Maria von Teck

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Queen Mary (1925) at the age of 58

Maria von Teck ( English Mary of Teck ; born Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes of Teck; born May 26, 1867 in Kensington Palace , London , † March 24, 1953 in Marlborough House , London) was the woman of the British King George V.

From 1910 to 1936 she was Queen Mary Queen ( Queen Consort ) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ( Northern Ireland from 1927 ) and Empress (Empress Consort) of British India . After the death of her husband in 1936, she received the official title of Dowager Queen ("Queen Widow"), but she did not accept it.

Origin and childhood

Maria von Teck (1889)

She was born in 1867 as the first child of Duke Franz von Teck , who was of German descent, and his wife, Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, in London's Kensington Palace . Her mother was a granddaughter of George III. and cousin of the ruling British Queen Victoria , with which Mary came from a non-ruling branch line of the British royal family. She was baptized on July 27, 1867 by the Archbishop of Canterbury , Charles Longley , in the Chapel Royal of Kensington Palace.

Affectionately known in family circles as Princess May after the month of her birth , the princess was brought up in a contemporary way by her mother and a governess . Her parents received relatively little allowance because of their morganatic marriage and lived lavishly. The family had to live with relatives abroad between 1883 and 1885 due to financial difficulties. During a stay in Florence , Mary developed an interest in art, culture and history.

Marriage and offspring

The bride and groom on their wedding day (1893)

Due to her father's morganatic ancestry, Mary was actually barred from a high-ranking marriage. However, her godmother Queen Victoria considered her a possible future queen, which is why she arranged the engagement to her grandson, the designated heir to the throne Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale . The engagement was officially announced in December 1891, but only six weeks later (January 14, 1892) Albert Victor died of pneumonia .

At the request of the Queen, on July 6, 1893, Mary married the younger brother of her late fiancé, Prince George, Duke of York in the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace . The bride and groom were by their descent from George III. Third degree nephew and aunt . By marrying Mary received the courtesy title Duchess of York and the salutation Her Royal Highness ("Her Royal Highness"). The couple were assigned an apartment in St James's Palace and York Cottage on the Sandringham House estate as residences . Although the connection was arranged, a bond of love developed between George and Mary. She was a reliable support to her husband, and Georg remained loyal to his wife throughout his life.

Six offspring resulted from the connection:

Opinions were divided about the mother's love for her six children, including two later kings. On the one hand, she separated her youngest son John from his siblings and hid him from the public because she was ashamed of his epilepsy - he was referred to as a "monster child", kept under house arrest and died young - and on the other hand she taught her children history and music.

Her eldest son Eduard reported about her as a loving mother. She tried in vain to dissuade him from abdicating. Her second son, who later became King George VI. , grew into a shy and stuttering man.

Princess of Wales

Coronation portrait of the painter William Llewellyn (1911)

After Queen Victoria's death on January 22, 1901, Edward VII , her husband's father, succeeded Victoria. In his name, the new Crown Prince couple embarked on a journey of several months through the British Empire . The journey took them via Gibraltar , Malta , Port Said , Aden , Ceylon , Mauritius and Singapore to Australia , New Zealand , Canada , Newfoundland and the Cape Colony . George and Mary accepted congratulations for the new king and thanked the Dominions for their support during the Second Boer War (1899-1902) . On November 9, 1901, Georg received the title Prince of Wales , Mary became Princess of Wales .

Mary accompanied her husband in 1904 to Austria-Hungary , the Kingdom of Württemberg and on an eight-month tour through British India from October 1905 to May 1906. They attended the wedding of the Spanish King Alfonso XIII. with Victoria Eugénie von Battenberg (May 17, 1906) and the coronation of the Norwegian King Haakon VII (June 22, 1906).

Queen and Empress

On May 6, 1910, her husband succeeded the throne as George V; on June 22, 1911 the couple was crowned. Her first trip was to British India as the Imperial Couple . There she took part with her husband in December 1911 as the only British monarch in the great Delhi Durbar in the Coronation Park of Delhi .

Her mother-in-law and predecessor, Queen Alexandra , wanted precedence at Edward VII's funeral , left Buckingham Palace only reluctantly and also kept some of the crown jewels that she should have given the new queen. There were arguments.

On May 6, 1935, the royal couple celebrated their silver jubilee. However, the king, an extremely heavy smoker, was already very ill at that time. He died on January 20, 1936.

Years as a queen widow

Queen Mary and her granddaughters Margaret (center) and Elisabeth (right), 1939

Edward VIII , as the previous Crown Prince, now the successor of his father and initially supported by his mother, shocked the kingdom with his wish to marry Wallis Simpson . Mary refused to ever meet the bourgeois daughter- in-law . Eduard abdicated , and their second eldest son was instead named George VI. crowned. She stood by him with moral support and not only organized the coronation of the royal couple, but also took part, as the first widow of a British king at all.

During the Second World War , the king had his mother brought to safety; reluctantly she complied and moved in with her niece Mary, Duchess of Beaufort, the daughter of her brother Adolphus. However, she was quite a burden to him: Among other things, she had the ivy removed from their residence, Badminton House , because they felt it was ugly and a health hazard.

