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Alastair Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn

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The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Full name
Alastair Arthur Windsor
BornPrince Alastair of Connaught
(1914-08-09)9 August 1914
Mayfair, London, England
Died26 April 1943(1943-04-26) (aged 28)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
BuriedSt Ninian's Chapel, Braemar, Aberdeenshire
Noble familySaxe-Coburg and Gotha
(until 1917)
Windsor (from 1917)
FatherPrince Arthur of Connaught
MotherPrincess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife
OccupationMilitary officer
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1935–43
RankLieutenant
UnitRoyal Scots Greys
Battles/warsSecond 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 a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria through his mother. He was also a descendant of Victoria's paternal uncle and predecessor, William IV, through an illegitimate line.

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.

Early life[edit]

Portrait with his mother

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.

He was baptised on 1 September 1914 at his parents' home[1] 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 and Strathearn (his paternal grandfather, for whom the Duke's equerry Major Malcolm Murray stood proxy), Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (his great-aunt), and Princess Mary (his cousin).[citation needed]

Earl of Macduff[edit]

Inscription at St Ninian's Chapel, Braemar commemorating the 2nd Duke of Connaught (1914–1943)

Alastair was born shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, during which George V restructured the royal family by restricting the titles of prince and princess 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 excluded Alastair from a princely title, but as the heir apparent to his mother's suo jure dukedom of Fife, he was entitled to use her secondary peerage Earl of Macduff as a courtesy title.

Later life[edit]

Braemar, Mar Lodge Estate, St Ninian's Chapel - Grave of the 2nd Duke of Connaught (1914–1943)

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,[2] then based in Egypt. On 14 July 1939, Lord Macduff was promoted to lieutenant[3] and was later 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.[4] 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."[5]

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."[6] 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,[7] and he fell out of a window when drunk and perished of hypothermia overnight.[citation needed]

His ashes were interred at St Ninian's Chapel, Braemar, Scotland.[8]

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Coat of arms

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 1914–1917: His Highness Prince Alastair of Connaught[9]
  • 1917–1942: Earl of Macduff[10]
  • 1942–1943: His Grace The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn[4]

Arms[edit]

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.[11] 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.

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Prince Alastair". Beverley and East Riding Recorder. England. 5 September 1914. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  2. ^ "No. 34129". The London Gazette. 1 February 1935. p. 772.
  3. ^ "No. 34651". The London Gazette. 4 August 1939. p. 5396.
  4. ^ a b "Death of Duke of Connaught". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 17 January 1942. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ Aronson, Theo (1981). Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. London: Cassell. p. 211. ISBN 978-0304307579.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ CWGC entry.
  9. ^ "Talk of the Town". Pall Mall Gazette. England. 28 August 1914. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "The Earl of Macduff". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 10 July 1917. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ "Dukedoms Pass". The Sphere. England. 8 May 1943. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
Alastair Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 9 August 1914 Died: 26 April 1943
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Earl of Sussex

1942–1943
Extinct