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Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn passes away in 1942.

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn was a member of the British Royal family.

Arthur was born on May 1st, 1850 at Buckingham Palace. He was the seventh child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Like his siblings he was educated in his younger life by tutors. It is claimed that Arthur became the favorite child of Queen Victoria. In 1866 he enrolled at the Royal Military College at Woolwich. After graduating he went on to serve in the Corps of Royal Engineers, Royal Regiment Artillery and Rifle Brigade. He served in South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Egypt and India.

Arthur's most notable service was when he served in Canada. In Canada he served defending the interests of the British Empire against the Fenian Raids. The Fenian Raids were led by the Fenian Brotherhood, a group based in the United States who sought to apply pressure to the British to leave Ireland. This was done by attacking British outposts in Canada. While he was serving in Canada he traveled to the United States and met with President Ulysses S. Grant to discuss the raids.

While serving in Canada, the Canadian people became enamored with Arthur. He was given the title of Chief of the Six Nations by Iroquois in Ontario. He was given the name Kavakoudge which means the sun flying from east to west under the guidance of the Great Spirit. With this he became the 51st chief of six nations, he was allowed to vote in the council meetings in matters associated with the tribe. This broke a long standing tradition that only 50 chiefs of the Six Nations were in council. The wife of the then Governor General wrote to Queen Victoria that the people of Canada hoped that Arthur would one day return as Governor General.

In 1911, Arthur returned to Canada as Governor General and the first Governor General of Royal descent. While Arthur, his wife and youngest daughter lived in Canada they became interested in the outdoor activities of the country. They took up camping, the Prince learned how to skate and the traveled throughout the country. He also traveled to the United States and met with President William Howard Taft.

Arthur was Governor General when World War I broke out. When Canadian troops were called to serve in the war, Arthur put on his uniform and went to the training grounds and barracks to see the troops off. He also pushed for better readiness of the troops and the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, which he sponsored a cup, the Connaught Cup, to reward the best marksmanship. All of this caused the sitting Prime Minister of Canada, Robert Borden to state that he felt Arthur was overstepping his constitutional conventions as Governor General. Borden stated that Arthur "labored under the handicap of his position as a member of the Royal Family and never realized his limitations as Governor General."

After returning to Britain, Arthur began to limit his public appearances after his wife passed away. One of his last public appearances was in his role as president of the Boy Scouts Association in the United Kingdom. He was a friend and admirer of Lord Baden-Powell who founded the organization. Arthur opened the 3rd World Scout Jamboree at Arrowe Park in England.

When World War II, broke out, Arthur who was in his nineties put his uniform back on and served as an inspiration to troops in the British Army. Many saw him as a grandfather figure.

Arthur passed away on January 16th, 1942.

Arthur was raised in Prince of Wales Lodge in England. In 1901, his brother resigned from the position of Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England to assume the throne as King Edward VII. Arthur was then elected as the new Grand Master and was reelected 37 more times.