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Queen Mary

(1867—1953) queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and the British dominions beyond the seas, and empress of India, consort of George V.


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Queen of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, empress of India b. 26 May 1867, da. of Francis, duke of Teck, and Mary, da. of Adolphus, duke of Cambridge; m. George, duke of York (later George V), 6 July 1893; d. 24 Mar. 1953; bur. Windsor.

Thanks in part to the development of photography and the cinema, Mary became one of the best-known queens, instantly recognizable. Though she was a great-granddaughter of George III, her family was relatively impoverished, and she was thought to have done very well when she was chosen in 1891 to marry and redeem the duke of Clarence, eldest son of the prince of Wales. On Clarence's death from pneumonia, she married his younger brother George, to whom she became devoted. Though shy, she was composed and dignified, inspiring respect rather than affection, and carrying herself so well that she appeared taller than she was. Like her husband, she preferred a quiet domestic life, mainly at York Cottage at Sandringham, a large cottage but a small royal residence. She read widely, was informed about painting and tapestry, and collected antiques and objets d'art, sometimes ruthlessly. Her life was punctuated by sadness. Her youngest son, John, suffered from epilepsy and died at thirteen in 1919; her first son abdicated in 1936; her fourth son, George, duke of Kent, was killed in an air-crash in 1942 while on active service, and she lived to witness the death of her second son, George VI, in 1952. To the end, she remained tactful and self-effacing.

Subjects: British History.


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