A British Royal Bride – Princess May of Teck

In ongoing series on British Royal Weddings I featured the wedding of Prince George (later King George V) and Princess May of Teck (later Queen Mary); they were married on July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace in London, England.  In this post, I will discuss the wedding dress and bridal accessories which Princess May wore on her wedding day and the jewelry that she receive as wedding gifts from Prince George as well as other members of the Royal family.

As I had mentioned in A Royal Wedding – Prince George and Princess May of Teck, Princess May had been previously been engaged to Prince Albert Victor but he sadly died of pneumonia on January 1892 shortly after their engagement had been announced.  Queen Victoria, Prince Albert’s grandmother had grown very fond of Princess May and after the required period of mourning, the Queen strongly encouraged Prince George to marry his deceased brother’s former fiancé.  By the early part of 1893, Prince George had proposed to Princess May and a wedding date was set for early July of that same year.

Princess May’s bridal trousseau

With such a short time to prepare for the wedding Princess May and her mother, the Duchess of Teck, set about quickly arranging the trousseau.  In keeping with Princess May’s impending marriage to Prince George, who was now second in line to the British throne, it was decided that the items in the trousseau should be entirely made in Great Britain.  The finest silks would come from England, the flannel from Wales, the tweeds from Scotland and beautiful laces from Ireland were selected for Princess May’s trousseau.

Princess May of Teck selecting her trousseau

Princess May’s wedding dress 

The wedding dress for Princess May was made by the Linton & Curtis dressmakers located on Albermarle Street in London, England.  As with Princess May’s wedding trousseau, the entire dress was created in Brittan by English manufactures using English made materials.  The custom-made silk and satin brocade material was created at the Warn& Sons factory in Spitalfields and featured a pattern which incorporated roses, shamrocks, thistles with also Lily of the Valley and Orange Blossoms flowers embroidered in silver thread.  The dress was a relatively simple style with a long train; the front of the dress featured several tiers of Honiton lace which had originally been a part of the Duchess of Teck’s wedding dress.  The bodice of the dress came to a point just below the waist and was trimmed with more of the Honiton lace.  To complete the look of the dress on the wedding day, orange blossoms trimmed the bodice and also attached to the front of the dress.  Today, the wedding dress of Princess May now belongs to the British Royal Collection and is frequently displayed at Kensington Palace in London with several other Royal wedding dresses.


Princess May’s wedding dress – front and back views

Special Note:  For those readers wondering, there was another wedding dress which had been commissioned upon Princess May’s previous engagement to Prince Albert Victor.  Details of the silver embroidered “Lily of the Valley” dress were made public just before Prince Albert unexpectedly died.  All plans for the completion of the dress were stopped and there is no evidence as to what happed to it afterwards.

Princess May accented her bridal attire by wearing a diamond riviere necklace which was a wedding gift from her in-laws, the Prince and Princess of Wales.  She also wore diamond earrings and a diamond brooch fashioned in the shape of an anchor (as shown in the photo below), both were wedding gifts from the bridegroom, Prince George.

Also shown in the photo, Princess May is holding
a Honition lace trimmed handkerchief which was embroidered with her initials.

Princess of May’s wedding veil 

On her wedding day, Princess May wore her mother’s Honiton lace veil wedding veil which the Duchess of Teck had also worn on her wedding day in 1866.  To secure the veil, the Princess wore several diamond pins, the largest one a gift from Queen Victoria.  The veil was worn cascading down the back of the Princess so that her face remained uncovered and in full view.  A small wreath of orange blossoms was also worn on her head.

Prince George and Princess May on their wedding day

Special Note:  The bridal veil would also be worn by the daughter of Prince George and Princess May (later to become King George V and Queen Mary in 1910).  Princess Mary (the Princess Royal) wore the veil when she married Viscount Henry Lascelles (later to become the 6th Earl of Harewood) in 1922.

Princess May’s wedding bouquet 

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.  Queen Victoria and Princess Alexandra, the Princess of Wales, also carried large bouquets on the wedding day of Prince George and Princess May (it has not been reported if the bride’s mother, the Duchess of Teck, carried a bouquet on her daughter’s wedding day)

Princess May’s bridal bouquet is shown in the middle photo,
Queen Victoria’s on the left and Princess Alexandra, the Princess of Wales, on the right

The bridesmaids and attendants 

The bridesmaids and attendants for the wedding of Prince George to Princess May included Princess Victoria and Princess Maud of Wales, sisters of the groom; Princess Victoria and Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh; Princess Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein; Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret and Princess Patricia of Connaught; Princess Victoria Eugenie and Princess Alice of Battenberg.  The bridesmaids gowns were made of white satin with silver lace and they wore a simple rose in their hair.

The bridesmaids and attendants

Princess May’s wedding gifts 

Prior to the wedding, traditionally the Royal wedding presents are put on display for the public to view and a list of the items was also printed in the newspaper for those unable to attended the exhibition.

As previously mentioned, Prince George presented his bride with a set of diamond earrings and the anchor diamond brooch, the Princess wore both on her wedding day.  The Prince gave her a perfectly matched five strand pearl necklace accented with a beautiful rose made in pearls and diamonds. The Duke and Duchess of Teck, the bride’s parents, presented her with a lovely set of turquoise and diamond jewelry set consisting of a tiara, necklace and brooch.

The County of Cornwall presented Princess May with a ruby and diamond bracelet in the same style of the Rose of York (remember Prince George was the Duke of York and upon marrying him Princess May became the Duchess of York).  The centerpiece of the bracelet featured a large ruby and diamond rose that was detachable (she often wore it separately as a brooch).    Many years later, when Princess Elizabeth (now the current Queen Elizabeth II) married Prince Phillip in 1947 Queen Mary gave the Cornwall bracelet to her as a wedding present to her granddaughter.

The County of Cornwall Rose of York diamond and ruby bracelet