In 1952 George VI died and her granddaughter Elisabeth became queen. Since the title Queen Mother passed to her mother, Mary's daughter-in-law Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon , who called herself Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in duplicate , Mary received the title Dowager Queen Mother (widow queen mother) to distinguish the three living queens but she did not accept. Mary died before her granddaughter Elisabeth was coronated at the age of 85. Her last wish was that her death should not disrupt the coronation festivities.


Entry of the RMS Queen Mary into New York Harbor on June 20, 1945

In 1934 a new passenger steamer of the Cunard Line was to be christened Victoria . At the request of the king to baptize the ship, which had hitherto only been known as No. 534, in the name of “Britain's greatest queen”, the queen is said to have replied that she felt honored. The shipping company followed suit and so the ship was christened RMS Queen Mary . The current Queen Mary 2, in turn, ties in with the name of this ship.

The battle cruiser HMS Queen Mary was named after her name as early as 1913, but was sunk by the Imperial Navy in the Battle of the Skagerrak in 1916 . Queen Marie Land in Antarctica is named after Mary . Queen Mary's Dolls' House was founded by Sir Edwin Lutyens in her memory .

For decades, Queen Mary was a sponsor of the Governesses' Benevolent Institution , an aid organization for governesses in distress . An old people's home of this organization was also named after her.

Coat of arms and title (style)

Queen Mary coat of arms
  • May 26, 1867 to July 6, 1893: Her Serene Highness Princess Mary of Teck
  • July 6, 1893 to January 22, 1901: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York
  • January 22, 1901 to November 9, 1901: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall and York
  • November 9, 1901 to May 6, 1910: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales
  • May 6, 1910 to January 20, 1936: Her Majesty The Queen
    • May 6, 1910 to January 20, 1936: Her Imperial Majesty The Queen-Empress (for India)
  • January 20, 1936 to March 24, 1953: Her Majesty Queen Mary
    • January 20, 1936 to August 14, 1947: Her Imperial Majesty The Queen-Empress Dowager (for India)

Orders and decorations

year Country Medals / decorations class
1889 United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Order of the Crown of India Companion
1893 United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Royal Order of Victoria and Albert 1st class member
1894 Portugal Kingdom 1830Portugal Portugal Ordem Real de Santa Isabel
1902 United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Royal Family Order of King Edward VII 2nd class member
1902 Ethiopia 1897Ethiopia Ethiopia Order of the Star of Ethiopia Grand Cross
1904 Kingdom of GreeceKingdom of Greece Greece Order of St Elisabeth Grand Cross
1905 Japanese EmpireJapanese Empire Japan Order of the Noble Crown Grand Cross
1905 PersiaIran Persia Imperial Order of the Sun
1906 DenmarkDenmark Denmark Golden Wedding Badge
1906 Spain 1875Spain Spain Real Order de Damas Nobles de la Reina María Luisa lady
1907 Prussia KingdomKingdom of Prussia Prussia Royal Prussian Order of Louis 1st class member
1909 Russian Empire 1883Russian Empire Russia Order of the Holy Great Martyr Catherine 1st class member
1911 United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Order of the Star of India Knight Grand Commander
1916 Serbia Kingdom 1882Kingdom of Serbia Serbia Order of the Star of Karageorge Grand Cross
1917 United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Order of the British Empire Lady Grand Cross
1919 Italy 1861Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946) Kingdom of Italy Red Cross Medal
1919 Romania kingdomRomania Romania Red Cross Medal
1926 United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Order of Saint John Lady Grand Cross
1927 Third French RepublicThird French Republic France Legion d'honneur Grand Cross
1927 Egypt 1922Egypt Egypt Kemal Order of Ladies
1928 Afghanistan Kingdom 1926Afghanistan Afghanistan Order of the Supreme Sun Collane
1932 Ethiopia 1897Ethiopia Ethiopia Order of the Queen of Sheba Grand Cross
1935 Yugoslavia Kingdom 1918Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia Order of St. Sava Grand Cross
1936 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Order of the British Empire Grand Master and First and Principal
Dame Grand Cross
1936 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Royal Victorian Order Lady Grand Cross
1937 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Royal Family Order of King George VI 1st class member
1937 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Royal Victorian Chain
1938 Kingdom of GreeceKingdom of Greece Greece Order of Saints Olga and Saint Sophia 1st class member
1939 Romania kingdomRomania Romania Order of the Crown of Romania Grand Cross
1952 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II 1st class member

See also


  • Wolfgang Kress: Mary Victoria. In: Sönke Lorenz (Ed.): The House of Württemberg. A biographical lexicon. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart / Berlin / Cologne 1997, pp. 354 f, ISBN 3-17-013605-4 .
  • Marita A. Panzer: England's queens, from the Tudors to the Windsors. Piper TB 5297, Munich / Zurich 2008, ISBN 978-3-492-25297-3 .
  • James Pope-Hennessy: The quest for Queen Mary , Hodder & Stoughton, Zuleika, London 2018, ISBN 978-1-5293-3062-5 .

Web links

Commons : Maria von Teck  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office Successor
Alexandra of Denmark Queen Consort of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon