Arthur, Duke of Connaught (1850-1942) & Princess Louise of Prussia (1860-1917)
. Question about a 1922 photograph in which the Duke of Connaught appears.
Hello all! We recently discovered in the family archive a group photo which includes ten or so "top brass" soldiers: and to quote Alastair Massie of the National Army Museum, "The dignitary seated left of centre is Arthur, Duke of Connaught" (Queen Victoria's son): next to him is General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien - you get my drift? At the back, in the boater, is William Taft, one-time President of the US, and at this time Chief Justice, on a three week visit to the old country to see our justice system: he left for the US, never to return (and hadn't been here since 1888) on July 8th 1922.
The Duke is wearing a black armband: on June 22nd 1922, Field Marshal Sir Henry Hughes Wilson was gunned down by IRA activists outside his home at 6 Eaton Place. The Duke accompanied the coffin at the funeral in St Paul's Cathedral.
Oh, and by the way, the little front row group to the right is Rudyard Kipling en famille.
OK, so now we have dates for the photo: sometime betwixt June 22 and July 8 1922.
The next question is, where? Several of those present are wearing little disks on their right breast pocket (enclosure passes perhaps?): there is a waitress clearing glasses in the background. Taken together this, to my untrained eye, looks to be an equine event of some kind.
Can anyone suggest such an event/date where these people might be gathered together? No writing or trademark anywhere.
It seems a bit sad to Reply to my own post, but thought I would inform readers of progress to date. It's possible that the lady front row far left is Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, due to marry Bertie the following year, and eventually become the Queen Mum - what do you think?
Anyway, progress to date, see the thumbnail for number key:
Group photo taken at Fritwell Manor, Oxford, home of Sir John Simon (6)
on July 1st or 2nd 1922. Note round passes worn by some people suggesting an army equine event of some kind, perhaps organised for the Tafts (14 & 15)
2 ? Uniformed
4 ? Uniformed
5 Donald Sterling Palmer Howard, 3rd Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal.
6 John Simon, 1st Viscount Simon, host of this gathering. He was later to become Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had “an unfortunately chilly manner”: in 1922 he was MP for Spen Valley and deputy leader of the Liberal Party. Husband of 25.
14 US Chief Justice William Howard Taft, formerly US President. On three week fact-finding visit to Britain, 16th June-8th July 1922
15 Helen (“Nellie”) Taft, wife of 14
16 ? Uniformed
18 ? Uniformed
19 Bonar Law?
21 ? Uniformed
22 Captain William Masters, R.A.S.C.
23 ? Possibly Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
24 Sir Eric Henry Bonham, equerry to the Duke of Connaught (26)
25 Kathleen, Viscountess Simon, hostess of this gathering. Wife of 6
26 Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, favourite son of Queen Victoria. Note black armband: he is in mourning for the death of his close friend Field Marshal Sir Henry Hughes Wilson, shot by IRA gunmen in London, June 22nd 1922.
27 General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien, great friend of Lord Kitchener
28 Carrie Kipling, wife of 30
29 Elsie Kipling, daughter of 30 and 28
30 Rudyard Kipling
31 Captain George Louis St Clair Bambridge, Diplomat, of Wimpole Hall, near Cambridge: will marry 29 in 1924
Thank you for posting this wonderful photograph. It is unfortunate that I cannot help you with solving its mystery; however, I do not think the woman to the far left is Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. She would have been 22 in 1922 and the woman pictured here looks much older and more matronly than a single woman in her twenties would have looked. The remainder of the people look to be older as well, which would indicate they might be of a similar generation all around. I did check my biography of the Queen Mother and it mentions that in June and July of 1922, the QM spent her time at dinners, dances, theatres, nightclubs and weekends in the country but makes no mention of her attending such an august gathering.
Thanks for your response, I do tend to agree: though also the lady looks too young for the Duchess of Connaught, who would be over 60 in 1922. She may forever remain a mystery!
I'm also asking for help in the Kipling Society forums, where a member has pointed out, in a letter from RK to his daughter dated 19 July 1922, "...Then I to my graves commission, after having writ our names in the D. of C.'s book, a detail I had omitted since the lunch". Another clue perhaps?
The only book which concentrates on Arthur that I'm aware of is Noble Frankland's 'Witness of a Century', which was published years ago. It's still obtainable on Amazon, but Frankland appears to have been like several other Royal authors and skimmed over his subject, in this case Prince Arthur's, private life a lot. The story of his life awaits a good author I think. His relationship with his daughter Margaret who became Princess Margreit of Sweden would be interesting to read about, and his strange grandson Alistair as well.
More news on the photo that started this thread: see below. The lunch was held at Clarence House, possibly in a garden pavilion - any thoughts?
