Friday, April 3, 2015

Lord Athlone named Governor General of Canada

April 3, 1940

The Earl of Athlone, uncle of King George VI, was appointed as Governor General of Canada,  The announcement was made tonight, reports the New York Times.  Lord Athlone succeeds Lord Tweedsmuir, who died in Montreal on February 11.

Lord Athlone has had a "distinguished record as a soldier and statesman," and recently cooperated with the Oxford Group's "moral rearmament campaign."   He was first named as Governor General of Canada in May 1914, when he was Prince Alexander of Teck.  He was to succeed his wife's uncle, the Duke of Connaught.  

When the World War broke out, the Duke of Connaught "was persuaded to extend his term of office."  That extension ended in 1916.   As Prince Alexander was on active service in France, "where he distinguished himself," his appointment as Governor General was canceled.

This will be his "third experience" as a governor General.  On October 27, 1923, he was appointed as Governor General of South Africa, succeeded Prince Arthur of Connaught, only son of the Duke of Connaught.   He was "so successful" that his term of office was extended, and he remained for seven years.

He is not expected to travel to Canada until June.  Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, will accompany her husband. 

On April 1,  Princess Alice and Lord Athlone stayed at Buckingham Palace and dined with King George and Queen Elizabeth.

Vincent Massey, Canada's High Commissioner in London, said "Canadians would be proud to welcome so distinguished a public servant." He also "paid tribute to Princess Alice's wide human interests."

Lord Athlone is the younger brother of Queen Mary.  He is married to Princess Alice of Albany, only daughter of the late Duke of Albany, and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.  They have one surviving child, Lady May Abel Smith.

Due to "war exigencies," the exact date of Lord Athlone's arrival will not be released in advance. He will be "sworn in", when he arrives in Ottawa, and not when he lands in Halifax or Quebec, which has been the custom during peace time.



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