duke-of-connaught

Reprint of an original photograph of Tsesarevich Alexei on the deck of HMY Alexandra. He is wearing a sailor suit and standing at the top of a staircase.

In August 1909 Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia and his family attended the annual Cowes Regatta. This photograph of the Tsesarevich was taken by a footman of the Duke of Connaught.
From the Royal Collection Trust of HM Queen Elizabeth II

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Prince Leopold’s sixth birthday, April 1859.

Leopold was six in April 1859, and his birthday was celebrated with a children’s costume ball at Buckingham Palace. The Queen and Prince Albert collected him from the schoolroom in the morning and took him to see his presents. The excitement rose in the evening as the children put on their costume. Leopold and Arthur appeared as the sons of Henry IV, in tights and short doublets, while their sisters Helena and Louise became Swiss peasants for the night. Writing to her daughter, the Queen remarked ‘ Your sisters and little brothers looked very pretty, particularly Arthur and Louise. 

The evening was a triumph, described in the pages of the Illustrated London News and other society journals. The Queen and Prince ALbert, the Duchess of Kent, and a select gathering of royal parents, stood on a dais to watch just over two hundred guests, all between the ages of six and fourteen, dance a polonaise, a quadrille, waltzes and galops, until supper was served at midnight. ’ The Children all enjoyed it so much,’ said the Queen, 'no one more than little Leopold.’ 

Queen Victoria’s youngest son : The untold story of Prince Leopold

Queen Victoria with a large group of her children and grandchildren on the occasion of her granddaughter Alix’s engagement to the future Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. 

Squad goals 

The Duke of Connaught Family at the 1911 Coronation of King Edward VII: The Duke, daughter Princess Patricia, The Duchess, son Prince Arthur, daughter Margaret, The Crown Princess of Sweden, and son-in-law Gustaf Adolf, The Crown Prince of Sweden.

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First Indian to Win the Victoria Cross: Khudadad Khan

During the First Battle of Ypres on the 31st October 1914, Khudadad Khan became both the first Indian and the first Muslim to win the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest decoration for gallantry.  Khan was a sepoy (private) of the 129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis a regiment of the British Indian Army raised in the Punjab Province of British India, present-day Pakistan. 

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A photograph of the still recovering Khudadad Khan in a January 1915 edition of the Daily Mirror (source)

Khan was part of the first Indian Force to reach Europe in autumn 1914, on the 31st October his battalion was in action near the Belgian village of Hollebeke, just south of Ypres.  His medal citation describes Khan’s act of bravery in the face of a dogged German attack:

“On 31 October 1914, at Hollebeke in Belgium, the British officer in charge of the detachment having been wounded and the other [Vickers] gun put out of action by a shell, Sepoy Khudadad, though himself wounded, remained at his gun until all the other men of the gun detachment had been killed”

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Hal Bevan Petman’s painting of Subedar Khudadad Khan VC, c.1935 (source)

Each Indian battalion, like its British counterparts, had two Vickers Machine Guns, it was one of these which Khan manned throughout the battle.  With the other Vickers knocked out and the rest of his own gun’s crew killed as the German infantry approached Khan continued to work the gun although badly wounded until he too was incapacitated.  His actions and those of the other men manning the Vickers guns bought time for reinforcements to be brought up to halt the German breakthrough.

Khudadad Khan was awarded his Victoria Cross by King George V on one of his visits to France.  The 129th Baluchis went on to fight a number of engagements in Belgium and Northern France in 1914 before joining the campaign in German East Africa.  Khan remained in the Indian Army after the war rising to the rank of Subedar by 1935.  He died in 1971.

Sources:

Image One Source

Image Two Source

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T is for Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn

  • Connection to Queen Victoria: her son
  • Born: May 1st, 1850
  • Died: January 16th, 1942
  • Married: Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia
  • Children: Margaret (later Crown Princess of Sweden), Arthur, Patricia
Fun Facts:
  1. He enjoyed his military career, which he started young and continued into his old age.
  2. He was appointed Governor General of Canada in 1911, and was the military representative of Canada during WWI.
  3. He was Victoria’s last surviving son.
  4. He and his sister Louise lived to be the EXACT same age: 91 years, 8 months, and 15 days.