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The other Princess of Cambridge

11 JULY 2013

If Kate Middleton has a baby girl, she won't be the first to be a Princess of Cambridge. Princess Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth of Cambridge, born in 1833, also held the title. She shared the title with her older sister, Princess Augusta, who was born in 1822.

They were the daughters of Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge and Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel, as well as being the granddaughters of King George III. The former Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also had a son named George, who was styled similarly to his sisters until he inherited the dukedom on his father's death. The siblings grew up in Hanover where their father served as the kingdom's viceroy in lieu of King George VI and King William IV.
 

William and Kate

All of William and Kate's children will be Princes and Princesses of Cambridge

 

Of the two girls, Mary was the most colourful. Like Princess Diana, she was affectionately known as the 'People's Princess', and was one of the earliest royals to support a wide range of charitable organisations, much like Kate herself.

Unfortunately for Mary, she was predisposed to weight gain, earning her the nickname 'Fat Mary'. She had a large build, which she enjoyed draping in fine fabrics and jewellery.

She did not marry until the age of 33, remaining single for a long time, reportedly due to her unattractive appearance, lack of income and advanced age. Her royal rank meant she had to marry someone of royal blood.
 

Princess Mary

Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge loved food and jewels in equal measure

 


She married Prince Franz of Teck in June 1866 in Kew, Surrey. The Prince was of lower rank than Mary and had no succession rights to the throne of Württemberg, but he had royal blood nonetheless. They became the Duke and Duchess of Teck.

The couple had four children: Princess Mary, Prince Adolphus, Prince Francis, and Prince Alexander. Mary became the wife of George V and was the grandmother of the current Queen.
 

Queen Mary

Her eldest daughter Mary married George V and was the current Queen's grandmother 



Mary Adelaide and her husband lived in London in some style. Despite a generous grant from Parliament for carrying out royal duties, they tended to live beyond their means, throwing lavish parties and splurging their money on extravagant clothing. They soon built up large debts and were forced to flee into exile in 1883 to avoid their creditors. They stayed with relatives in Germany and Austria and hid out in Florence, Italy.

The family returned from exile in 1885 to their residence at White Lodge in Richmond Park. Queen Victoria was fond of the eldest daughter of the family, Princess Mary, also known as Princess May. She became engaged to Prince Albert Victor, also known as Eddy, who was Victoria's grandson and second in line to the British throne. The eldest son of Prince Edward VII and his wife Alexandra, he suddenly died of pneumonia at the age of 28. Queen Victoria persuaded his brother, Prince George to marry her instead.

Princess Mary Adelaide died in October 1897 at her home in Richmond Park. After Queen Victoria's death in 1901, Edward VII became King and George was made Prince of Wales. After his father's death in 1910, George and Mary were crowned.
 

Princess Augusta

Mary Adelaide's sister Princess Augusta of Cambridge who died in 1916


In line with royal tradition, Mary Adelaide's great-great-great-grandson Prince William was granted the Dukedom of Cambridge on his marriage in 2011.

William's uncles both received titles on their wedding days. Prince Andrew became the Duke of York, while Prince Edward as a younger son was created the Earl of Wessex, a lower rank. Should Prince Harry wed, he is likely to receive a peerage too.

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