In the The Romanovs: One Last Dance Novel:
The future Queen Mary was never meant to be a queen of any sort. She was the first child of HSH Prince Francis, Duke of Teck and his wife, the Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, born on the 26 May 1867 at Kensington Palace. Baptized on 27 July, the princess was christened Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes in the Chapel Royal at Kensington. Serving as the girl's godparents were HRH the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Victoria herself. She was nicknamed "May" for the month in which she had been born. May was followed by three brothers: Adolphus in 1868, Francis in 1870 and Alexander in 1874. Her father was created Duke of Teck by the King of Wurttemburg in 1871. Though the Duke was of German ancestry, his children, May included, were raised in the United Kingdom, close to his wife's royal relations. The only girl, May was quite embarrassed by her mother, Mary Adelaide, who earned the nickname of "Fat Mary" for her large, heavy-set frame. Like the princesses' of her day, May was educated at home by her mother and a governess, while her brothers were sent to boarding school. Deeply in debt by 1883, May's parents moved the family abroad to compensate for this. They returned to London two years later, taking up residence at White Lodge. May was very close to her maternal aunt, Augusta of Cambridge who had since married the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Streltiz. During the Great War, May's cousin, Margaret of Connaught (by then crown princess of Sweden) helped the future queen pass letters onto her aunt Augusta in enemy territory.
At age twenty-four, May became engaged to HRH Prince Albert Victor "Eddy" of Wales. His grandmother, Queen Victoria, thought May would be a good influence on Eddy's seemingly slow mind...especially after he was rejected by his Hessian cousin, Alix. Prince Eddy and his betrothed were first cousins, once removed through the princess' mother, Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. He wasn't the brightest of King Edward's brood, but he was heir, none the less. Just after their engagement was announced in December 1891, Eddy came down with pneumonia, and died in April 1892, leaving his younger brother George to take his place as the heir.
Not long after Eddy's death, the Queen made arrangements for Princess May to marry his younger brother. George and May had only met briefly a few times before their engagement, but the two quickly grew very fond of each other. May, being brought up as she had been, dutifully accepted his proposal, hoping that she and George would please the Queen...and everyone else. Obviously, this was an arranged marriage, but George and May had always shared a connection of some kind. Their relationship soon developed into a romantic and caring one that never faltered; in fact, George was one of very few British kings that had not a single mistress. However in love they were, neither party was quite capable of sharing their feelings with spoken words, and so George and May would write letters to each other, expressing their devotion.
George and May were married on 6 July 1893 at the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace in England's grand capital. As the wife of the future King's second son, the new bride received the title Duchess of York on her wedding day. George and May shared their first home together at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. The couple also had apartments at the St. James Palace, but George preferred the cottage, so they stayed there for most of the time. When Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901, George's father, Prince Edward, became King.
In November 1901, George was created Prince of Wales, giving his bride the rightful title Princess of Wales. When King Edward VII died in May of 1910, May and George were named King and Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. The coronation took place in June 1911.
In total, May gave her husband six children. The first was a boy, later to be known as the scandalous Duke of Windsor. The baby arrived in on 23 June 1894. George was keen on calling him 'Edward' after his late brother. Queen Victoria, however, extended a reminder in the form of a very stern letter that Eddy's first name had in fact been Albert. But the future king had made up his mind, and Mary couldn't disagree. Even so, the couple was forced to find a suitable nickname for him en famille, as to not confuse him with the other Edwards of the family. Given eight names total, the new baby boy would be known to his family simply as David. He was followed on 14 December 1895 by a second son, not coincidentally named Albert; like his grandfather, he would be called Bertie. A daughter arrived in April 1897, whom they naturally christened Victoria, but her parents would agree to call her Mary, after her mother. Henry arrived in late March of 1900, followed in quick succession by two more sons: George in December 1902 and John in July 1905.
Busy with the business of royal duties, May and George's children were entrusted to the care of nannies and governesses, the first two of whom were dismissed, the second in particular for abusing David and Bertie. But only five of the royal children would remain together during their younger years; John, the youngest, was born with the disease epilepsy, and because of this, May and George thought it best if John was sent away. He had his first seizure at age four. So embarrassed were they of their son's illness, George and May kept their youngest son from attending their coronation in 1911, and sent him to live with a nanny and several male attendants in 1917. Just before departing for one of her visits with John in January of 1919, May received a phone call from his nanny, Lala. The queen was told that her son had had yet another one of his seizures, and was not doing well. Mary did not arrive in time to say goodbye; he had fallen into a coma, from which he would never awaken. He was buried on the Sandringham Estate. Many of the villagers from nearby came to bid farewell to Johnnie during his funeral. Johnnie's death left Mary in a state of shock. Although she never showed it, the queen confided in her journal: "our poor darling little Johnnie had passed away suddenly ... The first break in the family circle is hard to bear but people have been so kind & sympathetic & this has helped us [the King and me] much."
