Mary of Teck

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Mary of Teck (Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes; 26 May 1867 – 24 March 1953) was the queen consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Empress of India, as the wife of King-Emperor George V. By birth, she was a princess of Teck, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, with the style Serene Highness. To her family, she was informally known as May, after her birth month.

Her father, who was of German extraction, married into the British Royal Family, and "May" was born and brought up in the United Kingdom. At the age of 24 she was betrothed to Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, the heir to the British throne, but six weeks after the announcement of the engagement he unexpectedly died of pneumonia. The following year she became engaged to the new heir, Albert Victor's brother, George. Before her husband's accession, she was successively Duchess of York, Duchess of Cornwall, and Princess of Wales. As his queen consort from 1910, she supported her husband through World War I, his ill-health, and major political changes arising from the aftermath of the war and the rise of socialism and nationalism. After George's death in 1936, her eldest son Edward became King-Emperor, but to her dismay he abdicated the same year in order to marry twice-divorced American socialite Mrs. Wallis Simpson. She supported her second son, Albert, who succeeded to the throne as George VI, until his death in 1952. She died the following year, at the beginning of the reign of her granddaughter, Elizabeth II. Briefly, there were three queens in the country: Mary; her daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; and Elizabeth II.

Queen Mary was known for setting the tone of the British Royal Family, as a model of regal formality and propriety, especially during state occasions. Noted for superbly bejewelling herself for formal events, she left a collection of jewels now considered priceless.

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