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Viceregal consorts of Canada

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Title: Viceregal consorts of Canada  
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Language: English
Subject: 2005 in Canada, Maurice Sauvé, Jean-Daniel Lafond, 2006 in Canada, Maud Petty-Fitzmaurice, Marchioness of Lansdowne, 2007 in Canada, Gerda Hnatyshyn, Gabrielle Léger, Diana Fowler LeBlanc, Lily Schreyer
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Viceregal consorts of Canada

The viceregal consort of Canada is the spouse of the serving governor general of Canada, assisting the viceroy with ceremonial and charitable work, accompanying him or her to official state occasions, and occasionally undertaking philanthropic work of their own. As the hostess of the royal and viceroyal residence in Ottawa, the consort, if female, is also known as the Chatelaine of Rideau Hall. This individual, who ranks third in the Canadian order of precedence, after the Canadian monarch and the governor general, is addressed as His or Her Excellency while their spouse is in office, and is made ex officio a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Knight or Dame of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.[1]

Only once has the title of Chatelaine of Rideau Hall been held by someone who was not the spouse of the governor general—as Vincent Massey was a widower, his daughter-in-law, Lilias Massey, held the title and performed the official duties of the Chatelaine. Unlike a viceregal consort, however, Lilias Massey was not addressed as Her Excellency.


The position of the viceregal consort carries no official duties and receives no salary. However, consorts have held and do hold a prominent and visible position in the Canadian affairs of state, taking part in official occasions, such as the Speech From the Throne and Order of Canada investitures, and national celebrations, such as Canada Day events on Parliament Hill, as well as both welcoming foreign dignitaries to Canada and accompanying the governor general on state visits abroad. These practices evolved from the original role as the hostess of the royal and viceroyal residences in Ottawa (Rideau Hall) and Quebec City (La Citadelle), a tradition maintained only by female viceregal consorts, who oversee the planning of ceremonies and functions of state that take place at either of the official residences.

Over the course of the 20th century, it became increasingly common for viceregal consorts to select and pursue on their own initiative various charitable projects.[1] Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, whose husband served as governor general during the Second World War, volunteered her time to the war effort in Canada, especially women's organisations such as the Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division. The activities chosen are typically apolitical and non-divisive. However, some consorts have stirred controversy through their work; Jean-Daniel Lafond, who promoted Canadian art—film in particular—and involved himself in the Francophone community, made a documentary while viceregal consort that attracted criticism from the National Post that Lafond had shown strong anti-Americanism and had been sympathetic to an admitted assassin.[2][3][4]

List of viceregal consorts

Viceregal consorts of New France, 1627–1760

# Name Dates Spouse
1 Hélène de Champlain (born Boullé) 1627–1635 Samuel de Champlain
None 1635–1648 Charles de Montmagny
2 Marie-Barbe d'Ailleboust (née de Boullongne)[5] 1648–1651 Louis d'Ailleboust de Coulonge
None[n 1] 1651–1657 Jean de Lauson
None 1658–1661 Le vicompte de Mouzay
None 1661–1663 Le baron d'Avaugour
None 1663–1665 Augustin de Saffray de Mésy
None 1665–1672 Daniel de Rémy de Courcelle
3 La comptesse de Frontenac et de Palluau (née Anne de la Grange-Trianon)[n 2][7] 1672–1682 Le comte de Frontenac et de Palluau
4 Marie Mandat[n 3][8] 1682–1685 Joseph-Antoine de La Barre
5 La marquise de Denonville (née Catherine Courtin)[9] 1685–1689 Le marquis de Denonville
None 1689–1698 Le comte de Frontenac et de Palluau
None 1698–1703 Louis-Hector de Callière
6 La marquise de Vaudreuil (née Louise-Élisabeth de Joybert)[10] 1703–1725 Le marquis de Vaudreuil
7 La marquise de Beauharnois (née Renée Pays)[n 2][11] 1725–1747 Le marquis de Beauharnois
8 La marquise de La Galissonnière (née Marie-Catherine-Antoinette de Lauson)[n 3][12] 1747–1749 Le marquis de La Galissonnière
9 La marquise de la Jonquière (née Marie-Angélique de La Valette)[n 3][13] 1749–1752 Le marquis de la Jonquière
None 1752–1755 Le marquis du Quesne
None 1755–1760 Le marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal

