A Collection of Medals to Members of the Nobility and The Royal Household

Date of Auction: 8th December 2016

Sold for £14,000

Estimate: £8,000 - £10,000

The unique Sudan ‘Battles of the Atbara and Khartoum’ Royal Cavalry Officer’s D.S.O. group of seven awarded to Major His Serene Highness Prince Francis of Teck, G.C.V.O., 1st Dragoons, and the brother to H.M. Queen Mary

Distinguished Service Order, V.R., silver-gilt and enamel, with integral top riband bar; Jubilee 1887, gold, with 1897 clasp; Coronation 1902, silver; Queen’s Sudan 1896-98 (Capt. H.S.H. Prince Francis of Teck. K.C.V.O. D.S.O. E.A.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal (Major H.S.H. Prince Francis of Teck, K.C.V.O., D.S.O., 1/Dns); Germany, Saxony, Ernestine House Order, Military Division, 4th Class breast Badge, gold and enamel, with crown suspension; Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 3 clasps, Sudan 1897, The Atbara, Khartoum (El Bimbashi Prince Francis of Teck, Egyptian Cavalry.), clasp carriages on both the QSA and Khedive’s Sudan remodelled for mounting purposes, mounted court-style as worn, toned, good very fine and a medal group of the highest rarity (7)


G.C.V.O. London Gazette 1 December 1909.

K.C.V.O. London Gazette 8 December 1898.

D.S.O. London Gazette 15 November 1898: ‘In recognition of services during the recent operations in Egypt and the Sudan, including the Battles of the Atbara and Khartoum'.

