Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood

Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood (Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary; 25 April 1897 – 28 March 1965) was a member of the British royal family. She was the third child and only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary and was born during the reign of Queen Victoria, her great-grandmother. Mary was the paternal aunt of the current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Her education started at home. World War I brought Mary out of seclusion as she launched a charity campaign to support British troops and sailors. She eventually became a nurse. Mary married Viscount Lascelles (later the Earl of Harewood) in 1922. She was an avid collector of jewellery.[1]

Princess Mary
Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood
Princess Mary, c. 1932
Born(1897-04-25)25 April 1897
York Cottage, Sandringham
Died28 March 1965(1965-03-28) (aged 67)
Harewood House, Yorkshire
Burial1 April 1965
Full name
Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary
HouseWindsor (from 1917)
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (until 1917)
FatherGeorge V
MotherMary of Teck

Early life


Princess Mary was born at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, during the reign of her great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Her parents were the then Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary). Her father was the eldest surviving son of the then Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra). Her mother was the eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Teck.

She was named after her paternal great-grandmother Queen Victoria;[2][3] her paternal grandmother, Alexandra, Princess of Wales; and her maternal grandmother, the Duchess of Teck. Since she had the same birthday as her deceased great-aunt Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, the name Alice was added in. She was always known by the last of her Christian names, Mary. She was fifth in the line of succession at the time of her birth.

She was baptized at St Mary Magdalene's Church near Sandringham on 7 June 1897 by William Dalrymple Maclagan, Archbishop of York. Her godparents were: the Queen (her great-grandmother); the King of the Hellenes (her great-uncle); the Dowager Empress of Russia (her paternal great-aunt); the Prince and Princess of Wales (her paternal grandparents); the Duchess of Teck (her maternal grandmother); Princess Victoria of Wales (her paternal aunt); and Prince Francis of Teck (her maternal uncle).[4]


Princess Mary was educated by governesses, but shared some lessons with her brothers, Prince Edward (later Edward VIII), Prince Albert (later George VI), and Prince Henry (later Duke of Gloucester, whose birth was the first of many that saw her superseded in the line of succession). She became fluent in German and French and developed a lifelong interest in horses and horse racing. Princess Mary and her husband Lord Harewood regularly rode with the Bramham Moor Hunt where he was Master of the Hunt.[5] Her first state appearance was at the coronation of her parents at Westminster Abbey on 22 June 1911.

Charity work

During World War I, Princess Mary visited hospitals and welfare organizations with her mother;[6] assisting with projects to give comfort to British servicemen and assistance to their families. One of these projects was Princess Mary's Christmas Gift Fund, through which £100,000 worth of gifts was sent to all British soldiers and sailors for Christmas, 1914.[6][7] The 2017 value of that investment was £11-million.[8] She took an active role in promoting the Girl Guide movement, the VADs, and the Land Girls. In June 1918, following an announcement in The Gentlewoman, she began a nursing course at Great Ormond Street Hospital, working two days a week in the Alexandra Ward.[9][6]

Princess Mary's public duties reflected her concerns with nursing, the Girl Guide movement, and the Women's Services. In the period leading up to her marriage, girls and women in the British Empire called Mary and its variants (including Marie, May and Miriam) banded together to form "The Marys of the Empire," and donated money toward a wedding present.[10][11] She presented this fund to the Girl Guides Association for the purchase of Foxlease, and following the exhibition of her wedding presents, she also contributed half the proceeds to the same cause, for upkeep, a total of £10,000, which enabled the project to go ahead.[12][13]

She became honorary president of the British Girl Guide Association in 1920, a position she held until her death. It was reported in July 2013 that British Pathé had discovered newsreel film from 1927 in which the ancestors of Catherine Middleton are, as Lord Mayors of Leeds, playing host to Princess Mary at the Young Women's Christian Association in Hunslet, Leeds; both Sir Charles Lupton and his brother Hugh Lupton, were the uncles of Olive Middleton – the Duchess's great grandmother.[14][15] In 1921, the Princess became the first patron of the Not Forgotten Association, a position she held until her death in 1965. The charity's first Christmas Tea Party was organised by Mary and held at St James's Palace in 1921 when she invited 600 wounded servicemen for afternoon tea and the event has been held annually ever since.[16] In 1926, Princess Mary became the commandant-in-chief of the British Red Cross Detachments.[17][6]

