supporting people living with cancer, which provides a sanctuary during difficult times.”

According to ArchDaily, Maggie’s Centre in Leeds is designed as “a group of three large-scale planters, built on a sloped site, that each encloses a counselling room. These surround the ‘heart’ of the centre—the kitchen—as well as more social spaces for group activities including a library and exercise room.”

Richard’s second building is Ely Cathedral in Ely, Cambridgeshire, which he calls “a fantastic example of a building that conveys the power of architecture through its sheer size and magnificence.”

His third pick is Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, a castle and celebrated example of Gothic Revival Architecture, that “provided ‘an alternative to the accepted classical norm’ when it was built in 1747.”

The Duke of Gloucester is a trained architect, having read architecture at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He graduated in 1966. He worked with the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works during his practical year following graduation; then returned to Cambridge to study for a Masters in Architecture, which he received in 1969. He later worked with Hunt Thompson Associates in London as a practising partner.

Richard’s career came to an abrupt and tragic end in 1972 following the death of his elder brother, Prince William, in a plane crash. William had been set to inherit the dukedom of Gloucester from their father, Henry, however his untimely death meant that Richard and his wife, Birgitte, would now have to undertake royal duties.

The Duke of Gloucester passed away in 1974 and Richard inherited the title. He has been undertaking royal engagements on behalf of his cousin The Queen ever since.

Richard has retained his ties to the architectural world though. His is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects; the President of the Society of Architect Artists; Patron of the Architects Benevolent Society; Patron of the Construction Youth Trust; and Commissioner of the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England, among other patronages devoted to architecture, building and restoration.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.