The Earl of Athlone

Following the declaration of war in 1939, it was felt that the next Governor General of Canada should have a martial character. To this end, the Earl of Athlone was selected. Athlone, otherwise known as Alexander Cambridge, the Prince of Teck, had actually been nominated for the position once before, in 1914; then, however, he had refused the honour so that he might serve in the First World War.[1] Now that the Second World War had begun and found him too old to serve actively, Athlone accepted the position and arrived in Canada in the spring of 1940, following the tragic death in office of Lord Tweedsmuir, his predecessor. Athlone was not just a soldier, however; he was also a member of the royal family. He had married Princess Alice, who when she died in 1981 was the final surviving granddaughter of Queen Victoria; Athlone’s sister also became Queen Mary, the consort of King George V.[2] In short, few individuals could have been better calculated to promote imperial unity in Canada.

Continue reading “Rideau Hall: A Royal Welcome”