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copyright V&A

Prince Francis (Paul Louis Alexander),
Duke of Teck

as "Capitaine, Garde du Roi 1660/1760"

Son of the unequal marriage of his father, a royal duke of Württemberg, with the Hungarian Countess Claudine Rhédey de Kis-Rhédey, from whom it was said that the Duke of Teck inherited his dark good looks, the young and impecunious soldier was married in 1866 to Princess Mary Adelaide, granddaughter of King George III.

Having had to give up his commission in the Austrian army to come and live in England, he occupied much of his time in redecorating their English residence, White Lodge in Richmond Park, and in helping his wife adorn herself with jewellery.

Having missed the opportunity of marrying his daughter to Prince Henry of Pless, one of the richest princes of Germany who had chosen Mary "Daisy" Cornwallis-West as his wife, the Duke of Teck aimed even higher and his Mary became engaged to Prince Albert Victor, the unstable and apathetic eldest son of the Prince of Wales. After Prince Albert Victor's sudden death, the Duke insisted that his daughter must be passed on to the next brother - as happened with the fiancée of the Tsarevich Nicholas upon his sudden death in 1865.

In this image the Duke wears a costume, which is an accurate representation of a French high-ranking soldier's uniform of c. 1730 consisting of a white tunic with revers of blue trimmed with silver and a matching white waistcoat. The costume is completed with cloth breeches, high boots, and a powdered wig.

Although the Duke was photographed at the Ball, he visited the Lafayette studio three weeks later for a second series of portraits. The image seen here is from that date and was published in the Album commemorating the event.


Negative number: V&A L1494, July 1897