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Sir Henry Abel Smith KCMG, KCVO, DSO (8 March 1900 – 24 January 1993) was a British Army officer who served as Governor of Queensland, Australia. He married Lady May Cambridge, a niece of King George V and Queen Mary.

Henry Abel Smith

Henry Abel Smith and May Ella Emma Cambridge.jpg
Henry Abel Smith and Lady May Cambridge
17th Governor of Queensland
In office
18 March 1958 – 18 March 1966
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
PremierSir Frank Nicklin
Preceded bySir John Lavarack
Succeeded bySir Alan Mansfield
Personal details
Born8 March 1900
St George Hanover Square, London, England
Died24 January 1993(1993-01-24) (aged 92)
Barton Lodge, Winkfield, Berkshire, England
ChildrenAnne Liddell-Grainger
Richard Abel Smith
Elizabeth Wise
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Distinguished Service Order
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/service British Army
Years of service1919–1950
UnitRoyal Horse Guards
Commands2nd Household Cavalry Regiment
Battles/warsWorld War II
Arms of Smith: Or, a chevron cotised sable between three demi-griffins couped of the last the two in chief respecting each other. These are the arms of Smith/Carington, Baron Carrington and of Smith, Baron Bicester, both descendants of the banker Abel Smith II (1717–1788)[1]



He was born in London on 8 March 1900, the eldest son of Lt-Col Francis Abel Smith (1861–1908), DL, of Wilford House, Nottinghamshire[2] and of Cole Orton Hall, Leicestershire,[3] and of Selsdon Park, a descendant of the prominent Smith banking family founded by Abel Smith (1717–1788), by his wife Madeline St. Maur Seymour (1862–1951), a descendant of Edward Seymour, 8th Duke of Somerset.[4] His grandparents were Henry Abel Smith (1826–1890) and Elizabeth Mary Pym (1826–1877), a daughter of Francis Pym (1790–1860) and Lady Lucy Leslie-Meville (1796–1848), a daughter of Alexander Leslie-Melville, 9th Earl of Leven. His younger brother was Brigadier Sir Alexander Abel Smith (b.1904), whose second wife was Henriette Alice Cadogan (Lady Abel-Smith) (d.2005), Dame Commander, Royal Victorian Order, a descendant of the 4th Earl Cadogan, who between 1949 and 1987 served as a lady-in-waiting to Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II).[5]


Abel Smith attended Eton College[6] and subsequently the Royal Military College, Sandhurst where on 17 December 1919 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Royal Horse Guards.[7] Promoted on 17 December 1921 to lieutenant,[8] between 1928-30[9] he served as aide-de-camp (ADC) to Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone (1874-1957) (born Prince Alexander of Teck, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in South Africa), whose daughter he later married. He was promoted to captain on 1 February 1930 and major on 26 June 1934.[10]

He served in the Second World War, where from 1941 to 1945 he commanded the 2nd Household Cavalry Regiment, leading it throughout the entire North West Europe Campaign from June 1944 shortly after D-Day to Victory in Europe Day in May 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in February 1945.[11] In 1944 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and in 1946 colonel.[12] He retired as a colonel in 1950. In 1953 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Berkshire.[13] On 18 March 1958 Sir Henry was appointed Governor of Queensland in Australia and served in that office until 18 March 1966. He was highly respected in the office of Governor. People lined the streets as a mark of high esteem to bid farewell to him and Lady May Abel Smith on their final day in office on their way to Brisbane Airport.

Marriage and progenyEdit

On 24 October 1931, at St. Mary's Church, Balcombe, Sussex, he married Lady May Cambridge, the only surviving child of his former commander Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone (1874-1957) (born Prince Alexander of Teck). She was born Princess May of Teck, and was a niece of King George V and Queen Mary, and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. By his wife he had three children:

Death and burialEdit

Sir Henry died at home at Barton Lodge, Winkfield, Berkshire, on 24 January 1993 aged 92. His funeral service took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. His cremated remains were buried at the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore. His wife survived him by only sixteen months.

Titles, styles, honours, and armsEdit


External linksEdit


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.223, Smith/Carington, Baron Carrington; p.145, Smith, Baron Bicester, both descendants of the banker Abel Smith II (1717–1788)
  2. ^ Kelly's Directory, 1969, p.114
  3. ^ Kelly's Directory, 1969, p.114
  4. ^ The Peerage
  5. ^ Kelly's Directory, 1969, p.114; Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.204
  6. ^ Kelly's Directory, 1969, p.114
  7. ^ "No. 31754". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 January 1920. p. 1085.
  8. ^ "No. 32557page=10471". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 December 1921.
  9. ^ Kelly's Directory, 1969, p.114
  10. ^ Kelly's Directory, 1969, p.114
  11. ^ "No. 36917". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 January 1945. p. 678.
  12. ^ Kelly's Directory, 1969, p.114
  13. ^ Kelly's Directory, 1969, p.114
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Lavarack
Governor of Queensland
Succeeded by
Sir Alan Mansfield