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A Signed Viceregal Presentation Portrait of The Marquess and Marchioness of Willingdon, signed and dated Delhi 1936

Affable and effortlessly talented, Sir George Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon, 13th Governor of General of Canada and 32nd Viceroy of India (1866-1941), was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he made a name for himself as cricketer and player of ball games of all kinds. He assumed the surname Freeman-Thomas by Royal Licence in 1892, and was a Liberal Member of Parliament between 1900-1910. In the latter year he was raised to the peerage as a Baron, and promoted to Viscount in 1924, and Earl in 1931. In the same year he was appointed Viceroy of India. The major achievements of his period of office were persuading the Indian National Congress to join the second Round Table Conference, thereby undermining the second Civil Disobedience Movement; helping to shape the Government of India Bill (1935); and implementing the India Act of 1935. Just before the first election held under that Act his tenure ran out and it was his successor Lord Linlithgow who inaugurated the elective system that Willingdon had devised. 

The Willingdon Club in Bombay was established with membership open to both Indians and British after he was denied entry, although he was Viceroy, with Indian friends to the Royal Bombay Yacth Club. The Willingdon Club continues to flourish today. He was raised in the peerage to Marquess of Willingdon in 1936, the last non-royal marquessate created in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. During his tenure as Governor General of Canada he donated the Willingdon Cup to the Royal Canadian Golf Association which has been contested annually since that year. Lord Willingdon died in 1941, and was succeeded by his younger son Inigo, Viscount Ratendone, his elder son, Lieutenant the Hon. Gerard Freeman-Thomas, having been killed in action during the First World War whilst serving with the Coldstream. Lord and Lady Willingdon are buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey.

 

 

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