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Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone

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Subject: List of Quebec senators, Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis, Lady May Abel Smith, Rupert Cambridge, Viscount Trematon, Francis, Duke of Teck
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Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone

Major-General the Right Honourable
The Earl of Athlone
16th Governor General of Canada
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
4th Governor-General of the Union of South Africa
In office
21 January 1924 – 21 December 1930
Monarch George V
Prime Minister
Preceded by Prince Arthur of Connaught
Succeeded by The Earl of Clarendon
Personal details
Born (1874-04-14)14 April 1874
Kensington Palace, London, England
Died 16 January 1957(1957-01-16) (aged 82)
Kensington Palace, London, England
Spouse(s) Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
Profession Army officer
Religion Anglicanism
Awards See below...
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1894–1923
Rank Major-General
Teck-Cambridge Family

GCMG GCVO DSO PC ADC(P) FRS (born Prince Alexander of Teck; 14 April 1874 – 16 January 1957), was a British military commander and major-general who served as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa, the country's fourth, and as Governor General of Canada, the 16th since Canadian Confederation.

Prince Alexander was born in

Government offices
Preceded by
The Lord Tweedsmuir
Governor General of Canada
Succeeded by
The Earl Alexander of Tunis
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Earl Beauchamp
Chancellor of the University of London
Succeeded by
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Edward, Prince of Wales
Saint Michael and Saint George
Grand Master of the Order of

24 June 1936 – 16 January 1957
Succeeded by
The Earl of Halifax
Preceded by
The Viscount Esher
Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle
Title next held by
The Viscount Slim
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl of Athlone
3rd creation
17 July 1917 – 16 January 1957
  • Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone from the Library of Congress at Flickr Commons
  • Website of the Governor General of Canada entry for Lord Athlone
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia entry for Lord Athlone

External links

  1. ^ Galbraith, William (1989), "Fiftieth Anniversary of the 1939 Royal Visit" (PDF), Canadian Parliamentary Review (Ottawa: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) 12 (3): 7–9, retrieved 14 December 2009 
  2. ^ Wayling, Thomas (22 May 1939). "George VI Becomes King of Canada". The Leader-Post. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "'"George IV, Dominion Will See First 'King of Canada. The Canadian Jewish Chronicle. 12 May 1939. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Tidridge, Nathan (5 February 2012). "This Jubilee day is also a sad anniversary". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Eilers, Marlene A. (1987). Queen Victoria's Descendants. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 215.  
  6. ^ 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.  
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Earl of Athlone (1874–1957)". University of Warwick. Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2009. 
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26563. p. 5929. 23 October 1894. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27032. p. 8045. 13 December 1898. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27306. pp. 2707–2710. 19 April 1901. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27616. p. 7013. 16 November 1903. Retrieved 30 March 2008.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27647. p. 1013. 16 February 1904. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  13. ^ Cokayne 2000, p. 259
  14. ^ "Person Page – 10094 > Prince Maurice". Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28466. pp. 1238–1238. 17 February 1911. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  16. ^ Clifford, Bede (2004). "Cambridge, Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George, earl of Athlone (1874–1957)".  
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30111. pp. 5458–5459. 1 June 1917. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30374. pp. 11592–11594. 9 November 1917. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30374. p. 11594. 9 November 1917. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  20. ^ a b "U.S.A. Crisis". Time (New York: Time Inc.) III (16). 21 April 1924.  
  21. ^ "Wemmer Pan/Pioneer Park". Johannesburg City Parks. Archived from the original on 29 December 2008. Retrieved 19 September 2008. 
  22. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33376. p. 2737. 17 April 1928. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33741. p. 5110. 4 August 1931. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  24. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009. 
  25. ^ Hubbard, R.H. (1977). Rideau Hall. Montreal and London: McGill-Queen's University Press.  
  26. ^ Hubbard 1977, p. 196
  27. ^ Hubbard 1977, p. 201
  28. ^ Hubbard 1977, p. 202
  29. ^ The London Gazette: no. 37706. p. 4347. 27 August 1946. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  30. ^ The London Gazette: no. 39578. p. 3395. 20 June 1952. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  31. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27702. p. 5047. 5 August 1904. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  32. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28749. p. 6075. 22 August 1913. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  33. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32877. p. 7547. 6 November 1923. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  34. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34300. p. 4155. 30 June 1936. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  35. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33731. p. 4241. 30 June 1931. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  36. ^  
  37. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34119. p. 7. 28 December 1934. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  38. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29312. p. 9642. 1 October 1915. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  39. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29486. p. 2075. 22 February 1916. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  40. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30476. p. 827. 14 January 1918. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  41. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30638. p. 4716. 16 April 1918. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  42. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28380. p. 3859. 31 May 1910. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  43. ^ "Athlone Boy's School". Athlone Boy's School. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 


  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.


