On 26th May 1867, in the same room where Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck was born. She was the daughter of Francis, Duke of Teck and Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. Her father was the son of Duke Alexander Paul Ludwig Konstantin of Wurttemberg and her mother was a granddaughter of King George III – her father was Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge – making Queen Mary a great-granddaughter of King George III.
On 27th July 1867, Princess Victoria Mary was christened in the Chapel Royal of Kensington Palace by Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Thomas Longley. Due to her father’s morganatic descent from the House of Wurttemberg, she was known by the title Serene Highness and chirstened with the names Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes with her godparents including Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII).
Mary grew up at Kensington Palace and at White Lodge, Richmod Park which Queen Victoria had granted the family on permanent loan. It is said that Mary had a “merry but fairly strict” upbringing – she was the eldest of four children – and often resolved her three brothers “petty boyhood squabbles”. Unsurprisingly, Mary often played with the children of the Prince and Princess of Wales who were around the same age as her. This would have included her future fiance Prince Albert, Duke of Clarence and her future husband, Prince George, Duke of York.
Though she was a direct descendant of King George III, Mary was considered only a minor member of The Royal Family. That went for her family too. The Duchess of Teck was granted a parliamentary annuity of £5000 a year though she did receive around £4000 a year from her mother, The Duchess of Cambridge.
Through her marriage to King George V, Queen Mary would go on to be the first British consort born in Britain since Catherine Parr’s marriage to King Henry VIII. She would be one of the most popular Queen Consort’s in British history and her popularity soared even further following the death of her husband and in her new role as Queen Mother. She was the matriarch of the British Royal Family until her death in 1953, even witnessing the Acession of her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
In the words of Sir Henry ‘Chips’ Cannon, Conservative MP, Queen Mary was “above politics, magnificent, humerous, worldy, in fact nearly sublime. But what a grand Queen.”