Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge

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Princess Mary Adelaide
Duchess of Teck
Mary-Hannover-1897.jpg
Mary Adelaide in 1897
Born27 November 1833
Hanover, Germany
Died27 October 1897(1897-10-27) (aged 63)
White Lodge, Richmond Park, London, England
Burial3 November 1897
Spouse
Issue Mary, Queen of the United Kingdom
Adolphus Cambridge, 1st Marquess of Cambridge
Prince Francis of Teck
Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone
Full name
Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth
House Hanover
Father Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
Mother Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel

Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge (Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth; 27 November 1833 27 October 1897) was a member of the British royal family, a granddaughter of George III, grandmother of Edward VIII and George VI and great-grandmother of Elizabeth II. She held the title of Duchess of Teck through marriage.

British royal family Family consisting of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom

The British royal family comprises Queen Elizabeth II and her close relations. There is no strict legal or formal definition of who is or is not a member of the British royal family.

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.

Edward VIII King of the United Kingdom and its dominions in 1936

Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India, from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December the same year, after which he became the Duke of Windsor.

Contents

Mary Adelaide is remembered as the mother of Queen Mary, the wife of King George V. She was one of the first royals to patronise a wide range of charities.

Mary of Teck 20th-century queen consort of the United Kingdom and Empress of India

Mary of Teck was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India as the wife of King George V.

George V King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India

George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936.

Early life

Photograph by Camille Silvy, 1860 Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck.jpg
Photograph by Camille Silvy, 1860

Mary Adelaide was born on 27 November 1833 in Hanover, Germany. Her father was Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, the youngest surviving son of George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. [1] Her mother was Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel, the daughter of Prince Frederick of Hesse-Cassel. [1]

Hanover Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Hanover or Hannover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth-largest city of Germany, as well as the third-largest city of Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, and Bremen.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge Duke of Cambridge

Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, was the tenth child and seventh son of the British king George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He held the title of Duke of Cambridge from 1801 until his death. He also served as Viceroy of Hanover on behalf of his brothers George IV and William IV.

The young princess was baptized on 9 January 1834 at Cambridge House, Hanover, by Rev John Ryle Wood, Chaplain to the Duke of Cambridge. Her godmother and paternal aunt Princess Elizabeth, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg, was the only godparent who was present. The others were King William IV and Queen Adelaide (her paternal uncle and aunt), Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (her paternal aunt), Princess Marie of Hesse-Cassel (her maternal aunt) and Princess Marie Luise Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel (her maternal first cousin). She was named Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth for her aunts and uncle. [2] [3]

Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom member of the British Royal Family

Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom was the seventh child and third daughter of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. After marrying the Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg, Frederick VI, she took permanent residence in Germany as landgravine.

William IV of the United Kingdom King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover 1830-1837

William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death in 1837. The third son of George III, William succeeded his elder brother George IV, becoming the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover.

Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen Queen Consort of the United Kingdom

Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen was Queen of the United Kingdom and Queen of Hanover as the wife of King William IV. Adelaide was the daughter of George I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, and Luise Eleonore of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Mary Adelaide spent the early years of her life in Hanover, Germany, where her father acted as viceroy, in place of her uncles George IV and later William IV. [1]

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.

After the death of William IV, Mary Adelaide's first cousin, Princess Victoria of Kent ascended the throne in 1837. [4] However, Salic law prevented Victoria from ascending the throne of Hanover, which instead passed to Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. Thus, the personal union which had existed for over a century between Britain and Hanover came to an end along with the arrangement of Hanover's ruler living in England as the British monarch and using a viceroy to represent him in Hanover. The Duke of Cumberland moved to Hanover as King and Mary Adelaide's father, no longer needed in Hanover, returned to London with his family, setting up residence in Kensington Palace.

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.

Salic law major body of Frankish law governing all the Franks of Frankia under the rule of its kings during the Old Frankish Period

The Salic law, or the Salian law, was the ancient Salian Frankish civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis. The written text is in Latin, or in "semi-French Latin" according to some linguists; it also contains what Dutch linguists describe as one of the earliest known records of Old Dutch, perhaps second only to the Bergakker inscription. It remained the basis of Frankish law throughout the early Medieval period, and influenced future European legal systems. The best-known tenet of the old law is the principle of exclusion of women from inheritance of thrones, fiefs and other property. The Salic laws were arbitrated by a committee appointed and empowered by the King of the Franks. Dozens of manuscripts dating from the 6th to 8th centuries and three emendations as late as the 9th century have survived.

Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover King of Hanover

Ernest Augustus, known for most of his adult life as the Duke of Cumberland, was King of Hanover from 20 June 1837 until his death. He was the fifth son and eighth child of King George III of the United Kingdom and Hanover. As a fifth son, Ernest seemed unlikely to become a monarch, but none of his four elder brothers had a legitimate son who survived infancy. The Salic Law, which barred succession to or through a female, prevailed in Hanover; therefore, when his elder brother King William IV died in 1837, Ernest succeeded him as King of Hanover. In the United Kingdom the succession to the monarchy was determined by male-preference primogeniture, a different system, and his niece Victoria became queen, thus ending the personal union between the British and Hanoverian crowns that had existed since 1714.

