Her Majesty Queen Mary - 15

Queen Mary was the wife of George V and mother to Edward VIII and George VI. She was an austere and regal figure, but this made her more, rather than less, admired, and her strong sense of duty and her steadfastness through both World Wars earned her an enduring affection.

This most traditional of monarchs, however, oversaw some of the biggest upheavals the Royal Family has ever seen.

The worst came when, to her strong disapproval, her son, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry the divorced American, Wallace Simpson.

She had six children, and outlived three of them as well as her husband, who died 30 years before her. She lived to see her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, ascend to the throne - the third of her descendants to do so - but died three months before the formal coronation.

She is buried alongside her husband in St George's Chapel, Windsor.


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