31 March 2015

Today's Princess: Mary Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood

By Bain News Service via Wikimedia Commons
During my mini-hiatus last week, I missed another important anniversary: the 50th year since the death of the previous Princess Royal on March 28.

Born during the reign of her great-grandmother, Mary (1897-1965) passed through a number of titles as his father rose in rank, then she married and her husband rose in rank, and finally her father gave her the title reserved only for the first daughter of the monarch, Princess Royal, a year after the death of her aunt Louise Princess Royal.

The only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, Mary was painfully shy, especially as a youngster. She grew up somewhat secluded and was educated at home. World War I brought an increased isolation for her that she broke herself out of, first by starting her own charitable drive to support the soldiers and sailors (read my post, The Teenaged Princess & the Soldier) and then by becoming a nurse.

At heart, Mary was a horse-mad country girl, like the niece who so much resembles her--Queen Elizabeth II--and her successor as Princess Royal. She married the much older Henry Lascelles, who later inherited the Earldom of Harewood, and became the mother of two sons, whose extramarital behavior would later scandalize the royal family.

Mary herself never attracted unsavory attention. She was, however, distressed by the abdication and practical banishment of her favorite brother, King Edward VIII, later The Duke of Windsor. It is even rumored that she pled illness to avoid attending niece Elizabeth's wedding because he was not invited.

In addition to becoming an expert on cattle breeding, Mary Princess Royal undertook duties on behalf of the Crown throughout her life. In all, she lived during the reigns of six monarchs--her great-grandmother, her grandfather, her father, two of her brothers, and her niece.

She undertook her last official duty, representing The Queen at the funeral of her cousin, Queen Louise of Sweden, just a few weeks before her unexpected death. She was not quite 68 when she suffered a fatal heart attack while taking a walk with her eldest son and his sons.

For more about Mary:
Adultery, a child, divorce, remarriage on Royal Musings
Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood on Chic Vintage Brides
Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood's Personal Collection Goes on the Block on Architectural Digest
Princess Mary, Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood on Unofficial Royalty
Princess Mary's Fringe Tiara on Tiaras and Trianon
Royal Profile: Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood on Marilyn's Royal Blog
Wedding gifts and presents to Mary Princess Royal on Royal Magazin

Blog about Mary:
Princess Mary Countess of Harewood on Tumblr

Books about Mary:

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