Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, Duchess of Teck

Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, Duchess of Teck, is known today as the Queen Mary's mother. Dubbed as the "people's princess," the Duchess of Teck was one of the earliest royals to support a wide range of charitable organizations.

(left) Portrait of Princess Mary of Cambridge when she was six, painted by Sir Edwin Landseer (1839)

Born in 1822 in Hanover, she was the youngest daughter and child of Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, youngest son of King George III, and of Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel. In 1866, she married Prince Francis, who was later ennobled duke of Teck. They had four children, the eldest being crowned as Queen Mary, consort of King George V of England.

Due to the duchess' extravagant lifestyle, the Teck family was forced to flee England and, from 1883 until 1885, they lived with their relatives in Europe. After their return to England, the duchess of Teck devoted most of his time on phi atrophic causes.

(right) The portrait of Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck by Hermann Schmiechen (1882)

According to James Pope Hennessy’s official biography of Queen Mary, the duchess "gave her patronage to any charity, bazaar or organization which seemed to her genuine and efficiently run. This patronage was never of a merely nominal character: 'When she gave her name, she gave also her time, energy, and thought.' She would herself open all letters addressed to her, decide which were worthy of immediate attention, draft replies and, with her daughter's aid, classify each case in one of her charity ledgers.”

She died in her country home, White Lodge in Richmond Park in 1897.

For more of the duchess of Teck's life and story, see her biography at Suite101.

(above) The duchess of Teck with her daughter,
the duchess of York, after the birth of her grandson,
the future King Edward VIII, 1894.

 

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