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The ineffective ‘Bertie Wooster’ Duke who may have been King of England… (if George V actually HAD been a bigamist because the newspapers claimed!)

The ineffective ‘Bertie Wooster’ Duke who may have been King of England… (if George V actually HAD been a bigamist because the newspapers claimed!)


In 1943 Alastair, the good-looking 2nd Duke of Connaught, bought drunk, fell out of a window and froze to dying. He may have been our king!

The nugatory 28-year-old great-grandson of Queen Victoria would certainly have acceded to the throne in 1942 if it had been proved that King George V had secretly married the daughter of an admiral whereas in Malta serving as a younger midshipman.

A hearsay circulating in excessive society on the time whispered that, similar to George IV and Mrs FitzHerbert a century earlier, George V had given option to his passions and been wed, privately and unannounced, to a girl named Mary Culme-Seymour in 1890.

The whisperers went as far as to say that the couple had produced three kids.

Could this man have been King of England instead of George VI? Alastair Arthur Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and the Earl of Macduff, froze to death after falling from a window

May this man have been King of England as a substitute of George VI? Alastair Arthur Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and the Earl of Macduff, froze to dying after falling from a window

King George V, Queen Victoria's grandson with his wife Mary of Teck. Scandalous rumours suggested that he was already married by the time he proposed to Mary - and that their children, Edward VIII and George VI were therefore illegitimate

King George V, Queen Victoria's grandson with his wife Mary of Teck. Scandalous rumours suggested that he was already married by the time he proposed to Mary - and that their children, Edward VIII and George VI were therefore illegitimate

King George V, Queen Victoria’s grandson together with his spouse Mary of Teck. Scandalous rumours prompt that he was already married by the point he proposed to Mary – and that their kids, Edward VIII and George VI have been subsequently illegitimate

It was suggested that George V had already married Mary Elizabeth Culme-Seymour. The courts found this claim to be libellous, but she aroused suspicion by 'forgetting' that she had danced with the then Prince of Wales in Portsmouth

It was suggested that George V had already married Mary Elizabeth Culme-Seymour. The courts found this claim to be libellous, but she aroused suspicion by 'forgetting' that she had danced with the then Prince of Wales in Portsmouth

It was prompt that George V had already married Mary Elizabeth Culme-Seymour. The courts discovered this declare to be libellous, however she aroused suspicion by ‘forgetting’ that she had danced with the then Prince of Wales in Portsmouth

The four sons of Queen Victoria: Bertie,the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), Affiie, the Duke of Edinburgh, Arthur, the Duke of Connaught and Leopold, the Duke of Albany

The four sons of Queen Victoria: Bertie,the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), Affiie, the Duke of Edinburgh, Arthur, the Duke of Connaught and Leopold, the Duke of Albany

The 4 sons of Queen Victoria: Bertie,the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), Affiie, the Duke of Edinburgh, Arthur, the Duke of Connaught and Leopold, the Duke of Albany

The rumours would finally die away, solely to return when George inherited the throne from his father Edward VII in 1910 and a newspaper article in The Liberator instantly accused the brand new king – by then married to Princess Could of Teck – of bigamy.

It was a dashing blow to George’s popularity and one which so rocked the Royal Household that his non-public secretary Lord Stamfordham was compelled to write down a public letter damning ‘this merciless and depraved lie’.

The creator of the piece, Edward Mylius, was duly arrested, charged with legal libel and sentenced to 12 months in jail.

This didn’t wholly dispel the doubt in some peoples’ minds as, in her proof, Mary Culme-Seymour – the lady in query – ‘forgot’ an evening when she danced with the then Prince of Wales at a Portsmouth ball, claiming she had not seen him at the moment.

How may you ‘neglect’ an evening dancing with the Prince of Wales, the doubters requested?

This, bear in mind, could be very near dwelling. George V and Mary have been grandparents to the late Queen Elizabeth II, who knew them as a toddler and been keen on them.  

Had Mylius had been in a position to show his assertion, then George V’s marriage to Princess Could was invalid. His kids – King Edward VIII, King George VI and the others – may have had no declare to the throne and neither may their descendants.

