It is not an exaggeration to say Queen Mary of Teck (1867-1953) took things very seriously. One could even say her attitude was deathly serious.
Her biographer, Anne Edwards, wrote that she exercised tremendous control over her public demeanor. She was never heard to laugh in public. She practiced her public smile for hours in front of a mirror and wore that smile on every public occasion until the day of her death.
Her concern about appearances extended to overseeing the timing of her husband’s death. When her husband, George V, was comatose on his deathbed, Mary gave her approval for the royal physician to administer a fatal dose of morphine to assure a painless death. She also wanted to make sure his death occurred in time for the announcement to be carried in the morning papers instead of the evening journals.
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