In the 1920s, she was a patron of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival.[18] By the 1940s, Princess Mary was attending the opening nights and many of the festival's performances, as was her son, George, and his wife, the Countess of Harewood, née Marion Stein, a former concert pianist.[19][20] George was a noted music critic whose career included the role of artistic director of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival.[21]

In 1931, she was appointed patron of the Yorkshire Ladies Council of Education.[22]

Newspapers from December 1933 record that committee member Miss Elinor G. Lupton launched "The Infirmary Appeal" with "the Princess Royal" agreeing to "become Patron of the whole Appeal" - supporting the "scheme" of fundraising for the Leeds Infirmary. The committee's Vice-Presidents included Mary's sister-in-law the Hon. Mrs Edward Lascelles. Other women "serving on the Committee" included Mrs Noel Middleton, Lady Burton and Miss J.B. Kitson.[23] Mary became patron of the Leeds Infirmary in 1936.[24]


On 28 February 1922, Princess Mary married Viscount Lascelles,[25] the elder son of the then Earl of Harewood, and Lady Florence Bridgeman, daughter of Orlando Bridgeman, 3rd Earl of Bradford of Weston Park. The Princess was 24, Lord Lascelles was 39.

Their wedding was held at Westminster Abbey, and attracted large crowds along the route between Buckingham Palace and the abbey. The wedding was reported by Pathé News, including the appearance of the couple on the palace balcony.[26] The ceremony was the first royal wedding to be covered in fashion magazines such as Vogue. The wedding dress was created by Messrs Raville and combined "youthful simplicity with royal splendour". It was designed to reflect "Britain's position as ruler of a vast empire; emblematic lotus-flower motifs embroidered in India featured alongside a domestic, yet equally symbolic, trellis work of roses in pearls and crystal beads."[27] The Princess refused to share details of her honeymoon with the press.[27]

It was the first royal occasion in which Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother), a friend of Princess Mary, participated. She was one of the bridesmaids.[28]

The bride's attendants were:

Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles had two sons:[29]

It was later reported that Lascelles proposed to her after a wager at his club.[30]

Family homes

The Princess and her husband had homes in London (Chesterfield House, Westminster) and in Yorkshire (first Goldsborough Hall, and later Harewood House).[31] While at Goldsborough Hall, Princess Mary had internal alterations made by the architect Sydney Kitson, to suit the upbringing of her two children and instigated the development of formal planting of beech-hedge-lined long borders from the south terrace looking for a quarter of a mile down an avenue of lime trees. The limes were planted by her relatives as they visited the Hall throughout the 1920s, including her father George V and her mother Queen Mary.

After becoming the Countess of Harewood on the death of her father-in-law, Princess Mary moved to Harewood House and took a keen interest in the interior decoration and renovation of the Lascelles family seat.[7][31] In farming pursuits, Princess Mary also became an expert in cattle breeding.[32] In December 2012, some of the Princess's belongings were sold in "Harewood: Collecting in the Royal Tradition", an auction organised by Christie's.[32][33]

Princess Royal

On 6 October 1929, Lord Lascelles, who had been created a Knight of the Garter upon his marriage, succeeded his father as 6th Earl of Harewood, Viscount Lascelles, and Baron Harewood. The couple's elder son assumed the courtesy title of Viscount Lascelles. On 1 January 1932, George V declared that his only daughter should bear the title Princess Royal, succeeding her aunt Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife who had died a year before.[34]

The Princess Royal was particularly close to her eldest brother, the Prince of Wales, who subsequently became Edward VIII (who was known as David to his family). After the abdication crisis, she and her husband went to stay with the former Edward VIII, by then created Duke of Windsor, at Enzesfeld Castle near Vienna. Later, in November 1947, she allegedly declined to attend the wedding of her niece, The Princess Elizabeth, to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten to protest against the fact that the Duke of Windsor had not been invited.[30] She gave ill health as the official reason for her non-attendance.[35]

