Canada History

Canada History   timelines 
AskAHistorian    blog 



Her Excellency the Right Honourable Viscount Willingdon

Sworn in: .
Born: .


Elections | Governor General | Supreme Courts | Parliament | Political Parties | Prime Ministers | Provinces  | Symbols

The Viscount Monck | The Lord Lisgar | The Earl of Dufferin | The Marquess of Lorne | The Marquess of Lansdowne | The Lord Stanley of Preston | The Earl of Aberdeen  | The Earl of Minto | The Earl Grey | The Duke of Connaught and Stratheam | The Duke of Devonshire | Lord Byng of Vimy | The Viscount Willingdon | The Earl Bessborough | The Lord Tweedsmuir | The Earl of Athlone | The Viscount Alexander of Tunis | Vincent Massey | Georges P Vanier | Roland Michener | Jules Leger  | Edward Schreyer | Jeanne Sauvé | Ray Hnatyshyn | Romeo LeBlanc | Adrienne Clarkson | Michelle Jean | David Lloyd Johnston


A seasoned diplomat, as well as a cultured and widely travelled nobleman, Freeman Thomas, Baron Willingdon of Ratton and Earl and Marquess of Willingdon, was the thirteenth Governor General.

Born on September 12, 1866, he was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He went to Australia in 1897 where he served for three years as Aide-de-Camp to his father in Law, Lord Brassey, Governor of Victoria, then returned to enter the House of Commons. He remained there until he was elevated to the peerage and joined the Hose of Lords in 1910, when he was also appointed Lord-in-Waiting to King George V. He was a keen cricketer and a Hunt Master.

In 1913, he was named Governor of Bombay; in 1919 Governor of Madras and in 1926, prior to his Canadian appointment, he chaired a mission to China on the Boxer Rebellion indemnities. He took his oath of office in Quebec City on October 2, 1926.

Willingdon visited many parts of the Dominion and made goodwill visits t the United States. He was warmly received everywhere he went. Early in his tenure, the Statute of Westminster was signed and the Governor General became solely the representative of the Crown in Canada, taking his advice from the sovereign's Canadian advisors. The British Government then appointed a British High Commissioner to Ottawa to act as liaison between the Government of Canada and the United Kingdom. Canada had previously established a High Commissioner's office in London.

In 1927, he entertained the Prince of Wales on his historic tour of Canada, and Prime Minister Ramsey Macdonald. He also set a precedent by flying from Ottawa to Montreal return, the first Governor General to  take to the air.

On completion of his term of office in 1931, he went directly to India as Viceroy, a post that had been held by three of his predecessors. He later carried out many important missions for his country; was raised to the rank of Marquis and made Chancellor of the Order of St Michael and St George. He died in London in 1941.

Article/Document/Material Source: