CollectionPrincess Mary
Record TypeCorrespondence
TitleCorrespondence of Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Date8 December 1777- [?1857]
DescriptionThis collection, formed from a number of accessions, consists of correspondence from Princess Mary (as Princess and subsequently Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh) to George III and to George IV (as Prince of Wales, Prince Regent and King). The correspondence mainly contains reports of Princess Amelia's health, and later in her life (particularly after Amelia's death), shows Princess Mary to be an important source of information for George IV on the lives of his siblings and the goings-on of the royal household.

The second series consists of correspondence from Princess Elizabeth and Princess Mary as both Princess and Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, to Princess Mary's wet-nurse and lady-in waiting, Mrs Adams (in addition to other Adams family correspondence). Princess Elizabeth and Princess Mary write to Mrs Adams about the activities of the royal family, including Princess Amelia's health, the scandal surrounding the Duke of Cumberland, and George IV's progress through his Regency and reign.
Extent804 documents (2 boxes, 1 folder)
Admin HistoryPrincess Mary was born in Buckingham Palace on 25 April 1776. She was the tenth child and fourth daughter of George III and Queen Charlotte. As a child she was nursed by Mrs Anna Maria Adams, sister to the beloved dresser of the Princess Royal and Princess Augusta, Mary Dacres, and chaperoned by Miss Martha Goulsworthy. She grew up to be, by many accounts, the most beautiful of the princesses, with a good eye for style.

Princess Mary had long played the role of caring older sister to the youngest (and their father's favourite) daughter, Princess Amelia, but it was during their trip to Weymouth, however, that she assumed the role in which we see her in much of her correspondence, that of nurse and intermediary between invalid and family. Princess Mary remained with Amelia until her death, caring for her alongside her old wet-nurse, Mrs Adams.

After Amelia's death in late 1810, Princess Mary suffered a nervous collapse, but she was not allowed long to recover; after eighteen months of caring for her youngest sister, Princess Mary was to care for Princess Sophia, who was suffering from a 'bilious fever'. She also found herself playing a role in looking after her niece, the young Princess Charlotte. Her relationship with Princess Charlotte, althought fractious at times, would be a close one.

Princess Mary remained at Windsor during her father's second bout of illness. She acted as a correspondent of information to the Regent, as she had done before during Amelia's illness. She reported almost daily on her father's health, but also relayed the family gossip, and enquired after the Prince.

The Princess eventually became Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, on her marriage at the age of 40 to her cousin on 22 July 1816. Their marriage was by several accounts, not a happy one, with the Duke leaving her for long periods of time. He also chose to be vocally supportive of Princess Caroline, detested by both Princess Mary and her beloved Prince Regent, during the Parliamentary investigations of 1820.

After her husband's death in the winter of 1834, the Duchess assumed the role of matriarch in the royal family. She became a confidante to a young Princess Victoria, and encouraged her in her match with Albert, who also held affection for her, and posed with them and their two eldest children for a daguerreotype in 1856. The longest-living and last-surviving child of George III, she died on 30 April 1857.
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