At the outbreak of World War II, the Princess Royal became chief controller and later controller commandant of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS, renamed the Women's Royal Army Corps in 1949).[36][37] In that capacity she travelled Britain visiting its units, as well as wartime canteens and other welfare organisations.[36] On the death of her younger brother, the Duke of Kent, she became the president of Papworth. The Princess Royal became air chief commandant of Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service in 1950 and received the honorary rank of general in the British Army in 1956.[36] Also, in 1949, the 10th Gurkha Rifles were renamed the 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles in her honour.[38]

After her husband's death in 1947, the Princess Royal lived at Harewood House with her elder son and his family. She became the chancellor of the University of Leeds in 1951, and continued to carry out official duties at home and abroad. She attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953 and later represented the Queen at the independence celebrations of Trinidad and Tobago in 1962, and Zambia in 1964.[39] One of her last official engagements was to represent the Queen at the funeral of Queen Louise of Sweden in early March 1965.

The Princess Royal visited her brother, the Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII) at the London Clinic in March 1965, where he was recovering from recent eye surgery. The Princess also met her brother's wife, the Duchess of Windsor (at that time, married to the Duke for more than 28 years), one of the Duchess's few meetings with her husband's immediate family up to that time.


On 28 March 1965 the Princess Royal suffered a fatal heart attack during a walk with her elder son, Lord Harewood, and his children in the grounds of the Harewood House estate. She was 67 years old. She was buried in the Lascelles family vault at All Saints' Church, Harewood, after a private family funeral at York Minster. A memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey, London.[40]

Six British monarchs reigned during Princess Mary's lifetime: Victoria (her great-grandmother), Edward VII (her grandfather), George V (her father), Edward VIII and George VI (her brothers) and Elizabeth II (her niece). She is usually remembered as an uncontroversial figure of the royal family.[32] In the 2019 film Downton Abbey, she is played by Kate Phillips.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 1897–1898:[41] Her Highness Princess Mary of York
  • 1898–1901: Her Royal Highness Princess Mary of York
  • 1901–1901: Her Royal Highness Princess Mary of Cornwall and York
  • 1901–1910: Her Royal Highness Princess Mary of Wales
  • 1910–1922: Her Royal Highness The Princess Mary
  • 1922–1929: Her Royal Highness The Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles
  • 1929–1932: Her Royal Highness The Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood
  • 1932–1965: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal




Honorary military appointments




In 1931, Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, was awarded her own personal arms, being the royal arms, differenced by a label argent of three points, each bearing a cross gules.[43]

Princess Mary's coat of arms
Mary's banner of arms
Mary's banner of arms in Scotland


