Mary of Teck Biography

Mary of Teck, popularly known as Queen Mary, consort of King George V, was the Queen of UK, British Dominions, and Empress of India. Check out this Check out this biography to know about her childhood, life history and achievements.

Quick Facts

Nick Name: Queen Mary

Birthday: May 26, 1867

Nationality: British

Famous: Empresses & Queens British Women

Died At Age: 85

Sun Sign: Gemini

Born Country: England

Born in: Kensington Palace, London, United Kingdom

Famous as: Former Queen of the United Kingdom

Height: 1.68 m


Spouse/Ex-: George V (m. 1893–1936)

father: Francis, Duke of Teck

mother: Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge

children: Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent, Edward VIII, King George VI, Mary, Prince George, Prince Henry, Prince John, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood

Died on: March 24, 1953

City: London, England

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Mary of Teck, popularly known as Queen Mary, consort of King George V, was the Queen of UK, British Dominions, and Empress of India. Though she was the princess of Teck, a castle in Wurttemberg kingdom in Germany, she was born in Kensington Palace in London and spent her entire life in England. She was given the moniker, ‘May’ as she was born in that month. She was affianced to Prince of Wales’ eldest son, Prince Albert Victor, duke of Avondale and Clarence when she was 24 years old. Unfortunately, the engagement fell through owing to the premature demise of Prince Albert from pneumonia. A year later, her betrothal was again finalized with younger brother of Albert Victor, George who afterwards was crowned as the King of England. Prior to her coronation as the Queen, she was anointed with the titles of ‘Duchess of York’, ‘Princess of Wales’ and ‘Duchess of Cornwall’. Following the coronation of George V as King of England, she automatically became the Queen consort, assisting her husband in fulfilling his official duties. When Edward, her eldest son became the king after George V died, she fulfilled the role of Queen mother. When Edward VIII renounced the throne, his younger brother Albert wore the crown as King George VI. Mary of Teck passed away at 85, shortly before Queen Elizabeth II’s crowning.

