A British Royal Wedding – Prince George and Princess May of Teck

In the ongoing series about British Royal Weddings this post will be about the grandson of Queen Victoria, Prince George and his wedding to Princess May of Teck.  For more information about the previous posts in the series, just click on the link to the first post in the series about the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Prince George (later King George V) to Princess May of Teck (later Queen Mary)
Date and location:  July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace

Previously Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (known as “May” to her family) had been engaged to Prince Albert Victor, the eldest son of Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII) and Princess Alexandra, he was also the grandson of Queen Victoria.  Sadly, Prince Albert Victor died suddenly of pneumonia on January 14, 1892 six weeks after their engagement had been announced.  (Special Note: I know it seems very confusing with so many men of the British Royal family to be named Prince Albert but this is something that Queen Victoria insisted on as a way to honor her beloved husband, Prince Albert, who died in 1861!!)

Prince Albert Victor and Princess May of Teck

Queen Victoria was very concerned about the line of succession; Prince George who was the second son of Prince Albert Edward was previously the second in line to the British throne but with the death of his brother he now move up in the line of succession.  The Queen had grown very fond of Princess May and always felt that she would make the perfect wife of a future King.  So, after the required period of mourning the death of Prince Albert Victor, the Queen strongly encouraged Prince George to marry his deceased brother’s fiancé.  By the early part of 1893, Prince George had come to truly love Princess May and he duly proposed to her, needless to say this made Queen Victoria very happy!

Prince George and Princess May at the time of their engagement

On July 6, 1893, the day of the wedding day, the Royal procession started from Buckingham Palace through the streets of London to St. James Palace.  One carriage had the bridegroom Prince George and his supporters who were his father Prince Albert and his uncle the Duke of Edinburgh.  Another carriage had the bride Princess May, her father the Duke of Teck and her brother Prince Adolphus.  The final carriage in the procession carried Queen Victoria accompanied by the bride’s mother the Duchess of Teck and the Grand Duke of Hesse.

Upon arriving at St. James Palace, members of the Royal party proceeded to the State Apartment, walking down the Grand Staircase and into the Royal Chapel.  The path was covered with a crimson red carpet and decorated with palm trees and flowers from the Royal Gardens.  The Queen arrived dressed solemnly in a black satin dress with a blue ribbon sash across the bodice pinned with the Order of the Garter.  On her head she wore a small diamond crown with a white veil attached, it was the veil that she had worn on her own wedding day many years earlier.  With the aid of an ebony cane she walked down to her seat at the front of the Chapel to join the rest of the Royal family.

The bridegroom, Prince George, entered the Chapel shortly thereafter dressed in his Fleet Captain naval uniform pinned with his special military medals.  He was accompanied by his cousin, the Tsarevich Nicholas of Russia, as well as his father, Prince Albert Edward the Prince of Wales, and his uncle, the Duke of Edinburgh. “March in G,” composed by Smart was played for the groom’s procession.  (Special Note: Many guests were surprised by the remarkable resemblance between Prince George and Tsarevich Nicholas because they looked almost identical in both stature and appearance)

The procession of the groom, Prince George, into the Royal Chapel

The last to enter the Royal Chapel was the bride, Princess May, who was accompanied by her five bridesmaids and five more children attendants.  The bride, escorted by her father, slowly proceeded down the aisle to the music of Lohengrin to join the groom waiting at the front of the Chapel.  As with most important Royal religious services, the Archbishop of Canterbury performed the marriage ceremony.

Princess May with her bridesmaids and other attendants

Princess May wore an ivory silk satin dress with a long train; the dress was accented with Honiton lace and decorated with garlands of orange blossoms.  The fabric design incorporated roses, shamrocks and thistles embroidered in silver thread.  The Princess completed her bridal ensemble by wearing a small veil that had been worn by her mother, Princess Mary Adelaide the Duchess of Teck, on her wedding day.  For the wedding ceremony, the Princess carried a large bridal bouquet made entirely of white flowers which included “York” roses, orchids, lilies of the valley, carnations, orange blossoms and of course the traditional sprig of myrtle.  Special Note: There is a charming story that on the morning of their wedding Prince George had a glimpse of Princess Mary in the distance at the end on a long corridor in Buckingham Palace and the Prince had gallantly bowed to the Princess before continuing on his way. (For more information about Princess May’s bridal dress and other items worn on her wedding day, please click on the link to A Royal Bride – Princess May)

Guided by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the groom said his vows in a strong voice which could be heard throughout the Chapel while the bride quietly recited her vows that were barely heard beyond the first few rows of people.  To conclude the wedding ceremony, there was a short homily by the Archbishop, then a closing hymn of “Now Thank We All Our God” and a special prayer.  Before recessing from the Chapel to “Mendelssohn’s Wedding March”, Princess May first turned to kiss Queen Victoria and then the bridal couple received the congratulations from the groom’s parents, Prince and Princess of Wales and the bride’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Teck.  After leaving the Chapel, the bridal couple and some of the Royal family went to the Throne Room in St. James Palace to sign the wedding registry.

Princess May kissing Queen Victoria after the wedding ceremony

Prince George and Princess May recessing from the Chapel Royal

After the wedding, the newly married couple and their invited guests traveled by carriages from St. James Palace to Buckingham Palace for a wedding breakfast.  After entering the Palace, Queen Victoria and Prince George and Princess May (now the new Duke and Duchess of York) along with the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Teck appeared on the balcony.  The large crowd which had formed in front of Palace began to cheer enthusiastically and the Queen was very pleased with the response.

Queen Victoria with Prince George and Princess May
on the Buckingham Palace balcony

Immediately after the balcony appearance, the wedding breakfast started and for almost two hours the guests were served wonderful food and toasts were given to honor the bridal couple, shown below is the wedding breakfast menu.

The wedding breakfast of the Duke and Duchess of York

As with most Royal wedding celebrations, there were several cakes made for the wedding of Prince George and Princess May.  The main wedding cake, shown on the left, measured almost seven feet high and it took the Royal confectioner over five weeks to make almost forty separate pieces of plaster used to create the figure molds.  The photo on the right shows the “second cake” which was smaller, measured four and a half feet tall and weighed almost 225 pounds.  The cake is decorated with symbols reflecting Prince George’s naval career.


At the conclusion of the wedding breakfast, Prince George and Princess May changed into their “going away” clothes, said good bye to the Queen and their parents, and took a carriage to the Liverpool Street Train Station for the journey to Norfolk and Sandringham, the Prince of Wales country estate, which was their honeymoon destination.

Prince George and Princess May leaving Buckingham Palace after the wedding breakfast traveling by carriage to the train station to board the train to Sandringham

For more information about the previous posts in the series, just click on the links to the first post in the series about the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the second post about the wedding of Prince Albert Edward to Princess Alexandra of Denmark and the third post about the wedding of Prince George to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.