Marquess of Lorne, 1892

John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll, was resident in  the hotel in March 1892,  where under his doctors advice  was confined to his bed for some time due to illness.  He evidently was non the worse for his confinement,  returning in May 1893 as the guest of honor at the Liberal Unionist Association annual dinner.

John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll KG, KT, GCMG, GCVO, PC (6 August 1845 – 2 May 1914), usually better known by the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, by which he was known before 1900, was a British nobleman and was the fourth 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,Princess Louise,  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.

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.

When Lord Lorne’s appointment was announced, there was great excitement throughout Canada. For the first time Rideau Hall would have a Royal resident – 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 – 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 new capital of the North-West Territories (and later of the province 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 (Alberta, after her father Prince Albert, being one of her Christian names). Although she was often unwell following a sleigh accident in Ottawa in 1880, 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. One of his closest friends was the handsome but dissolute Frank Shackleton, brother of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.  Interestingly, Frank Shackelton was a key suspect in the mysterious theft of the Irish Crown Jewels. There is evidence that the official investigation of the theft of the Crown Jewels was suppressed. It has been suggested by John Cafferky and Kevin Hannafin that this is because authorities became aware of the connection between Lorne and  Shackleton…another interesting historical mystery.