Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone: Wikis

  
  

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Major-General The Right Honourable
 The Earl of Athlone
 KG, PC, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, ADC(P), FRS


In office
21 June 1940 – 12 April 1946
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King
Preceded by The Lord Tweedsmuir
Succeeded by The Viscount Alexander of Tunis

In office
21 January 1924 – 21 December 1930
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Jan Smuts
J. B. M. Hertzog
Preceded by Prince Arthur of Connaught
Succeeded by The Earl of Clarendon

Born 14 April 1874(1874-04-14)
London, UK
Died 16 January 1957 (aged 82)
London, UK
Spouse(s) Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
Profession Army officer
Religion Anglican
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1894 – 1923
Rank Major-General
Battles/wars Second Matabele War
Second Boer War
World War I
Awards See below...
Teck-Cambridge Family

Major-General Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone KG PC GCB GCMG GCVO DSO ADC(P) FRS (born Prince Alexander of Teck; 14 April 1874 – 16 January 1957), was a close relative of the British Royal Family, as well as a British military commander and major-general who, between 1924 and 1930, served as the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa, and between 1940 and 1946, as the Governor General of Canada. Prince Alexander was born in London, to the Duke and Duchess of Teck, and was educated at Eton College before moving on to Sandhurst for training as an officer. He rose in rank through his service in African campaigns and the First World War, receiving numerous honours and decorations, including elevation to the peerage as the Earl of Athlone, after he relinquished his German title of Prince of Teck in the Kingdom of Württemberg. Between his two viceregal tenures, Athlone served as Chancellor of the University of London, and after his period as Governor General of Canada, he sat on the organising committee for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. He died at Kensington Palace in 1957, and was interred in the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore.

Contents

Early life, education, and military career

Athlone as Prince Alexander of Teck, 28 June 1910, wearing the insignia of the Royal Victorian Order, and the star and sash of the Order of the Rautenkrone of the German Kingdom of Saxen.

Prince Alexander of Teck was born at Kensington Palace on 14 April 1874,[1] the fourth child and third son of HSH Prince Francis, Duke of Teck, and HRH Princess Mary, Duchess of Teck. His sister Mary of Teck later became Queen Consort of the United Kingdom as wife of George V.

Although his mother was a British Royal Highness, granddaughter of King George III, and cousin to Queen Victoria, as the son of a prince of Teck, in Württemberg, he was styled from birth as His Serene Highness and held the title Prince Alexander of Teck,[1][2] though he was known to his family and friends as Alge.[3] He came to be known as a meticulous individual, with a quick, but short-lived, temper, and an ability to be cautious and tactful.[3]

When Prince Alexander was nine years old, his parents for two years fled the United Kingdom for Continental Europe to escape their high debts, but the prince remained at Eton College, and, after graduation from there, moved on to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.[2] In 1894, having completed his officer's training, Prince Alexander was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 7th Queen's Own Hussars,[2][4] and shortly after served in the Second Matabele War. The prince was mentioned in despatches during the conflict, and after its cessation was appointed on 8 December 1898 by Queen Victoria to the Royal Victorian Order, with the rank of Knight Commander.[5] Later, for his actions in the Second Boer War, Prince Alexander was awarded in April 1901 from King Edward VII the Distinguished Service Order.[6]

The announcement came on 16 November 1903 that Prince Alexander had become engaged to his second cousin once removed,[7] Princess Alice of Albany, the daughter of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, and thus a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and niece of the then soon to be Governor General of Canada, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. The two were wed at St. George's Chapel, in Windsor Castle, on 10 February 1904,[1][2] and six days following, in celebration of the wedding, the prince was elevated to the grade of a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.[8] The couple thereafter had three children: Princess May of Teck, born 1906; Prince Rupert of Teck, born 1907; and Prince Maurice of Teck.[9] Maurice, however, lived only for less than six months, between 29 March and 14 September 1910, the same year Prince Alexander was selected as the chairman of Middlesex Hospital.[3]

