§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty to express the deep concern of this House at the loss which His Majesty has sustained by the death of His Royal Highness Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and to condole with His Majesty on this melancholy occasion; and to assure His Majesty that this House will ever participate with the most affectionate and dutiful attachment in whatever may concern the feelings and interests of His Majesty.The late Duke of Connaught lived a life so long that it was not only a link with the tranquil days of the Victorian era, when a large number of people had persuaded themselves that most of the problems of society were solved, but also a link with the life of the Duke of Wellington. During the whole of his career, mainly in the British Army, he was a devoted, faithful officer and servant of the Crown. He field a position of delicacy, not free from difficulty beset on every side by the possibility of indiscretion when such a position is occupied by one who is a son of a Queen, afterwards a brother of a King, uncle of another Sovereign and the great uncle of a fourth Ruler. In that position, never did anything occur which did not make the public realise how true the Duke of Connaught was to all the constitutional implications of his position, and all who came into contact with him were impressed by his charm of manner, by his old-world courtesy, and knew that they were in the presence of a great and distinguished representative of the beloved Royal House.
I have had many opportunities of meeting his Royal Highness, who was a friend of my family, and I enjoyed his friendship. I served under his command, in 1895, as a young officer at Aldershot, and I know the respect and esteem in which he was held by all the troops and all the ranks in the Forces. For my part, I am very glad to feel that he lived long enough to see the dark, frightful crisis with which we were confronted 18 months ago broaden out into a somewhat clearer and more hopeful light.
§ Mr. Pethick-Lawrence (Edinburgh, East)
My hon. friends have asked me to associate them with the well-chosen tribute which the Prime Minister has paid to the late Duke of Connaught. Here 258 may I say how glad we are to have the right hon. Gentleman back with us to take part in our discussions. The Duke of Connaught was one of those who have helped to make this country great, not because of his Royal parentage, nor because of the numberless titles which were heaped upon him, but because as a man he possessed a sterling character and exhibited unfailing tact and kindness. Whatever job he was given to do, he did it with all his might, and however difficult and embarrassing was the task assigned to him, he extracted from it the maximum amount of benefit for the public weal. As an officer, he won the affection as well as the loyalty of his troops. As a Governor, he was appreciated by statesmen and beloved by the people. No one could meet him, even in the most casual way, without being impressed by his personality. The vigour which he retained to an advanced age betokened the keen soldier; his bright eye, the vital force within and his smile, the friendly traditions and nature of the man. Fortunate has been our country in being able to command the unsparing services of such a man.
§ Sir Percy Harris (Bethnal Green, South West)
I consider it a privilege to be associated with this Motion, which is according to immemorial custom, but in this case, is no mere formality. His Royal Highness endeared himself to many generations of his countrymen, not only in this country, but in Canada, in India, in South Africa and in Ireland. His Royal Highness, as a keen soldier, chose the Army as his profession and saw much service, but he will always be remembered most as Governor-General of Canada, where he did so much to strengthen the bonds between that Dominion and the Crown. His Royal Highness was a great gentleman. He could have lived a life of leisure but preferred one of public service under five Monarchs. I feel honoured to be allowed to be associated with this Motion.
§ Question put, and agreed to nemine contradicente.
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty to express the deep concern of this House at the loss which His Majesty has sustained by the death of His Royal Highness Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn; and to condole with His Majesty on this melancholy occasion;
and to assure His Majesty that this House will ever participate with the most affectionate and dutiful attachment in whatever may concern the feelings and interests of His Majesty.
§ To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of His Majesty's Household.