Category Archives: British Royals

Wedding of Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer

by Susan Flantzer

The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer were married on July 29, 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England.

The Family of Prince Charles

HRH Prince Charles Philip Arthur George was born on November 14, 1948, at Buckingham Palace, London. Charles was the first child of HRH Princess Elizabeth and her husband of one year, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, born HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. Elizabeth was the elder daughter and the first of two children of King George VI and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who was the youngest daughter and the ninth of ten children of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Philip’s father was HRH Prince Andrew of Greece, the son of King George I of Greece (formerly Prince William of Denmark) and Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia. His mother was Her Serene Highness Princess Alice of Battenberg. Alice was the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. During World War I, when King George V ordered his family to relinquish their German styles and titles, Prince Louis became the Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven. Princess Victoria’s mother was Princess Alice, a daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Therefore, Charles’ parents are both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Charles’ parents added another child to the family, Princess Anne, born on August 15, 1950. Ill with lung cancer, King George VI died on February 6, 1952, and the 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. Her duties as Queen postponed additions to the family. Prince Andrew was born eight years later on February 19, 1960, and Prince Edward was born on March 10, 1964.

As soon as his mother became Queen, Charles was the heir apparent to the throne and as the monarch’s eldest son became Duke of Cornwall. In the Scottish peerage, he became Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on July 26, 1958. He was invested as Prince of Wales on July 1, 1969, at Caernarvon Castle in Wales.

Queen Elizabeth’s children have been unlucky in marriage. Charles and Diana, The Prince and Princess of Wales, separated in December 1992 and divorced in August 1996. Exactly a year later, Diana, Princess of Wales tragically died in a car accident in Paris. In 1974, Princess Anne married Mark Phillips, a Lieutenant in the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, but the couple separated in 1989 and divorced in 1992. Princess Anne married again in 1992 to Timothy Laurence, then a Commander in the Royal Navy. Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in 1986. The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. Prince Edward has been the most stable of the Queen’s children as far as marriage is concerned. In 1999, he married Sophie Rhys-Jones, then a public relations manager with her own firm and that marriage still continues as does Princess Anne’s marriage to Timothy Laurence. In 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles with whom he had a romantic relationship before and during his marriage.

The Family of Lady Diana Spencer

The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961, at Park House on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England. Her father was John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, son and heir of Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer, and Lady Cynthia Hamilton, daughter of James Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn and Lady Rosalind Bingham who was a daughter of Charles Bingham, 4th Earl of Lucan. Her mother was The Honourable Frances Burke Roche, daughter of Edmund Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy and Ruth Gill. In 1975, when Diana’s father succeeded his father as 8th Earl Spencer, her courtesy title became Lady Diana Spencer. Diana’s parents had three other children: Sarah born in 1955, Jane born in 1957 and Charles, currently the 9th Earl Spencer, born in 1964. The children’s parents divorced in 1969 and both remarried.

The Spencer family is an old English noble family. Althorp in Northamptonshire, England has been the ancestral home of the Spencer family since the early 16th century. The Spencer family has served the British monarchy for centuries. More recently, Diana’s grandmother, Lady Fermoy, was a close friend and friend and a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Diana’s father served as equerry to both King George VI and to Queen Elizabeth II. Among the Spencer family ancestors are the famous soldier and statesman John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and his wife Sarah Jennings who was a close friend of Queen Anne, and King Charles II through four of his illegitimate children.

The Engagement

 

“It is with the greatest pleasure that The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh announce the betrothal of their beloved son, The Prince of Wales, to the Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of the Earl Spencer and the Honourable Mrs. Shand Kydd.”

