The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

 
 
 
Duchess of Teck

Duchess of Teck


A carte-de-visite portrait of Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck (1833-1897).

Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina was the daughter of Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, the seventh son of George III. In 1866 she married Prince Francis Paul Louis Alexander, Duke of Teck (1837-1900), eldest son of Prince Alexander of Württemburg. She was the mother of May of Teck, who became the wife of George V.

She was known as the Princess of Cambridge until her marriage, after which she was known as either the Princess or Duchess of Teck. Enormously popular with the British public, she was also affectionately known as 'Fat Mary'.

Despite her influence among the Central European principalities, it still took Queen Victoria almost a decade to find a suitable match for her generously proportioned cousin, and she was nearly forced to concede to her Foreign Secretary, Lord Clarendon, that 'no German Prince will venture so vast an undertaking'. In the end, at the age of thirty, Mary married the impecunious Prince of Teck.

Having finally entered the state of matrimony, the Princess lived well beyond her means, amounting huge debts in her new-found rôle as a hostess of London society. She was eventually persuaded to economize and in 1883, with her husband and four children, went to live in Florence, where she lived in a style almost as opulent as that which she had enjoyed in London.

Photographed by William and Daniel Downey of London and Newcastle.


 

Code: 124087
 
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© Paul Frecker 2018