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House of Windsor

Queen Mary of the United Kingdom (1867-1953)

Queen Mary was the daughter of Francis, Prince and Duke of Teck, and Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, granddaughter of George III. She married King George V in 1893 and they had six children.

Queen Mary's early life was not particularly princess-like. Her family was minor royalty and not as wealthy as might be expected. From 1883 they were in Europe, in order to live more affordably, and they spent some time living in Florence, where Princess Mary developed an interest in visiting museums and churches.

Princess Mary married in 1893 and the royal couple lived in York Cottage at Sandringham, and in apartments at St James's Palace, before George V's accession to the throne. At this time Mary drew from her earlier interests and emerged as a collector in her own right. She began by collecting works of art that had once belonged to her own family but had subsequently been dispersed. She was fastidious about researching objects and keeping catalogue records, and tracked objects down sometimes long after they had been sold off ,such as this splendid tureen that had belonged to Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge.

After her marriage, Queen Mary widened this interest in her own family possessions to include all objects with historical links to the British royal family. She was a regular and well-known visitor to the dealers and the museums in London and took a close interest in the Royal Collection, both in terms of content and display. She refurbished the interiors at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and some of Buckingham Palace, and Frogmore House, where she also replanted much of the garden.

The Royal Librarian, Owen Morshead, helped to advise Queen Mary and to catalogue her collections, which included objects that had belonged to Queen Charlotte and to the Stuarts. Queen Mary collected eighteenth-century furniture (at a time when it was less popular than it subsequently became) lacquer, jades, gold boxes, jewels, seals and fans among other things. She and George V also collected Fabergé eggs that had belonged to Alexandra, the last Tsarina of Russia (George V's cousin).

In 1924 Queen Mary acquired the now-famous Dolls’ House designed by Lutyens and on show at Windsor Castle. This was presented by Princess Marie-Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and was first unveiled at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924.

Consort of King George V


The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.