This official engagement announcement, issued by Buckingham Palace at 11 AM on February 24, 1981, ended years of speculation over who the world’s most eligible bachelor would marry. The couple had first met in 1977 when Prince Charles was dating Diana’s older sister Sarah. Their romance began when Lady Diana went to Balmoral with Prince Charles in July 1980. Prince Charles proposed to Lady Diana just before she left for a trip to Australia to visit her mother. Diana’s father, Earl Spencer, along with his second wife Raine Spencer, mingled with the crowd outside Buckingham Palace on the day of the announcement. Following tradition, the couple posed for their first official appearance on the terrace at the rear of the palace. Diana was wearing an off-the-rack outfit of a sapphire blue scalloped-edged suit with a white silk blouse with a blue swallow motif. Charles wore a gray, single-breasted suit.

Charles had presented Diana with a platinum engagement ring set with a large oval sapphire and fourteen diamonds. The ring, reported to have cost in the region of $55,000, was made by the royal jewelers Garrard & Company in Regent Street, London. Lady Diana herself selected the largest and most expensive ring from a tray of engagement rings. Copies of the engagement ring went on sale in nearly every British gift and jewelry shop within days of the engagement announcement.

Sources:
“Invitation to a Royal Wedding” by Kathryn Spink
“A Souvenir of the Royal Wedding” by Lornie Leete-Hodge
“Royal Wedding Day”, The Daily Mail
“Diana, Princess of Wales” by Penny Junor

The Trousseau

The Going Away Outfit

Soon after the engagement was announced, Diana began visiting dress designers, dress shops, and milliners, to extend her wardrobe and choose her trousseau. However, she found it increasingly difficult to go shopping as she had before the engagement announcement. Diana’s sister Jane had worked at Vogue magazine before she married. Jane still had connections at the magazine and used them to help Diana. As a top fashion magazine, Vogue knew all the designers, knew what was available in stores, and regularly received dozens of outfits and accessories for possible use in the magazine. Diana was able to go to the Vogue offices two or three times a week and try on exclusive designs. She also developed friendships with the Vogue editors, who gave her much fashion advice. Beatrice Miller, editor in chief; Grace Coddington, fashion editor and a former model; and Anna Harvey, the deputy fashion editor; were able to help Diana decide what suited her, what would be appropriate for which occasion and what accessories would match. The Vogue editors helped her choose her pre-wedding wardrobe and her trousseau.

Sources:
“Invitation to a Royal Wedding” by Kathryn Spink
“A Souvenir of the Royal Wedding” by Lornie Leete-Hodge
“Royal Wedding Day”, The Daily Mail
“Diana, Princess of Wales” by Penny Junor

The Wedding Attire

Prince Charles wore the Navy’s No. 1 ceremonial dress uniform with a blue Garter sash. The seven attendants’ outfits cost more than the bride’s dress, which was made of ivory pure silk taffeta with embroidered lace panels at the front and back of the bodice, lace-flounced sleeves, and a neckline decorated with taffeta bows. The train was twenty-five feet long and made of silk taffeta trimmed with sparkling old lace. Designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel created the wedding dress in strict secrecy. Both the dress and the tulle veil were hand-embroidered with mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls, as were the matching silk slippers. A little blue bow and a tiny gold horseshoe were sewn at the waist for good luck. Diana’s wedding attire cost well over £2,000, but she was never charged for it. The publicity the Emanuels received was worth much more.

The Spencer family tiara held the veil in place. The “something old” was the Carrickmacross lace on the bodice which had belonged to Queen Mary; the “something borrowed” was diamond earrings from Diana’s mother. Diana carried a bouquet of gardenias, golden roses, orchids, stephanotis, lilies of the valley, freesias, myrtle (taken from a bush grown from a sprig originally taken from Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet) and veronica. After the ceremony, the bouquet was placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.

The bridesmaids also wore dresses designed by the Emanuels and the page boys were dressed in 1863 naval uniforms. The women in the family looked resplendent: Queen Elizabeth in aquamarine silk crepe-de-Chine, the Queen Mother in green silk georgette, Princess Margaret in coral and Mrs. Shand Kydd, Diana’s mother, in hyacinth blue. Princess Anne wore an outfit of yellow and white, which a French newspaper called an omellette Norvegienne (a Norwegian omelet: a scoop of ice cream placed on hot beaten eggs).

