The descendants of Queen Victoria, specifically her grandchildren and beyond, married into many foreign courts. If you just examine a genealogy chart you would think that many of her descendants that married or were born into foreign royal courts stayed there their entire lives. Such is not the case. It is interesting to see that many members of the Royal family, or the queen’s extended family, that carried foreign royal titles actually were born and raised and lived the majority of their lives in England.
This is not just limited to the descendants of Queen Victoria, the Cambridge/Teck family is another example. Let us begin with this family. Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, tenth child and seventh son of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Adolphus-Frederick married Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel. They had three children. George, Augusta and Mary Adelaide. I already did a blog post on Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge who became a successful British subject.
Augusta of Cambridge, the middle daughter, actually went the other direction that the subject of this blog post. Augusta lived most of her life in Germany. She was born in Hanover when her father was acting as viceroy to his brothers, George IV and William IV who were also Kings of Hanover. She married her cousin Grand Duke Friedrich-Wilhelm of Mecklenburg-Strelitz allowing her to spend the majority of her life in Germany despite being a British Princess. She did maintain a residence in London and spent part of the year there as her health permitted. Despite living abroad she did keep in close contact with her English relatives, specifically her niece, Queen Mary.
This brings us to Mary Adelaide, youngest daughter of Adolphus-Frederick, Duke of Cambridge. Mary grew up with a weight problem and the Cambridge family did not have a lot of money. Therefore it was a challenge to find a suitable mate for Mary-Adelaide. Finally, at the relatively older age of 33 Mary-Adelaide wed Prince Franz of Teck. He was the son of Duke Alexander of Württemberg and Countess Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde. Despite being an Hungarian countess the marriage with Alexander was unequal and therefore morganatic. This meant that their children could not carry the Württemberg name nor enjoy succession rights in that kingdom. Thier son Franz (Francis) was created first, Prince of Teck and later Duke of Teck. In truth he was a penniless prince and even though Mary Adelaide did not have much wealth herself, his morganatic status in Germany meant that his prospects for finding a spouse in a country dedicated to equal marriages among their royals and aristocrats was very slim.
Mary-Adelaide and Francis of Teck married on 12 June 1866 at St. Anne’s Church, Kew in Surrey. They had one daughter and three sons: Victoria-Mary, Adolphus, Francis and Alexander. Despite being minor German Royals through their father they all spent the majority of their lives living in England. Victoria-Mary, known as May within the family, spent may years growing up at the court of her mother’s first cousin, Queen Victoria. She captured Queen Victoria’s eye to the point where, despite her morganatic status, Queen Victoria arranged that May of Teck would marry her grandson, and second in line to the throne, Prince Albert-Victor, Duke of Clarence, the son of Albert-Edward (King Edward VII) and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. After Albert-Victor’s untimely death from influenza in 1892 Queen Victoria did not want to lose Princess May so she arranged, after a suitable time, that she would marry Albert-Victor’s brother, George, Duke of York, who became King George V in 1910.
Despite having a German title, Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria-Mary of Teck, the future Queen Mary, consort of King George V, was in all purposes 100% English being born and raised in that country.
That is all for today, stay tuned for Part II!