World War I

At the outbreak of World War I, Prince Alexander, who had been promoted to major and was commanding the 2nd Life Guards,[10] was nominated by British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith to serve as the Governor General of Canada. However, the prince was called up for active service with his regiment,[11] taking him to battle in France and Flanders. By 1915, he was elevated to the rank of lieutenant colonel, to brigadier in 1917, and to honorary major-general in the final year of the war, at the same time he was serving as the head of the British Mission to the Belgian Army. For his service on the battlefields, in June 1917 Prince Alexander was appointed by his brother in law, King George V, as a companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.[12]

During the war, anti-German sentiment throughout the British Empire led the King to change the name of the royal house from the Germanic House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the more English House of Windsor, while simultaneously renouncing all Germanic titles for himself and all members of the Royal Family. Alexander, along with his brother, Prince Adolphus, Duke of Teck, similarly relinquished through a royal warrant issued on 14 July 1917 all of his titles, styles, and German honours, choosing instead the name of Cambridge, after his grandfather, HRH Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.[13] Alexander was then known simply as Sir Alexander Cambridge (being entitled to the honorific sir due to his position as a knight commander of the Royal Victorian Order), until, on 7 November 1917, the King created him as Earl of Athlone and Viscount Trematon.[14] Athlone's wife retained her royal style and title, while their surviving children became The Lady May Cambridge and Rupert Cambridge, Viscount Trematon. Rupert was to inherit the title of Earl of Athlone, but he died on 15 April 1928, ten days shy of his 21st birthday, meaning the third creation of the title became extinct with the death of the first earl.

Following the cessation of hostilities in Europe in 1918, Athlone retired from the army and took up posts in the civilian world, continuing at Middlesex Hospital, and because of his experience there, he was appointed in 1921 to chair an investigative committee on the needs of doctors. Known as the Athlone Committee, its work resulted in the creation of post-graduate schools for medical education and research,[3] such as the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, at Hammersmith Hospital, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Governor-generalship of the Union of South Africa

In 1923, Athlone was appointed by the King as both a major-general (despite his retirement from the army) and the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa,[3] replacing Athlone's cousin, Prince Arthur of Connaught. He arrived in Pretoria in January 1924, and was immediately at work with his viceroyal duties, opening the newly finished parliament building, just weeks before his prime minister, Jan Smuts, suddenly advised him to prorogue the legislature.[15]

In the the ensuing election – the running of which forced Athlone to cancel the planned tour of Prince Edward, Prince of Wales[15] – the National Party won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, meaning Athlone appointed the party's leader, James Hertzog, as his new prime minister. At the time, Afrikaner nationalism was increasing in the Dominion, and Hertzog was a republican who promoted the secession of South Africa from the British Empire. As such, he proposed the country adopt its own flag over the Union Flag. Athlone, however, proved sympathetic and tactful, and resolved the issue by advancing a flag that was unique to South Africa, but which still contained the Union Flag within it, despite opposition from numerous Afrikaners. He also gained popularity with South Africans of all races through his frequent tours of the country,[3] performing a number of ceremonial duties, including opening Pioneer Park, in Johannesburg.[16]

For his service to the Crown in South Africa, the Earl of Athlone was appointed by George V as a knight companion of the Order of the Garter, on 17 April 1928.[17] Athlone was also, upon his return to the UK, appointed on 4 August 1931 as the Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle.[18] The following year, he was also selected as the Chancellor of the University of London, which post he held until 1955.[19]

Governor generalship of Canada

The Earl of Athlone (seated, right) with (left to right) Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, US President Roosevelt, and UK Prime Minister Churchill, at La Citadelle, August 1943.