Sources:
“Invitation to a Royal Wedding” by Kathryn Spink
“A Souvenir of the Royal Wedding” by Lornie Leete-Hodge
“Royal Wedding Day”, The Daily Mail
“Diana, Princess of Wales” by Penny Junor
“Princess” by Robert Lacey

The Wedding Attendants

The bridesmaids and pages were sons and daughters of Prince Charles’ relatives and friends. The youngest bridesmaid, five-year-old Clementine Hambro, had also been one of Diana’s charges at the Young England Kindergarten. Clementine is the great-granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill. The other attendants were six-year-old Catherine Cameron, Charles’ goddaughter and the daughter of Donald Cameron and Lady Cecil Cameron; Sarah Jane Gaselee, aged ten, the daughter of Charles’ horse trainer; fourteen-year-old India Hicks, another of Charles’ goddaughters and the daughter of David Hicks and Lady Pamela, younger daughter of Lord Mountbatten. Seventeen-year-old Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, daughter of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, was the maid of honor. The pages included Edward van Cutsem, age eight, the son of Charles’ racehorse training friends Hugh and Emilie van Cutsem; and eleven-year-old Lord Nicholas Windsor, Charles’ godson and son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. They wore Royal Navy cadet summer uniforms dating from 1863, the date of the last State wedding of a Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).

Sources:
“Invitation to a Royal Wedding” by Kathryn Spink
“A Souvenir of the Royal Wedding” by Lornie Leete-Hodge
“Royal Wedding Day”, The Daily Mail
“Diana, Princess of Wales” by Penny Junor

The Ceremony

Guests started arriving at St. Paul’s Cathedral as soon as the doors were opened at 9 AM on July 29, 19, 1 and were greeted with cheers from the assembled crowd. There had been only one other royal wedding held at the St. Paul’s: the wedding of Arthur, Prince of Wales, the son of Henry VII and Catherine of Aragon, in 1501.

Charles arrived at the cathedral with his brothers Andrew and Edward, who were his “supporters.” Andrew was the principal supporter and performed the tasks usually assigned to the best man. Charles and his brothers walked down the aisle to Henry Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune.” As he reached the aisle’s end, there was a great roar from the crowd outside, signaling the arrival of Diana in the Glass Coach.

As Diana entered the cathedral, the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry sounded a fanfare. Diana made her three and a half minute walk up the aisle to the dramatic “Trumpet Voluntary” by Jeremiah Clark. In one arm, Diana carried a bouquet of orchids, stephanotis, gardenias, lilies of the valley, freesias, myrtle, and gold Mountbatten roses. With her other arm, she supported her father, Earl Spencer, who had never completely recovered from a stroke suffered in 1978.

The service began with a hymn. Charles chose “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation.” Diana’s choice of hymn was “I Vow to Thee My Country,” a favorite hymn from her school days. The same hymn was to be sung at her funeral sixteen years later. The Dean of St. Paul’s introduced the service, but Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, performed the actual marriage ceremony. Diana did not promise “to obey” as royal brides of the past had done.

During the ceremony, both the bride and groom made mistakes. Diana got Charles’ names in the wrong order, while Charles vowed to share all her worldly goods. After reciting their vows, Charles placed the wedding ring on Diana’s finger. The ring, made of 22-karat gold, was fashioned from a nugget found more than fifty years earlier at a mine in North Wales. The same nugget had also been used for the wedding rings of the Queen Mother, the Queen, Princess Margaret, and Princess Anne. The little that was left was used to make the ring for Diana.

Near the end of the seventy-five-minute ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury announced to the congregation that “Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are made: the Prince and Princess on their wedding day. Those who are married live happily ever after the wedding day if they persevere in the real adventure which is the royal task of creating each other and creating a more loving world.”

