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Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (Arthur William Patrick Albert; 1 May 1850 16 January 1942) was a member of the shared British and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha royal family who, between 1911 and 1916, served as the Governor General of Canada. He was born to Queen Victoria, in Londonmarker, Englandmarker, and educated by private tutors before at the age of 16 entering the Royal Military College at Woolwichmarker. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the British Army, and therein served for some 40 years, seeing service in various parts of the British Empire. During this time he was also created as a royal duke, becoming the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, as well as the Earl of Sussex.

On the recommendation of then British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, Arthur was appointed by his nephew, George V, as the Canadian viceroy, succeeding in that role Albert Grey, Earl Grey. Given his military service, the selection of Arthur proved to be prudent, as he acted as viceroy, and thus as the representative of the Canadian Commander-in-Chief, through the first years of World War I. After the end of his viceregal tenure, Arthur returned to the United Kingdom and there, as well as in Indiamarker, performed various royal duties, while also again taking up military duties. Though he retired from public life in 1928, he continued to make his presence known in the army well into the Second World War, just before his death in 1942.

Early life

Arthur was born at Buckingham Palacemarker on 1 May 1850, the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Baptised on 22 June in the palace's private chapel, by The Archbishop of Canterbury, John Bird Sumner, the Prince's godparents were The Crown Prince of Prussia; his great-uncle's sister-in-law, Princess Bernard of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (for whom his maternal grandmother The Duchess of Kent stood proxy); and The Duke of Wellington (with whom he shared his birthday and after whom he was named). As with his older brothers, Arthur received his early education from private tutors, and it was reported that he became the Queen's favourite child.

Military service

It was at an early age that Arthur developed an interest in the army, and in 1866 he followed through on his military ambitions by enrolling at the Royal Military College at Woolwichmarker. He graduated from there two years later, and was immediately commissioned as a lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers. The Prince then later transferred to the Royal Regiment of Artillery, and finally to the Rifle Brigade, his father's own regiment, after which he conducted a long and distinguished career as an army officer, including service in South Africa, Canadamarker in 1869, Irelandmarker, Egyptmarker in 1882 and in Indiamarker from 1886 to 1890. It was in Canada that Arthur undertook a year's training with the Rifle Brigade and engaged in defending the Dominion from the Fenian Raids, though he was also entertained by Canadian society; amongst other activities, he attended an investiture ceremony in Montrealmarker, was a guest at balls and gardern parties, and toured towns in Ontariomarker and Quebecmarker, all of which was documented in photographs that were sent back for the Queen to view. Of the Prince, Lady Lisgar, wife of then Governor General of Canada John Young, Baron Lisgar, noted in a letter to Victoria that Canadians seemed hopeful Prince Arthur would one day return as Governor General.

On his mother's birthday in 1874, Arthur was created a royal peer, being titled as the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex. Some years later, Arthur came into the direct line of succession to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in Germanymarker, upon the death in 1899 of his nephew, Prince Alfred of Edinburgh, the only son of his elder brother, 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 other nephew, Prince Charles Edward, the posthumous son of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.

On 13 March 1879, at St. George's Chapelmarker in Windsor Castlemarker, Arthur married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, the daughter of Prince Friedrich Charles, and a grand-niece of the German Emperor, Arthur's godfather, Wilhelm I. The couple bore three children: Princess Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah (born 15 January 1882), Prince Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert (born 13 January 1883), and Princess Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth (born 17 March 1886), who were all raised at the Connaughts' country home, Bagshot Park in Surreymarker, and after 1900 at Clarence Housemarker, the Connaughts' Londonmarker residence. Through his children's marriages, Arthur became the father-in-law of Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife, and Sir Alexander Ramsay, though his first two children predeceased him, Margaret while pregnant with Arthur's eighth grandchild.

Arthur was promoted to the honorary rank of colonel on 14 June 1871, as a substantive colonel on 29 May 1880, and on 1 April, 13 years later, was made a general. The Prince had hoped to succeed his first cousin once-removed, the elderly Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, as Commander-in-chief of the British Army, upon the latter's forced retirement in 1895. This desire, however, was denied to Arthur, and instead he was given between 1893 and 1898 command of the southern district of Aldershot. On 26 June 1902 he was promoted to the post of field-marshal, and thereafter served in various important positions, including Commander-in-Chief of Ireland from 1900 to 1904, and Inspector-General of the Forces between 1904 and 1907.

At the same time, he continued to undertake royal duties beyond, or vaguely associated with, the army; in 1910, Arthur travelled aboard the Union-Castle Line ship Balmoral Castle to South Africa, to open the first parliament of the newly formed union, and in Johannesburgmarker on 30 November he laid a commemorative stone at the Rand Regiments Memorialmarker, a memorial dedicated to the British soldiers that died during the Second Boer War. As well, when his brother was obliged to resign the office upon his accession in 1901 as King Edward VII, Prince Arthur was elected as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, and was subsequently re-elected as such an additional 37 times before 1939, when the Prince was nearly 90 years of age.

Governor generalship

It was announced from the Office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 6 March 1911 that George V had, by commission under the royal sign-manual and signet, approved the recommendation of his British Prime Minister, H.H. Asquith, to appoint Arthur as his representative. Though his brother-in-law, John Campbell, Duke of Argyll, had previously served as Governor General of Canada, with his swearing-in on 13 October 1911 at the salon rouge of the parliament buildings of Quebecmarker, Arthur became the first, and so far only, Governor General of Canada to be of the Blood Royal.

