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Queen Mary Indian collection

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 89

Scope and Contents

Material collected during the Royal couple's two visits to India in 1905-1906 and 1911-1912 with a few items from other periods. There are printed books, many of them presentation copies, relating to India; programmes, orders of ceremonial and other items from the visits, many specially bound; and albums of photographs and other material presented to King George and Queen Mary or compiled by them as souvenirs of their visits. The material is in English with the exception of one item in English, Greek and Sanskrit.


  • Creation: 1881 - 1989

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Queen Mary was born at Kensington Palace on 26 May 1867, daughter of Francis, Prince (later Duke) of Teck. She was popularly known as Princess May until her marriage in 1893 to Prince George, Duke of York. During the next twenty years she accompanied her husband on three major Empire tours. On the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, the Prince of Wales ascended the throne as King Edward VII, and his son George became Duke of Cornwall and York. The Duke and Duchess voyaged on HMS 'Ophir' during March to November 1901, travelling to Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as well as smaller places en route. On his return Prince George was created Prince of Wales. From October 1905 to April 1906 the Prince and Princess visited India and Burma, on HMS 'Renown'. The Princess prepared conscientiously for this undertaking, reading widely, and she found the sub-continent an astounding revelation. The Prince of Wales became King George V on the death of his father in 1910, and decided to return to India for a Coronation Durbar in Delhi as Emperor of India in 1911; the King and Queen left England in November and returned in February 1912. Queen Mary died at Marlborough House on 24 March 1953.


.84 cubic metre(s) (70 volumes, 11 albums, 1 archive box and 2 folders) : paper/photograph

Language of Materials


Greek, Modern (1453-)


Former / Other Reference


Other Finding Aids

Donald H. Simpson, ed., 'The manuscript catalogue of the library of the Royal Commonwealth Society' (London, 1975), pp. 64-65; MSS Addenda, vol. I. There is detailed list of the collection in the typescript catalogue.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

RCMS 89/1-71 were presented by H.M. Queen Mary to the India Office in 1937 and transferred by her to the Society in 1950. The precise provenance of RCMS 89/72, which was found with the other material, is unknown.

Existence and Location of Copies

'Musalmin-Mehman Lady' from RCMS 89/70 was reproduced in the 'Commonwealth journal', no. 143 (1962), p. 141.

Three scrapbooks of programmes and invitations from 1905-6, one folio from the Calligraphies of Nusrat and the album 'Reminiscences of Bombay' have been digitised and added to Cambridge Digital Library.

Related Materials

The R.C.S. Photograph Collection includes 29 albums received with the items in this collection, QM 1-29, containing circa 3800 images relating principally to the Royal Visits to India. RCMS 113/80 is a letter describing the Royal couple's visit to Natal in 1901.


'H.M. Queen Mary's Indian collection' in 'Royal Commonwealth Society library notes', no. 8 (August, 1957), pp. 1-2, outlines the material.


This collection level description was created by RAS with reference to the catalogue compiled by D.H. Simpson.


Mary, 1867-1953, Queen Consort of George V

Includes index.
2004-05-17 14:15:27+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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