After signing the register, the couple returned to the altar as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sang Handel’s “Let the Bright Seraphim.” Diana gave a deep curtsey to the Queen before walking back down the aisle to the strain of “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4 in G” and ‘Crown Imperial.” As the newlyweds left the cathedral, the bells of St. Paul’s rang in jubilation. Soon church bells from all over London joined in the celebration. Charles and Diana, smiling and waving, drove in the 1902 State Postillion Landau down Ludgate Hill, along Fleet Street, past the Law Courts, into the Strand, through Trafalgar Square, into The Mall, and back to Buckingham Palace.

2,650 wedding invitations were sent out from the office of the Lord Chamberlain. Most of the invitations went to those who served crown and country: senior armed forces officers, diplomats, politicians, civil servants, local government officials, industrial leaders, and over 200 members of the Queen’s staff from Sandringham, Balmoral, and Windsor.

Most of Europe’s reigning monarchs were present, with the exception of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. They boycotted because on their honeymoon, Charles and Diana were boarding the royal yacht at Gibraltar, whose possession is disputed by Spain and the United Kingdom. There were over 160 foreign presidents, prime ministers, and their spouses in attendance.

Diana was given 500 invitations and her parents were given 50 invitations. Diana used her invitations to invite old school friends, the staff at Althorp, her current set of friends, the entire staff she had worked with at the Young England Kindergarten, and the helpful editors of the fashion magazines who helped her choose her trousseau.

Among those who attended the wedding were: King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, King Olav of Norway, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, Princess Grace and her son Prince Albert of Monaco, Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie of Liechtenstein, Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko of Japan, Princess Maha Chakri of Thailand, Crown Prince Hassan and Crown Princess Sarvath of Jordan, the Prince and Princess of Nepal, King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou and Queen Halaevalu Mataʻaho ʻAhomeʻe of Tonga, Queen ‘Mamohato Bereng Seeiso of Lesotho, Malietoa Tanumafil of Western Samoa, Prince Gabieni and Princess Lindiow of Swaziland, former King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania, former Tsar Simeon and Tsarina Margarita of Bulgaria, and former King Constantine of Greece.

Nancy Reagan, the wife of the American President was also in attendance, along with the Presidents of Greece; West Germany; Portugal; Iceland; Gambia; Malawi; Trinidad and Tobago; Sri Lanka; India; Cyprus; Nauru; Kiribati; Dominica; Zimbabwe; Vanuatu, and Guyana; the wives of the Presidents of Uganda, Ghana, and Zambia; the Prime Minister of Turkey; the Vice Presidents of Nigeria, Kenya, and the Seychelles; the Governors-General of Canada; Australia; New Zealand; Jamaica; Barbados; Mauritius; Fiji; Bahamas; Grenada; Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Sources:
“Invitation to a Royal Wedding” by Kathryn Spink
“A Souvenir of the Royal Wedding” by Lornie Leete-Hodge
“Royal Wedding Day”, The Daily Mail
“Diana, Princess of Wales” by Penny Junor
“The British Royal Family: Great Front Pages” by Anthony Holden

The Wedding Luncheon

After the ceremony, the couple returned to Buckingham Palace for their wedding breakfast. Following five balcony appearances and one royal kiss, they attended a three-course luncheon held for 118 of their closest friends and relatives. The luncheon, prepared in the Buckingham Palace kitchens, was served in the Ball Supper Room. The meal consisted of brill coated in lobster sauce, supreme de volaille Princesse de Galles, strawberries and cream, served with 3 different wines. The five-tiered, 225-pound hexagonal wedding cake was cut by Prince Charles, using his ceremonial sword. The cake was made by the Royal Navy Cookery School in Chatham. It took four men two days to sort the fruit and check each currant, raisin, and cherry. Master baker, Chief Petty Officer David Avery, spent eleven weeks creating the cake, etching the couple’s coats of arms, family crests, and pictures of their homes, in color on the white icing.

