Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood

From Kaiserreich

The Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood (Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary; 25 April 1897 – ) is a member of the British Royal Family; she was the third child and only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. She was the sixth holder of the title of Princess Royal. Mary holds the title of princess with the style Highness from birth as the then great-granddaughter of the British Sovereign, and later Her Royal Highness, as the granddaughter and finally daughter of the Sovereign. After her marriage she held the title of Countess of Harewood.


Early life


Princess Mary was born at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England. Her father was Prince George, Duke of York (later George V), the eldest surviving son of The Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and The Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra). Her mother was The Duchess of York (later Queen Mary), the eldest daughter of The Duke and Duchess of Teck.

Mary was named after her paternal great-grandmother, her paternal grandmother, the Princess of Wales, and her maternal grandmother, Princess Mary Adelaide. Since she was born on the same day as her late great aunt, the name Alice was added in. She was always known by the last of her Christian names, Mary. As a great-grandchild of the British monarch (Queen Victoria), she was styled Her Highness Princess Mary of York. In 1898, the Queen passed letters patent granting the children of the Duke and Duchess of York the style, Royal Highness. Mary was then styled Her Royal Highness Princess Mary of York. She was fifth in the line of succession at the time of her birth.

Her baptism took place at in St Mary Magdalene's Church near Sandringham on 7 June 1897 by William Dalrymple Maclagan, Archbishop of York. Her godparents were: Queen Victoria (her great-grandmother); the King of Greece (her granduncle); the Dowager Empress of Russia (her paternal grandaunt); 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).


Princess Mary was educated by governesses, but shared some lessons with her brothers, Prince Edward , Prince Albert, and Prince Henry. She became fluent in German and French and developed a life-long interest in horses and horse racing. Her first state appearance was at the coronation of her parents at Westminster Abbey on 11 June 1911.

Royal Duties

During the Weltkrieg, Princess Mary visited hospitals and welfare organizations with her mother, 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. She took an active role in promoting the Girl Guide movement, the VADs, and the Land Girls. In 1918, she took a nursing course and went to work at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Princess Mary's public duties reflected her concerns with nursing, the Girl Guide movement, and the Women's Services.

She became honorary president of the British Girl Guide Association in 1920. In 1926, she became the commandant-in-chief of the British Red Cross Detachments, and she has worked tirelessly to better the lot of those who lost everything in the Revolution.

Marriage and Homes

On 28 February 1922, Princess Mary married Henry Charles George, Viscount Lascelles (9 September 1882 – ), the elder son of Henry Lascelles, 5th Earl of Harewood, and Lady Florence Bridgeman of Weston Park. Their wedding at Westminster Abbey was the first royal occasion in which Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon a friend of Princess Mary's and one of the bridesmaids, participated. The Princess was 24, Lord Lascelles was 39. The Princess and her husband had homes in London, Chesterfield House and in Yorkshire, first Goldsborough Hall, and later Harewood House. Whilst 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. Goldsborough railway station (now disused) was installed in the neighbouring village of Flaxby, along the Harrogate to York line, so that royal guests would have easy passage to the Hall. On 25 March 1923 her first son George was christened at St Mary's Church that adjoins Goldsborough Hall by Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of York, the service was attended by King George V and 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's seat. After the Revolution she and her family moved to Alberta, building New Harewood House, where Princess Mary also became an expert in cattle breeding.

It has been reported that she did not want to marry Lord Lascelles, that her parents forced her into an arranged marriage, and that Lascelles proposed to her after a wager at his club. Her brother the Prince of Wales, with whom she was very close, was against the marriage because he did not want his sister to marry someone whom she did not love. Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles had two sons:

   * George Lascelles, (b. 7 February 1923)
   * Gerald Lascelles (21 August 1924 – )
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