Autograph Slip Signed 1887 4-1/8 x 6-1/4 with graphic of rabbit hunter
"Princess Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth of Cambridge (27 November 1833 - 27 October 1897), was a member of the British Royal Family, a granddaughter of George III, and great-grandmother of Elizabeth II. She held the title of Duchess of Teck through marriage.
Mary Adelaide is remembered as the mother of Queen Mary, the consort of George V. She was one of the first Royals to patronise a wide range of charities.
Mary Adelaide was born on 27 November 1833 in Hanover, Germany. Her father was Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, the youngest surviving son of George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Her mother was Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel, the daughter of Prince Frederick of Hesse-Cassel. The young princess was christened on 9 January 1834 at Cambridge House, Hanover by Rev John Ryle Wood, Chaplain to the Duke of Cambridge. Her godmother and paternal aunt The Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg was the only godparent who was present. The rest (who were absent, possibly represented by proxies) were The King and Queen (her paternal uncle and his wife), The Duchess of Gloucester (her paternal aunt), The Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (her maternal aunt) and Princess Frederick Augustus of Anhalt-Dessau (her first cousin). She was named Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth for her aunt Gloucester, the Queen, the King, and her aunt the Landgravine, respectively.
By the age of 30, Mary Adelaide was still unmarried. Her unattractive appearance and lack of income were contributing factors, as was her advanced age. However, her royal rank prevented her marrying someone not of royal blood. Her cousin Queen Victoria took pity on her, and attempted to arrange pairings.
Eventually a suitable candidate was found in W√ºrttemberg, Prince Francis of Teck. The Prince was of lower rank than Mary Adelaide, was the product of a morganatic marriage, and had no succession rights to the throne of W√ºrttemberg, but was at least of princely title and of royal blood. With no other options available, Mary Adelaide decided to marry him. The couple were married on 12 June 1866, at St. Anne's Church, Kew, Surrey.
Mary Adelaide requested that her new husband be granted to the style Royal Highness, but was refused by Queen Victoria. The queen did, however, promote Francis to the rank of Highness in 1887 in celebration of her Golden Jubilee.
The marriage of Mary into the top rankings of the royal family led to a dramatic revival in the fortunes of the Tecks, with their daughter one day to be queen consort. Mary Adelaide never saw her daughter crowned queen, as she died on 27 October 1897 at White Lodge, Richmond Park, Surrey, and was buried in the royal vault at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.
The Duke and Duchess of Teck chose to reside in London rather than abroad, mainly because Mary Adelaide was the only breadwinner for the Tecks. She received ¬£5,000 per annum as a Parliamentary annuity for carrying out Royal duties. Her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, also provided her with supplementary income. Requests to Queen Victoria for extra funds were generally refused. However, the Queen did provide the Tecks with apartments at Kensington Palace and White Lodge in Richmond Park as a country house.
Despite their modest income, Mary Adelaide had expensive tastes and lived an extravagant life of parties, expensive food and clothes, and holidays abroad. The debts soon built up and the Tecks were forced to flee the country in 1883 to avoid their creditors. They travelled to Florence, Italy, and also stayed with relatives in Germany and Austria. Initially they travelled under the names of the Count and Countess von Hohenstein. However, Mary Adelaide wished to travel in more style and reverted to her royal style, which commanded significantly more attention and better service.