Who, then, would turn into king?

The reply lies not with Mary Culme-Seymour or her kids, who would have been respectable but constitutionally barred from the throne. Royal permission for the wedding had by no means been sought!

As an alternative, the road of succession would have run by means of the descendants and relations of George V’s father, Edward VII.

Edward VII had no different sons dwelling. (His brother Affie, Duke of Edinbugh– second son of Queen Victoria and subsequent in line – was useless, and his personal son Alfred, who would then have inherited the crown, had shot himself after contracting a secret marriage of his personal).

The crown subsequently would have gone  to George’s uncle Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught and Queen Victoria’s third son. 

In 1942, when the outdated boy died, it might have handed to his grandson Alastair, 2nd Duke of Connaught

Who? You may properly ask.

The family tree of Alastair, 2nd Duke of Connaught

The family tree of Alastair, 2nd Duke of Connaught

The household tree of Alastair, 2nd Duke of Connaught

Sir Arthur Bigge, later Lord Stamfordham, who issued a stout denial of the claims that Geroge V was a bigamist

Sir Arthur Bigge, later Lord Stamfordham, who issued a stout denial of the claims that Geroge V was a bigamist

Sir Arthur Bigge, later Lord Stamfordham, who issued a stout denial of the claims that Geroge V was a bigamist

The coming of age celebration of the Earl  of MacDuff, centre, son of Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught

The coming of age celebration of the Earl  of MacDuff, centre, son of Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught

The approaching of age celebration of the Earl  of MacDuff, centre, son of Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught

Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught with their son Alastair, the Earl of MacDuff who would become 2nd Duke of Connaught

Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught with their son Alastair, the Earl of MacDuff who would become 2nd Duke of Connaught

Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught with their son Alastair, the Earl of MacDuff who would turn into 2nd Duke of Connaught

By the point he’d have come to the throne, the 26-year outdated Duke was a washed-up junior officer within the Royal Scots Greys, a regiment which had no additional use for him, even in wartime.

‘Had a letter from Lord Athlone (Governor Common of Canada) refusing to tackle the wretched younger duke, whom his regiment have needed to eliminate as he’s wholly incompetent,’ wrote royal courtier Alan Lascelles. ‘I am unable to assume what’s to be completed with him.’

‘Imprecise and feckless,’ wrote royal biographer Theo Aronsen. ‘Good sufficient, you realize, however probably not a lot up high,’ admitted his aunt Girl Athlone.

An ideal instance, in truth, of the dissolute aristocracy so mercilessly lampooned by Wodehouse.

‘Comfortable within the head,” was the Duchess of Gloucester’s tart opinion, by means of a kinder description got here from the king’s non-public secretary Sir Alex Hardinge – ‘a pleasant boy with none vice, however there have been opposed experiences on his reliability.’

Arthur, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Earl of MacDuff, a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria, in a 1919 portrait.

Arthur, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Earl of MacDuff, a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria, in a 1919 portrait.

Arthur, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Earl of MacDuff, a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria, in a 1919 portrait. 

The Duchess of Connaught with her husband, Prince Arthur and their Woosterish son the 2nd Duke of Connaught

The Duchess of Connaught with her husband, Prince Arthur and their Woosterish son the 2nd Duke of Connaught

The Duchess of Connaught together with her husband, Prince Arthur and their Woosterish son the 2nd Duke of Connaught 

Drink was the issue. And so regardless of his uncle’s protestations, the never-to-be king was packed off to Canada as ADC to Lord Athlone, simply to get him out of the way in which.

‘However the Duke’s irresponsibility was such that it killed him,’ wrote Aronsen. ‘On the morning of 26 April 1943 he was discovered useless. It was typically believed within the royal household he had come dwelling drunk, and in his befuddled state had opened the window, presumably to be sick out of it, and had fallen asleep. The night time air was chilly sufficient to freeze him to dying.’

The 2nd Duke of Connaught had died, it was dutifully reported in The Occasions, on lively service.



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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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