Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh

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Princess Mary
Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Cuii pec pd0024 large.jpg
Born(1776-04-25)25 April 1776
Buckingham House, London
Died30 April 1857(1857-04-30) (aged 81)
Gloucester House, London
Burial8 May 1857
Spouse
House Hanover
Father George III of the United Kingdom
Mother Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (25 April 1776 – 30 April 1857) was the eleventh child and fourth daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom and his consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George III

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the wife of King George III. She served as Queen of Great Britain and Queen of Ireland from her wedding in 1761 until the union of the two kingdoms in 1801, after which she was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. She was also the Electress of Hanover in the Holy Roman Empire until the promotion of her husband to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, after which she was also queen consort of Hanover.

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She married her first cousin, Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, when both were 40, and was his widow in later life. In her last years, her niece Queen Victoria was on the throne as the fourth monarch during Mary's life, after her father and two of her brothers, George IV and William IV of the United Kingdom. Princess Mary was the longest-lived (at 81 years) and last survivor of George III's fifteen children; of those fifteen issue, thirteen lived to adulthood. She was also the only one of George III's children to be photographed. She died on 30 April 1857 at Gloucester House, London.

Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh British Prince

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, was a great-grandson of King George II and nephew and son-in-law of King George III of the United Kingdom.

Queen Victoria British monarch who reigned 1837–1901

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India.

George IV of the United Kingdom King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover

George IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover following the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness.

Early life

Princess Mary aged six. Gainsborough - Princess Mary, 1782.jpg
Princess Mary aged six.

Princess Mary was born on 25 April 1776, at Buckingham Palace, London. [1] Her father was the reigning British monarch, George III. Her mother was Queen Charlotte, the daughter of Charles, reigning Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Buckingham Palace Official London residence and principal workplace of the British monarch

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.

George III of the United Kingdom King of Great Britain and Ireland

George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover.

A reign is the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office of monarch of a nation, of a people or of a spiritual community. In most hereditary monarchies and some elective monarchies there have been no limits on the duration of a sovereign's reign or incumbency, nor is there a term of office. Thus, a reign usually lasts until the monarch dies, unless the monarchy itself is abolished or the monarch abdicates or is deposed.

Mary was baptized on 19 May 1776, in the Great Council Chamber at St. James's Palace, by Frederick Cornwallis, The Archbishop of Canterbury. Her godparents were:

Frederick Cornwallis Archbishop of Canterbury

Frederick Cornwallis was Archbishop of Canterbury, and the twin brother of Edward Cornwallis.

Archbishop of Canterbury senior bishop of the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford 18th-century British courtier and politician

Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford, KG, PC, PC (Ire) was a British courtier and politician.

The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is the most senior officer of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom, supervising the departments which support and provide advice to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom while also acting as the main channel of communication between the Sovereign and the House of Lords. The office organises all ceremonial activity such as garden parties, state visits, royal weddings, and the State Opening of Parliament. They also handle the Royal Mews and Royal Travel, as well as the ceremony around the awarding of honours.

Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Meiningen Duchess consort of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and Princess of Saxe-Meiningen

Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Meiningen was a member of the House of Saxe-Meiningen and a Princess of Saxe-Meiningen by birth and a member of the House of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and Duchess consort of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg through her marriage to Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.

Mary at left, aged nine, with her two younger sisters Sophia and Amelia in 1785. Painted by John Singleton Copley Daughters of King George III.jpg
Mary at left, aged nine, with her two younger sisters Sophia and Amelia in 1785. Painted by John Singleton Copley

The King was a devoted father, finding time to regularly visit the royal nursery. Engaging in active play with his young children, he behaved quite informally in contrast to the dignified Queen Charlotte, who had more difficulty abandoning the formal behaviour expected of their class. Despite her outer reserve, however, Charlotte took a role as conscientious as her husband in their children's upbringing. For the royal princesses, the Queen carefully oversaw their welfare, education, and development of moral values. Faced with less time due to her public duties and close marriage to the King, she appointed Lady Charlotte Finch to manage the royal nursery and administer her ideas. [2]

Lady Charlotte Finch British noble

Lady Charlotte Finch served as royal governess to the children of King George III and Queen Charlotte for over thirty years, holding the position from 1762 to 1793. She was born to Thomas Fermor, 1st Earl of Pomfret, and his wife Henrietta Louisa Jeffreys, both of whom held court appointments. The couple were educated and frequently travelled with their growing brood of children to the continent. Charlotte, like her sisters, was well-educated; in 1746, she married the Hon. William Finch and had issue including George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea.

