Mary, Countess of Harewood

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mary, Countess of Harewood, around 1920

Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood (Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary Lascelles, born von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha ; born April 25, 1897 in York Cottage in Norfolk , † March 28, 1965 in Harewood House in Yorkshire ) was a member of the British Royal family . She was the sixth holder of the title Princess Royal . As the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria , she bore the title of princess from birth , first with the title of Highness and later with that of Royal Highness . Her marriage also earned her the courtesy title of Countess of Harewood .


Princess Mary as a young girl, between 1910 and 1915

Princess Mary was born on April 25, 1897 on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk , England . Her father was Prince George, Duke of York (later King George V), the second eldest son of Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and his wife Alexandra of Denmark . Mary's mother was Maria von Teck , the eldest daughter of Duke Franz von Teck and his wife Mary Adelaide . The princess was named after her paternal great grandmother Queen Victoria , her paternal grandmother, the Princess of Wales and her maternal grandmother. Her first name was the last of her baptismal names, Mary. As the great-granddaughter of the British monarch Victoria, her title was " Her Highness Princess Mary of York". Then, in 1898, the Queen gave the Duke of York's children the title "Your Royal Highness" . At the time of her birth, she was fifth in line to the British throne .

She was baptized on June 7, 1897 by William Dalrymple Maclagan , Archbishop of York , in St Mary Magdalene's Church near Sandringham. Her godparents were Queen Victoria, her grandparents Eduard and Alexandra, Alexandra's brother Georg I of Greece , her grandfather Franz von Teck and her aunt Victoria .

Princess Mary, painting by James Jebusa Shannon , 1914

Princess Mary was raised by governesses but shared lessons with her brothers Edward (later King Edward VIII), George (later George VI), and Henry (later Duke of Gloucester). Mary also received music and singing lessons and learned to play the piano. She learned to speak fluently German and French and began to be interested in horses and horse racing. She first appeared in public when her parents were crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 22, 1911 .

During the First World War , Princess Mary attended hospitals and welfare institutions with her mother. She helped projects to support British soldiers and their families. One of these projects was the Princess Mary's Christmas Gift Fund, which distributed gifts worth £ 100,000 to all British soldiers and seafarers for Christmas 1914 . She campaigned for the girl scout movement, the VADs and the Land Girls. In 1918 she completed a nursing course and worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

In 1920 she became Honorary President of the British Girl Guide Association , an office she held until her death. She became Commander in Chief of the Red Cross in Great Britain in 1926 .


Wedding of Princess Mary and Henry Lascelles, Viscount Lascelles, 1922

On February 28, 1922, Princess Mary married Henry Lascelles (September 9, 1882 - May 23, 1947), the eldest son of Henry Lascelles, 5th Earl of Harewood . He carried the courtesy title Viscount Lascelles . Their wedding at Westminster Abbey was the first public event attended by Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon , who later became Queen and Queen Mother. She was a friend of Mary and one of the bridesmaids. Mary and her husband settled in Yorkshire, first at Goldborough House and later at Harewood House . She devoted herself to the interior decoration of Harewood House, the family seat of the Lascelles, and to agriculture, in which she became an expert in cattle breeding.

There were reports that Mary had refused to marry her husband and was forced into the arranged marriage by her parents. Her brother Eduard, Prince of Wales , to whom she was very close, was also against marriage because he did not want his sister to marry someone she did not love. Her eldest son George, however, wrote in his memoir, "They got on well and had many friends and interests in common."

Princess Mary and her husband had two sons:

Princess Royal

Mary, Countess of Harewood, 1932
Mary, Countess of Harewood on a visit to Naval Hospital Haslar in Gosport, 1943

On October 6, 1929, Lascelles, who had been made Knight of the Order of the Garter at his wedding , succeeded his father as the sixth Earl of Harewood . The couple's eldest son was given the courtesy title Viscount Lascelles . On January 1, 1932, George V made his only daughter Princess Royal .

The Princess Royal was particularly close to her eldest brother, Eduard . After his abdication as king , she and her husband traveled with him to Enzesfeld Palace in Enzesfeld-Lindabrunn south of Vienna . In November 1947 she allegedly turned down the invitation to the wedding of her niece Princess Elisabeth with Philip Mountbatten because Eduard had not been invited. She officially did not take part for health reasons. Eduard was later invited to the weddings of his nieces Princess Margaret and Princess Alexandra , but did not attend because of bitterness.

When the Second World War broke out , the Princess Royal was first Chief Controller (about Brigadier ) and later Controller Commandant of the Auxiliary Territorial Service , the women's armed forces of the British Army . In this capacity, she paid visits to the troops and charities across the UK. She became President of Papworth after the death of her younger brother George . In 1950 she became Air Chief Commandant of the Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service. In 1956 she became an honorary general in the British Army. As early as 1949, the unit of the 10th Gurkha Rifles was named after it " 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles ".

After her husband's death in 1947, the Princess Royal lived in Harewood House with her older son and his family. She became Chancellor of Leeds University in 1951 and continued to perform official duties both at home and abroad. In June 1953 she attended the coronation of Elizabeth II and represented the Queen in 1962 at the independence celebrations of Trinidad and Tobago and in 1964 at those of Zambia . One of her last public appearances was to represent the Queen at the funeral of Queen Louise of Sweden in March 1965.

The Princess Royal suffered a fatal heart attack while walking her eldest son and children in the grounds around Harewood House . She was buried at York Minster , Harewood , after a private family funeral.

Orders and decorations

Web links

Commons : Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files