Sources:
“Invitation to a Royal Wedding” by Kathryn Spink
“A Souvenir of the Royal Wedding” by Lornie Leete-Hodge
“Royal Wedding Day”, The Daily Mail
“Diana, Princess of Wales” by Penny Junor

The Honeymoon

After the wedding breakfast, Charles and Diana left the Buckingham Palace in an open carriage decorated with heart-shaped balloons sporting imprints of the Prince of Wales’ feathers, and a “Just Married” sign scrawled in lipstick borrowed from a lady-in-waiting, placed there by supporters Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Charles had changed into a gray suit and Diana into a melon colored silk suit designed by Belville Sasson and a matching hat by Knightsbridge milliner John Boyd. She was also wearing the same six-strand pearl choker that her sister Sarah had worn to the wedding. Sarah went home bare-necked.

They departed Waterloo Station for Broadlands, the family home of the Mountbattens, where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip spent their wedding night in 1947. Lord and Lady Romsey, the current residents, had moved out to give Charles and Diana the entire run of the estate. There they spent two days in peace, away from crowds, and three nights in a large four-poster bed in the Portico Room.

After Broadlands, Charles and Diana flew from Eastleigh Airport to Gibraltar, where the couple boarded the royal yacht Britannia for a Mediterranean cruise. The cruise included stops in Tunisia, Sicily, Egypt and the Greek Islands. The course of the Britannia was kept a secret to insure the couple’s privacy. Twelve days later, Britannia docked at Port Said, Egypt, where Charles and Diana entertained Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and his wife Jihan. After sailing through the Suez Canal and into the northern Red Sea, the couple flew to Scotland to join the rest of the Royal Family at Balmoral.

Sources:
“Invitation to a Royal Wedding” by Kathryn Spink
“A Souvenir of the Royal Wedding” by Lornie Leete-Hodge
“Royal Wedding Day”, The Daily Mail
“Diana, Princess of Wales” by Penny Junor
“Princess” by Robert Lacey

Wedding of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden and Lady Louise Mountbatten

by Scott Mehl

Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden and Lady Louise Mountbatten were married on November 3, 1923 at the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace, London. This was Gustaf Adolf’s second marriage. He was previously married to Princess Margaret of Connaught from 1905 until her death in 1920.

Gustaf Adolf’s Early Life

Gustaf Adolf (l) with his brother Wilhelm, c1885

Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (Oscar Fredrik Wilhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf) was born on November 11, 1882 at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. At birth, he was created Duke of Skåne by his grandfather, King Oscar II. He was the eldest of three sons of the future King Gustav V and Victoria of Baden. Along with his two brothers – Prince Wilhelm and Prince Erik – Gustaf Adolf began his education at home, with a governess and then with tutors. In 1901, he began his formal education, studying history, economics, political science and archeology at Uppsala University. He also received military training at the Military Academy Karlberg, becoming an officer in the Swedish Army. He would eventually rise to the rank of Lieutenant General. In 1907, Gustaf Adolf became Crown Prince upon his father’s accession to the Swedish throne. He would hold this title for nearly 43 years before becoming King himself in 1950.

Gustaf Adolf married Princess Margaret of Connaught in 1905, and the couple had five children – Prince Gustaf Adolf (father of the current King); Prince Sigvard; Princess Ingrid (became Queen of Denmark, mother of the current Queen); Prince Bertil; and Prince Carl Johan. Margaret died in 1920, while eight months pregnant with her sixth child.

For more information about Gustaf Adolf see:

Louise’s Early Life

Louise as a baby, with her parents and older sister, Alice

Lady Louise Mountbatten was born Princess Louise Alexandra Marie Irene of Battenberg on July 13, 1889 at Schloss Heiligenberg in the Grand Duchy of Hesse. She was the second of four children of Prince Ludwig of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. Her siblings were Princess Alice (later Princess Andrew of Greece), George, 2nd Marquess of Milford-Haven, and Louis, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Despite their German titles, the family was very much British. Louise’s father spent his entire life in the British Royal Navy and served as First Sea Lord up until World War I.