Childhood & Early Life
  • Mary of Tech was born on 26 May 1867, in Kensington Palace in London, to Duke of Tech, Prince Francis, and Mary Adelaide, Princess of Cambridge. Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Thomas Longley christened her in the same year on 27th July in Kensington Palace’s Royal Chapel.
  • Mary had three brothers, all younger to her. All the four siblings spent time together with Prince of Wales’ children who were their cousins. Though her brothers were packed off to residential schools, she was instructed at home by governesses and her mother.
  • Mary’s mother who held the title, ‘Duchess of Teck’ by marriage, encouraged her to take up social work and visit the houses of the poor for making endowments. Since Mary’s father was the progeny of a morganatic marriage, he did not inherit any wealth or property compelling the family to live frugally.
  • The Duchess of Teck on account of her being a direct descendant of King George III received an annuity from the British Parliament and a yearly sum from the Duchess of Cambridge, her mother. Her family remained in arrears, the grants notwithstanding. In order to scrimp and save, they visited their relatives, spread throughout Europe.
  • After peregrinating from 1883 to 1885, they came back to London and started staying at Richmond Park in White Lodge. Despite being in debt, Mary’s mother did not shy away from throwing extravagant parties and she always lent a helping hand.
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The Engagements That Made Her a Royal of the Highest Order
  • Queen Victoria, grandmother of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, liked Mary of Teck because of her fortitude, and saw to it that she was engaged to her eldest grandson. However, six weeks after Mary’s engagement with Prince Albert, the latter died of pneumonia.
  • Prince George, Duke of York, the younger brother of Prince Albert became the natural claimant to the British throne, after the latter’s death. Since Mary continued to be in the good books of Queen Victoria, the latter approved the intimate relationship which the former had come to develop with Prince George.
  • Mary accepted Prince George’s marriage proposal in May 1893. Mary of Teck got married to Prince George on 6 July 1893 at Chapel Royal in St. James’s Palace.
Mary as Duchess of York and Cornwall and Princess of Wales
  • Mary became the ‘Duchess of York’ following her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York. They started residing in St. James Palace and also spent time in York Cottage in Norfolk County. The couple became the proud parents of six children, namely Edward, Albert, Mary, Henry, George, and John.
  • Nannies were employed to take care of the children of the Duke and Duchess of York. However, only one nanny, Charlotte Bill, continued to work long term as she shared a good rapport with the children. Charlotte was especially hired to nurse Prince John who allegedly suffered from epilepsy.
  • Mary proved to be a compassionate mother, instilling good values in her children and offering them music and history lessons. Edward, her eldest child was ambivalent about her mother’s attitude towards him and his other siblings, expressing favourable views in his journals but critical analyses in personal epistles to his better-half.
  • Mary and George in their official capacity as Duchess and Duke of York respectively, discharged all obligatory public duties. For instance, she patronized the ‘London Needlework Guild’ just like her mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, did. She even embroidered a few teapot drapes and upholsteries for chairs.
  • Following the death of her mother-in-law and the sovereign head of state, Queen Victoria in 1901, her father-in-law started reigning as King Edward VII. Mary and George embarked on an extended tour of some of the countries under British Rule as ‘Duchess and Duke of York and Cornwall’.
  • After George and Mary returned home from their overseas trip, they were anointed as ‘Prince of Wales’ and ‘Princess of Wales’ in 1901 following which they shifted to Marlborough House from St. James Palace. In 1905, the last of Mary’s children, John, was born with congenital respiratory problems.
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  • In 1905, the ‘Duke and Duchess of York’ again set off for an eight-month trip to the Indian subcontinent. Soon after coming back, they left for Spain to attend the marriage ceremony of King Alonso III and Victoria Eugene of Battenberg.
  • They visited Norway in 1905 to be present at the crowning of King Haakon VII, who became brother-in-law of George following the former’s marriage to his sister Queen Maud.
Mary of Teck Becomes Queen Mary
  • After Mary’s father-in-law, King Edward VII passed away on 6 May 1911, her husband was crowned as King George V, which made her the queen consort. Upon George V’s request, she dropped ‘Victoria’ from her name as a mark of respect to her grandmother-in-law.
  • The coronation ceremony where George became the sovereign head of UK and the British Isles, and British India and Mary the queen consort was observed at Westminster Abbey on 22 June 1911. In that year, the newly crowned king and queen visited India to commemorate their coronation at Delhi Durbar.
  • Mary, despite having a congenial relationship with Queen Alexandra, her mother-in-law, was often at loggerheads with her. For instance, Queen Alexandra deliberately overstayed at Buckingham Palace, long after her husband Edward VII’s death. Then again, she withheld many of the crown jewels that should have been bequeathed to Queen Mary.
  • Mary of Teck was at her philanthropic best during the entire period of the World War I, visiting injured soldiers in hospices and infirmaries. WWI came to an end in 1918 with Germany’s surrender and the renunciation of the throne by Wilhelm II, the German Emperor.
  • John, the youngest son of Mary, passed away at the tender age of thirteen which made her extremely grief-stricken and left her in shock. She continued to provide full-fledged support to her husband in carrying out his official duties as the King of England.
  • Queen Mary took good care of George V when he became incapacitated by illness in the 1920s, which prevented him from working in a normal manner. George V succumbed to his illness on 20 January 1936 paving the way for Edward, Prince of Wales to ascend the throne.
Queen Mother to Two Kings
  • With the coronation of the eldest son of Mary as King Edward VIII, she became the Queen Mother. Soon after Edward’s crowning, he made public his relationship with Wallis Simpson, a divorced American woman. Mary vehemently objected to the king marrying a commoner, and that too a divorcee.
  • Since convention did not permit Edward to take a divorcee as a queen, he stepped down as a king in order to marry Wallis. Mary’s second son and Edward’s younger brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York was crowned the new king. Albert assumed the name, George VI upon becoming the king.
  • After WWII broke out, Mary relocated to Badminton House in Gloucestershire to stay with Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort who was her niece. She offered all the support she could during the war, in her personal capacity, visiting battlefronts to meet soldiers.
  • Prince George, one of Mary’s sons, died in harness, during an air crash. King George VI died in 1952 and Mary’s eldest granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth succeeded the throne, becoming Queen Elizabeth II. Mary of Teck was greatly grieved from the death of three of her sons, John, George, and Albert who predeceased her.
  • Mary of Teck passed away on 24 March 1953, at the age 85, two and a half months prior to her granddaughter’s crowning. She and her husband lie buried alongside each other in Windsor Castle at St. George’s Chapel.

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