Lord Lorne John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell Duke of Argyll and Marquess of Lorne


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Louise Caroline Alberta Duchess of Argyll

Lord Lorne John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell Duke of Argyll and Marquess of Lorne

  • Born: 6 Aug 1845, London, Middlesex, England
  • Marriage: Louise Caroline Alberta Duchess of Argyll on 21 Mar 1871
  • Died: 2 May 1914 at age 68

  General Notes:

John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, 9th and 2nd Duke of Argyll, KG, KT, GCMG, GCVO, PC, usually better known by the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, by which he was known before 1900, was a British nobleman and was Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. He is now remembered primarily for the place names bestowed on Canadian geography in honour of his wife, for his metrical paraphrase of Psalm 121, "Unto the hills around do I lift up" and for the frequency with which the name "Lorne" is given to male children in Canada, a custom uncommon elsewhere.

Background and career

He was born in London, the eldest son of George, Marquess of Lorne and the former Lady Elizabeth Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland, and was styled Earl of Campbell from birth. In 1847, when he was 21 months old, his father succeeded as 8th Duke of Argyll and he assumed the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, which he bore until he was 54. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Eton, St Andrews and at Trinity College, Cambridge. For ten years before coming to Canada, he represented Argyllshire as a Liberal Member of Parliament in the House of Commons.

Governor General of Canada

When Lord Lorne's appointment was announced, there was great excitement throughout Canada. For the first time, Rideau Hall would have a royal resident \endash Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise, had married Lord Lorne on 21 March 1871. This was the first time a Princess had married a commoner since 1515. Despite opposition from the British royal family, particularly from the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria realised that times were changing, and was convinced that marriage outside the traditional royal houses would strengthen the throne both morally and physically. The Canadian Prime Minister relaxed his busy campaign schedule to prepare for her arrival and to organise a special carriage and corps of guards to protect the Princess.

During Lorne's term of office, the recession plaguing the Canadian economy ended and Sir John A. Macdonald returned as Prime Minister. Canada was experiencing a renewal of optimism and an upswing of nationalism.

At age 33, Lord Lorne was Canada's youngest Governor General, but he was not too young to handle the marginal demands of his post. He and Princess Louise made many lasting contributions to Canadian society especially in the arts and sciences. They encouraged the establishment of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the National Gallery of Canada, even selecting some of its first paintings. In addition to acting as a patron of arts and letters in Canada, Lorne was the author of many books of prose and poetry. His writings show a deep appreciation of Canada's physical beauty.

Throughout his term of office, Lorne was intensely interested in Canada and Canadians. He travelled throughout the country encouraging the establishment of numerous institutions, and met with members of Canada's First Nations and with other Canadians from all walks of life. At Rideau Hall, he and Princess Louise hosted many social functions, including numerous ice skating and tobogganing parties as well as balls, dinners and State occasions.

Princess Louise was an accomplished writer, sculptor and artist \endash she painted well in both oils and water colours. A door she painted with sprigs of apple blossoms can still be seen in the Monck wing corridor at Rideau Hall. She gave the name Regina (which is Latin for Queen) to the capital of Saskatchewan, and both the district of Alberta in the Northwest Territories (later the province of Alberta) and Lake Louise in that district were named after her. Although she was often unwell, she was a compassionate woman who, during an epidemic of scarlet fever, personally nursed the sick.

After Canada

Princess Louise returned to England in 1881 and Lord Lorne followed two years later in 1883. Lorne was Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle from 1892 to 1914, and he sat as MP for Manchester South from 1895 until the death of his father on 24 April 1900, when he succeeded as 9th and 2nd Duke of Argyll (his father had been created Duke of Argyll in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1892). He and Princess Louise lived at Kensington Palace until his death from pneumonia in 1914.

The marriage was not a happy one. Lorne is rumored to have been bisexual, if not largely homosexual in predisposition. One of his close homosexual friends was the handsome but dissolute Frank Shackleton (brother of the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton), who was a key suspect in the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels. There is clear evidence that official investigation of the theft of the Crown Jewels was suppressed. It has been suggested that this is because authorities became aware of the Lorne connection to Shackleton.

John married Louise Caroline Alberta Duchess of Argyll, daughter of Prince Albert Francis Albert Charles Augustus Emanuel of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Queen Victoria Hanover of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, on 21 Mar 1871. (Louise Caroline Alberta Duchess of Argyll was born on 18 Mar 1848 in Buckingham Palace, London, England and died on 3 Dec 1939 in Kensington Palace, London, England.)

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