Queen of Mean: King's great grandmother, Mary of Teck, recycled flowers from ... trends now
The Windsors are famously shrewd with their money - and few in the Royal Family were more careful than the late Queen Elizabeth.
When it came to frugal habits, however, even the Queen could not compete with her grandmother.
'She never bought flowers at the florist,' her relative, the Marchioness of Cambridge once said.
Stingy with her money, Queen Mary of Teck is said to have displayed 'upmarket kleptomania'
Mary of Teck surrounded by family after the 1937 Coronation of her son, George VI. From the left: Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret Rose and the newly crowned King
Queen Mary of Teck was grandmother to the late Queen Elizabeth. Here she is seated with Princesses Elizabeth (left) and Princess Margaret Rose (right). On her lap is Edward, now Duke of Kent
'She would go round picking them out of vases in her rooms, so that often they were dead the day after she brought them.'
She was born Mary of Teck 156 years ago, yet had been brought up in surprisingly straitened circumstances. It seemed that she never acquired the habit of spending her own money.
Indeed, according to Queen Elizabeth's distant cousin, Princess Olga Romanoff, Mary was famous for coveting – and then acquiring – other people's possessions.
Princess Olga told television viewers that Mary of Teck 'had a kind of upmarket kleptomania because she would go stay in somebody's house and she'd be sitting on one of a dozen Sheraton chairs and she'd say 'Oo, I do like this chair.'
'And you'd be obliged to give her all 12.
'People got wise to this, and they'd say, 'Oh god, Queen Mary's coming to stay', so they'd put the good stuff in the attic and bring the more rotten stuff down.
'She was famous for it, absolutely famous for it. Outside church, she'd say 'I do like that fur coat' and you'd have to give it to her.
'Thank God our Royal Family don't do that.'
Queen Mary is a distant character to a younger generation but she was a major figure in the life of the royals and unquestionably an influence on her dutiful granddaughter, Elizabeth, later to be Queen.
Queen Mary is presented with a pig at a Wimbledon piggery in 1918. She was fond of presents
Mary of Teck, seen here with husband George V, persuaded hosts to hand over treasured possessions as a 'gifts'. She said thank you with flowers recycled from her vases at home
Mary of Teck grew up in straitened circumstances but was favoured by Queen Victoria
Olga Romanov, a distant relative of the royals, says Queen Mary had 'upmarket kleptomania'. She loved to acquire other people's possessions, which made hosts wary of her visits
According to her official biographer, James Pope-Hennessy, Mary had been a shy child — 'a big, pink and white, gawky girl' — who was overshadowed by her