Alastair Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn

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Alastair Windsor
Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Predecessor Prince Arthur
Born Prince Alastair of Connaught
(1914-08-09)9 August 1914
Mayfair, London, England
Died 26 April 1943(1943-04-26) (aged 28)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Full name
Alastair Arthur Windsor
Father Prince Arthur of Connaught
Mother Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife
Occupation Military officer
Military career
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1935–43
Rank Lieutenant
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 her great-great-grandson 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 in Canada of exposure, after falling out of a window in a state of inebriation.[citation needed]

Early life

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.

The Prince was baptised on 1 September 1914 at his parents' home[1] and his godparents were King George V (his maternal great-uncle), 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).[2]

House of Windsor

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

Prince Alastair was born shortly after the break out of the First World War which had prompted strong anti-German feelings in the United Kingdom. George V eventually responded to this 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.

British Royalty
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Coat of arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg
Victoria and Albert
Prince Alastair of Connaught
Johann Leopold, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Princess Sibylla, Duchess of Västerbotten
Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Princess Caroline Mathilde, Countess of Castell-Rüdenhausen

In letters patent dated 20 November 1917, George V undertook further restructuring of the royal styles and titles by restricting the titles of 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 excluded 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. 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."[3]

Later life

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

Lord Macduff received his education at Bryanston and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. On 31 January 1935, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons), his father's regiment,[4] which was based in Egypt from 1936. In 1939, Lord Macduff was promoted to lieutenant on 14 July,[5] 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 his grandfather as Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and Earl of Sussex, in 1942.[6] However, he died in 1943 at the age of 28 "on active service" in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in unusual circumstances. 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] Theo Aronson, in his 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."[8] Marlene Eilers Koenig, who wrote about the Duke's mother in an article for Majesty magazine, noted that he was found lying "near an open window."[9] Newspapers at the time cited the cause of death as "natural causes."[10]

His ashes were interred at St Ninian's Chapel, Braemar, Scotland.[11]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 9 August 1914 – 20 November 1917: His Highness Prince Alastair of Connaught[12]
  • 20 November 1917 – 16 January 1942: Earl of Macduff[13]
  • 16 January 1942 – 26 April 1943: His Grace The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn[6]

Until the age of three, he was styled as Prince Alastair of Connaught. However, in 1917, he lost the title of a British prince and the style of Highness. After that, he was known as the Earl of Macduff, this being the courtesy title he had as heir to his mother's Dukedom of Fife.


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.[14] 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.

Place in the line of succession

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.



  1. ^ "Prince Alastair". Beverley and East Riding Recorder. England. 5 September 1914. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  2. ^ "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page — Royal Christenings". Archived from the original on 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  3. ^ At that point, the three-year-old became known as Alastair Arthur Windsor, Earl of Macduff. 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.
  4. ^ "No. 34129". The London Gazette. 1 February 1935. p. 772.
  5. ^ "No. 34651". The London Gazette. 4 August 1931. p. 5396.
  6. ^ a b "Death of Duke of Connaught". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 17 January 1942. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  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. ^ Aronson, Theo (1981). Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. London: Cassell. p. 211. ISBN 978-0304307579.
  9. ^ Koenig, Marlene Eilers (2010-11-29). "Royal Musings: Princess Arthur of Connaught". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. ^ "DEATH OF DUKE OF CONNAUGHT IN CANADA". The Argus (Melbourne) (30, 162). Victoria, Australia. 28 April 1943. p. 3. Retrieved 17 April 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ CWGC entry.
  12. ^ "Talk of the Town". Pall Mall Gazette. England. 28 August 1914. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "The Earl of Macduff". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 10 July 1917. Retrieved 23 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ "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
The Prince Arthur
Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Earl of Sussex

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