Educated mostly at home, Louise traveled often as her father’s naval position often had him stationed in different places. She did a lot of volunteer work with military organizations as well as working as a nurse with the Red Cross.

In 1917, King George V of the United Kingdom asked all of his relatives in Britain to relinquish their German titles and styles. Louise’s family gave up their Battenberg titles, taking on the surname Mountbatten, and her father was created Marquess of Milford Haven. As the daughter of a Marquess, Louise became Lady Louise Mountbatten.

Louise had several previous romances – she refused a proposal from King Manuel II of Portugal, and later was secretly engaged to Prince Christopher of Greece. Another engagement to a Scottish artist was also called off.

For more information about Louise see:

The Engagement

In June 1923, Lady Louise’s great-aunt, Princess Helena (the third daughter of Queen Victoria), passed away in London. Among those attending the funeral was Prince Gustaf Adolf. He and Louise were drawn to each other immediately, and despite her vow that she would never marry a king or a widower, fate had other plans. Their engagement was announced on July 1, 1923 by both the Swedish and British courts. However, it was not without controversy. Some in Sweden felt that it violated the succession laws in Sweden, which stated that a Swedish prince would forfeit his succession rights if he “with or without the King’s knowledge and consent, married a private Swedish or foreign man’s daughter”. As Louise ceased to be a Princess of Battenberg several years earlier when the family gave up their German titles, it was questioned if she was considered a private man’s daughter or not. After lengthy discussions, it was deemed that she was of suitable rank and that her husband-to-be would remain Crown Prince of Sweden.

Wedding Guests

Unlike the groom’s first marriage which was attended by royalty from around the world, the marriage between Gustaf Adolf and Louise was a much smaller affair. Other than their immediate families, only two foreign royals attended. Below is a partial list of the guests:

The Groom’s Family
King Gustav of Sweden
Prince Wilhelm of Sweden

The Bride’s Family
The Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven
The Marquess and Marchioness of Milford Haven
David Mountbatten, Earl of Medina
Lady Tatiana Mountbatten
Lord and Lady Louis Mountbatten
Princess Andrew of Greece
Princess Margarita of Greece
Princess Theodora of Greece
Princess Cecilie of Greece
Princess Sophie of Greece

The British Royal Family
King George and Queen Mary of the United Kingdom
Dowager Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom
The Prince of Wales
The Duke and Duchess of York
Prince Henry of the United Kingdom
Prince George of the United Kingdom
Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles and Viscount Lascelles

Foreign Royalty
Queen Maud of Norway
Dowager Queen Olga of Greece

The Wedding Attendants

Louise’s bridesmaids were the four daughters of her sister, Princess Andrew of Greece:

  • Princess Margarita of Greece
  • Princess Theodora of Greece
  • Princess Cecilie of Greece
  • Princess Sophie of Greece

Her train was carried by the children of her brother George, Marquess of Milford Haven:

  • David Mountbatten, Earl of Medina
  • Lady Tatiana Mountbatten

The bridesmaids wore dresses of crepe Georgette in pale peach, with Lady Tatiana also in the same color. David, Earl of Medina wore a sailor outfit.

The groom was attended by his brother, Prince Wilhelm of Sweden, who wore his blue and gold uniform of the Swedish Navy.

The Wedding Attire

Lady Louise wore a dress made from Indian silver gauze which had been a gift from her uncle, the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. The dress featured a square neck and wrap-over skirt, with a low waist adorned with a lover’s knot of orange blossoms. The flowers also trailed down the dress, encased in silver thread, leading to a 4-yard train. Over the gown, she wore a short ermine cape which had belonged to her grandmother, Princess Alice. She carried a bouquet of lilies of the valley.