See also


Arms of Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone
Quarters two and three are derived from the coat of arms of Württemberg.
A Dog’s Head and Neck paly bendy Sable and Or, langued Gules, a Crescent Argent, for difference.
Quarterly: 1st & 4th grand-quarters, The Royal Arms as borne by King George III, differenced by a Label of three-points Argent, the centre point charged with a Cross Gules, and each of the other points with two Hearts in pale Gules; 2nd & 3rd grand-quarters, Or, three Stag’s Attires fesswise in pale, the points of each attire to the sinister Sable, impaling Or three Lions passant in pale Sable, langued Gules, the dexter forepaws Gules; over all an Inescutcheon paly bendy sinister Sable and Or (Teck); Over all at the fess point a Crescent Sable for difference.
Dexter: a Lion Sable, the dexter forepaw Gules, differenced on the shoulder by a Crescent Sable. Sinister: a Stag proper, differenced on the shoulder by a Crescent Sable.
Order of the Garter (Appointed 17 April 1928)


Geographic locations

Honorific eponyms

Honorary military appointments

Foreign honours and decorations
Ribbon bars of the Earl of Athlone


  • 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
  • 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
United Kingdom
  • 14 April 1874 – 14 July 1917: His Serene Highness Prince Alexander of Teck
Kingdom of Württemberg
Viceregal styles of
The Earl of Athlone
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


Titles, styles, honours, and arms

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

After Athlone's replacement as governor general was appointed on 21 March 1946, he returned to the United Kingdom to retirement, taking up residence again in a the coronation in 1953 of Athlone's great-niece, Queen Elizabeth II,[30] and continued to sit as Chancellor of the University of London until 1955.[24]

Post-viceregal life

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.[24]

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.[24]

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, Greece; Empress Zita of Bourbon-Parma (Austria) and her daughters; as well as Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and her daughter, Princess Juliana.[27] Further, in December 1941, British prime minister Winston Churchill arrived at the residence, where he presided over British Cabinet meetings via telephone from his bed.[28]

Athlone 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.[24]

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, appointed Athlone as his representative.[24] Subsequently, Athlone, along with his wife and his aide-de-camp, Alastair Windsor, Earl of Macduff,[n 1][25] voyaged to Canada to take up his position, their liner using a submarine-evading zig-zag pattern across the Atlantic Ocean to Halifax, Nova Scotia.[26] After travelling on to Ottawa by train, Athlone was sworn in during a ceremony in the Senate chamber on 21 June 1940.

In George VI that the time was not right for such a change in viceregal tradition.

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

Governor General of Canada

For his service to the Crown in South Africa, the Athlone was appointed by George V as a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter, on 17 April 1928,[22] and, upon his return to the UK, was made on 4 August 1931 the Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle.[23] The following year, he was also selected as the Chancellor of the University of London, which post he held until 1955.[24]

In the ensuing election—the running of which forced Athlone to cancel the planned tour of Prince Edward, Prince of Wales[20]—the National Party won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, meaning Athlone appointed the party's leader, James Barry Munnik 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,[7] performing a number of ceremonial duties, including opening Pioneer Park in Johannesburg.[21]

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,[7] replacing his wife's cousin, Prince Arthur of Connaught. He arrived in Pretoria in January 1924 and was immediately at work with his viceregal duties, opening the newly finished parliament building, just weeks before his South African prime minister, Jan Smuts, suddenly advised him to prorogue the legislature.[20]

Governor-General of the Union of South Africa

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. 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,[7] such as the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

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. Through a royal warrant issued on 14 July 1917, Alexander, along with his brother, Prince Adolphus, Duke of Teck, similarly relinquished all of his German titles, styles, and honours, choosing instead the name of Cambridge, after his grandfather, Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.[18] 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 Earl of Athlone and Viscount Trematon.[19] Athlone had declined a marquessate, as he thought the title did not sound British enough. 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 twenty-first birthday, meaning the third creation of the title became extinct with the death of the first earl.

[17] Prior to the outbreak of the

First World War

In the same year Prince Alexander was selected as the chairman of Middlesex Hospital.[7]

Maurice, however, lived only for less than six months, between 29 March and 14 September 1910. [14][13] The announcement came on 16 November 1903 that Prince Alexander had become

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 before moving on to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.[6] In 1894, having completed his officer's training, Prince Alexander was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 7th Queen's Own Hussars,[6][8] 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 as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.[9] Later, for his actions in the Second Boer War, Prince Alexander was in April 1901 awarded by King Edward VII the membership in the Distinguished Service Order.[10]

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 Sachsen
The Duchess of Teck and her family c. 1880; Prince Alexander sits centre with his arm around the Duchess, Princess Mary (later Queen Mary) is seated at far right

[7] and was characterised as a meticulous individual with a quick, but short-lived, temper and an ability to be cautious and tactful.[7] Prince Alexander of Teck was born at

Early life, education, and military career


  • Early life, education, and military career 1
  • First World War 2
  • Governor-General of the Union of South Africa 3
  • Governor General of Canada 4
  • Post-viceregal life 5
  • Titles, styles, honours, and arms 6
    • Titles 6.1
    • Honours 6.2
      • Honorary military appointments 6.2.1
      • Honorific eponyms 6.2.2
    • Arms 6.3
  • Ancestry 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

After returning to the United Kingdom, Athlone 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, Frogmore.

. Second World War in 1946. Athlone proved to be instrumental in the Canadian war effort and as a host to British and American statesmen during the Viscount Alexander of Tunis, and he occupied the post until succeeded by the Lord Tweedsmuir, to replace William Lyon Mackenzie King Prime Minister of Canada on the recommendation of [4][3][2][1]

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