In Canada, in the late 1930s, there had been calls from government circles and the media alike for the King to appoint a Canadian-born individual as the his governor general. However, with the rush to fill the post after the unexpected death of the incumbent viceroy, John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir, and the country embroiled in the Second World War, Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King advised King George VI that the time was not right for such a change in viceregal tradition. Instead, it was George's uncle, the Earl of Athlone, whose name Mackenzie King put forward, and, after the Earl accepted, it was announced from the Prime Minister's office on 2 June 1940 that the King had, by commission under the royal sign-manual and signet, approved the recommendation of his prime minister, Mackenzie King, to appoint Athlone as his representative.[19] Athlone – with a party that included his wife, Princess Alice, and his aide-de-camp, Canadian militiaman Alastair Windsor, Earl of Macduff[N 1][20] – thus voyaged to Canada to take up his position, sailing on the RMS Queen Mary in a submarine evading zig-zag pattern across the Atlantic Ocean to Halifax, Nova Scotia. After travelling on to Ottawa by train, Athlone was subsequently sworn-in during a ceremony in the Senate chamber on 21 June 1940.

Earl of Athlone and his wife, Princess Alice, followed by Mackenzie King at the opening of parliament, 6 September 1945.

The Earl immediately made himself active in the support of the war effort, travelling across the country, and focusing much of his attention on the troops, either those training at military facilities or those injured and in hospital. Viewing his position as governor general as a link between Canadians and their monarch, Athlone also communicated in speeches that the King stood with them in their fight against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime.[19] The war was brought close to home for the Athlones also because many of those belonging to displaced European royal families sought refuge in Canada, and resided at or near the royal and viceroyal residence, Rideau Hall. Among the royal guests were Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Luxembourg, King Peter of Yugoslavia, King George of Greece, Empress Zita of Bourbon-Parma (Austria) and her daughters, as well as Queen Wilhelmina and her daughter, Princess Juliana.[21] Further, in December 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived at the hall, where he presided over British Cabinet meetings via telephone from his bed.[22]

It was Athlone's duty to play host at Quebec City to his prime minister, still Mackenzie King, as well as Churchill and United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who all gathered to take part in what would become known as the Quebec Conferences, with the first taking place between 17 and 24 August 1943 at the viceregal residence in La Citadelle, and the second occurring from 12 to 16 September 1944 at the Château Frontenac. It was at these meetings that the four men discussed the Allied strategies that would eventually lead to victory over Nazi Germany and Japan. When Germany fell on 8 May 1945 and Japan on 15 August of the same year, Athlone led the national celebrations held on Parliament Hill and elsewhere. He thereafter spoke in speeches about Canada's future being marked not by war but by a strong role in reconstruction and reconciliation.[19]

During his time as the Canadian viceroy, Athlone also lent his status to various charitable and other social events, and mounted a number of activities of his own, such as tobogganing parties and skating lessons on the grounds of Rideau Hall, as well as skiing in Gatineau Park. When he departed Canada at the end of his time as the King's representative, Athlone left as a legacy the Athlone-Vanier Engineering Fellowship, awarded by the Engineering Institute of Canada.[19]

Post-viceregal life

After Athlone's replacement as governor general was appointed on 21 March 1946, the Earl returned to the United Kingdom to retirement, taking up residence at Kensington Palace, and resigning as colonel of the 7th Queen's Own Hussars on 1 September of that year.[23] He did not completely remove himself from public activity, however, and was, along with his Canadian viceregal successor, Lord Alexander of Tunis, appointed to the committee charged with organising the coronation in 1953 of Alexander's great-niece, Queen Elizabeth II,[24] and continued to sit as Chancellor of the University of London until 1955.[19]

The Earl of Athlone died at Kensington on 16 January 1957, and he was interred in the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore.

