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. As did her sister Princess Augusta 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 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.
All 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 44, 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 Adelaide of Cambridge loved food and jewels in equal measure
She married Prince Francis of Württemberg, a German state, in June 1886. The Prince, who was also the Duke of Teck, was of lower rank than Mary and had no succession rights to the throne of Württemberg, but he had royal blood nonetheless.
The couple had four children: Princess Mary, Prince Adolphus, Prince Francis, and Prince Alexander. The eldest was crowned as Queen Mary, the consort of George V, in 1893 and was the grandmother of the current Queen.
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, she tended to live beyond her means and built up large debts. The couple 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, who became engaged to Prince Albert, second in line to the British throne. But when he suddenly died at age 28, the Queen persuaded his brother, Prince George to marry her instead, making her Queen Consort.
Sadly, Princess Mary Adelaide never saw her daughter crowned Queen as she died in October 1897 at her home in Richmond Park.
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.