The bridal tiara. source: Wikipedia

Instead of a jeweled tiara, she wore a heavy diadem of orange buds, designed in the shape of a tiara. Her veil, of Honiton lace, had also belonged to her grandmother, Princess Alice. It had been a gift from Alice’s mother, Queen Victoria, at the time of Alice’s wedding in 1862. In addition, Louise’s mother Victoria also wore the veil at her wedding in 1884.

Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf wore his full military uniform with several Swedish and British honours:

  • The badge – on a necklet – of the Order of the Polar Star (Sweden)
  • The Royal Victorian Chain (UK)
  • The Sash and Star of the Order of the Bath (UK)
  • The Star of the Order of the Seraphim (Sweden)
  • The Star of the Order of Vasa (Sweden)
  • The Star of the Order of Carl XIII (Sweden)

The Ceremony

Interior of the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace. photo: Daily Mail/PA

With the guests and the groom waiting, Lady Louise arrived at the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace, accompanied by her brother The Marquess of Milford Haven. The brief marriage service was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. During the service, the Archbishop spoke kindly of Louise’s late father and his lifelong service to Britain. He referred to Louise as the “…daughter of a gallant, well-loved man, to whose prescience, firmness and resource England and the Allies of England owe a debt which is not forgotten.”

Following the service, the newly married couple greeted the crowds who had gathered, including a large group of the Swedish community in London who were seated in a special stand just outside the chapel. They traveled by car to Kensington Palace, where a wedding reception was held for the invited guests. Afterward, the couple traveled to Cliveden in Buckinghamshire – the home of Viscount and Viscountess Astor – which was loaned to them by the Astors for the first part of their honeymoon. They then traveled to Paris and Italy before returning to Sweden.

Wedding of Queen Elizabeth II of The United Kingdom and Lt. Philip Mountbatten

by Susan Flantzer

The Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom) and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten were married at Westminster Abbey in London, England on November 20, 1947.

Princess Elizabeth’s Family

HRH Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on April 21, 1926, at 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, the London home of her maternal grandfather. Her parents were the Duke and Duchess of York: HRH Prince Albert, the second son of King George V, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore. The new baby was named after her mother, her grandmother Queen Mary, and her great-grandmother Queen Alexandra, who had died the previous year. In her family, the baby was known as Lilibet. Elizabeth had only one sibling, a sister, Margaret Rose (1930-2002) who married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. The couple divorced in 1978. Elizabeth and her sister were educated at home primarily by their governess Marion Crawford. The York family was considered an ideal family by the British public and King George V adored his granddaughters, particularly Elizabeth.

At her birth, Elizabeth was third in line to the throne after her uncle Edward, Prince of Wales (known in the family as David) and her father. It was considered unlikely that she would become queen since her uncle was still young, and it was assumed that he would marry and have a family of his own. In January 1936, when Elizabeth was nearly ten, her grandfather King George V died and his eldest son succeeded him as King Edward VIII. The new king was still unmarried and Elizabeth’s father was now heir to the throne and Elizabeth was number two in the line of succession. Later that year, there was a crisis when King Edward VIII proposed to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American. The government’s opposition to the marriage and the king’s unwillingness to give up Mrs. Simpson led to King Edward VIII’s abdication in December 1936. In an instant, Elizabeth’s life changed. Her father succeeded his brother as King George VI and Elizabeth was how heiress presumptive. This meant that she was presumed to be the heir, but if a brother were born, he would move ahead of Elizabeth in the succession. As befitting her new role, Elizabeth received private instruction from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College in constitutional history.

