↳ In her lifetime, Queen Mary saw 6 monarchs: Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V (her husband), King Edward VIII, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II.
Mary lived to see more monarchs than any other queen consort in British history.
The wedding of George V, then Duke of York, and Mary “May” of Teck, July 6, 1893.
The bridal party for this royal wedding consisted solely of the groom’s first cousins and two of his own sisters.
Left to right: (back row) Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh, Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, George Duke of York, Princess Victoria of Wales, Princess Maud of Wales.
(Front row) Princess Alice of Battenberg, Princess Margaret of Connaught, Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh, Princess Mary of Teck, Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, and Princess Patricia of Connaught
Mary was born as Victoria Mary in Kensington Palace on 26th May 1867, to Francis, Duke of Teck and Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. She was known as May her family. Mary’s mother spent much time with her children for the time and taught Mary well, encouraging her in charitable acts. Mary was part of a minor branch of the British Royal Family and as such her family were relatively poor. In 1883 the family moved abroad for two years in order to live more cheaply, staying with various relatives.
In 1885 the family returned to London to live at the White Lodge at Richmond Park. In 1891 it was planned for Mary to marry her cousin, Prince Albert Victor, who was the eldest son of the Prince of Wales and as such was second in line to the throne. Six weeks after the engagement was announced, Albert Victor died suddenly. Whilst in mourning for her intended husband, Mary grew close to his brother, Prince George. The two apparently came to love each other and in May 1983, George proposed to Mary and she accepted. The couple married two months later and went to live in York Cottage at the Sandringham Estate after their wedding.
George and Mary went on to have six children, Edward (later Edward VIII), Albert (later George VI), Mary, Henry, George and John. Mary had nannies to look after her children most of the time, which was normal for nobility in the period. She was described as a loving mother, who kept an album recording each child’s progress as they grew, by Edward VIII in his memoirs later in life. However, he also wrote private letters describing her a cold and cruel woman after her death. She also struggled with her youngest child who had epilepsy and was mostly hidden from public view until his early death at the age of 14.
In 1901 Queen Victoria died and George and Mary became Prince and Princess of Wales and next in line to the throne. They took on an ambitious tour of the British Empire which lasted eight months. Mary is said to have wept before leaving, at the thought of leaving her children for so long. During the years of Edward VII’s reign the couple would go on many other tours to various countries. Then in 1910, Edward VII died, and Mary became Queen of England, alongside her husband, now George V. The couple were crown on 22nd June 1911 together at Westminster Abbey.
Mary and George continued in their tours and went on a tour of India after they took the throne. Then in 1914 the First World War broke out and Mary began to impose austerity at Buckingham Palace, including rationing, and visited wounded and dying soldiers. After the war Mary continued to be a strong support for her husband, helping him with his speeches and giving advice to him. During the 1920′s George V became increasingly ill with lung problems, not helped by his heavy smoking. Mary took great care of him, one of George’s doctors is said to have commented that it was the Queen who saved the life of the King.
In 1935 George and Mary celebrated their silver jubilee and there were great celebrations across the Empire. George V died on 20th January 1936, leaving Mary as the Queen Mother, although this was never a title she took on. Mary was disapproving of her son Edward VIII’s actions which followed, ending in his abdication to marry Wallis Simpson. Whilst she continued to love Edward, she would never meet Wallis publicly or in private after this. Mary took great care to support her second son, who had unexpectedly become George VI. She took a great interest in her two granddaughters from this son, Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth. She took them on days to museums and to the theatre.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Mary was evacuated to Gloucestershire to live with her niece away from the dangers of London. Whilst there she visited factories and soldiers, alongside organising collections of scrap metal for the war effort. After the war was over Mary returned to London and lived at Marlborough House. During the next years she spent much time acquiring items for the Royal Collection, some of which she bought and others which she convinced people to donate.
In 1952 George VI died, he was the third of Mary’s children to die before her. Mary. Mary lived to see her granddaughter be declared queen, but she died before the coronation of Elizabeth II could take place. Mary died on 24 March 1953 of lung cancer at the age of 85, just ten weeks before the coronation. She had ordered that the coronation should not be postponed if she were to die. Mary lay in state at Westminster Hall before being buried alongside her husband in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Includes: Princess May of Teck; Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, Duchess of Teck; Queen Alexandra when Alexandra, Princess of Wales; Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom; Princess Maud of Wales; The Princess Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife; with Lady Gosford; Lady Salisbury; and the Duke and Duchess of Manchester.
Sardonyx, diamond and gold brooch with cameos of the four King George’s of the United Kingdom, given as a wedding gift to Princess Victoria May (Mary) of Teck by the Earl and Countess of Cadogan in July 1893. 1821.