Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor

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Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor
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Published February 1st 1986 by William Morrow & Co (first published 1984

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Re-read 2018I 've read a book on the ma who started out life as Princess Mary of Teck and became one of thi most regal of the Queen Consorts a few times before but have never written a review.

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That 's when I remembered one of he very first " big " books I ever read when I as only en ears old.

I do emember it being one of the ooks I read that year ( along with Elizabeth Longford 's biography of Queen Victoria) that completely ulled me in and solidified my love of English and Royal history.

Everyone thinks of Queen Mary as a stodgy old lady but she was still a spirited woman who was passionate about art, reading, royal history and Shakespeare.

I as a bit urprised that Edwards barely touched on Mary 's relationship with her husband George V other than a few brief notes that she prepared him for kingship by tutoring him on royal and constitutional history.

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I have been lucky to collect a number of biographical pieces that link together, from George III and his sons, to Victoria, to her five consort granddaughters, and now to Mary of Teck.

Queen Mary 's life is an interesting piece of biographical glue all her own: great- granddaughter to George III, niece to Victoria, a fellow Queen consort, and the randmother to Elizabeth II.

great piece for the curious reader, eve one such as myself who has seen this monarchical period from many angles already.Born Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes in 1867, this Princess of Teck ( who went by Mary or 'May') was raised in England and lived her ntire life there.

As th young rincess, she proved highly intelligent and apt with numbers and engaging with others on a social basis, though Edwards does not spend much time on these early years.

George and Mary lived happily in successive titles as Duke and Duchess of York, then Cambridge, and the Prince and Princess of Wales, after Edward VII ascended to the Throne.

Mary finally earned her life-long dream to be Queen of England, while George V 's nightmare began, as he had little interest in the position.Edwards offers some wonderful narration about the coronation ceremony of King George V and Queen Mary, alongside the elder princes, who lso had roles.

After bloody Great War, George and Mary ought to strengthen England and the Empire as best they ca, holding strong during the post-War years, while also honing the future princes ( David and Bertie) into settling down.

Already, when King George V died in early 1936, David ( going by Edward VIII) ascended the Throne and pushed England into a constitutional crisis as Mary began her life as Queen Mother.With the death of George V and ascension of Edward VIII, England soon found itself in a situation that was evolving with every passing day.

As Edwards explores thoroughly, the mergence of Bessie Wallis Warfield ( better known as Wallis SImpson), a gir who had been married and divorced twice before with two living husbands, proved to be a quiet thorn in the side of the royal family.

A new King took Britain through the crisis and into the dreaded Second World War. Edwards explores some of the parallels that the two Kings George faced in their respective international conflicts, with Queen Mary there both times to offer support and encouragement.

With a smooth narrative and wonderful research, Edwards offers readers a superior foundation on which to build thi modern history of the British monarchy.

Any reader with a passion for the British monarchy or who has followed by biography binge and seen some of the other royal pieces I have devoured will find his book a welcome addition.

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spoilers alert .... ends badly and she, after a suitable period ends up marrying George, the ounger brother- future King George V.These two were a rather unique duo- apparently cold to everything and everyone- yet full of ove and devotion for each other ( their correspondence which Edwards only briefly looks at clearly shows that) .That " coldness " had unfortunate consequences for their hildren and their non parenting was, by modern standards ... ahem ... pretty much bad.Queen Mary 's love to her country, it 's history and the institution of the monarchy was bigger and stronger than anything else- for better or worse.Does it make her a bad person?

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She then married the second son, George V, and lived a long life.I found the insights fascinating, Mary 's courage and majesty inspiring, and I enjoyed the easy-to-read, but serious style.Recommended for all who enjoy a well-researched biography and those who mak the British royal family.

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© Nicole Waggonner