According to Flora Fraser, Mary was considered to be the most beautiful daughter of George III; Fraser calls her a "bland beauty". Mary danced a minuet for the first time in public at the age of sixteen in June 1791, during a court ball given for the king's birthday. [3] In the spring of 1792 she officially debuted at court. [3] Around 1796 Mary fell in love with the Dutch Prince Frederick, while he and his family lived in exile in London. Frederik was a son of William V, Prince of Orange, the Dutch stadholder, and younger brother to the future King William I of the Netherlands. However Frederik and Mary never wed because George III stipulated that her elder sisters should marry first. In 1799 Prince Frederik died of an infection while serving in the army, and Mary was allowed to go into official mourning.

Mary's youngest sister and beloved companion Princess Amelia called her "Mama's tool" because of her obedient nature. Amelia's premature death in 1810 devastated her sister, who had nursed her devotedly during her painful illness.

Marriage

Mary's upbringing was very sheltered and she spent most of her time with her parents and sisters. King George and Queen Charlotte were keen to shelter their children, particularly the girls.[ citation needed ] Mary, however, married on 22 July 1816, to her first cousin, Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, the son of George III's brother, Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh. [4] On their wedding day, Mary's brother, The Prince Regent, raised the bridegroom's style from Highness to Royal Highness , an attribute to which Mary's rank as daughter of the King already entitled her.

William Frederick had initially sought to marry Mary's niece Princess Charlotte of Wales. [5] The historian A. W. Purdue suggests that Mary's motive for marrying her cousin sprang from her dislike of Queen Charlotte's restrictive household. [6] Princess Charlotte observed that the duke "is much in love, & and tells me he is the happiest creature on earth. I won't say [Mary] does as much, but being her own mistress, having her own house, & being able to walk in the streets all delights her in their several ways." [7]

1856 daguerreotype of Princess Mary (seated far right). Sitting to her left are Queen Victoria and Princess Alice. Standing is the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). Daguerreotype by Antoine Claudet Victoriaandmary.jpg
1856 daguerreotype of Princess Mary (seated far right). Sitting to her left are Queen Victoria and Princess Alice. Standing is the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). Daguerreotype by Antoine Claudet

The couple lived at Bagshot Park, [6] but after William's death she moved to White Lodge in Richmond Park.[ citation needed ] They had no children together. [6] Mary was the last surviving child of George III, [6] and was said to be the favourite aunt of her niece, Queen Victoria.

Princess Mary was quite close to her eldest brother, and she shared his dislike toward his wife, their cousin Caroline of Brunswick. When the latter left for Italy, Princess Mary congratulated her brother "on the prospect of a good riddance. Heaven grant that she may not return again and that we may never see more of her." [8]

Death

Princess Mary died on 30 April 1857 at Gloucester House, London, aged 81. At the time of her death, she was the last surviving child as well as the longest-lived child of King George III and Queen Charlotte. [9]

Titles, styles and arms

Titles and styles

Arms

As of 1789, as a daughter of the sovereign, Mary had use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of three points, the centre point bearing a rose gules, the outer points each bearing a canton gules. [10]

Coat of Arms of Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh.svg

Ancestors

See also

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References

  1. Weir 2008, p. 299.
  2. Hadlow 2014, pp. 203–07.
  3. 1 2 Lane, Henry M. (1911). The Royal Daughters of England. London. p. 191.
  4. Weir 2008, pp. 281, 299.
  5. Purdue 2004b.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Purdue 2004a.
  7. Williams 2016, p. 130.
  8. John van der Kiste: George III's Children, p. 106
  9. Unofficial Royalty - Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh
  10. Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family
  11. Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 5.

Sources