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Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
His Royal Highness The Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (Arthur William Patrick Albert) (1 May 1850 – 16 January 1942) was a member of the British Royal Family, a son of Queen Victoria. Arthur served as the Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916. He was created Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex in 1874.
Arthur was born on May 1, 1850 at Buckingham Palace. His mother was Queen Victoria, the reigning British monarch. His father was His Royal Highness Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. As a son of the Sovereign, he was styled His Royal Highness The Prince Arthur from birth.
Like his elder brothers, he received his early education from tutors. Prince Arthur became interested in the army at early age. In 1866, he entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and received a commission as a lieutenant in the Corp of Royal Engineers two years later. He later transferred to the Royal Regiment of Artillery and then to the Royal Rifle Brigrade.
Arthur had a long and distinguished career in the British Army that included service in South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Egypt in 1882 and in India from 1886 to 1890. On 1 April1893, he was promoted to the rank of general. Arthur had hoped to succeed his first cousin once-removed, the elderly Duke of Cambridge, as commander-in-chief of the British Army, upon the latter's forced retirement in 1895. However, this was denied to him. Instead, he held command in the southern district of Aldershot from 1893 to 1898. Arthur became a Field Marshal on 26 June 1902. He served in various important positions thereafter, as Commander-in-Chief in Ireland (1900-1904); Inspector-General of the Forces (1904-1907), and as Governor-General of Canada (1911-1916).
On 13 March 1879, Arthur married Princess Louise Marguerite of Prussia, the daughter of Prince Friedrich of Prussia and a grand-niece of the German Emperor Wilhelm I, at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. The couple had three children:
- Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret of Connaught (15 January 1882 - 1 May 1920); married 15 June 1905 then-Crown Prince Gustav Adolph of Sweden (11 November 1882 - 15 September 1973); and had issue.
- His Royal Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught (13 January 1883 - 12 September 1938); married 15 October 1913 his cousin Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife (17 May 1891 - 26 February 1959); and had issue.
- Her Royal Highness Princess Patricia of Connaught (17 March 1886 - 12 January 1974); married 27 February 1919 Captain (later Admiral) Sir Alexander Ramsay (29 May 1881 - 8 October 1972); and had issue.
The Duke and Duchess of Connaught acquired Bagshot Park in Surrey as their country home and after 1900 used Clarence House as their London residence.
Dukedom of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
In 1899, Arthur came into direct line of succession to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in Germany, upon the death of his nephew, the only son of his elder brother, the Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. He decided, however, to renounce his own and his son's succession rights to the duchy, which then passed to his nephew, Prince Charles Edward, the posthumous son of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.
Governor General of Canada
In 1911, the British government appointed Arthur to the post of Governor General of Canada. During Arthur's term of office as governor-general, Sir Robert Borden was Prime Minister and Canada was making steady progress in its transformation from British colony to independent nation. Governors General however, were still appointed by the British, and Arthur was the first member of the British Royal Family to serve in the post, helping to strengthen ties between the British monarchy and Canada.
Arthur had travelled to Canada, with his wife, the Duchess of Connaught, and his youngest daughter, Princess Patricia. They lived together at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, and travelled extensively throughout Canada. Both the Duchess and Princess became popular figures in Canadian society. The Connaughts also made many improvements to Rideau Hall during the Arthur's term as Governor General.
World War One
In 1914, World War I broke out, with Canadians called to arms against Germany and Austria-Hungary. The Connaughts remained in Canada at the beginning of the war. Arthur emphasized the need for military training and readiness for Canadian troops departing for war, and gave his name to Connaught Cup for the Royal North West Mounted Police, to encourage pistol marksmanship for recruits. He was active in auxiliary war services and charities and conducted hospital visits, while the Duchess of Connaught worked for the Red Cross and other organizations to support the war cause. She was also Colonel-in-Chief of the Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish Canadian Rangers battalion, one of the regiments in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Their daughter, Princess Patricia, also lent her name and support to the raising of a new Canadian army regiment -- Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
Following the war, Arthur commissioned a stained glass window in their memory which is located in St. Bartholomew's Church next to Rideau Hall, which the family attended regularly.
After his term at Rideau Hall, the Duke of Connaught returned to military service for the remainder of the war. The Duchess, who had been ill during their years at Rideau Hall, died in March 1917. The Duke withdrew from public life in 1928, and died 14 years later at Bagshot Park in 1942, at the age of 92. He was succeeded (briefly) in his dukedom by his grandson, Alastair Arthur Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught, the son of Prince Arthur and his wife, Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife, a granddaughter of King Edward VII.
Titles and Honours
Titles from birth to death
- His Royal Highness The Prince Arthur
- His Royal Highness The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
- Order of the Garter,
- Order of the Thistle,
- Order of St Patrick,
- Order of St Michael and St George,
- Order of the Indian Empire,
- Order of the Bath,
- Order of the British Empire,
- Royal Victorian Chain
|- style="text-align: center;" | width="30%" |Preceded by:
The Earl Grey | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |Governor General of Canada
1911–1916 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
The Duke of Devonshire
|Duke of Connaught and Strathearn||Succeeded by:|
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