His Highness Prince Francis Paul Charles Louis Alexander was born in Vienna, the only son of Duke Alexander of Württemberg (1804-1885) and his wife, former the Countess Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde (1812-1841). His mother was created Countess von Hohenstein by the Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria on May 2, 1835. Since this was a morganatic marriage, the children of this union had not succession rights to the kingdom of Württemberg.
Born Count Francis von Hohenstein, he was created Prince Francis of Teck with the style of "Serene Highness" by King Wilhelm of Württemberg on December 1, 1863. On September 16, 1871 he was elevated to Duke of Teck in the Kingdom of Württemberg. His cousin-in-law, Britain's Queen Victoria granted him the personal style of "Highness" on July 11, 1887, as part of the Golden Jubilee honors. (This last grant did not affect the Duke's family. As a legitimate male-line granddaughter of George III, the Duchess of Teck was a princess of Great Britain and Ireland with the style of Royal Highness in her own right. The children of the marriage remained princes or princesses of Teck with the qualification Serene Highness).
Like his father, Duke Alexander, he embarked upon a career in the Austrian army, eventually rising to the rank of captain in the 7th Hussars during the Austro-Prussian War. He retired from the Austrian army in 1866. Later he became attached to the staff of British General Sir Garret Wolseley during the 1882 Egyptian campaign. He was gazetted a colonel in the British army in 1882 and subsequently promoted to major general in 1893.
On June 12 1866, Prince Francis of Teck married HRH Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, the younger daughter of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, at Kew Church, Surrey. The couple had little income, other than the £5,000 yearly allowance granted to Princess Mary Adelaide by Parliament. Queen Victoria gave the couple a "grace and favor" apartment in Kensington Palace and the use of White Lodge, Richmond. The Tecks fled Great Britain in 1883 to escape their creditors, residing in the Tyrol and later Florence. They returned to Britain in 1890.
The Duke and Duchess of Teck had four children: