Wedding of Prince George, Duke of York, and Princess Mary of Teck
Prince George and Princess Mary on their wedding day
|Date||6 July 1893|
|Location||Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, London, England|
|Participants||Prince George, Duke of York, Mary of Teck, Queen Victoria, the Duke of Teck, the Duchess of Teck, Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Princess Maud of Wales, Princess Victoria of Wales, Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Margaret of Connaught, Princess Patricia of Connaught, Princess Alice of Battenberg, and Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg.|
Mary of Teck's engagement to Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, ended after the duke's death on 14 January 1892. Even before the duke's death, his grandmother Queen Victoria had wanted to ensure the succession, and consequently desired that his younger brother and (now second-in-line to the throne) Prince George marry either Princess Marie or Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh. For his part, George was fond of his cousins, but did not want to marry early; "I still think marrying too young is a bad thing," he wrote to the Queen, and cited the circumstances under Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria as an example. Furthermore, the prince made it known, "The one thing I never could do is to marry a person that didn't care for me. I should be miserable for the rest of my life". In 1892 however, a tentative proposal of marriage was put forward to Marie's parents, but as she was influenced by her Anglophobe mother and governess, Marie rejected him.
His grandmother Queen Victoria was fond of the Duke of Clarence's fiancé, and made known her wish for Mary to wed his brother George (now the Duke of York). The situation was embarrassing for the couple, as the country expected their engagement and contemporary newspapers speculated wildly on the affair. Mary was still mourning the duke's death, but faced the intense pressure of her parents, among others. George on the other hand was faced with the reality of his new position as second-in-line to the throne, and had lost self-confidence after Marie's refusal. He had no idea what Mary's real opinion was towards him, and consequently had some misgivings; George was urged to propose to Mary after spending time with his beloved aunt Queen Olga of Greece. Despite this background, the couple came to care deeply for each other, and their marriage would be a success.
Several awkward encounters with Prince George went by, always in the company of others, with both individuals remaining embarrassed and shy. On 3 May 1893, Mary arranged to have tea with George's sister Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife and her husband, but when she arrived, she found George there as well. The awkward moment was saved after Louise interceded, "Now Georgie, don't you think you ought to take May into the garden to look at the frogs in the pond?" George proposed beside the pond, and their engagement was officially announced the following day.
On the morning of their wedding, George accidentally caught sight of his fiancée down a long corridor of Buckingham Palace; he proceeded to make a "low and courtly bow," a gesture Mary never forgot.
Princess Mary was attended by ten bridesmaids: Princesses Victoria Melita, Alexandra, and Beatrice of Edinburgh (George's first cousins); Princesses Maud and Victoria of Wales (George's sisters); Princesses Margaret and Patricia of Connaught; Princesses Alice and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (George's first cousins); and Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (George's first cousin).
The royal parties were brought in large carriage processions, consisting of open landaus. Mary entered in the final procession with her father the Duke of Teck and her eldest brother Prince Adolphus of Teck. Mary greeted the crowds' applause with her "side-ways smile," and with "a little nervous gesture of her white-gloved right hand". As royal weddings were historically popular spectacles, the wedding attracted large crowds, many of which gathered in the route from Buckingham Palace to St James's Palace to give the couple an "enthusiastic reception".
Mary's wedding dress had a train of silver and white brocade, and was embroidered with a design of rose, shamrock, and thistle in silver. She wore the same bridal veil as her mother Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck had in 1866 - it was small, and hung down the back of the head. Her trousseau consisted partly of "forty outdoor suits, fifteen ball-dresses, five tea-gowns, a vast number of bonnets, shoes, and gloves," as reported by the Lady's Pictorial. The couple received equally lavish wedding presents, such as jewelry and plates valued at £300,000.
The Archbishop of Canterbury performed the ceremony, and was assisted by the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Rochester, and five other prelates. George and Mary then proceeded to Buckingham Palace, and the marriage register was signed by the Queen, the prime minister, and all other royal personages present.
The Groom's Family
- The Prince and Princess of Wales, the groom's parents
- The Queen, the groom's paternal grandmother
- The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the groom's paternal uncle and aunt
- The Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn, the groom's paternal uncle and aunt
- Princess and Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, the groom's paternal aunt and uncle
- Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne and the Marquess of Lorne, the groom's paternal aunt and uncle
- Princess and Prince Henry of Battenberg, the groom's paternal aunt and uncle
- Princess and Prince Louis of Battenberg, the groom's paternal cousin and her husband
- Princess and Prince Henry of Prussia, the groom's paternal cousin and her husband
- The King and Queen of Denmark, the groom's maternal grandparents
- The Tsarevich of Russia the groom's maternal cousin, representing his parents, The Tsar and Tsarina of All the Russias
- Prince Albert of Belgium, the groom's paternal cousin, once removed
The Bride's Family
- The Duke and Duchess of Teck, the bride's parents
- The Duke of Cambridge, the bride's maternal uncle
- The Grand Duchess and the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the bride's maternal aunt and uncle
Other notable people
The Times U.K. reported on July 7 that amongst the great gathering present at the ceremony were Her Majesty and the Royal family as a whole, the Duke and Duchess of Teck, Lord Salisbury, Lord Rosebery, Mr. Morley, Mr. Bryce, Mr. Chamberlain, Sir W. V. Harcourt, Lord Ripon, Lord Spencer, Lord Herschell, Mr. Balfour, Mr. Goschen, the Dukes of Argyll, Norfolk and Devonshire, Mr. Gladstone, the Hon. T. F. Bayard, American Minister, several Indian Princes and many others.
- Hichens, p. 109.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 249.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 251.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 253.
- Pope-Hennessy, pp. 253-54.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 257.
- Pope-Hennessy, pp. 259-60.
- "England's Royal Wedding; Princess Mary of Teck Becomes The Duchess of York", The New York Times (London), 7 July 1893, retrieved 10 January 2011
- "A royal marriage". Duburque Sunday Herald (London). 6 July 1893. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 266.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 267.
- Pope-Hennessy, pp. 267-68.
- Hichens, p. 111.
- "The Royal Wedding", The Sydney Mail (London), 15 July 1893, retrieved 20 January 2011
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 264.
- Quoted in Pope-Hennessy, p. 264.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 265.
- Special Correspondent (7 July 1893), "Marriage of the Duke of York and Princess May", The Manchester Guardian (London)
- Hopkins, F.S.S., J.Castell. "Title: The Life of King Edward VII". Page 201, The Life of King Edward VII. Copyright 1910, by W.E.Scull -re-published — Gutenburg 2008. Retrieved Feb 21, 2013.
- Hichens, Mark (2006). Wives of the Kings of England, From Hanover to Windsor. London: Peter Owen Publishers. ISBN 0-7206-1271-3.
- Pope-Hennessy, James (1959). Queen Mary, 1867-1953. London: George Allen and Unwin Unlimited.