The Real Queen Mary

Jun 13, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Gives good insight to Matriarchal Queen, very well written

Cons:none

The Bottom Line: This is a must read for those who are interested in learning more about the British Royal Family.


This unique novel gives an interesting insight to England’s most influential and interesting Queen Consorts. Written shortly after Queen Mary’s death, Mr. Pope-Hennessy was given special access to royal letters and diaries to write this book. He also interviews surviving members of the Queens household, as well as surviving friends and relatives to give us a rare first had look to the British consort how saw three of her successors crowned.

Queen Mary is often portrayed as a distant, and cold, but in reality she was a very shy person, who was very smart and knew when it was best to exert her opinions, regarding various matters. She was chose by Queen Victoria to marry, the heir to the British thrown, because Victoria know that Mary had the skills need to help and support her husband and make his reign a success.

To understand Queen Mary you need to understand her mother Princess Mary Adelaide of Teck . Do to her size Mary Adelaide’s family had little hope of her getting married. Although there had been a few suitors, most of them rejected her due to her size. At the age of 32 she was fast nearing spinsterhood, and had already earned the nickname “Fat Mary”. So when in 1866 at the age of 32 Mary Adelaide’s family was very happy when she finally married Prince Franz of Teck. One year after her marriage on May 26th 1867 Mary Adelaide gave birth to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, given the month she was born in she became know to everyone simply as May. Mary Adelaide also gave birth to three sons Dolly, Frank and Alge.

Despite her position Mary Adelaide made sure that her children where thought how those less fortunate lived. She involved May in some of the made charities that she participated in and which Queen Mary continued to be involved in even after her mother’s death. But is was Mary Adelaide’s extravert spending that caused her family much grief . As a last resort Queen Victoria and other members of Princess Mary’s family temporally banished her from England from 1883 to 1885 to Florence Italy.

Upon her family’s return from Florence Queen Victoria started to look at May as a potential bride for the heir apparent Prince Eddy the Duke of Avondale and Clarence. Queen Victoria was quite taken with May and realized that she would make an excellent Queen Consort. On December 2, 1892 May became engaged to Prince Eddy Duke of Avondale and Clarence, one month later Prince Eddy died of pneumonia. Queen Victoria still believed May would make a good Queen Consort she convinced her grandson, Prince George, now heir apparent to propose to May.

The book than chronicles her life as the Duchess of York, Princess of Wales and Queen Consort. She was a person that was always interesting in learning new things. For example before her and George V’s trip the India Queen Mary read all the books she could on the country. Even as the Dowager Queen, Queen Mary was very active. During both World Wars she did her best to support the troops. During WWII she would give troops rides and it was during this time she would later on state that she learned more about the common Englishman that she ever knew existed.

The event that had the most impact on her like was the death of her son King George VI. Shortly after his death her health began to decline, as a result of this she requested that her granddaughter’s coronation not be postpone as a result of morning for her. Queen Mary did live to she her granddaughter crowned, and died shortly after her coronation.

If your interested in learning more about the history of the British Royal Family this book is a must read. This book gives a unique insight to a woman who saw her husband, two of her sons and granddaughter crowed as monarchs of England. A woman who was well educated and was always willing to learn more, and new when to interject her opinions and when to leave well enough alone. Here is a woman often portrayed as distant but was just really shy and reserved.


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