Sue Young Histories

Prince Arthur of Connaught 1883 – 1938

October 04, 2009

Prince Arthur of Connaught 1883 –  1938Prince Arthur of Connaught (Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert) 1883 –  1938 was a member of the British Royal Family, a grandson of Queen Victoria. Prince Arthur held the title of a British prince with the style His Royal Highness. He also served as Governor General of the Union of South Africa from 20 November 1920 to 3 December 1923.

Prince Arthur was an advocate of homeopathy, and often represented his cousin George V at homeopathic events (George V was a patient of homeopath John Weir). Prince Arthur’s uncle Alfred Duke of Edinburgh was a patient of Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, and was ‘much attached‘ to him.

Prince Arthur was born on 13 January 1883 at Windsor Castle. His father was Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. His mother was Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. The Prince was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on 16 February 1883 and his godparents were: Queen Victoria, the German Empress, Princess Henry of the Netherlands, the Duke of Cambridge, Alfred Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Friedrich Leopold of Prussia.

Prince Arthur was the first royal prince to be educated at Eton College.

After attending finishing school, Prince Arthur was educated at the Royal Military College Sandhurst and commissioned into the 7th (Queen’s Own) Hussars. During the Second Boer War, he saw active duty with the 7th Hussars and spent several months stationed at Krugersdorp. In 1907, he was promoted to the rank of captain in the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys). He became the honorary Colonel in Chief of this regiment in 1920.

During World War I, Prince Arthur served as aide de camp to  John French and Douglas Haig, the successive commanders of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1919 and became a colonel in the reserves in

  1. In October 1922, Prince Arthur was promoted to the honorary rank of major general and became an aide de camp to his first cousin, George V.

Since George V’s children were too young to undertake public duties until after World War I, Prince Arthur attended a variety of ceremonial duties at home and abroad.

On 15 October 1913, Prince Arthur married Princess Alexandra Duchess of Fife at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, London. Princess Alexandra Duchess of Fife was the eldest daughter of Alexander Duff 1st Duke of Fife and Princess Louise the Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of Edward VII. As such, the couple were first cousins once removed. Princess Alexandra held the title of Duchess of Fife in her own right.

After their marriage, Arthur and Princess Alexandra Duchess of Fife were styled, Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught.

Together they had one child:

  • Prince Alastair of Connaught. Alastair was styled from 1917 by the courtesy title of Earl of McDuff until he succeeded at his father’s death as 2nd Duke of Connaught.

After the accession of his cousin, George V, Prince Arthur was the most senior male member of the Royal Family over the age of 18 to reside in the United Kingdom. As such, he undertook a wide variety of royal duties on behalf of the King, and acted as a Counsellor of State during periods of the King’s absence abroad.In 1920, Prince Arthur succeeded Viscount Buxton as governor general and commander in chief in South Africa. The Earl of Athlone succeeded him in these posts in 1923.

Upon returning to Britain, Prince Arthur became involved in a number of charitable organizations, including serving as chairman of the board of directors of Middlesex Hospital. Like his father, the Duke of Connaught, he was active in the Freemasons, becoming Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire in 1924.

Prince Arthur of Connaught died of stomach cancer at age 55. One of his last public appearances was at the coronation of George VI in May 1937.

His father, the Duke of Connaught, survived him by four years. Prince Arthur’s only son, who used the courtesy title Earl of MacDuff after 1917, succeeded his paternal grandfather as 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex in 1942.