Willingdon, Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of

Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon, governor general of Canada 1926-31 (b at Ratton, Eng 12 Sept 1866; d at London, Eng 12 Aug 1941). After a period as an MP (1900-10) and terms as governor of the Indian provinces of Bombay (1913-18) and Madras (1919-24), Willingdon was governor general of Canada 1926-31 and viceroy of India 1931-36. The British Conservative government did not favour Willingdon as a suitable candidate to be Canadian governor general, claiming that he had less general ability, knowledge of affairs and public appeal than others. But King George V, whom Willingdon had served both as lord-in-waiting and tennis partner, intervened to request that his name be included on the list sent to Canada, and Canadian PM KING promptly chose Willingdon, a fellow Liberal. Thin and grandfatherly, he brought a sense of humour and an air of informality to his duties. He was the first governor general to act solely as the king's agent and the first to visit the US in his capacity as head of state. He initiated the Willingdon Arts Competitions for excellence in music, literature, painting and sculpture, and privately worried about the "peaceful penetration" into Canada of American media and economic influences.