While Johnnie was missed a great deal, George and May, being unemotional as they were, felt it their duty to carry on. While David became a well-known 'ladies man', the couple's second son, Bertie, was determined to marry the lady of his dreams. On April 23, 1923 Bertie married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, daughter of the Earl of Strathmore. As a member of the British aristocracy, the king and queen thought Lady Elizabeth a suitable match for their son, who was given the title Duke of York shortly before the wedding. Bertie and Elizabeth had two daughters: Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, named for her mother, Queen Mary and Queen Alexandra, who arrived on 21 April 1926, followed by Margaret Rose on 21 August 1930.
The queen's only daughter, and namesake Mary, wed Henry, the Viscount Lascelles in February 1922. She gave birth to two healthy sons, George in 1923 and Gerald in 1924; she would be the only one of May and George's children to marry young.
The queen was never close to any o her children, but when London was bombed by the Luftwaffe in the autumn of 1940, her younger son, the Duke of Kent, begged the queen to leave the city. Stubborn as she was, May did not oblige to this, until after deciding to reside with her niece, another Mary, at Badminton House. Queen Mary did her part to help the war effort by visiting our troops at scrap factories.
In November 1934, the Duke of Kent, married his cousin (also the queen's goddaughter), HRH Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. It was to be the last marriage between a member of the British royal family and that of another reigning royal house. George and Marina had three children in the following years: Edward came in 1935; Alexandra on Christmas Day of 1936 and of course, Michael in 1942. His final given name, Franklin, was given in honor of his godfather, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the then president of the United States. In August of that year, George's plane was shot down over Scotland. To the queen's dismay, he was killed in the crash, leaving Marina a widow with three children; the youngest being Michael, at a mere six weeks old.
Queen Mary would be lucky enough to see her other children marry, although none were so dynastic as George's union with Marina of Greece and Denmark. Harry also wed in 1934, to the Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott. They later had two boys, William and Richard. David would prove to be a different story.
By 1930, David was off on his own disastrous adventures in America. When he returned, the Prince of Wales seemed to be in a different state of mind that when had left a few months earlier. The king and queen knew of his current mistress, a married American woman his age named Thelma Morgan, the Countess of Furness. David was faithful to her, but only for a mere two years. When Thelma brought her friend over from America, David's feelings quickly shifted from Thelma to her friend. When the countess returned to the States, she asked her lady friend, Mrs. Wallis Simpson to "look after" David. George and Mary questioned David about his budding romance with Mrs. Simpson, but David flat out lied to his parents, claiming that he "never had immoral relations" with Simpson. He not only began living with her against his parents' wishes, but she began appearing at David's side during public royal function. This infuriated his father, and disgusted an already disappointed Mary.
Although still wed to the devoted Ernest Simpson, Wallis continued to pursue her forbidden romance with the Prince of Wales. On the 20th of January 1936, King George V, Mary's husband of forty-two years, died, leaving David his crown and duties as King. Frightened by his new status, David desperately wished to find a way to marry Mrs. Simpson and still retain his title as the sovereign. But this, Mary, now the Queen Mother, could not allow. So, after a mere eleven months on the throne, just short of his coronation, the new King Edward VIII, chose his married American lover over the Crown of England. He abdicated on 10 December 1936, leaving his brother, Bertie to take his place as King.
The Duke of York was furious with David. He thought the king a selfish and careless man, wile Queen Mary thought of her son as a coward. She famously compared David to the soldiers of the Great War, remind the king of their sacrifice and how he was not prepared to do the same for his country. Even so, Mary was a staunch supporter of her son Bertie and daughter-in-law Elizabeth at their coronation in June 1937. She was also very close to her granddaughters, Elizabeth and Margaret and had quite a bit of say in how the girls were raised.
In February 1952, King George VI, died of lung cancer, leaving his eldest daughter, Elizabeth to take the crown. By then, Queen Mary was in bad health then and feared she would not live to see her granddaughter's coronation. As such, Mary asked that if she were to indeed pass on before then, that the coronation go ahead as planned.
Queen Mary died on the 24th of March 1953, and was buried at St. George's Chapel in Windsor. Her granddaughter's coronation went ahead as she had asked on June 2, 1953, as the princess was crowned Queen Elizabeth II. In 2012, she celebrated sixty years on the throne. In September 2015, Elizabeth surpassed Queen Victoria as the longest reigning British monarch in history.
In the 'What If?' Storyline:
It is October 1924. At her own insistence, (and to May's disappointment), her daughter-in-law, Olga has joined her brother and sisters in St Petersburg for Alexei and Elisabeth's wedding. May is convinced the decision was unwise, given that Olga left for Russia, and has now given birth to her second child on Russian soil. While she and Olga have never meshed well, May has done her very best to make her daughter-in-law feel welcome.
In the meantime, Mary's relationship with the king remains one of few spoken words, and a strong, but quiet devotion. Both products of the Victorian era, Mary and George detest the idea of change, although the king is more tolerable of it than his wife. Mary, stuck in the old ways, worries about the succession, disappointed that Olga and David's second child is another girl, Ella.
Background and Border From The Inspiration Gallery