I have an interest in the history of the royal families of Europe, as you know, so when I saw Queen Mary’s wedding dress, I loved it immediately. She was Mary of Teck, the wife of George V, who both were our current Elizabeth II’s grandparents. George V was Queen Victoria’s grandson, making Elizabeth II her great-great granddaughter.
Mary of Teck married George, the Duke of York, on July 6, 1893 in the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace. She was first engaged to Prince Albert Victor but he died before they were married, so Queen Victoria offered her next son, the Duke of York. He was told to either marry Mary or Princess Marie – who refused his proposal, leaving Mary as the only choice. The Queen liked Mary and the press was putting as much pressure on them as their families were even though she was still mourning the death of Albert Victor. Since Princess Marie had rejected the Duke, he wasn’t sure how Mary would receive him and he lost his confidence until Queen Olga of Greece stepped in to offer encouragement. From Wikipedia: “Several awkward encounters with Prince George went by, always in the company of others, with both individuals remaining embarrassed and shy. On 3 May 1893, Mary arranged to have tea with George’s sister Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife and her husband, but when she arrived, she found George there as well. The awkward moment was saved after Louise interceded, ‘Now Georgie, don’t you think you ought to take May into the garden to look at the frogs in the pond?’ George proposed beside the pond, and their engagement was officially announced the following day.”
The day of the wedding, George accidentally saw Mary in a long corridor at Buckingham Palace. He responded by giving her a deep, courtly bow and she never forgot it. Much like royal weddings today, enthusiastic crowds greeted the wedding party on the streets of London, which included ten bridesmaids who were all princesses in their own rights. Again from Wikipedia: “Mary’s wedding dress had a train of silver and white brocade, and was embroidered with a design of rose, shamrock, and thistle in silver. She wore the same bridal veil as her mother Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck had in 1866 – it was small, and hung down the back of the head. Her trousseau consisted partly of ‘forty outdoor suits, fifteen ball-dresses, five tea-gowns, a vast number of bonnets, shoes, and gloves,’ as reported by the Lady’s Pictorial. The couple received equally lavish wedding presents, such as jewelry and plates valued at £300,000.”
Now that you know the story, take a look at the dress and the wedding photographs.