Titles, styles, honours, and arms

Titles

Viceregal styles of
Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone
Crest of the Governor-General of Canada.svg  USA-GG-crest.png
Reference style His Excellency The Right Honourable
(in Canada, also) Son Excellence le très honorable
Spoken style Your Excellency
(in Canada, also) Votre Excellence
Alternative style Sir
(in Canada, also) Monsieur
Kingdom of Württemberg Kingdom of Württemberg
  • 14 April 1874 – 14 July 1917: His Serene Highness Prince Alexander of Teck
United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • 14 July 1917 – 17 July 1917: Brigadier Sir Alexander Cambridge
  • 17 July 1917 – 1918: Brigadier The Right Honourable The Earl of Athlone
  • 1918 – 21 January 1924: Major-General The Right Honourable The Earl of Athlone
  • 21 January 1924 – 21 December 1930: His Excellency Major-General The Right Honourable The Earl of Athlone, Governor-General of the Union of South Africa
  • 21 December 1930 – 16 January 1957: Major-General The Right Honourable The Earl of Athlone
Canada Canada
  • 21 June 1940 – 12 April 1946: His Excellency Major-General The Right Honourable The Earl of Athlone, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia and Naval and Air Forces of Canada

Athlone's style and title prior to the renunciation of his Germanic titles in 1917 was: His Serene Highness Prince Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George of Teck, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Grand Cross of the Order of the Rautenkrone, Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold, Member First Class with Swords of the Order of St. Anna. Upon his elevation to the peerage, he was styled and titled as: The Right Honourable Sir Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, Viscount Trematon, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold, Member First Class with Swords of the Order of St. Anna, Major-General of the Militia of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

As Governor General of South Africa, Athlone was formally addressed as: His Excellency Major-General The Right Honourable Sir Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, Viscount Trematon, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold, Member First Class with Swords of the Order of St. Anna, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Union of South Africa, Major-General of the Militia of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Athlone's style and title as Governor General of Canada was, in full, and in English: His Excellency Major-General The Right Honourable Sir Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, Viscount Trematon, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Grand Master of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold, Member First Class with Swords of the Order of St. Anna, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia and Naval and Air Forces of Canada, Major-General of the Militia of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and in French: Son Excellence major-général le très honorable Sir Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George Cambridge, comte d'Athlone, viscompte Trematon, chevalier du nobilissime ordre de la Jarretière, chevalier grand-croix du très honorable ordre du Bain, grand-maître du très distingué ordre de Saint-Michel et Saint-George, chevalier grand-croix de l'ordre royal de Victoria, compagnon de l'ordre du service distingué, grand cordon de l'ordre de Léopold, membre première classe avec épées de l'ordre de Sainte-Anne, gouverneur général et commandant en chef de la milice et des forces navales et aérienne du Canada, major-général de la milice du Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et d'Irlande du Nord. It should be noted that, for Athlone, Commander-in-Chief was strictly a title, and not a position that he held; the actual commander-in-chief (who can also be, and is, called such) is perpetually the monarch of Canada.[25]

Honours

Appointments
Decorations
Awards
Foreign honours and decorations

Honorary military appointments

Honorific eponyms

Geographic locations
Buildings
Schools

Arms

Ancestry

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Lord Macduff (originally Prince Alastair of Connaught), who would succeed to the title of Duke of Connaught and Strathearn in 1942, was the grandson of the previous governor general of Canada, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and the son of former South African governor general Prince Arthur of Connaught. He died at Rideau Hall in 1943.

