Francis, Duke of Teck

Infobox British Royalty|highness
name =Prince Francis
title =Duke of Teck

imgw =231
spouse =Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge
issue =Queen Mary
Prince Adolphus Prince Francis Prince Alexander
full name =Francis Paul Charles Louis Alexander
"German: Franz Paul Karl Ludwig Alexander"
titles ="HH" The Duke of Teck
"HSH" The Duke of Teck
"HSH" Prince Francis of Teck
Count Francis von Hohenstein
royal house =Württemberg
father =Duke Alexander of Württemberg
mother =Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde
date of birth =birth date|1837|8|28|df=y
place of birth =Esseg, Slavonia
date of death =death date and age|1900|1|21|1837|8|28|df=y
place of death =White Lodge, Richmond Park
place of burial = St George's Chapel, Windsor|

Francis, Duke of Teck (Francis Paul Charles Louis Alexander; 28 August 1837 – 21 January 1900), was a member of the British Royal Family, the father of Queen Mary. Francis held the titles of Count of Hohenstein ("Graf von Hohenstein") and later Duke of Teck ("Herzog von Teck"). He was granted the style of "Highness" in 1887.

Early life

Francis was born on 28 August 1837 in Esseg, Slavonia (now Osijek, Croatia). [Huberty, M., Giraud, A., Magdelaine, F. & B. (1979) "L’Allemagne Dynastique, Vol. II" (Alain Giraud, Le Perreux, France) p.524 ISBN 2-901138-02-0] His father was Duke Alexander of Württemberg, the son of Duke Louis of Württemberg. His mother was Countess Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde. The marriage was morganatic, meaning that Francis had no succession rights to the Kingdom of Württemberg. His title at birth was Count Francis von Hohenstein, after his mother was created Countess of Hohenstein in her own right by Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. Through the House of Württemberg, Francis was distantly descended from the Habsburgs, the then powerful ruling family of Austria.

In 1863, Francis was created Prince of Teck, with the style "His Serene Highness" in the Kingdom of Württemberg, and in 1871, was created Duke of Teck.


Like his father, Duke Alexander, Francis embarked upon a career in the Austrian army, eventually rising to the rank of captain in the 7th Hussars during the Austro-Prussian War. He retired from the Austrian army when he married an moved to England in 1866. Later he became attached to the staff of British General Sir Garnet Wolseley during the 1882 Egyptian campaign. He was gazetted a colonel in the British Army in November 1882 [ [ London Gazette issue 25169, 17 Nov 1882] ] and subsequently promoted to major general, supernumerary to the establishment, in July 1893 [ [ London Gazette issue 26417, 30 Jun 1893] ] .


As the product of a morganatic marriage, and without succession rights to the throne, Francis was not accepted as a husband for princesses in most of the European royal houses. He further had little income in comparison with other European princes. He thus married into a richer family, by marrying his father's third cousin (in descent from King George II of Great Britain) Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, the younger daughter of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, and a granddaughter of George III, who was known as 'Fat Mary' because of her wide girth. That, together with the fact that she was by 1866 already in her thirties, meant that Mary Adelaide was also short of choices for marriage.

The couple married on 12 June 1866 at St Anne's Church, Kew, West London. [Weir, A. (1996) "Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy, Revised edition" (Pimlico, London)] They had four children:

* Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary, queen-consort of the United Kingdom (1867-1953)
* Prince Adolphus of Teck, later Duke of Teck and Marquess of Cambridge (1868-1927)
* Prince Francis of Teck (1870-1910)
* Prince Alexander of Teck, later Earl of Athlone (1874-1957)

Hard times

Given the impoverishment of Francis, the couple were forced to survive on Mary Adelaide's small Parliamentary allowance of £5,000 per annum, supplemented by income from her mother, The Duchess of Cambridge. Mary Adelaide's requests to her cousin Queen Victoria for more funds were met with refusal; however, they were granted a grace and favour apartment in Kensington Palace, London and a country house, White Lodge, the former royal deer-hunting lodge in Richmond Park, South-West London.

Despite the modest incomes of the Duke and Duchess, they lived remarkable lives of social engagements, leading to the build up of large debts. In 1883, the Tecks fled the UK to continental Europe, where they stayed with relatives in Florence and Germany. They eventually returned to the UK in 1885.

Later life

With an Order-in-Council on 1 July 1887, [ [ Royal Styles and Titles – 1887 Order-in-Council] ] Queen Victoria granted Francis the style of "His Highness", as a gift to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. Despite this, the Tecks were still seen as minor relatives, with little status or wealth. Their fortunes improved when in 1891, their only daughter, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (known as "May" to her family) became engaged to the second in line to the British throne, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence. The death of the Duke of Clarence only six weeks later looked like a cruel blow. However, Queen Victoria was fond of Princess May and persuaded the Duke of Clarence's brother, and next in the line of succession, Prince George, Duke of York to marry her instead.

In 1897, the Duchess of Teck died, leaving Francis a widower. He continued to live at White Lodge, Richmond but did not carry out any royal duties, although he continued to receive the late Duchess' Parliamentary annuity.

Francis died on 21 January 1900 at White Lodge. ["The Times" Tuesday, Jan 23, 1900; pg. 7; Issue 36046; col D] He was buried next to his wife in the Royal Vault at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


*28 August 18371 December 1863: Count Francis of Hohenstein
*1 December 186316 December 1871: "His Serene Highness" The Prince of Teck
*16 December 187111 July 1887: "His Serene Highness" The Duke of Teck
*11 July 188721 January 1900: "His Highness" The Duke of Teck


*GCB: Knight Grand Cross of the Bath (Civil division), "12 June 1866" [ [ London Gazette issue 23134, 26 Jul 1866] ]
*GCVO: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, "30 June 1897" [ [ London Gazette issue 26871, 9 July 1897] ]



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