Sunday, February 21, 2010

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught

Arthur William Patrick Albert, born 1850 at Buckingham Palace, was the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Arthur spent 40 years in the British Army at various posts in her majesty's empire. He was appointed viceroy (Governor General) of Canada by his nephew George V and served there in World War One. Then he returned to the United Kingdom, and there and in India, performed various royal duties until his retirement in 1928. He died in 1942 at the age of 91.

It is said he became the queen's favorite child. While in the army stationed in Canada, he attended balls and garden parties and visited towns in Ontario and Quebec. These things were all documented by photographs which were sent back for his mother to enjoy. Someone told Queen Victoria that the Canadians hoped Arthur would someday return as their Governor General. He did.

Arthur married a Prussian princess and they had three children.

In addition to his 40 years of military service, during which he rose to the rank of general, then field marshall, he also:

was elected Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, and

commissioned a stained glass window in his family's memory which he had placed in St. Bartholomew's church, where his family attended services.

Earlier, in Canada, Arthur had laid a cornerstone to a new government building.

In later life, Arthur became president of the Boy Scouts Association and performed the official opening of the 3rd World Scout Jamboree.

The duke retired from all this in 1928.

5 comments:

  1. A very natty plaid outfit he has there!

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  2. I was wondering about the outfit. Not exactly the photograph I'd like to be remembered for posterity, yet he clearly posed for it.

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  3. Well, royalty always seem to wear kilts on certain occasions. You've seen Prince Charles' legs, and his father's as well. Mostly at Balmoral, I suppose. A nod to Scotland as being the "Great" in Great Britain. Scotland doesn't get nearly enough nods. I'm thinking the Irish wear kilts too, though. Maybe not. The Welsh would never wear kilts. Ask Soubriquet. Somebody please give me a history.

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  4. It is not always fair or useful to explain patterns of behavior in terms of outward appearance, but in Arthur William Patrick Albert's case, this might make sense. According to your post, he was born in 1850, and served for forty years in the British military. If we assume he starts his career at,say, twenty-two, that means his time of service takes him almost up to the onset of World War I. True,he is sixty-four when the war starts, but I would think the senior officer corps would be in need of seasoned people with so much experience.
    Assuming, that is, they comported themselves in a military way. But the photo strongly suggests the Duke of Connaught had tendencies that might explain his speedy transfer, not to the Front, but to Canada. Your post also tells us the duke was Queen Victoria's favorite male child. I'm not sure the term "mama's boy" is used in England, but very often such boys, with the onset of puberty, begin visiting mother's closet and dressing up. We can assume Victoria's closet offered a boy so inclined amazing possibilities. And of course boys from the leisure class are always sent off to all-male schools where dressing in drag is not only encouraged but required for amateur theatricals.
    Apparently, the duke was very popular in Canada, where it was hoped he would return. A subject nation will always prefer a viceroy who leaves them alone. I would think--again, based circumstantially on the one photo you provide--that less of the duke's time was given over to governing than to swatches.
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