Marriage

The Duchess of Teck and her family c. 1883; Prince Alexander sits centre with his arm around the Duchess, Princess Mary (later Queen Mary) is seated at far right Duchess of Teck and family colour.jpg
The Duchess of Teck and her family c. 1883; Prince Alexander sits centre with his arm around the Duchess, Princess Mary (later Queen Mary) is seated at far right

By the age of 30, Mary Adelaide was still unmarried. Her large girth (earning her the disparaging epithet of "Fat Mary" [5] [6] [7] ) 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, 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 12 June 1866 at St. Anne's Church, Kew, Surrey.

The Duke and Duchess of Teck chose to reside in London rather than abroad, mainly because Mary Adelaide received £5,000 per annum as a Parliamentary annuity and carried out royal duties. Her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, also provided her with supplementary income. Requests to Queen Victoria for extra funds were generally refused; however, the queen did provide the Tecks with apartments at Kensington Palace [8] and White Lodge in Richmond Park as a country house.

Mary Adelaide requested that her new husband be granted the style Royal Highness , but this was refused by Queen Victoria. The queen did, however, promote Francis to the rank of Highness in 1887 in celebration of her Golden Jubilee.

Issue

The Tecks had one daughter and three sons: [9]

NameBirthDeathNotes
Princess Victoria Mary of Teck [10] 26 May 186724 March 1953married 1893, Prince George, Duke of York (later George V); had issue
Prince Adolphus of Teck 13 August 186823 October 1927later Duke of Teck and Marquess of Cambridge

married 1894, Lady Margaret Evelyn Grosvenor; had issue

Prince Francis of Teck 9 January 187022 October 1910No issue.
Prince Alexander of Teck 14 April 187416 January 1957later Earl of Athlone

married 1904, Princess Alice of Albany; had issue

Life abroad

Mary Adelaide in c.1880 Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck by Alexander Bassano.jpg
Mary Adelaide in c.1880

Despite their modest income, Mary Adelaide had expensive tastes and lived an extravagant life of parties, expensive food and clothes and holidays abroad. In 1883 they were forced to live more cheaply abroad to reduce their debts. They travelled to Florence, Italy, and also stayed with relatives in Germany and Austria. Initially, they travelled under the names of the Count and Countess von Hohenstein. However, Mary Adelaide wished to travel in more style and reverted to her royal style, which commanded significantly more attention and better service.

Later life and death

The Tecks returned from their self-imposed exile in 1885 and continued to live at Kensington Palace and White Lodge in Richmond Park. [8] Mary Adelaide began devoting her life to charity, serving as patron to Barnardo's and other children's charities.

In 1891, Mary Adelaide was keen for her daughter, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (known as "May") to marry one of the sons of the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII. At the same time, Queen Victoria wanted a British-born bride for the future king, though of course one of royal rank and ancestry, and Mary Adelaide's daughter fulfilled the rank criteria. After Queen Victoria's approval, May became engaged to Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, second in line to the British throne. [8] He died suddenly six weeks later. Queen Victoria was fond of Princess Mary and persuaded the Duke of Clarence's brother and next in the line of succession, Prince George, Duke of York, to marry her instead. They married in the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, on 6 July 1893. [8]

Mary Adelaide never lived to see her daughter become Princess of Wales or Queen, as she died on 27 October 1897 at White Lodge, following an emergency operation. [11] She was buried in the royal vault at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. [11]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Coat of Arms of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. Coat of Arms of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge.svg
Coat of Arms of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge.

As a male-line granddaughter of the British monarch, she was styled Her Royal Highness Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. As the male-line granddaughter of a king of Hanover, Princess Mary Adelaide also bore the titles of Princess of Hanover and Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

Honours

Ancestors

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References

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  2. Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings
  3. "No. 19126". The London Gazette . 7 February 1834. p. 227.
  4. "A Queen of great courage". The Bulletin. 20 March 1953. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  5. Wilson, A.N. (2014). Victoria: a Life (First US ed.). New York: Penguin Press HC. p. CXCV. ISBN   978-1594205996.
  6. "Mary Adelaide, Princess". Oxford DNB. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  7. Ridley, Jane (2014). The Heir Apparent: a Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince (Digital ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN   978-0812972634 . Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  8. 1 2 3 4 "Queen Mary. Devotion to duty". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 January 1936. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  9. ‘Teck’, Who Was Who , A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 4 Jan 2012
  10. A Right Royal Feast: Menus from Royal Weddings and History's Greatest Banquets, By John Lane, p.22
  11. 1 2 "Mary of Teck". English Monarchs. Retrieved 20 July 2013.

Sources