HSH Princess Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes; (May 26, 1867 – March 24, 1953) was technically a Princess of Teck, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, yet she was born and raised in the United Kingdom. Her parents were Francis, Duke of Teck, and Princess Mary-Adelaide of Cambridge.
HSH Princess Victoria-Mary of Teck
Mary’s father, Francis, Duke of Teck, was born on August 26, 1837 in Esseg, Slavonia (now Osijek, Croatia), and christened Franz Paul Karl Ludwig Alexander. His father was Duke Alexander of Württemberg, the son of Duke Ludwig of Württemberg. His mother was Countess Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde.
Francis, Duke of Teck
Princess Mary-Adelaide of Cambridge.
The marriage was morganatic, meaning that Francis had no succession rights to the Kingdom of Württemberg. His title at birth was Count Francis von Hohenstein, after his mother was created Countess von Hohenstein in her own right by Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. In 1863, Francis was created Prince of Teck, with the style of Serene Highness, in the Kingdom of Württemberg. He was created Duke of Teck by the King Carl I of Württemberg in 1871.
Mary’s mother, Princess Mary-Adelaide of Cambridge was born on November 27, 1833 in Hanover, Germany. Her father was Prince Adolphus-Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, the youngest surviving son of George III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Prince Adolphus-Frederick, Duke of Cambridge
Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel
After the death of Princess Charlotte-Augusta of Wales in 1817, the Duke was set the task of finding a bride for his eldest unmarried brother, the Duke of Clarence (later William IV), in the hope of securing heirs to the throne—Charlotte had been the only legitimate grandchild of George III, despite the fact that the King had twelve surviving children. After several false starts, the Duke of Clarence settled on Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. The way was cleared for the Duke of Cambridge to find a bride for himself.
The Duke of Cambridge was married first at Cassel, Hesse on 7 May 7 and then at Buckingham Palace on June 1, 1818 to his second cousin Augusta (1797-1889), the daughter of Prince Friedrich of Hesse-Cassel, and his wife, Princess Caroline of Nassau-Usingen.
Prince Friedrich of Hesse-Casse
Princess Mary of Great Britain
Mary-Adelaide of Cambridge’s grandfather, Prince Friedrich of Hesse-Cassel, was the youngest son of Hereditary Prince Friedrich of Hesse-Kassel (the future Landgrave Friedrich II) and Princess Mary of Great Britain, the second-youngest daughter of King George II of Great Britain and his wife, Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach. Prince Friedrich was the last surviving grandchild of George II of Great Britain, dying one month before Queen Victoria (granddaughter of his first cousin King George III) ascended to the throne.
Princess Mary-Adelaide and Queen Victoria were first cousins.
By the age of 30, Mary-Adelaide was still unmarried. Her large girth (earning her the disparaging epithet of “Fat Mary”) and lack of income were contributing factors, as was her advanced age. However, her royal rank prevented her from marrying someone not of royal blood. Her cousin, Queen Victoria, took pity on her and attempted to arrange pairings.
Eventually a suitable candidate was found in Württemberg, Prince Francis of Teck. The Prince was of lower rank than Mary Adelaide, and was the product of a morganatic marriage and had no succession rights to the throne of Württemberg, but was at least of princely title and of royal blood. With no other options available, Mary-Adelaide decided to marry him. The couple were married on June 12, 1866 at St. Anne’s Church, Kew, Surrey.
Duke and Duchess of Teck with Princess Victoria Mary
Princess Victoria-Mary was their first child and only daughter and she was followed by:
▪Prince Adolphus of Teck (1868–1927); later Duke of Teck and Marquess of Cambridge.
* Prince Francis of Teck (1870–1910).
* Prince Alexander of Teck (1874–1957); later Earl of Athlone.
At the age of 24, Princess Victoria-Mary of Teck 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.
However, six weeks after the announcement of the engagement, Prince Albert-Victor died unexpectedly during an influenza pandemic. The following year, she became engaged to His next surviving brother, George, who subsequently became king.
Victoria-Mary married Prince George, Duke of York, in London on July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace. The new Duke and Duchess of York lived in York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, and in apartments in St James’s Palace. York Cottage was a modest house for royalty, but it was a favourite of George, who liked a relatively simple life. They had six children: Edward, Albert, Mary, Henry, George, and John.
On January 22 1901, Queen Victoria died, and May’s father-in-law ascended the throne as King Edward VII.
On November 9, 1901, the King’s sixtieth birthday, George was created Prince of Wales. The family moved their London residence from St James’s Palace to Marlborough House. As Princess of Wales, Victoria Mary accompanied her husband on trips to Austria-Hungary and Württemberg in 1904. The following year, she gave birth to her last child, John. It was a difficult labour, and although she recovered quickly.