Prince Arthur of Connaught

Prince Arthur

Prince Arthur in the robes of the Order of the Garter
Governor-General of South Africa
Predecessor The Viscount Buxton
Successor The Earl of Athlone
Born (1883-01-13)13 January 1883
Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Died 12 September 1938(1938-09-12) (aged 55)
Burial 22 September 1938
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and later Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore
Spouse Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife
Issue Alastair, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Father Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Mother Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia
Occupation Governor-General of South Africa, military officer
House Windsor (since 1917)
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
(until 1917)

Prince Arthur of Connaught KG KT GCMG GCVO GCStJ CB PC (Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert; 13 January 1883 – 12 September 1938) was a British military officer and a grandson of Queen Victoria. He served as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 20 November 1920 to 21 January 1924.

Early life

The Duke and Duchess of Connaught with their children in 1893.

Prince Arthur was born on 13 January 1883 at Windsor Castle. His father was the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. His mother was the former Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia.

Arthur was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on 16 February 1883, and his godparents were Queen Victoria (his paternal grandmother), Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (his great-great aunt, for whom his paternal aunt The Princess Beatrice stood proxy), Prince Friedrich Leopold of Prussia (his maternal uncle, who was represented by the German Ambassador Count Münster), Princess Henry of the Netherlands (his maternal aunt, who was represented by Countess Münster), the Duke of Cambridge (the Queen's cousin), and the Duke of Edinburgh (his paternal uncle, whose brother the Prince of Wales represented him).[1]

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

Military career

Prince Arthur in uniform.

After attending finishing school, Prince Arthur was educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from where he was commissioned into the 7th (Queen's Own) Hussars in 1901. 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 the First World War, Prince Arthur served as aide-de-camp to Generals Sir John French and Sir 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 1922. 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.

Since the king's children were too young to undertake public duties until after the First World War, Prince Arthur carried out a variety of ceremonial duties at home and overseas.


The wedding day of Prince Arthur of Connaught and the Duchess of Fife.

On 15 October 1913, Prince Arthur married Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife (17 May 1891 – 26 February 1959) at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, London.[2]

The couple were attended by five bridesmaids: The Princess Mary, Princess Maud of Fife, Princesses Mary, Helena, and May of Teck. [3]

Princess Alexandra was the eldest daughter of the late Duke of Fife and The Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of King 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 Alexandra were styled Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught.

Together they had one child:

Later life

British Royalty
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Victoria and Albert
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale
Prince Alexander John of Wales
Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Marie, Queen of the Romanians
Victoria Melita, Grand Duchess of Russia
Alexandra, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Princess Beatrice, Duchess of Galliera
Margaret, Crown Princess of Sweden
Prince Arthur of Connaught
Princess Patricia, Lady Ramsay
Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
St Ninian's Chapel, Braemar - wall plaque commemorating Prince Arthur of Connaught (1883–1938)

After the accession of his cousin, King George V, Prince Arthur and his aging father were the most senior male members 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 1906, by order of the King, he vested the Meiji Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Garter, as a consequence of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. In 1918, he was a guest aboard the Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima when she voyaged from Japan to Canada.[4] 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 1924. 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 on 12 September 1938. He is buried in the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore. One of his last public appearances was at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth 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.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

A grandson of Queen Victoria, he was a British prince with the style His Royal Highness.



Military record

Prince Arthur's coat of arms

Honorary military appointments


As a male-line grandchild of a British Sovereign, Prince Arthur was awarded, for his twenty-first birthday, the use of the royal arms, with an inescutcheon of the shield of Saxony, and differenced by a label argent, of five points, the outer pair and central point bearing crosses gules, and the inner pair fleur-de-lys azure. In 1917, the inescutcheon was dropped by royal warrant from George V.[19]



  1. Yvonne's Royalty Home Page — Royal Christenings
  2. "Royal Wedding Group". National Portrait Gallery, London.
  3. "Royal Wedding Group". National Portrait Gallery.
  4. Hackett, Robert; Kingsepp, Sander (2001–2009). "IJN KIRISHIMA: Tabular Record of Movement". Combined Fleet. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 27454. p. 4509. 15 July 1902. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 4 The London Gazette: no. 34473. p. 291. 14 January 1938. Retrieved 22 June 2013. (Last reference to Prince Arthur's full titles)
  7. The London Gazette: no. 28384. p. 4164. 14 June 1910. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 30953. p. 12120. 15 October 1918. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 27083. p. 3335. 26 May 1899. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 33284. p. 3836. 14 June 1927.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 27822. p. 5219. 28 July 1905. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  12. Redesdale, Lord, The Garter Mission to Japan. London: Macmillan, 1906.P. 26.
  13. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31377. p. 7006. 3 June 1919.
  14. Quarterly Army List for quarter ending 31st December 1919 (London, 1920) Part I, p. 2002.
  15. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32099. p. 10369. 26 October 1920.
  16. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32626. p. 1797. 1 March 1922.
  17. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 23523. p. 9220. 18 November 1921.
  18. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34396. p. 3073. 11 May 1937.
  19. Heraldica – British Royalty Cadency
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prince Arthur of Connaught.
Prince Arthur of Connaught
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 13 January 1883 Died: 12 September 1938
Government offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Buxton
Governor-General of South Africa
Succeeded by
The Earl of Athlone
German royalty
Preceded by
The Duke of Albany
Heir to Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
as heir presumptive

30 July 1900 – 2 August 1906
Succeeded by
Hereditary Prince Johann Leopold
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