Duchess of Teck, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of York, Edward VII, King George VI of the United Kingdom, Mausoleum Day, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince Albert of York, Prince of Wales, Princess Alice of the United Kingdom
George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; December 14, 1895 – February 6, 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from December 11, 1936 until his death in 1952. He was concurrently the last Emperor of India until August 1947, when the British Raj was dissolved. King George VI was the father of the United Kingdom’s current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
The future George VI was born at York Cottage, on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk during the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria. His father was Prince George, Duke of York (later King George V), the second and eldest surviving son of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra).
His mother, the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary), was the eldest child and only daughter of Francis, Duke of Teck, and Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, Duchess of Teck. Mary Adelaide of Cambridge was the daughter of Adolphus of Cambridge, son of George III of the United Kingdom.
The new prince’s birthday, December 14, 1895, came on the 34th anniversary of the death of his great-grandfather Albert, Prince Consort, and the 17th anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine.
Uncertain of how the Prince Consort’s widow, Queen Victoria, would take the news of the birth on “Mausoleum Day”, the Prince of Wales wrote to the Duke of York that the Queen had been “rather distressed”. Two days later, he wrote again: “I really think it would gratify her if you yourself proposed the name Albert to her.”
The Queen was mollified by the proposal to name the new baby Albert, and wrote to the Duchess of York: “I am all impatience to see the new one, born on such a sad day but rather more dear to me, especially as he will be called by that dear name which is a byword for all that is great and good.”
Consequently, he was baptised “Albert Frederick Arthur George” at St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham on February 17, 1896. Within the family, he was known informally as “Bertie”, the same name his grandfather the future King Edward VII was known by.
The Duchess of Teck did not like the first name her grandson had been given, and she wrote prophetically that she hoped the last name “may supplant the less favoured one”. Albert was fourth in line to the throne at birth, after his grandfather, father and elder brother, Edward.
The Duchess of Teck’s wishes came true when Prince Albert chose George as his regal name when he succeeded his brother as King on December 11, 1936.
When Prince Albert was born on December 14, 1895 his style and title was His Highness Prince Albert of York.
On May 28, 1898 Queen Victoria issued Letters Patent granting Albert (and his brothers and sister) the style of “Royal Highness”.
May 28, 1898 Letters Patent
“Victoria by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen Defender of the Faith To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting: Whereas by virtue of Our Letters Patent dated the thirtieth of January one thousand eight hundred and sixty four wherein We declared Our Royal will and pleasure in that behalf the children of the sons of any Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland are entitled to the style of “Royal Highness” Know Ye that in the exercise of our Royal and undoubted prerogative and of Our especial grace We do hereby declare our further Royal will and pleasure that the children of the eldest son of any Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style title or attribute of “Royal Highness” in addition to such titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or other titles of honour if any as they may otherwise possess Our will and pleasure further is that Our Earl Marshal of England or his deputy for the time being do cause these our Letters Patent or the enrolment thereof to be recorded in Our College of Arms to the end that Our officers of Arms and all others may take due notice thereof. In Witness whereof we have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent.. Witness Ourself etc.”