Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn

Dafato Team | Sep 22, 2022

Table of Content

Summary

Arthur William Patrician Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (London, May 1, 1850 - Bagshot Park, January 16, 1942) was a prince of the United Kingdom and Duke of Connaught and Strathearn; he was the seventh son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Childhood

Arthur was born at Buckingham Palace on May 1, 1850, the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Consort Albert. He was then baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Bird Sumner, on June 22 in the palace's private chapel, and his godparents were Prince William of Prussia, his paternal great-aunt Princess Ida of Saxe-Meiningen (on whose behalf his grandmother, the Duchess of Kent, attended) and the Duke of Wellington.

Arturo, sources say, was an obedient and quiet child who was very much like his father. He was Vittoria's favorite male child.

Although he and his brothers received a strict upbringing, they were still allowed to play freely. At Osborne House, the royal family's summer residence, they gave free rein to their liveliness. Their playmate was their affectionate father Albert, who sometimes built them toys.

Military career

From an early age, Arthur developed a keen interest in a military career, and in 1866, following his natural inclinations, he was enrolled in the Royal Military College at Woolwich, where he graduated two years later and obtained the rank of lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers from June 18, 1868. Transferred to the Royal Regiment of Artillery on Nov. 2, 1868, on Aug. 2, 1869, he moved to the Rifle Brigade, his father's regiment, with which he had the opportunity to travel to South Africa, Canada in 1869, Ireland, Egypt in 1882 and India from 1886 to 1890.

In Canada, Arthur, as an officer in the Montréal detachment of the Rifle Brigade, spent a year training and was involved in the defense of Dominion from Fenian raids; initially the prince had been kept on the sidelines, as it was believed that the Fenians, supported by the United States, would target him specifically in the conflict, but it was later decided that his military prowess came first. Soon after his arrival in Halifax, Arthur visited Canada for eight weeks, and in January 1870 he also went to Washington, where he met with U.S. President Ulysses Simpson Grant. During his service in Canada he took part in investiture ceremonies in Montréal, being invited to balls and garden parties, as well as attending the opening of parliament in Ottawa (the first member of the royal family to attend this event),. All these acts were duly documented photographically and then sent to Queen Victoria. In addition to the social events, the prince took part in the Battle of Eccles Hill on May 25, 1870, defeating the Feninan forces and receiving the corresponding campaign medal.

Arthur positively impressed many Canadians. On October 1, 1869, he received the title of Chief of the Six Nations from the Iroquois of the Grand River reservation in Ontario and the name Kavakoudge (meaning "the sun flying from east to west under the guidance of the Great Spirit"), which allowed him to sit on tribal councils and vote on matters of tribal governance. His appointment as Chief of the Six Nations also broke the centuries-old tradition of the maximum number of 50 chiefs allowed, as he was the 51st. Of the prince, Lady Lisgar, wife of Canada's next Governor General Lord Lisgar, said in a letter to Queen Victoria how much Canadians would one day re-attend him as Governor General.

Arthur was promoted to the honorary rank of colonel on June 14, 1871, to the actual rank of lieutenant-colonel in 1876, and to the actual rank of service colonel on May 29, 1880. Thirteen years later, on April 19, 1893, he was appointed general. The prince had hoped to succeed his mother's cousin, Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, as commander-in-chief of the British Army after the latter was forced to retire in 1895. This wish was not fulfilled, but Arthur was granted command of the southern district of Aldershot in 1896. On May 1, 1900, on the occasion of his 50th birthday, he was promoted by his mother to field marshal, rising to other top positions such as Commander-in-Chief of Ireland (1900-1904) and Inspector General of Forces (1904-1907).

Representative assignments and the contested marriage

On his mother's birthday in 1874, Arthur was created a peer of the United Kingdom with the titles Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex. In 1899 Arthur became first in line to the throne of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha following the death of his nephew Alfred of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the only son of his elder brother Alfred. However, he decided a few days later to renounce his succession rights to the duchy in favor of his nephew, Charles Edward, posthumous son of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.

Arthur was a womanizer, but he had brought only one major displeasure to his mother: he had in fact become engaged to a princess whom Victoria did not like. She was Luisa Marguerite of Prussia, daughter of the extravagant cousin of Frederick Charles of Prussia and niece of German Emperor Wilhelm I. She was a girl of unregal appearance and a face not at all beautiful; beyond her physical appearance, the girl's mole was the separation of her parents, a rather scandalous situation. Vittoria therefore regretted that her favorite son should throw away any chance of prestige by marrying that decidedly inferior-looking girl, although a member of one of the most powerful lineages in Europe. In the end the marriage was celebrated anyway, in St. George's Chapel of Windsor Castle, on March 13, 1879.