His Serene Highness Prince Francis Joseph Leopold Frederick of Teck was at Kensington Palace on 9 January 1870, the second son of the Duke of Teck and Her Royal Highness Princess Mary Adelaide, and the brother of Princess May of Teck, the future Queen Mary. He was educated at Wellington College, Cheltenham College, and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant, 9th Lancers, on 30 January 1899, transferring to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps on 17 April 1899 and to the 1st Dragoons on 8 October 1890. He was promoted Lieutenant on 26 August 1891, and Captain on 25 July 1894. He served as Aide-de-Camp to the General Officer Commanding at Quetta, November 1896 until August 1897, and was employed with the Egyptian Army from December 1897 until September 1898, serving in the Nile Expedition in 1897. He again saw active service in the Nile Expedition of 1898, and was present at the battles of the Atbara and Khartoum, where he was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazettes, 24 May and 30 September 1898), and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, being presented with his insignia by Queen Victoria at Windsor on 1 December 1898. He was subsequently employed as Aide-de-Camp to the General Officer Commanding South-Eastern District, January to July 1899, and was appointed Staff Captain, Remount Establishment, on 24 July of that year. He served in the South African War on the Staff from 1899-1902, being employed with the Remount Department (graded D.A.A.G.) from 20 May until 9 December 1900. He was present at the operations in the Transvaal in May 1902; was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 1 April 1901); and was promoted Brevet Major. He retired from the Army on 16 November 1901, and died unmarried on 22 October 1910, shortly before his brother-in-law’s and sister’s coronation. He is buried in the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore, Windsor, with Field Marshal Lord Kitchener of Khartoum acting as a pall bearer at his funeral. The following is an extract from an appreciation of Prince Francis which appeared in The Times on 24 October 1910.
'The death of Prince Francis will be mourned by a singularly large circle of friends. A man of frank and genial personality, an interesting companion, a keen sportsman and a staunch friend, he was extremely popular in society. “He had great charm," a gentleman who had known him for many years remarked on hearing of his serious illness, "and everyone who knew him liked him enormously". In his outlook upon life and in temperament generally, Prince Francis was essentially English, like his brothers and sisters he was devoted to his mother, and proud of his descent from George III. The Duchess of Teck, for her part, was devoted to her sons. The Bishop of Peterborough once remarked - as recorded in Sir C. Kinlock-Cooke's Memoir of the Princess: “The Duchess of Teck often talked to me about her boys, sometimes with tears in her eyes. On one occasion she said to Mrs Dalrymple, speaking with much earnestness, to pray they may each of them in turn grow up a credit to us all, and be thorough English boys; they are so as yet, thank God.'" The happy childhood of the Queen and her brothers at the White Lodge had a lasting effect upon their characters. The words of a correspondent who contributed to The Times an appreciation of Queen Mary soon after the death of the late King, may fittingly be recalled: "A singularly united family and one moreover, taught from the earliest days that a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions, sister and brothers grew up to enjoy simple wholesome pleasures, to make their own amusements, enter into each other's games and sports, and share each other's childish joys and sorrows. The Duke and Duchess of Teck, believing as they did most thoroughly in the value of home life, were careful never to omit those little family observances which mean so much to the young. Every birthday, as it came round, was duly remarked by some special concession to the honoured child. The remembrance of these days and of many joyous Christmases spent in the family circle is still among their happiest recollections”. In the published correspondence of the Duchess of Teck and in her diary there are frequent references to Prince Francis and the other children. One interesting passage may be quoted. Writing to the Hon. Lucy Kerr, in September 1872, the Duchess says: " I am thankful to say that May is once more a strong child, though a tall, wiry one by the side of her sturdy brothers the younger of whom is a perfect little giant and a great pet. Dolly and Frank are splendid specimens of boyhood, the one brown-haired, the other chestnut brown and fully answer to their sister's appellation of 'Beauty Boys’."
Prince Francis grew up with a passion for the English open-air, for English sports and for the British Army. Like his brothers, he was destined for a military career. It was the wish of the Duchess of Teck that her sons should be soldiers, and one after another they gratified this desire of their mother's heart by entering the Army. Sir C. Kinlock-Cooke relates that one day the Princess was making some purchases at a well-known shop in the West End of London. Ascertaining from one of the partners in the firm that he had boys at school, she began talking about her own sons remarking "No one knows what we parents have to go through with all these examinations". Each of the sons was sent to a Public School - Prince Francis to Wellington, and afterwards to Cheltenham. Prince Francis was an expert horseman and an enthusiastic fox hunter. Horses, indeed may be said to have been a hobby with him. His work in the Remount Department, therefore, was a labour of love. In Ireland, when quartered in Dublin, he won the sympathy of the humbler classes, his courteous and genial manners, his kindness of heart and his cheerfulness being still recollected by those whom he visited. Some years ago he paid a visit to India, while his friend, Lord Sandhurst, was the Governor of Bombay, and with characteristic eagerness to acquire knowledge of any subject in which he was interested, took the opportunity to study some phases of the problem of Indian administration. The Prince was thorough in everything he undertook. He was deeply interested in his military work and was known in the Army as a keen and capable soldier. His devoted labours in the cause of the medical charities of London - and more particularly on behalf of the Middlesex Hospital - are well known. The Prince was an enthusiastic theatregoer, and was generally to be seen in the audience on the occasion of a ‘first-night'. His was a familiar figure at the gatherings of the Beefsteak Club.
Keenly interested in every aspect of motoring, Prince Francis - with the approval of King Edward, Patron of the Royal Automobile Club, accepted the unanimous invitation of the Club, in June 1808, to succeed Mr (now Sir) C. D. Rose, M.P., as its Chairman. In taking the chair, on the proposition of the Hon. Arthur Stanley, seconded by Sir Beaverton Redwood, Prince Francis said: "I will do my best to promote the welfare of the Royal Automobile Club in every possible way. I will leave no stone unturned to see that the interests of the automobile world of Great Britain and Ireland receive careful attention". He was as good as his word and gave the amplest proofs of his administrative ability and his absolute mastery of details, while he spared no pains to encourage the vigourous growth of local associations. As Chairman of the R.A.C. he was closely concerned in the erection of the new Club House in Pall Mall, and devoted much thought and care to the decoration of the building. The scheme by which the R.A.C. admitted associate members was also largely due to him. Motoring may be said to have lost in him a very valuable friend, whose great influence and thoughtful advice were ever at its service.’

Sold together with various photographs of the recipient.

For His Serene Highness’s miniature dress medals see Lot 96.