Mary was the wife and Queen consort of King George V. She was born in London in 1867, and known to her family as ‘May’ after the month of her birth. Her father was a minor Duke Francis of Teck with little wealth, and her mother Mary Adelaide of Cambridge who was a grandchild of George III. The eldest of four children she spent her early years travelling Europe with her family until they settled in London in 1885.
In 1891 she was engaged to her 2nd cousin Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, but shortly afterwards and before they were married he died in 1892. Queen Victoria considered her a suitable candidate for marriage to Albert’s brother Prince George who was second in line to the throne, and they were married in 1893. They became Duke and Duchess of York and lived on the Sandringham Estate, in Norfolk. The marriage was a success and George unlike his father never took a mistress. They had 6 children Edward, Albert, Mary, Henry, George and John. The youngest Prince John suffered from epilepsy and died aged 13.
George V became King in 1910 and Mary became Queen consort. They toured India in 1911 as Emperor and Empress of India. During World War I Mary visited wounded serviceman in hospital and was staunch supporter of her husband during difficult times that included not only the war with Germany, but also the Russian revolution and murder of George’s cousin Princess Alix who was Tsarina Alexandra wife of Tsar Nicholas II, civil unrest and Irish and Indian nationalism. In 1917 with anti-German sentiment running high, the family name was changed from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.
Following the death of George in 1936, she became the Queen mother and her son Edward became King Edward VIII. She disapproved of divorce and of Edward’s subsequent abdication and marriage to twice divorced Wallis Simpson, but she supported her second son Albert who came to the throne as King George VI. She died at the age of 85, only 10 weeks before the coronation of Elizabeth II (Royal family history: www.britroyals.com)