Viceroy and Governor-General of India, Painted on Italian Marble 1920.
Freeman Freeman-Thomas received education at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge; served as aide-de-camp of the Governor of Victoria, Australia (1895-1898); was elected a Liberal member of the U.K. Parliament where he represented Hastings (1900-1906) and Bodmin (1906-1910); appointed one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury (Dec 1905 – Feb 1906); appointed Lord-in-Waiting to the King George V (1911); served as governor of the Indian provinces of Bombay (1913-1918) and Madras (1919-1924); was not a favourite of the British Conservative as a candidate to be Canadian Governor General, but was included on the list by insistence of George V; appointed Governor General of Canada (2 Oct 1926 – 4 Apr 1931) after Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King chose him to fill the post as a fellow Liberal; was the first Governor General to act solely as the king’s agent and the first to visit the U.S. in his capacity as a representative of the Head of State; initiated the Willingdon Arts Competitions for excellence in music, literature, painting and sculpture; privately worried about the “peaceful penetration” into Canada of American media and economic influences; sworn in as a member of the U.K. Privy Council (20 Mar 1931); served as Viceroy and Governor-General of India (18 Apr 1931 – 18 Apr 1936).
Governor General Willingdon was a keen sportsman. He particularly enjoyed fishing, golf, tennis, skating, skiing, curling and cricket, and he welcomed the opportunity to have many of the same sports played at Rideau Hall.
Both Lord and Lady Willingdon had an appreciation for the arts and they furnished Rideau Hall with rare carpets, screens and objets d’art they had collected during their travels in China and India. (In 1993, the Long Gallery at Rideau Hall was restored in the Chinese style of Lady Willingdon’s time.) They also introduced the Willingdon Arts Competition which built on the Lord Grey Competition for Music and Drama, adding awards for painting and sculpture.
As his term of office drew to a close, the Great Depression was beginning its ruinous course and although Lord Willingdon was leaving Canada for a new posting in India, he often expressed his concern for the unemployed.