On the morning of 3rd July 1922, William Howard Taft, US Chief Justice (and former President) was a guest at the House of Lords, where he sat in Black Rod’s seat and observed legal discussions between judges, as part of his three-week legal fact-finding visit to Great Britain. He wrote an informal account of his visit to the UK in a 108-page letter to his son, archived at the US Library of Congress. The British Library has a copy on microfilm, which can be borrowed. Now read on from Page 82…
I got back in time to the [US] Embassy in time to go with your mother to the lunch given by the Duke of Connaught to us. The Duke is a nice old boy. He has had a good deal of military experience as a military officer and takes great pride in it. He married, as you know, the daughter of the Red Prince of Prussia, I think his name was Charles, and he was one of the leading figures in the Franco-Prussian war. The Duke of Connaught was Governor General of Canada while I was President. He came to New York at the instance of Whitelaw Reid, to a dinner and a reception which Whitelaw gave him while Whitelaw was Ambassador to Great Britain and was at home on a vacation. The newspapers criticised his coming into the country without calling on the President, so the old Duke most conscientiously asked the privilege of coming over to call. He came over from New York one afternoon and we gave him tea at the White House. After I left the Presidency, I went up the Canada to address a meeting of the Canadian Club at Ottowa. It was quite a brilliant function, a luncheon at which the whole of the Borden government was present, as well as the opposition. The Duke of Connaught presided. He was good enough to ask me to stay at Rideau Hall, which I did, and there he gave me a dinner. The Duchess of Connaught was then alive, and the war was on. This was in 1915 I think. I sat next to the Duchess, and she spoke in a very vigorous way of her hostility to the Germans. She was not well then and died during the war. These previous experiences made me feel I knew the Duke. I had not seen him until the lunch though he was present at Court and we bowed to each other there.
The Duke lives at Clarence House, a very pleasant home I should judge, and he had with him at the time his daughter Patricia and her husband Captain Ramsey, for she married a commoner, as well as his daughter-in-law, Princess Arthur of Connaught. Her husband, the Duke’s son, is the Governor General of South Africa, and she had just returned from there, leaving her husband on duty. Earl Balfour, Lord Desborough, the active men of the Pilgrims, Mr and Mrs Rudyard Kipling, Winston Churchill and his wife, and an aide who had accompanied Princess Arthur from South Africa were also there. The Earl of Cavan, who is now the Chief of Staff of the British Army, and possibly one or two others, whose names I have forgotten, were also members of the party. I never had met Kipling, and was very glad to see him, and I had a little talk with him and told him of the comfort he had given me in his books when I was ill in the hospital for so many weeks in Manila and had an opportunity to read them all. I called his attention especially to one verse in The Naulahka as the heading of a chapter, for which I was particularly grateful. I didn’t have to tell him because he recited it at once. It is
“Now it is not well for the Christian to hustle the Aryan Brown,
For the Christian riles and the Aryan smiles, and it weareth the Christian down;
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white, with the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, a fool lies here, who tried to hustle the East.”
I don’t think that Kipling realised I had been in the Phillipines. He seemed to remember only Cameron Forbes as having been in the Government at Manila. Forbes I think is an old friend of his. I sat between Princess Patricia and Princess Arthur, and I am bound to say that while it was a place of honor it was not an interesting experience. Princess Arthur is a sweet-looking person but not full of ideas, and Princess Patricia is rather stolid. I think Princess Patricia has long ago regretted her marrying her husband. I understand that he has been unfaithful to his marriage vows quite openly in Paris, and that she came home to ask the privilege of divorcing him on this account, but the King insisted she had made her bed and must lie in it, and that he could not have divorce proceeding in the family. I made a dreadful break with the Duke, but that came while we were walking out. I said that he seemed to exercise a good deal of family influence in every part of the world, in South Africa and elsewhere in Canada, and then I said in Sweden, because I knew his daughter had married the Crown Prince of Sweden. To which he exclaimed, “But you know she is dead, she died nearly two years ago”. While I had not known of it, and it was a dreadful thing not to have known of it, he did not seem to cherish any ill will over it. One can not follow these royalties unless there is a revolution, or war in which they are engaged, and Sweden has escaped . I am sure, however, that the Duke does not consider me a well informed man after that. He was very nice, and a hard worker in the field where royalties seem to have work, that is in dedications and public ceremonies, of which I would think they would get deadly tired. Still I suppose that if they don’t do that there is not much else for them to do, and as the English seem to dearly love royalty just for that purpose, they can not escape it. A municipal celebration with royalty in attendance is a great success for the Lord Mayor and for all the municipal authorities, and I have no doubt that it helps the English community to be contented. Then to Unitarian Church [Essex Hall] at 4pm…
Still no more suggestions about the people or event in the photo, I'm afraid. What a very distinguished gathering. Royals and Winston Churchill and Balfour and Rudyard Kipling, who of course had American links himself! A bit of gossip too, about Patricia Ramsay and her blatantly unfaithful husband, from whom she couldn't get a divorce, poor woman!
Everyone seems to have liked the Duke of Connaught who apparently was very amiable. Besides the dull dinner companions, Chief Justice Taft seems a bit supercilious about British royals as a source of contentment to the populace. I wonder what he would think of the present US President!
The Duchess of Connaught died during WWI. Her father, Prince Karl of Prussia was an absolute pig of a man. His wife had one son, borne after many daughters, and I read after daughter number three was born he went to his wife who was lying quietly in bed having given birth and boxed her ears for having the temerity to have had a female child.
I think you're correct, it certainly looks like Princess Patricia. I had read in a royal magazine some years ago, an article on the Duke and Duchess and it seems that the Duchess of Connaught was very strict with the 3 children and they were in fear of her for most of their young lives. The Duke was a very loving father.
I had thought myself that far left lady was Princess Arthur, and the lady in white was Princess Patricia sitting next to her dad. I have a photo of her in white with a similar hat which I shall try and attach, plus one of Princess Arthur with a fur collar.
I've been using Google Images to identify people, eg Blomfield (architect of Menin Gate war memorial at Ypres).