Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire

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Victor Christian William Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire

Birthplace: Greater London, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Chatsworth House
Immediate Family:

Son of Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Edward Cavendish and Emma Elizabeth Cavendish
Husband of Evelyn Emily Mary Cavendish (Petty-FitzMaurice), Duchess of Devonshire
Father of Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire; Lady Maud Baillie; Blanche Katherine Cobbold; Dorothy Evelyn Macmillan; Rachel Stuart, Viscountess Stuart of Findhorn and 2 others
Brother of Lord Richard Frederick Cavendish and John Spencer Cavendish

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Victor Christian William Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire

Victor Christian William Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire, KG, GCMG, GCVO (London May 31, 1868 – May 6, 1938 Chatsworth House), was a Liberal Unionist Member of Parliament for West Derbyshire (1891–1908), Governor General of Canada (1916–1921), and Colonial Secretary (1922–1924).



Beginning his education at Eton, he carried on his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge prior to beginning a career in politics in 1891.

Family life

He married Lady Evelyn Emily Mary Fitzmaurice (1870–1960), eldest daughter of Lord Lansdowne (Canada's fifth Governor General), on July 30, 1892. Together, they had two sons and five daughters. Two of their daughters married aides-de-camp to their father while he was Governor General:

Edward Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire (1895–1950) married Lady Mary Gascoyne-Cecil

Lady Maud Louisa Emma Cavendish (1896–1975)

Captain The Honourable Angus Mackintosh (1885–1918); married 1917 (one daughter)

Brigadier-General George Evan Michael Baillie, (died 1941); married 1923 (one son)

Lady Blanche Katharine Cavendish (1898–1987) married Lieutenant-Colonel Ivan Murray Cobbold (died 1944) in 1919; (two sons and two daughters)

Lady Dorothy Cavendish (1900–1966); married Captain Harold Macmillan, who later became Prime Minister of Britain, in 1920 (one son and three daughters)

Lady Rachel Cavendish, OBE (1902–1977) Married James Gray Stuart, 1st Viscount Stuart of Findhorn, CH, MVO, MC, PC (1897–1971) in 1923 (two sons and one daughter)

Lord Charles Arthur Francis Cavendish, (29 August 1905 – 23 March 1944); married Adele, the sister of Fred Astaire, in 1932.

Lady Anne Cavendish (born 1909)

Public Life

On the death of his father, Lord Edward Cavendish (1838–1891), who represented West Derbyshire in the House of Commons, he succeeded his father unopposed, becoming the youngest member of the House. He remained elected to that seat until 1908, when the death of his uncle made him Duke of Devonshire and a member of the House of Lords. He also acted as Treasurer to His Majesty's Household from 1900 to 1903, then Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1903 to 1905. He was appointed Chancellor of the University of Leeds in 1909, a post he held until his death in 1938. He was Mayor of Eastbourne from 1909–10 and of Chesterfield from 1911–12, and Civil Lord of the Admiralty between 1915 and 1916, the year he was appointed Governor General of Canada.

The appointment of the Duke of Devonshire as Governor General caused brief political problems because Prime Minister Borden's government had not been consulted by the British Prime Minister. Such consultation had become an established practice, and the insult Prime Minister Borden felt at this caused considerable difficulties at the beginning.

But by the time his term ended, the Duke of Devonshire had overcome the initial suspicion surrounding his appointment. He displayed great dignity and wisdom, particularly with the many Canadians he met. Prime Ministers Borden and Meighen both came to view him as a personal friend and a friend of Canada. Borden said of the Duke of Devonshire that, "No Governor General has come with a more comprehensive grasp of public questions as they touch not only this country and the United Kingdom, but the whole Empire."

There was great social upheaval in Canada during the Duke of Devonshire's term of office. World War I still raged, and Canada continued to commit supplies and troops. The Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge in 1917 confirmed the fighting ability of Canadian troops, and fuelled Canadian pride and nationalism at home. The Duchess of Devonshire took an active part in volunteer organizations to help ease the suffering of people affected by the war, and she visited many military hospitals across the country.

The war was also causing social problems. The Canadian government introduced conscription shortly after the Duke of Devonshire's arrival. The decision was particularly divisive between French and English Canadians (see Conscription Crisis of 1917). Devonshire did what he could to encourage reconciliation, but he was very conscious of his role as Governor General, which at that time was still closely linked to the British government. As a result, he was careful to consult with Prime Minister Borden and the opposition leaders, and to not interfere in political matters.

As well, the women's suffrage movement grew in strength and, during the Duke of Devonshire's term, women were given the vote. Social unrest also came, however, in the form of the Winnipeg General Strike, as Canadians made new demands of society and of the political system that served them. Prime Minister Borden retired towards the end of the Duke of Devonshire's term, and was replaced by Arthur Meighen.

While the Duke of Devonshire did not intervene in politics, he was clearly interested in Canadians and their lives, and undertook several tours across the country. In 1918, he went to Washington to visit, informally, President Woodrow Wilson at the White House. The following year, he received the Prince of Wales in Ottawa on the Prince's first tour of Canada.

