Friday, September 10, 2010

Antique Image of the Day: Mary of Teck, 1868

Mary of Teck, 1868
The Royal Collection
Mary of Teck (1867-1953) was born Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes. She was engaged to the heir to the British throne Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale. However, six weeks into their engagement, he died from pneumonia. Mary was then betrothed to his brother, George, the next heir to the throne. Upon George V’s coronation, Mary became Queen Mary, the Queen Consort. She preferred to use the name “Mary” over “Victoria” to avoid having the same name as her husband’s grandmother, the late Queen Victoria.


This interesting hand-tinted photograph of Mary was taken for her mother and later bequeathed to the queen herself. Housed in a gilt locket studded with cabochon lapis alzuli, the image shows Mary of Teck as a cherubic toddler with rosy cheeks.

This is probably disrespectful, but when I think of Mary of Teck, I tend to immediately think of her rather large head. When you look at her jewels at the Tower of London, you can’t help but notice that her crown is quite a lot larger than everyone else’s. You can see evidence of her large head in this photo from her infancy. But, that’s neither here nor there. She was firm, but loving and very well-respected. Sir Henry "Chips" Channon had this to say of Queen Mary: "[she was] above politics ... magnificent, humorous, worldly, in fact nearly sublime, though cold and hard. But what a grand Queen."

2 comments:

Dashwood said...

It would be unseemly to describe the late Queen as a kleptomaniac but when she spotted an object she liked and said she was "caressing it with my eyes", it was a pretty sure bet that the item would be missing in the morning. Dinner hosts learned in time to hide the good stuff.

Joseph said...

It would be equally unseemly to suggest that her behavior was probably a side-effect of her enormous head. No disrespect meant...