Alastair Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
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The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Alastair Arthur Windsor
|Born||9 August 1914|
Mayfair, London, England
|Died||26 April 1943 (aged 28)|
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
|Buried||St Ninian's Chapel, Braemar, Aberdeenshire|
|Father||Prince Arthur of Connaught|
|Mother||Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife|
|Years of service||1935–43|
|Unit||Royal Scots Greys|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
Alastair Arthur Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (9 August 1914 – 26 April 1943) was a member of the British Royal Family. He was the only child of Prince Arthur of Connaught and Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife. He was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria through his father and the first great-grandchild of Edward VII through his mother.
In 1942, he became the second Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex when he inherited his grandfather's title. In 1943, at the age of 28, he died of exposure in Canada.
Alastair was born on 9 August 1914 at his parents' home at 54 Mount Street, Mayfair, London (now the Brazilian Embassy). His father was Prince Arthur of Connaught, the only son of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. His mother was Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife, the eldest daughter of Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife, and Louise, Princess Royal. Alastair was thus a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria through his father and great-great grandchild of her through his mother.
Alastair was baptised on 1 September 1914 at his parents' home and his godparents were King George V (his maternal great-uncle and his father's paternal cousin), King Alfonso XIII of Spain (for whom Lord Farquhar, a Lord in Waiting to King George, stood proxy), Queen Alexandra (his maternal great-grandmother), the Duke of Connaught (his grandfather, for whom Major Malcolm Murray stood proxy), Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (his great aunt), and Princess Mary (his cousin).
House of Windsor
Alastair was born shortly after the outbreak of the First World War which had prompted strong anti-German feelings in the United Kingdom. George V had initially intended to confirm Alastair's style and title as His Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught. However, while Alistair was an infant, George V responded to the anti-German sentiments by changing the name of the royal house from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the House of Windsor and relinquishing all German titles belonging to members of the family who were British subjects. George V undertook further restructuring of the royal styles and titles by restricting the titles of British prince or princess and the style of Royal Highness to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sovereign's sons, and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. This meant that Alastair, who was a great-grandson of a former sovereign but was not the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, was never a Royal Highness. It further stated that all titles of "the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes.". Although second in line to the dukedom of Connaught and Strathearn and the earldom of Sussex at the time of his birth, as heir of his father who was the heir apparent, he was also the heir apparent to his mother's dukedom of Fife. Therefore, he used his mother's secondary peerage as a courtesy title, being known as Alastair Arthur Windsor, Earl of Macduff. Alastair was born ninth in the line of succession, behind the six children of George V, his grandmother and his mother. When he died, he was 12th in the line of succession. His mother and he were the first two people in line behind the descendants of George V.
Lord Macduff was educated at Bryanston and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was commissioned on 31 January 1935 as a second lieutenant into the Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons), his father's regiment, then based in Egypt. In 1939, Lord Macduff was promoted to lieutenant on 14 July, and was assigned to Ottawa as aide-de-camp to his kinsman the Earl of Athlone, then Governor General of Canada; his own grandfather had held the same post during the First World War.
His father having died in 1938, Alastair succeeded, on his grandfather's death in 1942 to the titles Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex. However, he died in 1943 at the age of 28 "on active service" in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in unusual circumstances. Newspapers at the time reported that he died of "natural causes."
Theo Aronson, in his 1981 biography of Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, simply stated that the Duke "was found dead on the floor of his room at Rideau Hall on the morning of 26 April 1943. He had died, apparently, from hypothermia." The diaries of Sir Alan Lascelles, King George VI's private secretary, published in 2006, recorded that both the regiment and Athlone had rejected him as incompetent, and he fell out of a window when drunk and perished of hypothermia overnight.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 1914–1917: His Highness Prince Alastair of Connaught
- 1917–1942: Earl of Macduff
- 1942–1943: His Grace The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
In 1942, on the inheritance of his paternal grandfather's dukedom, he was granted arms, being, quarterly, first and fourth his paternal grandfather's arms (being the royal arms, differenced with a three-point label argent, the first and third points bearing fleurs-de-lys azure, the second a cross gules), second and third his maternal grandfather's arms (quartering Fife and Duff).
Upon his death, the Dukedom of Connaught and Strathearn and the Earldom of Sussex became extinct. His first cousin, James Carnegie (23 September 1929 – 22 June 2015), succeeded as 3rd Duke of Fife and Earl of Macduff upon Princess Alexandra's death on 26 February 1959.
|Ancestors of Alastair Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn|
- "Prince Alastair". Beverley and East Riding Recorder. England. 5 September 1914. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page — Royal Christenings". Archived from the original on 6 August 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- "The Style of Alastair of Connaught". National Archives.
- "No. 34129". The London Gazette. 1 February 1935. p. 772.
- "No. 34651". The London Gazette. 4 August 1931. p. 5396.
- "Death of Duke of Connaught". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 17 January 1942. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Death of Duke of Connaught in Canada". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 30, 162. Victoria, Australia. 28 April 1943. p. 3. Retrieved 17 April 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- Aronson, Theo (1981). Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. London: Cassell. p. 211. ISBN 978-0304307579.
- Lascelles, Alan; Hart-Davis, Duff (2006). King's counsellor: abdication and war: the diaries of Sir Alan Lascelles. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 39.
...the wretched young Duke of Connaught, whom his regiment (Greys) have had to get rid of, as he is wholly incompetent.
- Koenig, Marlene Eilers (29 November 2010). "Royal Musings: Princess Arthur of Connaught". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- CWGC entry.
- "Talk of the Town". Pall Mall Gazette. England. 28 August 1914. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "The Earl of Macduff". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 10 July 1917. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Dukedoms Pass". The Sphere. England. 8 May 1943. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.