With his own experience in England as an agricultural land owner, he was extremely interested in the development of farming in Canada. During his travels, he discussed agricultural issues with farmers and others in the industry. They found he had the knowledge and expertise to back up his interest in this field.

He visited many agricultural and horticultural fairs, shows, and sugaring-off parties in the Gatineau. In 1918, the Duke of Devonshire donated the Devonshire Cup, for annual golf competition in the Canadian Seniors Golf Association.[1] In 1921, the Duke of Devonshire Trophy for the Ottawa Horticultural Society was established. One of his major projects was to encourage the establishment of experimental farms, including the Government of Canada's major experimental farm, then on the outskirts of Ottawa. His speeches often spoke of Canada's potential to lead the world in agricultural research and development.

The Duke of Devonshire was also a patron of the arts. He often visited the National Gallery of Canada, and encouraged frequent theatrical performances at Rideau Hall. Skating and tobogganing parties also continued on the grounds during the winters, where the Duchess was able to refresh the skating techniques she had learned as a girl at Rideau Hall. The Duke also loved ice hockey, and attended many matches. They also made improvements to Rideau Hall by building tennis courts and developing the gardens. And in 1918, the Duchess of Devonshire became the first woman to plant a ceremonial tree, a sugar maple, on the grounds of Rideau Hall. Of everything the Duke enjoyed about Canada, however, he especially enjoyed the residence at La Citadelle in Quebec City, and he loved spending time there.

On returning to England after his term in Canada, he worked for the League of Nations and was then Secretary of State for the Colonies until 1924. After his retirement from political life, he lived on his estate in Derbyshire where he died in 1938. Lady Evelyn died in 1960.


Victor Christian William Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire KG PC GCMG GCVO JP (31 May 1868 – 6 May 1938) was a British politician who, between 1916 and 1921, served as the Governor General of Canada. He was born the eldest son of a noble family in London, United Kingdom, and educated at Eton College before moving on to the University of Cambridge. In 1891, he entered into politics, winning unopposed the riding his father had held until he died that year, and held this seat in the British House of Commons until he inhereted his uncle's dukedom in 1908, thereafter taking his place in the House of Lords, while for a period at the same time acting as mayor of Eastbourne and Chesterfield, as well as holding various cabinet posts both prior to and after his rise to the peerage.

On the recommendation of then British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, Cavendish was appointed by George V, the king of Canada, as the Canadian viceroy, succeeding in that role Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.[1] The designation was initially controversial, though, by the time of his departure for the UK, Cavendish had earned praise for the way in which he carried out his official duties. Following his tenure as the Canadian viceroy, he returned to political and diplomatic life, serving as Secretary of State for the Colonies between 1922 and 1924, before retiring to his estate in Derbyshire, where he died on 6 May 1938.


Viceregal styles of

Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire

Reference style His Grace

Sa Grâce

Spoken style Your Grace

Votre Grâce

Alternative style Sir


3 May 1868 – 11 December 1905: Mister Victor Cavendish

11 December 1905 – 24 March 1908: The Right Honourable Victor Cavendish

24 March 1908 – 11 November 1916: His Grace The Duke of Devonshire

11 November 1916 – 19 September 1918: His Grace The Duke of Devonshire, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia and Naval Forces of Canada

19 September 1918 – 2 August 1921: His Grace The Duke of Devonshire, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia and Naval and Air Forces of Canada

2 August 1921 – 6 May 1938: His Grace The Duke of Devonshire

Cavendish's style and title as Governor General of Canada was, in full, and in English: His Excellency The Most Noble Sir. Victor Christian William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire, Marquess of Hartington, Earl of Burlington, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Justice of the Peace, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia and Naval and Air Forces of Canada, and in French: Son Excellence le très Noble Sir Victor Christian William Cavendish, duk de Devonshire, marquess de Hartington, comte de Burlington, chevalier de le nobilissime ordre de la Jarretière, chevalier grand-croix de le très distingué ordre de Saint-Michel et Saint-George, chevalier grand-croix de l'ordre royal de Victoria, Justice de paix, gouverneur générale et commandant en chef de la milice et les forces navales et aérienne du Canada. It should be noted that, for Cavendish, Commander-in-Chief was strictly a title, and not a position that he held; the actual commander-in-chief (who can also be, and is, called such) is perpetually the monarch of Canada.[10]

In his post-viceregal life, Alexander's style and title was: His Grace The Most Noble Sir. Victor Christian William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire, Marquess of Hartington, Earl of Burlington, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Justice of the Peace.

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Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire's Timeline

May 31, 1868
Greater London, United Kingdom
July 30, 1892
Age 24
St. Margaret's, Westminster, Middlesex, England
May 6, 1895
Age 26
April 20, 1896
Age 27
February 2, 1898
Age 29
Park Lane, Westminster, Middlesex, England
July 28, 1900
Age 32
Park Lane, Westminster, Middlesex, England
January 22, 1902
Age 33
London, Middlesex, England
August 29, 1905
Age 37
August 20, 1909
Age 41
May 6, 1938
Age 69
Chatsworth House