To Canada, Arthur brought with him his wife and his youngest daughter, Princess Patricia, who would become an extremely popular figure with Canadians. With the viceregal family, the Governor General travelled throughout the country, performing such ceremonial tasks as in 1917 laying at the newly rebuilt Centre Blockmarker on Parliament Hillmarker the same cornerstone his older brother, the late King Edward VII, had set on 1 September 1860 when the original building was under construction.

Arthur served as liaison between the British government and Canada during World War I. He re-laid the cornerstone of the burned-out federal parliament building in 1917. The stone had been set in the original building by Prince Albert Edward (later Edward VII) in 1860. 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.

From 1912 until his death in 1942, Arthur was Colonel-in-Chief of the Cape Town Highlanders Regiment.

In 1914, World War I broke out, with Canadians called to arms against Germanymarker 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 Policemarker, 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 Crossmarker 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 of Connaught, 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 Churchmarker next to Rideau Hall, which the family attended regularly.

Later life

After his years in Canada, the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn held no similar public offices but undertook a number of public engagements. In 1921, he travelled to India, where he officially opened the new Central Legislative Assembly, Council of State and Chamber of Princes. As president of the Boy Scouts Association and one of Lord Baden-Powell's friends and admirers, he performed the official opening of the 3rd World Scout Jamboree at Arrowe Parkmarker.

Following Rideau Hall, the Duke returned to military service and continued well into World War II, where he was seen as a grandfather figure by aspiring recruits. The Duchess, who had been ill during their years at Rideau Hall, died in March 1917, and the Duke mostly withdrew from public life in 1928; his last formal engagement was the opening of the Connaught Gardens in Sidmouth, Devon, on 3 November 1934. He died in 1942 at Bagshot Park, at the age of 91, at the time being the last living son of Queen Victoria. He also had outlived two of his three children; he was succeeded (briefly) in his dukedom by his grandson, Alastair Windsor, the son of Prince Arthur and his wife, Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife, a granddaughter of Edward VII.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
  • 1 May 1850 14 July 1917: His Serene Highness Prince Arthur of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony

United Kingdommarker
  • 1 May 1850 24 May 1874: His Royal Highness The Prince Arthur
  • 24 May 1874 13 October 1911: His Royal Highness The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
  • 13 October 1911 11 November 1916: His Royal Highness The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia and Naval Forces of Canada
  • 11 November 1916 16 January 1942: His Royal Highness The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn

Arthur's style and title prior to the renunciation of his Germanic titles in 1917 was: His Royal Highness The Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Earl of Sussex, Duke of Saxony, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Extra Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Knight Grand Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Grand Master and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, General of the Militia of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After King George V relinquished in 1917 the German titles belonging to both himself and his various cousins, Arthur's title remained the same save for the removal of the references to Duke of Saxony and Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, as well as mention of his German honours, the Order of the Black Eagle and Order of the Red Eagle.






Foreign honours
  • 1882 16 January 1942: Member 2nd Class of the Order of the Majidi

Honorary military appointments

Honorific eponyms

Geographic locations
  • Connaught Placemarker, New Delhimarker
  • Connaught Junior School, Bagshotmarker, Surrey, England
  • Connaught Park, Housing Estate, Bagshotmarker, Surrey, England
  • Connaught Hall, Londonmarker, a University of London intercollegiate hall or residence
  • Connaught Hall, Botwood, NL. Masonic Temple, built 1911.
  • Connaught Circusmarker, principal shopping precinct of New Delhi
  • Port Arthurmarker, Ontario, a former city at the Lakehead of Ontario, incorporated with its former twin city of Fort Williammarker as Thunder Baymarker in 1970, and Connaught Squaremarker located in the centre of Port Arthur
  • In Canada, numerous schools, roads, parks, and a military regiment are named for the first Duke, dating from his term as Governor General (e.g. Connaught Public School, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada)
  • Connaught National Army Cadet Training Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Connaught Buildingmarker, the headquarters of the Canadian Revenue Agency, in Ottawa
  • The Connaught Building , an Australian landmark residential apartment building in Sydney, Australia
  • Connaught Roadmarker, a major road along the harbourfront in Hong Kong
  • Connaught Public School, Collingwood, Ontario, Canada
  • Connaught Creek in Rogers Pass National Historic Site/Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada
  • Connaught Armoury in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Connaught, a neighbourhood of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Connaughtmarker, a community in rural Eastern Ontario
  • Connaught water, a large man-made lake in Epping Forest, Essex, UK
  • Connaught Heights, a residential area in the western part of the City of New Westminster BC, where situated is the Connaught Heights Pentecostal Assembly Church, and the Connaught Heights Elementary School.


Prince Arthur was granted a coat of arms with his dukedom — as a child of a British sovereign, the Duke bore the royal arms, with an inescutcheon of Saxonymarker (for his father), and a difference of a label argent, of three points, the first and third bearing fleurs-de-lys azure, and the central a cross gules. In 1917, the inescutcheon was dropped by royal warrant from George V.


Image Name Birth Death Notes
Princess Margaret of Connaught 15 January 1882 1 May 1920 married, 15 June 1905, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden; had issue
Prince Arthur of Connaught 13 January 1883 12 September 1938 married, 15 October 1913, Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife; had issue
Princess Patricia of Connaught 17 March 1886 12 January 1974 married, 27 February 1919, Captain Sir Alexander Ramsay, renouncing her title and becoming Lady Patricia Ramsay; had issue


See also


  • Scouting Round the World, John S. Wilson, first edition, Blandford Press 1959 p. 81

External links

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