Thursday, September 6, 2012

How Charley got to be the Duke

The Duchess of Albany with her two children, Alice and Charles Edward
September 6, 1902

The New York Times today offers a look at how the young Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha came to the throne.

The paper has a report on an article in Outlook, whose correspondent quotes "a young relative who was at Eton" with Prince Arthur of Connaught and his first cousin, the Duke of Albany.

According to the Outlook's correspondent, the following is what happened on the day the two young princes learned of the death of their first cousin, Hereditary Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  These are the words of  young Etonian.

"Connaught met Albany, who was a jolly, decent chap, and much more popular than Connaught and said to him: "Look here,  You have heard, I suppose, that they want me to go off to Germany and be Duke of Connaught."

The Duke of Albany responded: "Yes."

"Well," Prince Arthur continued, "I am going into the British Army, and I am not going to turn German. So that's all about it.  You can go and be Duke of Coburg. It will suit you."

"But, I do not want to go to Germany, and I do not want to leave Eton," the young duke responded.

"Look here, young chap," said Prince Arthur, who is several years older than his first cousin, "you've got to be the Duke of Coburg, and it is not use talking rot.  Next Sunday you are going up to Windsor, to lunch with grandmamma, and mind you tell her its all right, an that you agree.  If you don't look out for squalls, and take care I don't kick you jolly well all around the school yard."

Thus, Outlook's correspondent noted that "of course, Albany had to give in, because he is supposed to be a rather delicate chap, and Connaught could have easily kicked him if he wanted to."

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