Alastair Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn

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The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Full name
Alastair Arthur Windsor
Born(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
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
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 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 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.

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[edit]

Inscription at St Ninian's Chapel, Braemar 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.

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] 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.

Later life[edit]

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, on his grandfather's death in 1942 to the titles Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex.[6] 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."[7]

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."[8] 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,[9] and he fell out of a window when drunk and perished of hypothermia overnight. [10]

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

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 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.



  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. ^ "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.
  8. ^ Aronson, Theo (1981). Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. London: Cassell. p. 211. ISBN 978-0304307579.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Koenig, Marlene Eilers (2010-11-29). "Royal Musings: Princess Arthur of Connaught". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  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