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Queen Mary at the opening of Lynden Hall, 1938.
Queen Mary at the opening of Lynden Hall, 1938.
Courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London Archives.

Queen Mary (1867-1953) was born in Kensington Palace and was baptized Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes. She used the names Victoria Mary until she became Queen, and her family called her May. She was consort of King George V, whom she married in 1893.

Although Queen Mary received little formal education, she was able to learn French, German and Italian, and had interests literature, art history and German politics. She shared this interest with her grand-daughters, Princess Elizabeth (now H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret, by taking them to the theatre, galleries and museums.

She was known for her regal presence and her charitable work. Like many women around the time of the First World War, new opportunities arose in terms of making public contributions to society.

Queen Mary's charitable work included Queen Mary's Needlework Guild, the National Relief Fund, the St John Ambulance Brigade, and the Red Cross. She established the Queen's Work for Women Fund, which was the women's branch of the National Relief Fund.

She supported not only work for women, but also education. In 1934, East London College was renamed Queen Mary College, in honour of Queen Mary, who presented the College with its Royal Charter in that year. She visited the College over the years, and officially opened Lynden Hall for women students in 1938.

To learn more about Queen Mary, her life and involvement with the College, Heather Neill has written an interesting article on her and other women in the QM Magazine, Autumn 2007 edition.


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