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Alastair, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn

Born Prince Alastair of Connaught and Strathearn
(1914-08-09)9 August 1914
Mayfair, London
Died 26 April 1943(1943-04-26) (aged 28)
Ottawa, Canada
Title 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Tenure 16 January 1942 – 26 April 1943
Predecessor Prince Arthur
Successor None
Parents Prince Arthur of Connaught
Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife
Occupation Military

Alastair Arthur Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (until the age of three Prince Alastair of Connaught; 9 August 1914 – 26 April 1943) was a member of the British Royal Family, a great-grandson of Queen Victoria through his father and also her great-great-grandson through his mother. In 1917 Alastair 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, until 1942, when he inherited his grandfather's dukedom and became Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. He died in Canada of exposure at age 28, after falling out of a window in a state of inebriation.

Early life

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 Arthur of Connaught (before her marriage Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife), the eldest daughter of Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife and Louise, Princess Royal. As a great grandchild of Queen Victoria through the male line, Alastair was styled His Highness Prince Alastair of Connaught from birth.

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

House of Windsor

Shortly after Prince Alastair was born, the First World War broke out, prompting 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
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 and 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."[2]

Later life

Lord Macduff received his education at Bryanston and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. In January 1935, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons), his father's regiment, based in Egypt from 1936. In 1939, Lord Macduff was assigned to Ottawa as aide-de-camp to his kinsman The Earl of Athlone, then Governor General of Canada, the post his own grandfather had held during the First World War.

He succeeded his grandfather as Duke of Connaught and Earl of Sussex in 1942 and died, aged 28, in Ottawa "on active service" in 1943 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 and he fell out of a window when drunk and perished of hypothermia overnight.[3]

His ashes were interred at Mar Lodge Chapel, Braemar, Scotland.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

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


In 1942, on the inheritance of his grandfather's dukedom, he was granted arms, being, quarterly, first and fourth his grandfather's arms (being the royal arms, difference with a three-point label argent, the first and third points bearing fleurs-de-lys azure, the second a cross gules), second that of Fife, and third of Duff.

Upon his death, the Dukedom of Connaught and Strathearn reverted to the crown. His first cousin, James George Alexander Bannerman Carnegie (b. 23 September 1929), 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 behind the descendants of George V.



  1. ^ Yvonne's Royalty Home Page — Royal Christenings
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ CWGC entry.
Alastair, 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