References

  1. ^ a b c Eilers, Marlene A. (1987). Queen Victoria's Descendants. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.. p. 215. ISBN 978-0938311041.  
  2. ^ a b c d Cokayne, G. E.; et. all (2000). The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant. XIII. Gloucester: Alan Sutton Publishing. p. 258. ISBN 978-0904387827.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Earl of Athlone (1874-1957)". University of Warwick. http://www.warwick.ac.uk/~lysic/1920s/athlonelord.htm. Retrieved 25 March 2009.  
  4. ^ London Gazette: no. 26563, p. 5929, 23 October 1894. Retrieved on 19 February 2008.
  5. ^ London Gazette: no. 27032, p. 8045, 13 December 1898. Retrieved on 24 March 2009.
  6. ^ London Gazette: no. 27306, pp. 2707–2710, 19 April 1901. Retrieved on 19 February 2008.
  7. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27616, p. 7013, 16 November 1903. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
  8. ^ London Gazette: no. 27647, p. 1013, 16 February 1904. Retrieved on 24 March 2009.
  9. ^ Cokayne 2000, p. 259
  10. ^ London Gazette: no. 28466, pp. 1238–1238, 17 February 1911. Retrieved on 19 February 2008.
  11. ^ Clifford, Bede (2004). "Cambridge, Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George, earl of Athlone (1874–1957)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32255. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/32255. Retrieved 31 March 2008.  
  12. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30111, pp. 5458–5459, 1 June 1917. Retrieved on 31 March 2008.
  13. ^ London Gazette: no. 30374, pp. 11592–11594, 9 November 1917. Retrieved on 15 November 2007.
  14. ^ London Gazette: no. 30374, p. 11594, 9 November 1917. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
  15. ^ a b "U.S.A. Crisis". Time (New York: Time Inc.) III (16). 21 April 1924. ISSN 0040-781X. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,929273,00.html. Retrieved 25 March 2009.  
  16. ^ "Wemmer Pan/Pioneer Park". Johannesburg City Parks. http://www.jhbcityparks.com/find-a-park/wemmer-pan/pioneer-park.html. Retrieved 19 September 2008.  
  17. ^ London Gazette: no. 33376, p. 2737, 17 April 1928. Retrieved on 22 March 2009.
  18. ^ London Gazette: no. 33741, p. 5110, 4 August 1931. Retrieved on 24 March 2009.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Governor General > Former Governors General > Major General The Earl of Athlone". Queen's Printer for Canada. http://www.gg.ca/gg/fgg/bios/01/athlone_e.asp. Retrieved 24 March 2009.  
  20. ^ Hubbard, R.H. (1977). Rideau Hall. Montreal and London: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0773503106.  
  21. ^ Hubbard, R.H. (1977). Rideau Hall. Montreal and London: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 201. ISBN 978-0773503106.  
  22. ^ Hubbard 1977, p. 202
  23. ^ London Gazette: no. 37706, p. 4347, 27 August 1946. Retrieved on 25 March 2009.
  24. ^ London Gazette: no. 39578, p. 3395, 20 June 1952. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
  25. ^ Victoria (29 March 1867), Constitution Act, 1867, III.15, Westminster: Queen's Printer, http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/English/ca_1867.html, retrieved 15 January 2009  
  26. ^ London Gazette: no. 27702, p. 5047, 5 August 1904. Retrieved on 31 March 2008.
  27. ^ London Gazette: no. 28749, p. 6075, 22 August 1913. Retrieved on 25 March 2009.
  28. ^ London Gazette: no. 32877, p. 7547, 6 November 1923. Retrieved on 25 March 2009.
  29. ^ London Gazette: no. 34300, p. 4155, 30 June 1936. Retrieved on 25 March 2009.
  30. ^ London Gazette: no. 33731, p. 4241, 30 June 1931. Retrieved on 24 March 2009.
  31. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34119, p. 7, 28 December 1934. Retrieved on 24 March 2009.
  32. ^ London Gazette: no. 29312, p. 9642, 1 October 1915. Retrieved on 19 February 2008.
  33. ^ London Gazette: no. 29486, p. 2075, 22 February 1916. Retrieved on 25 March 2009.
  34. ^ London Gazette: no. 30476, p. 827, 14 January 1918. Retrieved on 19 February 2008.
  35. ^ London Gazette: no. 30638, p. 4716, 16 April 1918. Retrieved on 19 February 2008.
  36. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28380, p. 3859, 31 May 1910. Retrieved on 25 March 2009.

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
The Earl Beauchamp
Chancellor of the University of London
1932 – 1955
Succeeded by
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Prince Edward, Prince of Wales
later became
King Edward VIII
Grand Master
of the Most Distinguished Order
of Saint Michael and Saint George

24 June 1936 – 16 January 1957
Succeeded by
The Earl of Halifax
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl of Athlone
3rd creation
17 July 1917 – 16 January 1957
Extinct







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