Notes and sources

  1. Burroughs, Katrina (26 November 2012). "The heirlooms of Harewood House go on sale at Christie's". Homes and Property. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  2. Clear, Royal Children, p. 78
  3. The Times, 29 March 1965
  4. "Royal Christenings". Yvonne's Royalty Home Page. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  5. "Bramham Moor Hunt". Leodis - Leeds City Archives. Leeds City Council UK Gov. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  6. "Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  7. "A Christmas Legacy Continues". Harewood House. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  9. 'Court Circular' in The Times, issue 41826 dated 26 June 1918, p. 9
  10. "Et Cetera". The Tablet. 31 December 1921. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  11. "Princess Mary - The Gift from the Marys of the Empire". The Glasgow Herald. 31 January 1922. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  12. "How Queen Mary Is Spending the £12,000 Given To Her by the Marys of the Empire". Illustrated London News. 1 January 1911. p. 956. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  13. "The Ladies' Realm". The Chronicle. 10 July 1926. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  14. "Ancestors of Kate Middleton found on film - greeting Princess Mary". British Pathe. Retrieved 17 October 2015. Another film called ‘Princess Mary’ is from 1927 and it shows Kate Middleton’s great-great-great uncle the Lord Mayor of Leeds Hugh Lupton and his wife Lady Mayoress Isabella Lupton greeting Princess Mary who had arrived in Leeds to inaugurate the Girls Week Campaign of Hunslet Young Women’s Christian Association. Princess Mary was King George VI’s sister and therefore is Prince William’s great-great-aunt.
  15. "Footage found of Duchess of Cambridge's ancestors - meeting royalty". Evening Standard. London. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  16. "The Princess Royal hosts the Not Forgotten's Association's annual Christmas tea party". The Royal Family. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  17. Allison, Ronald (1991). Allison, Ronald; Riddell, Sarah (eds.). The Royal Encyclopedia. Macmillan Press. ISBN 978-0333538104. (After her marriage in 1922) Princess Mary became the commandant-in-chief of the British Red Cross Detachments.
  18. Lucas, J. "Thomas Beecham: An Obsession with Music". Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 2008. p. 183. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  19. "Several well-known Leeds musical authorities tell of the opportunities afforded them to talk things musical to her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal". Yorkshire Evening Post. West Yorkshire, England. 10 January 1949. Retrieved 20 September 2015. ...(Princess Mary) was concert-going in Leeds as recently as this week-end when (she) attended the concert. The Princess Royal is a patron of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival. During the last series in October, 1947, she attended most...
  20. "Hoping for a Boy". Barrier Miner, Broken Hill. 6 September 1950. Retrieved 20 September 2015 via Trove. ...the Countess plans to attend every night of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival...
  21. Ponsonby, Robert (January 2015). "Lascelles, George Henry Hubert, seventh earl of Harewood (1923–2011)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/103948.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  22. "Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood has consented to become Patron of the Yorkshire Ladies' Council of Education". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. Yorkshire, England. 23 February 1931. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  23. "The Infirmary Appeal: Princess Royal's Support of Scheme". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 1 December 1933. p. 3. Retrieved 31 October 2019. The committee was launched by Miss E.G. was announced that the Princess Royal had agreed to become Patron of the whole Appeal... Vice-Presidents are:-... Lady Irwin, Lady Bingley, Lady Moynihan,... Lady Burton.. the Hon. Mrs Edward Lascelles...serving on the Committee are...Lady Burton,...Miss Elinor Lupton... Mrs Noel Middleton...Miss J.B. Kitson...
  24. Anning, S. (1966). The General Infirmary at Leeds. E. and S. Livingston. Retrieved 1 November 2019. PREFACE - THIS book was dedicated with her gracious permission to Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal who became Patron of the Infirmary in 1936 under the new Charter of Incorporation. Her sudden death on March 28th, 1965 was....
  25. "Princess Mary, daughter of George V". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  26. "Wedding Of Princess Mary And Viscount Lascelles 1922". British Pathé.
  27. "Royal Weddings In Vogue". Vogue. 16 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  28. Shawcross, William (2009), Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, Macmillan, pp. 135–136, ISBN 978-1-4050-4859-0
  29. "Royal babies 1920-1929". Country Life.
  30. Bradshaw, Peter (30 August 2017). "Sorry, Ivanka Trump: you make a pretty poor Princess Royal". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  31. Jones, Nigel R. (2005). Architecture of England, Scotland, and Wales. Westwood, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 133–135. ISBN 0313318506.
  32. Owens, Mitchell (30 November 2012). "Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood's Personal Collection on the Block at Christie's". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  33. "Harewood: Collecting in the Royal Tradition". Christie's. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  34. "No. 33785". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1931. p. 1.
  35. Bradford, Sarah (1989). King George VI. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. p. 424. ISBN 0-297-79667-4.
  36. Michaels, Beth (15 August 2014). "The 10 Princesses Royal". History and Headlines. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  37. "Princess Mary, The Princess Royal, Controller Commandant WRAC, 1959". National Army Museum. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  38. "A short history of the 10th Princess Mary's own Gurkha Rifles". Archived from the original on 6 June 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  39. "The Princess Royal - 1965". British Movietone. YouTube. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  40. "Tribute To Princess Royal 1965". British Pathé. 5 April 1965. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  41. "Royal Styles and Titles – Children of the eldest son of any Prince of Wales (1898 Letters Patent)". Heraldica. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  42. "Real orden de Damas Nobles de la Reina Maria Luisa", Guía Oficial de España, 1930, p. 236, retrieved 21 March 2019
  43. "Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family". Heraldica. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood
Cadet branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Born: 25 April 1897 Died: 28 March 1965
British royalty
Title last held by
Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife
Princess Royal
Title next held by
Princess Anne
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Chancellor of the University of Leeds
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Kent

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.