Mary of Teck Biography

(Former Queen Consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions (1910 - 1936))

Birthday: May 26, 1867 (Gemini)

Born In: London, England

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 the Wurttemberg kingdom of 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 untimely demise of Prince Albert from pneumonia. A year later, her betrothal was again finalized with the younger brother of Albert Victor, George, who was later crowned as the King of England. Prior to her coronation as the Queen, she was anointed with the titles ‘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’s demise, 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.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In May

Nick Name: Queen Mary

Also Known As: Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes

Died At Age: 85


Spouse/Ex-: George V (m. 1893–1936)

father: Francis, Duke of Teck

mother: Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge

siblings: Adolphus Cambridge; 1st Marquess of Cambridge, Alexander Cambridge; 1st Earl of Athlone, Prince Francis of Teck

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

Born Country: England

Royal Family Members British Women

Died on: March 24, 1953

place of death: London, England

City: London, England

Childhood & Early Life

Mary of Teck was born on 26 May 1867, in Kensington Palace, London, to Duke of Teck, Prince Francis, and Mary Adelaide, Princess of Cambridge. Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Thomas Longley christened her in the same year on 27 July in Kensington Palace’s Royal Chapel.

Mary had three younger brothers. The four siblings spent time together with Prince of Wales’ children who were their cousins. Though her brothers were sent 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.

Since the Duchess of Teck was a direct descendant of King George III, she 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 who were 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 also 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’s Palace and also spent time in the 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 named 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 his mother’s attitude towards him and his other siblings, expressing favorable 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. She even embroidered a few teapot drapes and upholsteries for chairs.

Following the death of the sovereign head of state Queen Victoria in 1901, Mary’sfather-in-law started reigning as King Edward VII. Mary and George embarked on an extended tour to 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’s 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 Yorkembarked on an eight-month trip to the Indian subcontinent. Soon after coming back, they left for Spain to attend the marriage ceremony of King Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenie 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 1910, her husband was crowned 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 the UK, 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. She also 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 age of 13, which left her shocked and grief-stricken. 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 her eldest son, she became the Queen Mother. Her son Edward caused a constitutional crisis within months into his reign when he proposed marriage to a two-time divorced American woman named Wallis Simpson.

Since convention did not permit Edward to take a divorcee as his queen, he stepped down as the 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 withher niece Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort. She offered all the support she could during the war, often visiting battlefronts to meet the soldiers.

Prince George, one of Mary’s sons, died 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 by the death of her three sons, John, George, and Albert.

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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