Prince Arthur Road, NW3

Place Name

Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (later Windsor) (May 1, 1850 – January 16, 1942), the seventh child  and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who was known as Arta by the family. The road name marked the opening of the new Sailors’ Orphan Girls’ Home by the prince, who was patron of the charity, on July 16, 1869. The new building designed by Edward Ellis at 96 – 116 Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Hampstead, could accommodate up to 100 girls. The charity itself had been founded in 1829 for “the gratuitous board, clothing, and education of the destitute orphan daughters of British sailors (of the Royal Navy and Merchant Service) and Royal Marines and British fishermen.” The Prince was born in Buckingham Palace, on the Duke of Wellington’s 81st birthday. To mark the coincidence – and the family’s close relationship with the Iron Duke – he was asked if he would be his godfather. At the age of eight, with his Army career already mapped out for him, he was appointed a tutor with instructions to direct his education as far as was possible on military lines. Aged 12 he was sent to Ranger’s Lodge in Greenwich Park to continue his studies and was a frequent visitor to the Woolwich Arsenal. After leaving the Royal Military Academy a corporal he was posted to the Royal Engineers in Chatham before returning to Woolwich to serve with B Battery, Royal Artillery. More promotions followed and in 1882 he was to see his first action commanding the Guards Brigade in Egypt at the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir. His commander later wrote to his mother: “He is a first-rate Brigadier-General and takes more care of his men and is more active in the discharge of his duties than any of the generals now with me.” After the battle he joined voices arguing for troops in the field to be given khaki uniforms – at the time home stationed units still wore bright regimental ones. He went on to tour South Africa and become Governor General of Canada. In 1916, in the midst of the First World War, his posting came to an end and he returned home, not staying long before heading to France to tour the Western front. In peacetime he returned to royal duties and visited India, in what was seen, by the British press at least, as a successful tour. In contrast to other members of the family, his entire life stood the test of public scrutiny.  He was always anxious to do that which was right and good.  As the first Lord Rowallan said in 1921: “The Duke was one member of the Royal Family upon whom the rays of scandal have never shone”. He outlived his wife Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, the daughter of Prince Frederick Charles and a great-niece of the German Emperor. The couple had three children: Princess Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah (born 15 January 1882), Prince Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert (born 13 January 1883), and Princess Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth (born 17 March 1886), who were all raised at the Connaughts’ country home, Bagshot Park, in Surrey, and after 1900 at Clarence House, the Connaughts’ London residence. His eldest children both predeceased him. Prince Arthur junior who married Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife, elder daughter Princess Royal and the Duke of Fife, in 1913, died after a long illness on September 12, 1938. His son succeeded to his grandfather’s dukedom.

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