If ever there was a 20th century English princess who did things "right", it would be George V's daughter, Princess Mary. I say this mainly because of the scope of what we donoKnowledge about them could fill a book. She lived a life of public service, supporting her father, her brothers Edward VIII and George VI. and later his niece, Queen Elizabeth. However, today marks the anniversary of her marriage to Henry Lascelles, Earl of Harewood in 1922, and we take this opportunity to take a brief look at her life.
Mary was born on 25 April 1897 to George, Duke of York and his wife, Mary of Teck, Duchess of York, at York Cottage on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. She was the third child of her parents and joined her older brothers, Princes Edward and Albert, in the nursery at York. At the time of her birth, her great-grandmother Queen Victoria was still on the throne and her father was second in line to the throne, making her position mirror that of Princess Charlotte today. Surprisingly, she was christened Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary, but Queen Victoria apparently suggested naming her "Diamond" in honor of her Diamond Jubilee, which took place that year and marked her 60th year as queen.
In 1901, Victoria died and Mary's grandfather ascended to the throne as Edward VII, while her parents were soon sworn in as Prince and Princess of Wales. Despite this, at first, little changed in Mary's life, as her parents were careful to live as quietly as possible. After Maria, three other brothers would join the household, Princes Henrique, Jorge and João, the last of whom seems to have suffered from epilepsy. He was eventually moved to a separate home and died in 1919 aged 13.
Mary's education was limited by modern standards, dictated mainly by a governess and occasional co-tuition with her brothers, who pursued more rigorous studies. Considering the royal careers of their more famous brothers, much has been written about the upbringing of the York children. The future George V was known to be a stern father who instilled anxiety in his children and aggravated the stutter of his second son, Prince Albert. Her behavior towards her daughter seems to have been an exception and he wasn't as hard on her. Anyway, Mary was very close to her brothers, especially Edward and Albert.
In 1910, when Mary was 13 years old, Edward VII died and her father ascended the throne. The new King George and Queen Mary reluctantly moved into Buckingham Palace with their family and life would change dramatically. Increased public duties meant that Mary saw less of her parents as her older brothers began their military careers. In 1914, World War I broke out and Mary did her part to support the British cause, joining her mother in volunteering at hospitals and public charities. At Christmas that year, the Princess Mary's Christmas Gift Fund was set up, providing gifts worth £100,000 to soldiers serving in the war. As the war progressed, Mary became deeply involved in nursing and the Guides movement, causes she devoted the rest of her life to.
On 20 November 1921, Mary became engaged to Henry, Viscount Lascelles, eldest son of the Earl of Harewood. He apparently proposed to her while visiting the royal family at York Cottage, which the King and Queen still used as a country retreat, rather than Sandringham House, which had been maintained by George's mother, Queen Alexandra, during her widowhood. Queen Mary wrote in her diary at the time:
"At 6.30 am Mary came into my room to tell me of her engagement to Lord Lascelles! We then told G. (King George V) and gave Harry L. our blessing. We had to keep quiet about it because G. had we had to issue an order of approval at the city council. Of course, everyone knew what had happened and we were very happy and almost noisy at dinner. We are satisfied."
The couple were married at Westminster Abbey on 28 February 1922, which was notably the first royal wedding to take place there sinceRichard II married Anne of Bohemia in 1382. Of perhaps even greater historical importance, however, was the fact that among Mary's maids of honor was Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who was actively pursuing Mary's brother, Prince Albert. After rejecting his first two proposals, Elizabeth finally accepted the third and the two were also married at the abbey in April 1923.
Accounts of the Lascelles' happiness in the marriage vary. Years after the wedding, rumors spread that Mary had accepted Henry's marriage proposal only after pressure from her parents and that her brother Prince Edward had vehemently opposed it, horrified that his sister was being forced into marriage. with someone she didn't love. Another rumor said that Henry only asked her to marry him after losing a bet at his club. However, her son later wrote in his memoirs that her parents were a good couple and got along well.
Mary and Henry established their base at Chesterfield House in London and used Goldsborough Hall in Yorkshire as a rural retreat. Less than a year after their wedding, on February 7, 1923, Mary gave birth to their first child, George, at home in London. On August 21, 1924, she gave birth to her second and final child, Gerald. On 6 October 1929 Henry's father died and he inherited the family earldom and the young couple and their children officially moved to Harewood House in West Yorkshire.
1931 Marys Tante,Louise of Wales, Duchess of Fifedied, inaugurating the title of Princess Royal, normally held by the eldest daughter of the monarch. Edward VII had lent it to his daughter in 1905, and on January 1, 1932, George V passed it on to Maria. Four years later, the king died and his brother, Prince Edward, began his short and notorious reign as Edward VIII.
Mary was extremely close to Edward and, like many family members, was devastated.Events that occurred during 1936and shocked when his brother abdicated. Although she supported Albert when he ascended the throne as King George VI, she remained loyal to Edward for the rest of his life and strongly opposed measures that excluded him from family events. Most notably, when Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947, Mary refused to attend on the grounds that Edward had not been invited.
Soon after the abdication, Mary visited her brother in Vienna, the only one of her siblings to visit him in the immediate years following her reign. When Edward received medical treatment in England in 1965, she was also supportive and visited him in hospital as he recovered from surgery.
She continued her public duties on behalf of George VI, particularly after the outbreak of the Second World War, during which time she served as Comptroller-in-Chief of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, later the Women's Royal Army Corps. She also became Commander in Chief of the Nursing Service of Princess Mary's Royal Air Force in 1950 and was made an honorary general of the British Army in 1956
Mary was widowed on 24 May 1947 and spent the rest of her life living at Harewood House with her eldest son George and his family. When George VI died in 1952 and was succeeded by his niece Elizabeth II, Mary attended his coronation in 1953 and represented her at Trinidad and Tobago's independence celebrations in 1962. One of her last public appearances was in Sweden for her mother's funeral. cousin, Queen Luise.
While walking through the gardens of Harewood House with her son and grandchildren, Mary suffered a heart attack and died on 28 March 1965. She was buried with her husband in Yorkshire.