, , , , , , , , , , ,

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (Arthur William Patrick Albert; May 1, 1850 – January 16, 1942), was the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He served as the Governor General of Canada, the tenth since Canadian Confederation and the only British Prince to do so. In 1910 he was appointed Grand Prior of the Order of St John and held this position until 1939.

Arthur was educated by private tutors before entering the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich at 16 years old. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the British Army, where he served for some 40 years, seeing service in various parts of the British Empire.

On his mother’s birthday (May, 24) 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-Gotha in the German Empire 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.

At St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, on March 13, 1879, Arthur married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, the daughter of Prince Friedrich Charles of Prussia and Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt-Dessau. Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia was a great-niece of the German Emperor, Arthur’s godfather, Wilhelm I.

The couple had three children: Princess Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah (born January 15, 1882), Prince Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert (born January 13, 1883), and Princess Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth (born March 17, 1886), who were all raised at the Connaughts’ country home, Bagshot Park, in Surrey, and after 1900 at Clarence House, the Connaughts’ London 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. Arthur’s first two children predeceased him; Margaret while pregnant with his sixth grandchild. For many years, Arthur maintained a liaison with Leonie, Lady Leslie, sister of Jennie Churchill, while still remaining devoted to his wife.

In 1900 he was appointed as Commander in Chief of the British Army in Ireland, which he regretted; his preference being to join the campaign against the Boers in South Africa. In 1911, he was appointed as Governor General of Canada, replacing the Earl Grey as viceroy. He occupied this post until he was succeeded by the Duke of Devonshire in 1916. He acted as the King’s, and thus the Canadian Commander-in-Chief’s, representative through the first years of the First World War.

The Duke of Connaught with his granddaughter Princess Ingrid of Sweden

The Duke of Connaught with his granddaughter Princess Ingrid and her husband the future King Frederik IX of Denmark. They are the parents of Denmark’s current monarch, Queen Margrethe II

After the end of his viceregal tenure, Arthur returned to the United Kingdom and there, as well as in India, 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, before his death in 1942. He was Queen Victoria’s last surviving son.

Christening of future Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. In the back on the far left is HRH the Duke of Connaught creating a link to history.