For many years, Arthur had an affair with Lady Leonie Leslie, sister of Lady Randolph Churchill, while remaining forever devoted to his wife.

In addition to his military career, he continued his official duties by making a new tour of Canada with his wife in 1890 and stopping in all the country's major cities, while in 1895 he returned to India for a few weeks. In 1910 the duke traveled aboard the Union-Castle Line's Balmoral Castle to South Africa to open the first session of the newly formed Union Parliament, and then stopped in Johannesburg on Nov. 30, where he laid the cornerstone of the "Rand Regiments Memorial," dedicated to British soldiers who died in the Second Boer War.

When his older brother ascended the throne in 1901 as Edward VII, Prince Arthur held the position of Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England and was re-elected 37 more times.

Governor General of Canada

On March 6, 1911, it was announced that King George V, assisted by a commission chaired by Canadian officials, had decided to appoint the Duke of Connaught as the new Governor General of Canada, the first member of the British royal family to hold the post.

In Canada, Arthur brought with him his wife and youngest daughter, who became extremely popular figures among Canadians. The Governor General traveled with the family around the country, taking part in many ceremonies, such as the opening of Parliament in 1911 (at which Arthur appeared in the high uniform of a field marshal, while his wife wore the dress used the previous year for the king's coronation) and, in 1917, attended the rebuilding of the Centre Block of Parliament Hill by laying the same inaugural stone placed by his brother Edward on September 1, 1860 when the structure was first being erected. The family traveled to the United States in 1912, where Arthur had the opportunity to meet a new president, William Howard Taft.

Back in Ottawa, the Duke of Connaught's life was punctuated by being present four days out of seven at his office on Parliament Hill, where he received dignitaries and politicians. The duke took the opportunity to learn ice skating, throwing lavish themed parties at the viceregal residence Rideau Hall, which he had renovated and expanded. The family also took up outdoor sports, such as hunting and fishing.

In 1914 World War I broke out and Canadians were called to arms against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Prince Arthur maintained a secondary role in the forces of the British Empire, serving as colonel-in-chief of the Cape Town Highlanders Regiment, while still remaining in Canada after the start of the world conflict, believing that Canadians needed better preparation before leaving for war. During this period he also founded the Connaught Cup for the Royal Northwest Mounted Police to encourage local soldiers. He was also particularly active in auxiliary and charitable services and visited many wartime hospitals.

Arthur's work as a recruiter of forces, at any rate, was viewed not favorably by such figures as Under Secretary of State for War Edward Stanton, who wrote that "the duke worked under the handicap of his position as a member of the royal family and had failed to take into account his limitations as governor-general." At the same time, the Duchess of Connaught worked for the Red Cross and numerous other support organizations. She was also Colonel-in-Chief of the Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish Canadian Rangers Battalion, one of the Canadian Expeditionary Force regiments in Europe. After the war, Arthur commissioned in memory of the fallen of the Great War a historiated stained-glass window, which stands today in St. Bartholomew's Church, near Rideau Hall.

Death

After his service in Canada, the Duke of Connaught received no further public office. In 1921 he traveled to India, where he officially opened the new Central Legislative Assembly, Council of State and House of Princes. As president of the Boy Scouts Association and also being one of Lord Baden-Powell's most ardent friends and supporters, he attended the opening of the venue for the 3rd World Scouting Jamboree at Arrowe Park. The duke, although very old, also served in the military during World War II, where he was seen as the "spirit elder" of the recruits. The duchess his wife, who had been ill in previous years, had died in March 1917. One of the last ceremonies Prince Arthur attended was the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

Prince Arthur died in Bagshot Park in 1942 at the age of 91 and was buried at the Royal Burial Ground in Windsor. He was the last male child of Queen Victoria to die.

Three children were born from the marriage between Arthur and Louise Margaret of Prussia:

Sources

  1. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
  2. Arturo, duca di Connaught e Strathearn
  3. ^ Through Princess Margaret, the reigning monarchs of Sweden and Denmark are descended from the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.
  4. ^ Una volta fece costruire una lattiera in miniatura a Windsor: bastava girare una manovella per fare uscire il burro.
  5. ^ a b Bousfield, 2010
  6. ^ Bousfield, 2010
  7. LOURENÇO MARQUES — A MAIS BONITA CIDADE AFRICANA DO SEU TEMPO, de João Mendes de Almeida (ISBN 978-989-97996-4-6, outubro de 2017)
  8. Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Gary (2010). Home to Canada: Royal Tours 1786–2010. Tonawanda: Dundurn Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-55488-800-9.
  9. Erickson, Carolly (15 January 2002). Her Little Majesty: The Life of Queen Victoria. Nueva York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-3657-7.