, , , , , , , ,

Mary of Teck (Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes; May 26, 1867 – March 24, 1953) was Queen Consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Empress of India, from May 6, 1910 until January 29, 1936 as the wife of King-Emperor George V.

HSH Princess Victoria Mary of Teck with her parents HRH Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge and HSH Prince Francis, Duke of Teck

Born and raised in the United Kingdom, 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-Cassel.

Considered a minor member of the British royal family, she was informally known as “May”, after the month of her birth.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 and Princess Alexandra of Denmark (future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra), but six weeks after the announcement of the engagement, he died unexpectedly during an influenza pandemic.

HRH The Duke of Clarence and Avondale and HSH Princess Victoria Mary of Teck

The following year, she became engaged to Albert Victor’s only 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, Mary 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.

To her dismay, he abdicated later the same year in order to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.She supported her second son, Prince Albert, Duke of York, who assumed the throne as King George VI, in the wake of his brothers Abdication. He was King until his death in 1952.He was succeeded by his eldest daughter and Queen Mary’s granddaughter, Elizabeth II.The death of a third child profoundly affected her.

Mary remarked to Princess Marie Louise: “I have lost three sons through death, but I have never been privileged to be there to say a last farewell to them.”

Portrait of Queen Mary by William Llewellyn, c. 1911

Other than losing her second son George VI in 1952, she lost Prince John (1905 – 1919) her fifth son and youngest of her six children, when he of died at Sandringham in 1919, following a severe seizure, and was buried at nearby St Mary Magdalene Church.

She was also preceded by Prince George, Duke of Kent (1902 – 1942) her fourth son who was killed in a military air-crash on August 25, 1942.

Mary died on March 24, 1953 in her sleep at the age of 85, ten weeks before her granddaughter’s coronation. She had let it be known that should she die, the coronation should not be postponed. Her remains lay in state at Westminster Hall, where large numbers of mourners filed past her coffin.

She is buried beside her husband in the nave of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.Sir Henry “Chips” Channon, (1897 – 1958), was an American-born British Conservative politician, author and diarist. He wrote about Queen Mary, that she was “above politics … magnificent, humorous, worldly, in fact nearly sublime, though cold and hard. But what a grand Queen.”