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Looking at the genealogies of the various royal families I have been viewing them in a larger context of a large family often spread out over multiple nation states. I am going to shift my focus for a while and examine the smaller family unit. For example, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had nine children and each of those children had families of their own so it is these smaller family units I wish to concentrate on. So with these smaller family units I want to just focus on the parents, children and grandchildren.

The first family I wish to look at is the Connaught family.

HRH Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert was born May 1, 1850 and was the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. As I mentioned in other posts about the Duke of Connaught he was named after his godfather,The Duke of Wellington, the general who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Prince Arthur entered military service in the British Army and was to remain in service for 40 years. His mother created him the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex. In 1900 when his brother, Prince Alfred, the reigning duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha died and his heir, Hereditary prince Alfred, died the year before, left the Duke of Connaught as heir to the ducal throne. However, Arthur did not want to leave the British Army and uproot his family to take the reigns of government in Coburg so he renounced his rights to the succession for himself and his son, prince Arthur of Connaught. In 1911 Prime Minister of the United Kingdom H. H. Asquith recommended to King George V that he should appoint his uncle to the position of Governor General of Canada replacing Earl Grey. The Duke and Duchess of Connaught served that position until 1916 when they were in turn replaced by the Duke of Devonshire.

The Duke of Connaught’s wife was HHR Princess Luise Margarete Alexandra Victoria Agnes was born at Marmorpalais outside of Potsdam, in the Kingdom of Prussia on July 25, 1860 . Her father was Prince Friedrich-Karl of Prussia (1828–1885), was a nephew of the German Emperor Wilhelm I. Her mother was Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt (1837–1906), daughter of Leopold IV of Anhalt-Dessau.,This made her father a double first cousin of the German Emperor Friedrich III, the husband of her sister-in-law, Victoria, Princess Royal.

On 13 March 1879, Princess Luise Margarete married Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn at St. George’s Chapel Windsor. At first Queen Victoria was not pleased with the match. She did not like the fact that Luise came from her a broken home, her father was physically abusive, and the queen thought she had ugly teeth and mouth along with an unattractive nose. In reality Arthur was her favorite and his mother did not want to part with him. In a short time all of these concerns were forgotten and the queen was calling her daughter-in-law her “dear Louischen.” The couple had a home built at Bagshot Park in Surrey (now the home of the Earl and Countess of Wessex) In 1900 the Duke and Duchess used Clarence House as their London residence which is the current home of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Between 1882 and 1886 the Duke and Duchess of Connaught had three children. Margaret (1882), Arthur (1883) and Victoria-Patricia (1886). The Duchess of Connaught accompanied her husband on his travels with the army and to Canada for his term as Governor General. From my reading the family seemed very tight and closer than most royal families.

In 1905 Princess Margaret married Prince Gustaf-Adolph of Sweden (he became Crown prince in 1907 on the death of his grandfather King Oscar II). She became a patron of the arts in Sweden and the head of several charities which proved beneficial during World War I. Crown Princess Margaret and Crown Prince Gustaf-Adolph had five children: Gustaf-Adolph (1906-1947), Sigvard (1907-2002), Ingrid (1910-2000), Bertil (1912-1997), Carl-Johan (1916-2012). Crown Princess Margaret is grandmother of the current King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and of the former Queen-consort of Greece, Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark. On May 1, 1920, her father’s 70th birthday, Crown Princess Margaret died from complications while having mastoid surgery and she was eight months pregnant with her sixth child.

Prince Arthur of Connaught was the first royal prince to be educated at Eton College and he served as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 1920 to 1924. Like his father, Prince Arthur also had a career in the British Army and during World War I, Prince Arthur served as aide-de-camp to Generals Sir John French and Sir Douglas Haig. After the war Arthur was promoted to lieutenant colonel and then to full colonel in the Army Reserves. In October 1922, Prince Arthur was promoted to the honorary rank of major general and became an aide-de-camp to his first cousin, King George V. In 1913 Arthur married Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife the eldest daughter of Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife and his wife HRH Princess Louise, the Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of King Edward VII.Prince Aurth’s wife was a Duchess in her own right. They had one child who was born HH Prince Alistair Arthuer, Earl of McDuff in 1914. Alistair Arthur was stripped of his style and title when King George V issued new Letters Patent restricting the princely style and title to only the grandchildren of the sovereign in the male line. Unfortunately Alistair Arthur was great-grandson of a sovereign. My personal opinion on this is that since he was the only male great-grandson at the time of the new Letters Patent and he should have been “grandfathered in” and allowed to keep his title.

His father, Prince Arthur of Connaught. died of stomach cancer in 1938 at the age of 55 leaving his son Alistair as heir to his father’s dukedom which he in turn inherited in 1942. Sadly, Alistair only enjoyed his new title for 15 months and he died in 1943. Leaving no heir the dukedom of Connaught merged with the crown.

Princess Victoria-Patrica, or Princess Patricia or Patsy, as she was called, traveled a great deal with her parents and was particularly close with her sister, Margaret. She was made Colonel-in-Chief of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in 1918 and remained in that position for life. During the Edwardian era the question who the very attractive Patsy would marry was a eagerly anticipated. She had a number of royal suitors including, Grand Duke Adolph-Friedrich VI of Mecklenburg-Strelitz,, King Alfonso XIII of Spain, future King Manuel II of Portugal and Grand Duke Mikhail of Russia, brother of Czar Nicholas II of Russia. But in the end Patsy chose naval Commander The Hon. Alexander Ramsay. Ramsay later became an Admiral. Patricia voluntarily relinquished her style and title upon her marriage but still remained a member of the British Royal Family. Patricia was also an accomplished artist. She and her husband had one child, Alexander Ramsay of Mar (1919-2000). Patsy died in 1974 at the age of 87 and was one of the last surviving grandchildren of Queen Victoria at the time (the other being princess Alice of Albany, Countess of Athlone who died).

The Duchess of Connaught died in March of 1917 at the age of 56 from influenza and bronchitis and was the first member of the royal family to be cremated. Her husband the Duke of Connaught outlived his wife by 25 years dying at the age of 91 in 1942. The Duke of Connaught was one of the last surviving children of Queen Victoria. 

 

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