Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Book: The Quest for Queen Mary (February 2019)

By James Pope-Hennessy

February 12, 2019

Queen Mary, the widow of George V and grandmother of the Queen, died at Marlborough House on 24 March 1953, a few months before the Coronation.  She was eighty-five years old.

Unusually for a Queen consort, an official biography was commissioned.  The task was entrusted to James Pope-Hennessy in 1955, beginning a three-year quest that would take him to many royal courts and to the lunch and tea tables of retired courtiers and Ladies-in-Waiting, along with access to a great number of private documents.

Pope-Hennessy kept extensive notes about the people he met and what he saw, but did not intend for them to be published for fifty years.  Now, royal biographer Hugo Vickers has compiled and edited these royal interviews, introducing the figures and placing them in their context.  The Quest for Queen Mary is a fascinating portrait and, in the words of Pope-Hennessy himself, ‘a not uninteresting study of royal psychology as it was and as it largely remains today’.

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