Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge was a British Royal Family member who lived from 1833 to 1897.
She was a notable patron of various charities and one of the first royals to do so. She was also known as the Duchess of Teck later in her life, and her daughter, May, became Queen Mary, the wife of King George V.
Additionally, through her daughter, Princess Mary Adelaide Of Cambridge was the grandmother of two British kings: Edward VIII and George VI. Let’s take a closer look at her life and family.
Early Life and Family
Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge was born in the Kingdom of Hanover, German Confederation, on November 27, 1833.
Her father was Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, who was the youngest surviving son of King George III and Queen Charlotte. Her mother was Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel, the daughter of Prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel.
As a male-line granddaughter of a British monarch, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge was styled as a British princess with the prefix of Royal Highness.
She spent the early years of her life in Hanover, where her father acted as viceroy in place of her uncles George IV and later William IV.
The Wedding Day of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge
By the age of 30, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge was still unmarried. She had reportedly declared that she did not want to leave Britain and would not marry a husband who would require her to live abroad. Suitors for her hand included several princes, but none of them worked out.
Eventually, a suitable candidate was found by the Prince of Wales and his wife, Princess Alexandra, during a visit to the Austrian court in Vienna in 1865. They met and took a liking to a young officer in the Austrian Army, Prince Francis of Teck.
He was of lower rank than Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, 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.
He was also considered to be “the most handsome man at the Austrian court.”
The Prince of Wales invited the young officer to visit the royal court in Britain, and upon Francis‘s arrival on March 6, 1866, arranged for him to meet Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge.
The pair hit it off and were engaged a month later. They were married on June 12, 1866, at St Anne’s Church, Kew, Surrey.
Despite money problems and perennial dissatisfaction about their low ranking within the British royal family, it was a happy marriage.
The couple had one daughter and three sons.
Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge’s Grandchildren
Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, a granddaughter of King George III, was married to Francis, Duke of Teck. Together, they had four children: Mary, Adolphus, Francis, and Alexander. Princess Mary Adelaide’s grandchildren include some notable figures from British history.
Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood was the eldest child of Princess Mary Adelaide’s daughter Mary. She was born in 1897 and became the Countess of Harewood upon her marriage to the 6th Earl of Harewood. She was also the aunt of Queen Elizabeth II.
George VI, born in 1895, was the second son of Princess Mary Adelaide’s daughter Mary. He became king in 1936 after his older brother, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne. George VI is perhaps most well-known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II.
Edward VIII, born in 1894, was the eldest son of Princess Mary Adelaide’s daughter Mary. He became king in 1936 but abdicated the throne later that same year to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson.
Prince John of the United Kingdom was the youngest son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was born in 1905 and died at the age of 13 in 1919.
Prince George, Duke of Kent, was the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was born in 1902 and died in a plane crash in 1942 during World War II.
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was the third son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was born in 1900 and served as Governor-General of Australia from 1945 to 1947.
Lady May Abel Smith, born in 1906, was the daughter of Princess Mary Adelaide’s son Alexander. She was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II for many years.
Rupert Cambridge, Viscount Trematon, was the son of Princess Mary Adelaide’s grandson, George Cambridge, 2nd Marquess of Cambridge. He was born in 1907 and died in action during World War II.
Prince Maurice Francis George of Teck was the son of Princess Mary Adelaide’s grandson, Prince Adolphus of Teck. He was born in 1910 and died in action during World War II.
Lady Helena Gibbs, born in 1910, was the daughter of Princess Mary Adelaide’s son Alexander. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI) and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.
George Cambridge, 2nd Marquess of Cambridge, was the grandson of Princess Mary Adelaide and the eldest son of her son George. He was born in 1895 and served as a captain in the British Army during World War I.
Lord Frederick Cambridge, born in 1907, was the youngest son of Princess Mary Adelaide’s son George. He served as a major in the British Army during World War II.
Mary Adelaide was one of the first royals to patronise a wide range of charities. She was known for her charitable work, serving as a patron to Barnardo’s and other children’s charities.
Her life was devoted to helping others, and her family supported her in this endeavour.
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.
Mary Adelaide’s daughter, May, married Prince George, Duke of York, in 1893. Mary Adelaide died on October 27, 1897, at White Lodge, following an emergency operation.
She was buried on November 3, 1897, in the Royal Vault at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge lived a life of charity and family. She was one of the first royals to patronise charities and was known for her devotion to helping others. Her daughter, May, went on to become Queen Mary, wife of King George V, and her grandchildren included two British kings: Edward VIII and George VI.
Mary Adelaide‘s legacy lives on through her family’s continued work in charity and public service. Her life serves as an inspiration to many who seek to make a positive impact on the world around them.
As a member of the British royal family, she was an important figure in her time, but her commitment to helping others is what truly sets her apart.
We can all learn from her example and strive to make a difference in our own communities.