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Prince Arthur

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Category: Military
Reference No: 8611
Status: Available
Price: £20.00
  Prince Arthur

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British Field Marshal, the seventh child and third son (and her favourite) of Queen Victoria.

From an early age Arthur displayed a keen interest in military matters, and so in 1866 he was enrolled at the Royal Military College at Woolwich. He started his career as a lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers two years later. He quickly transferred to the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1868 and in 1869, to his father's regiment, the Rifle Brigade, after which he engaged in a long career as an army officer.

Arthur was the only one of Queen Victoria's sons to see active service.

He served on Garnet Wolseley’s 1870 Red River Expedition to crush a separatist rebellion in Canada’s Red River Colony and with the rank of Major-General took part in Wolseley's Egyptian Campaign of 1882.

Arthur went on to serve in India (where he was Commander in Chief of the Bombay Army between  1886 and 1890), Ireland, the Mediterranean and South Africa and in 1902 was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal.

He was bitterly disappointed when he wasn’t made Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in 1895 when George, Duke of Cambridge, was forced to resign (Wolseley got the job instead.)

In 1911 his nephew King George V made him Governor General of Canada. It has been argued that this was because Arthur was too heavily involved in German affairs (unsurprising since his father, grandmother and wife were all Germans), and with the deteriorating German situation it was important to distance him from military matters.

Nevertheless, Arthur and his wife and youngest daughter became very popular figures in Canada. During World War I  he was active in auxiliary war services and charities and made many hospital visits, while his wife worked for the Red Cross and other organizations to support the war cause.

After his years spent in Canada (he returned to Britain in 1916), Arthur held no similar public offices but undertook a number of public engagements. He also returned to military service and continued well into World War II.

This is a fine signature in ink (as Commander-in Chief, Bombay Army) cut from the bottom of a letter on a piece measuring 5.25" x 3". There's a light vertical crease near the left edge, just running through the A of Arthur, but condition overall is very good.