July 6, 1893 – Wedding of George, Duke of York (later King George V of the United Kingdom) and Princess Mary of Teck, at the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace in London, England
The paternal grandparents of Queen Elizabeth II married on July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace. At that time, royal weddings were not the big public affairs that they are now, and this wedding was no different. Members of the public lined the very short route from Buckingham Palace to St. James Palace to try to catch a glimpse of the wedding party and guests as their carriages proceeded along the route.
The groom was HRH Prince George Frederick Ernest Albert who was born on June 3, 1865 at Marlborough House, London. His parents were Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), known as Bertie, and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, known as Alix. George was related to many other royals. Through his father, he was first cousin to Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, Queen Marie of Romania, Queen Sophie of Greece, Queen Ena of Spain, Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden and was brother to Queen Maud of Norway. Through his mother, he was first cousin to King Christian X of Denmark, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, King Constantine I of Greece and King Haakon VII of Norway.
The bride, Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes of Teck, was born at Kensington Palace, London on May 26, 1867. Mary’s mother was HRH Princess Mary Adelaide, the youngest child of HRH Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (the seventh son and tenth child of King George III and Queen Charlotte) and HRH Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel. The new princess was known as Mary or May. The bride’s father was His Serene Highness Prince Francis of Teck, the product of a morganatic marriage. Prince Francis’ father, Duke Alexander of Württemberg, was once heir to the throne of Württemberg. However, Duke Alexander contracted a morganatic marriage (marriage to a person of a lower rank) to a Hungarian countess, Claudine Rhedey. Alexander lost his rights to the throne and his children lost the right to use the Württemberg name. Francis’ cousin King Karl of Württemberg eventually elevated him to the more important Germanic title of Duke of Teck.
Mary had been previously engaged to George’s elder brother Prince Albert Victor, known as Prince Eddy. Eddy was the oldest son and eldest child of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and Alexandra of Denmark, and was second in line for the throne held by his grandmother Queen Victoria. Eddy proposed to Mary during a ball on December 3, 1891. The engagement was announced three days later and the wedding set for February 27, 1892. In the midst of the wedding preparations, Eddy developed a high fever on January 7, 1892 at Sandringham. His sister Victoria and other household members already had been ill with influenza, which Eddy also developed. Two days later, his lungs became inflamed and pneumonia was diagnosed. In the early morning hours of January 14, 1892, Eddy died. Eddy’s funeral was held at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor and he is buried in the Albert Memorial Chapel in St. George’s Chapel. Mary’s wedding bouquet of orange blossoms lay on his coffin.
After the death of Prince Eddy, Mary and George spent much time together. As time passed and their common grief eased, there was hope that a marriage might take place between them. George proposed to Mary beside a pond in the garden of his sister Louise’s home, East Sheen Lodge, on April 29, 1893. The engagement was announced on May 3, 1893 with the blessing of Queen Victoria.
The wedding was set for July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal, St. James’ Palace. St, George’s Chapel, Windsor, had been the choice for Mary’s planned marriage to Eddy, but it was considered inappropriate because it had been the site of Eddy’s funeral. There was much excitement about the upcoming wedding. Women’s magazines produced special editions detailing Mary’s trousseau. Crowds visited London’s Imperial Institute where royal wedding gifts were displayed for the first time.
Ten bridesmaids had been selected: Princesses Victoria and Maud of Wales (the groom’s sisters), Princesses Victoria Melita, Alexandra and Beatrice of Edinburgh, Princesses Margaret and Patricia of Connaught, Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (all first cousins of the groom), and Princess Alice of Battenberg (daughter of the groom’s first cousin Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine). At least three of the bridesmaids wished they were in Mary’s shoes.
Back row: Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh, Princess Helena of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Victoria-Melita of Edinburgh, Prince George-Duke of York, Princess Victoria of Wales, Princess Maud of Wales
In the middle: Princess Alice of Battenberg, Princess Margaret of Connaught, Princess Mary of Teck-Duchess of York
Front row: Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh, Princess Victoria-Eugenie of Battenberg, Princess Patricia of Connaught
The summer of 1893 had been hot and July 6, the wedding day, was no different. Crowds gathered in the morning along the bridal procession route on Constitution Hill, Piccadilly and St. James Street. At 11:30 a.m., the first of the carriage processions left Buckingham Palace. Royalty from Britain and abroad rode in twelve open state landaus driven by cream-colored horses. The bridegroom and his father left the Palace at 11:45 a.m. followed by Queen Victoria in the Glass Coach. Accompanying the Queen was her cousin, the beaming Princess Mary Adelaide, the mother of the bride. The bride’s procession came last. Mary was accompanied by her father and her brother Adolphus.
As Mary walked down the aisle of the Chapel Royal towards George, she leaned stiffly on her father’s arm and smiled at those guests she recognized. While exchanging vows, George gave his answers distinctly while Mary spoke quietly. After the wedding service, the royals returned in state to Buckingham Palace where they feasted at round tables covered with food in a room separate from the other guests. The other guests enjoyed themselves in the ballroom where large buffet tables were set up. After the meal, there was a royal wedding “first.” Queen Victoria led George and Mary out onto the balcony at Buckingham Palace and presented them to the cheering crowds.
George and Mary had six children:
- Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor after his abdication): (1894-1972) married Wallis Simpson, no issue
- George VI (1895-1952) married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, had issue: Queen Elizabeth II; Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
- Mary, Princess Royal (1897-1965) married Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood, had issue: George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood; The Honourable Gerald Lascelles
- Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1900-1974) married Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott, had issue: Prince William of Gloucester; Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
- George, Duke of Kent (1902-1942) married Princess Marina of Greece, had issue: Prince Edward, Duke of Kent; Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy; Prince Michael of Kent
- John (1905-1919), suffered from epilepsy, died in childhood
Much of this article is taken from a more detailed article I previously wrote. For more details, that article can be seen at: Unofficial Royalty: Wedding of George V and Princess May of Teck
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