Viceregal consorts of British North America, 1760–1867

# Name Dates Spouse
10 Lady Jane Amherst (née Dalison)[n 3][14] 1760–1763 Sir Jeffrey Amherst
11 Cordelia Murray (née Collier)[n 3][15] 1764–1768 James Murray
12 Lady Maria Carleton (née Howard)[n 3][16] 1768–1778 Sir Guy Carleton
None 1778–1786 Sir Frederick Haldimand
12 The Lady Dorchester (previously Lady Maria Carleton)[n 3] 1786–1796 The Lord Dorchester
13 Unknown 1796–1799 Robert Prescott
14 Lady Charlotte Frances Milnes (née Bentinck)[17] 1799–1805 Sir Robert Shore Milnes
15 Lady Henriette Dunn (née Guichaud)[18] 1805–1807 Sir Thomas Dunn
None 1807–1811 Sir James Henry Craig
16 Lady Catherine Anne Prévost (née Phipps)[19] 1811–1815 Sir George Prévost
17 Lady Margaret Drummond (née Russell)[n 3][20] 1815–1816 Sir Gordon Drummond
18 Lady Katherine Sherbrooke (née Pyndar)[21] 1816–1818 Sir John Coape Sherbrooke
19 The Duchess of Richmond (née Charlotte Gordon)[22] 1818–1820 The Duke of Richmond
20 The Countess of Dalhousie (née Christina Broun)[23] 1820–1828 The Earl of Dalhousie
None 1828–1830 Sir James Kempt
21 The Lady Aylmer (née Louisa Anne Call)[24] 1830–1835 The Lord Aylmer
22 The Countess of Gosford (née Mary Sparrow)[25] 1835–1837 The Earl of Gosford
23 Lady Elizabeth Seaton (née Yonge)[26] 1837–1838 Sir John Colborne
24 The Countess of Durham (née Lady Louisa Elizabeth Grey)[27] 1838–1839 The Earl of Durham
None 1839–1941 The Lord Sydenham
25 Mary Charlotte Anne Bagot (née Wellesley-Pole)[28] 1842–1843 Sir Charles Bagot
None 1843–1845 Sir Charles Metcalfe
26 The Countess Cathcart (née Henrietta Mather)[n 3][29] 1846–1847 The Earl Cathcart
27 The Countess of Elgin and Kincardine (née Lady Mary Lambton)[30] 1847–1854 The Earl of Elgin and Kincardine
28 Lady Anna Maria Head (née Yorke)[31] 1854–1861 Sir Edmund Walker Head
29 The Viscountess Monck (née Lady Elizabeth Louise Mary Monck)[32] 1861–1867 The Viscount Monck

Viceregal consorts of Canada, 1867–present

# Name Dates Spouse
29 The Viscountess Monck (née Lady Elizabeth Louise Mary Monck) 1867–1869 The Viscount Monck
30 The Lady Lisgar (née Adelaide Annabella Tuite Dalton)[33] 1869–1872 The Lord Lisgar
31 The Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava (née Hariot Georgina Rowan-Hamilton) 1872–1878 The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava
32 The Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne 1878–1883 The Marquess of Lorne
33 The Marchioness of Lansdowne (née Lady Maud Evelyn Hamilton) 1883–1888 The Marquess of Lansdowne
34 The Countess of Derby (née Lady Constance Villiers)[34] 1888–1893 The Earl of Derby
35 The Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair (née Ishbel Maria Marjoribanks) 1893–1898 The Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
36 The Countess of Minto (née Lady Mary Caroline Grey)[35] 1898–1904 The Earl of Minto
37 The Countess Grey (née Alice Holford)[36] 1904–1911 The Earl Grey
38 The Duchess of Connaught (née Princess Luise Margarete of Prussia) 1911–1916 Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
39 The Duchess of Devonshire (née Lady Evelyn Emily Mary FitzMaurice) 1916–1921 The Duke of Devonshire
40 The Lady Byng of Vimy (née Marie Evelyn Moreton) 1921–1926 The Lord Byng of Vimy
41 The Marchioness of Willingdon (née Lady Marie Adelaide Brassey) 1926–1931 The Marquess of Willingdon
42 The Countess of Bessborough (née Roberte de Neuflize) 1931–1935 The Earl of Bessborough
43 The Lady Tweedsmuir (née Susan Charlotte Grosvenor) 1935–1940 The Lord Tweedsmuir
44 Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (née Princess Alice of Albany) 1940–1946 The Earl of Athlone
45 The Viscountess Alexander of Tunis (née Lady Margaret Bingham) 1946–1952 The Viscount Alexander of Tunis
None[n 4] 1952–1959 Vincent Massey
46 Pauline Vanier (née Archer) 1959–1967 Georges Vanier
47 Norah Michener (née Willis) 1967–1974 Roland Michener
48 Gabrielle Léger (née Carmel) 1974–1979 Jules Léger
49 Lily Schreyer (née Schulz) 1979–1984 Edward Schreyer
50 Maurice Sauvé 1984–1990 Jeanne Sauvé
51 Karen Gerda Nygaard Hnatyshyn (née Andreasen) 1990–1995 Ramon John Hnatyshyn
52 Diana Fowler LeBlanc 1995–1999 Roméo LeBlanc
53 John Ralston Saul 1999–2005 Adrienne Clarkson
54 Jean-Daniel Lafond 2005–2010 Michaëlle Jean
55 Sharon Johnston 2010– David Lloyd Johnston

Canadian institutions established by viceregal consorts

See also



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