Mary of Teck

Mary of Teck
Mary in tiara and gown wearing a choker necklace and a string of pearls
Formal portrait from the 1920s
Queen consort of the United Kingdom
and the British Dominions;
Empress consort of India
Tenure6 May 1910 – 20 January 1936
Coronation22 June 1911
Imperial Durbar12 December 1911
Born(1867-05-26)26 May 1867
Kensington Palace, London
Died24 March 1953(1953-03-24) (aged 85)
Marlborough House, London
Burial31 March 1953
George V
(m. 1893; died 1936)
Full name
Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes
HouseTeck / Cambridge
FatherFrancis, Duke of Teck
MotherPrincess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge

Mary of Teck (Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes; 26 May 1867 – 24 March 1953) was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India as the wife of King George V.

Although technically a princess of Teck, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, she was born and raised in England. Her parents were Francis, Duke of Teck, who was of German extraction, and Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, who was a granddaughter of King George III. She was informally known as "May", after her birth month.

At the age of 24, she was betrothed to her second cousin once removed Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, but six weeks after the announcement of the engagement, he died unexpectedly during an influenza pandemic. The following year, she became engaged to Albert Victor's next surviving brother, George, who subsequently became king. Before her husband's accession, she was successively Duchess of York, Duchess of Cornwall, and Princess of Wales.

As queen consort from 1910, she supported her husband through the First World War, his ill health, and major political changes arising from the aftermath of the war. After George's death in 1936, she became queen mother when her eldest son, Edward VIII, ascended the throne, but to her dismay, he abdicated later the same year in order to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. She supported her second son, George VI, until his death in 1952. She died the following year, during the reign of her granddaughter Elizabeth II, who had not yet been crowned.

Early life

Mary as an infant with her parents

Princess Victoria Mary ("May") of Teck was born on 26 May 1867 at Kensington Palace, London, in the same room where Queen Victoria, her first cousin once removed, was born 48 years and two days earlier. Queen Victoria came to visit the baby, writing that she was "a very fine one, with pretty little features and a quantity of hair". May would become the first queen consort born in England since Catherine Parr.[1] Her father was Prince Francis, Duke of Teck, the son of Duke Alexander of Württemberg by his morganatic wife, Countess Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde (created Countess von Hohenstein in the Austrian Empire). Her mother was Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, a granddaughter of King George III and the third child and younger daughter of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, and Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel.

She was baptised in the Chapel Royal of Kensington Palace on 27 July 1867 by Charles Thomas Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury.[3] From an early age, she was known to her family, friends and the public by the diminutive name of "May", after her birth month.[4]

May's upbringing was "merry but fairly strict".[1][5] She was the eldest of four children, the only daughter, and "learned to exercise her native discretion, firmness, and tact" by resolving her three younger brothers' petty boyhood squabbles.[6] They played with their cousins, the children of the Prince of Wales, who were similar in age.[7] She grew up at Kensington Palace and White Lodge, in Richmond Park, which was granted by Queen Victoria on permanent loan, and was educated at home by her mother and governess (as were her brothers until they were sent to boarding schools).[8] The Duchess of Teck spent an unusually long time with her children for a lady of her time and class,[5] and enlisted May in various charitable endeavours, which included visiting the tenements of the poor.[9]

Although May was a great-grandchild of George III, she was only a minor member of the British royal family. Her father, the Duke of Teck, had no inheritance or wealth and carried the lower royal style of Serene Highness because his parents' marriage was morganatic.[10] The Duchess of Teck was granted a parliamentary annuity of £5,000 and received about £4,000 a year from her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge,[11] but she donated lavishly to dozens of charities.[1] Prince Francis was deeply in debt and moved his family abroad with a small staff in 1883, in order to economise.[12] They travelled throughout Europe, visiting their various relations. They stayed in Florence, Italy, for a time, where May enjoyed visiting the art galleries, churches, and museums.[13] She was fluent in English, German, and French.[1]

In 1885, the family returned to London and lived for some time in Chester Square.[1] May was close to her mother, and acted as an unofficial secretary, helping to organise parties and social events. She was also close to her aunt, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and wrote to her every week. During the First World War, the Crown Princess of Sweden helped pass letters from May to her aunt, who lived in enemy territory in Germany until her death in 1916.[14]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Mary van Teck
العربية: ماري تك
asturianu: María de Teck
azərbaycanca: Mariya Tek
تۆرکجه: ماری تک
беларуская: Марыя Тэкская
български: Мери Тек
bosanski: Marija od Tecka
català: Maria de Teck
čeština: Marie z Tecku
Cymraeg: Mair o Teck
Ελληνικά: Μαίρη του Τεκ
español: María de Teck
فارسی: ماری تک
français: Mary de Teck
հայերեն: Մարիա Թեքցի
Bahasa Indonesia: Mary dari Teck
italiano: Maria di Teck
עברית: מרי מטק
lietuvių: Marija Teksietė
Nederlands: Mary van Teck
norsk nynorsk: Mary av Teck
polski: Maria Teck
português: Maria de Teck
română: Mary de Teck
Simple English: Mary of Teck
slovenčina: Mária z Tecku
српски / srpski: Марија од Тека
svenska: Mary av Teck
Türkçe: Mary Teck
українська: Марія Текська
Tiếng Việt: Mary xứ Teck