Princess Mary of Great Britain

Princess Mary of Great Britain (5 March 1723 – 14 January 1772) was the second-youngest daughter of George II of Great Britain and his wife, Caroline of Ansbach, and Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel as the wife of Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel.

Princess Mary
PrincessMaryofGreatBritain LandgravineofHesse.jpg
Portrait by George Desmarées
Landgravine consort of Hesse-Kassel
Tenure1 February 1760[citation needed] – 14 January 1772
Born(1723-03-05)5 March 1723 (New Style)
Leicester House, London, England
Died14 January 1772(1772-01-14) (aged 48)
Hanau, Germany
Burial1 February 1772
Hanau, Germany
(m. 1740; separated 1754)
FatherGeorge II of Great Britain
MotherCaroline of Ansbach

Early lifeEdit

Princess Mary

Princess Mary was born at Leicester House, Westminster, London.[1] Her father was the Prince of Wales, later King George II. Her mother was Caroline of Ansbach, daughter of Johann Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach.[1]

Her father succeeded, as George II, on 11 June 1727, and she became "HRH The Princess Mary". Upon her death in 1737, her mother, Queen Caroline, entrusted Mary to her elder sister Caroline, urging her to "do what she could to support the meek and mild disposition of Princess Mary".[2]


Mary as Hereditary Princess of Hesse-Kassel with her family in 1754. Painting by Johann Heinrich Tischbein.

A marriage was negotiated with Landgrave Frederick of Hesse-Kassel, the only son and heir of William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel.[3] For the marriage, Parliament voted Mary £40,000.[3]

They married by proxy at the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace in London on 8 May, then in person on 28 June 1740 at Kassel.[1] They had four sons, three of whom survived to adulthood.[3]

The marriage was unhappy, and Frederick was said to be "brutal" and "a boor". Frederick reportedly subjected Mary to spousal abuse.[4] In late 1746, Mary made an extended trip to Britain to escape his maltreatment. The couple separated in 1754 on Frederick's conversion to Roman Catholicism. She was supported by her father-in-law, who provided her with a residence in Hanau, as she did not wish to return to Great Britain, but to stay on the continent to raise her children.[4]

In 1756, Mary moved to Denmark, to take care of the children of her sister Louise of Great Britain, who had died in 1751. She took her children with her, and they were raised at the royal court and her sons were married to Danish princesses. Her husband succeeded his father as Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel in 1760, and so Mary was technically Landgravine consort for the last twelve years of her life, despite her estrangement from her husband.

Mary died on 14 or 16 January 1772, aged 48 at Hanau, Germany.[1]

Titles, styles, honours and armsEdit

Titles and stylesEdit

  • 5 March 1723 – 11 June 1727: Her Royal Highness Princess Mary[5]
  • 11 June 1727 – 8 May 1740: Her Royal Highness The Princess Mary
  • 8 May 1740 – 25 March 1751: Her Royal Highness Princess Frederick of Hesse-Kassel
  • 25 March 1751 – 1 February 1760: Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Princess of Hesse-Kassel
  • 1 February 1760 – 14 January 1772: Her Royal Highness The Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel


On 30 August 1727, as a child of the sovereign, Mary was granted use of the arms of the realm, differenced by a label argent of three points, each bearing a canton gules.[6]


Name Birth Death Notes
Prince William of Hesse-Kassel 25 December 1741 1 July 1742 died in infancy
William I, Elector of Hesse 3 June 1743 27 February 1821 married, 1763, Wilhelmina Caroline of Denmark and Norway; had issue
Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel 19 December 1744 17 August 1836 married, 1766, Louise of Denmark; had issue
Prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel 11 September 1747 20 May 1837 married, 1786, Caroline of Nassau-Usingen; had issue



  1. ^ a b c d Weir, Alison (2008). Britain's Royal Families, The Complete Genealogy. London: Vintage Books. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-09-953973-5.
  2. ^ Michael A. Beatty: The English Royal Family of America, from Jamestown to the American Revolution
  3. ^ a b c Williamson, David (2004). "Mary, Princess (1723–1772)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18253. Retrieved 15 March 2011. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ a b James Panton:Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy
  5. ^ The London Gazette[permanent dead link] refers to her as "Princess Mary"
  6. ^ Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family


Princess Mary of Great Britain
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 5 March 1723 Died: 14 January 1772
German royalty
Title last held by
Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden
Landgravine consort of Hesse-Kassel
1 February 1760 – 14 January 1772
Title next held by
Philippine of Brandenburg-Schwedt