After her marriage in 1947, Elizabeth had a little more than four years to enjoy her new husband and start a family. Her first child Charles was born in November 1948 and a daughter, Anne, was born in August 1950. Ill with lung cancer, King George VI died on February 6, 1952, while Elizabeth and Philip were in Kenya. She had left her country as HRH The Princess Elizabeth and returned as HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Sources:
“Brewer’s British Royalty” by David Williamson
Wikipedia: Queen Elizabeth II
“Margaret Rose, Princess, Countess of Snowdon (1930–2002)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Wikipedia: Princess Margaret

The Family of Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten
(Prince Philip of Greece)

HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born June 10, 1921, at Villa Mon Repos on the Greek island of Corfu. His father was HRH Prince Andrew of Greece, the son of King George I of Greece (formerly Prince William of Denmark) and Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, and his mother was Her Serene Highness Princess Alice of Battenberg, the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. During World War I, when King George V ordered his family to relinquish their German styles and titles, Prince Louis became the Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven. Princess Victoria’s mother was Princess Alice, a daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Therefore, Philip and Elizabeth are third cousins as they are both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. They also share descent from King Christian IX of Denmark. Philip is King Christian’s great grandson and Elizabeth his great-great-granddaughter, so they are also second cousins once removed.

Philip had four much older sisters: Margarita (1905-1981) who married Prince Gottfried of Hohenlohe-Langenburg; Theodora (1906-1969) who married Prince Berthold, Margrave of Baden; Cecilie (1911-1937) who married Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse; and Sophie (1914-2001) who married (1) Prince Christoph of Hesse, who died in World War II and (2) Prince George William of Hanover.

Philip’s childhood was far from ideal. A year after his birth, his uncle, King Constantine I, abdicated after Greece suffered a humiliating defeat in the Greco-Turkish War and his father Prince Andrew was arrested. Andrew had been a commander in the war and had refused to obey orders which he considered desperate and dangerous to his men. He was court-martialed and found guilty of “disobeying an order” and “acting on his own initiative.” Many others who had been tried and found guilty had been executed, so there was fear that Andrew would suffer the same fate. However, he was spared, but banished from Greece for life. His family fled Greece on a British cruiser with the young Philip in a crib made from a fruit box.

The family in exile was forced to depend upon relatives. They first settled in a Paris suburb in a house provided by Princess Marie Bonaparte, Andrew’s sister-in-law. During the next several years, the family drifted apart. Philip’s mother, Princess Alice, suffered a nervous breakdown when Philip was nine, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and spent two years in a Swiss sanatorium. After her release from the sanatorium, Alice isolated herself from her family until late 1936, maintaining contact only with her mother. In this period, her daughters married and settled in Germany, Philip was sent to England to live with his mother’s brothers and her mother, and Andrew moved to the French Riviera. Andrew and Alice did not see each other again until the 1937 funeral of their daughter Cecilie, their son-in-law and two of their grandchildren who were killed in an airplane accident. After this, Alice did remain in contact with her family, but she and Andrew remained separated. Philip, by this time, was a teenager. She told Philip he should return to live in Greece, apparently not aware that her family was steering him toward a life in England.

Sources:
“Brewer’s British Royalty” by David Williamson
“Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece” by Hugo Vickers
Wikipedia: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Wikipedia: Princess Alice of Battenberg
Wikipedia: Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark

The Engagement

Engagement photo
taken on July 10, 1947

Always looking to make connections for his family, Philip’s maternal uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten (the future 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma), then a Captain in the Royal Navy, arranged for his nephew to be the escort of Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret when the Royal Family toured Dartmouth Naval College in July 1939, where Philip was a cadet. 13-year-old Elizabeth fell in love with Philip and the two began exchanging letters. Seven weeks after this meeting, World War II began and Philip served in the Royal Navy during the war. Philip and Elizabeth saw each other during the war whenever possible, but it was not until the war was over that the courtship started in earnest. Philip was often at Buckingham Palace, his sports car roaring into the palace’s forecourt and Elizabeth running out to meet him. By the summer of 1946, the press was beginning to speculate about an engagement. Apparently, Philip proposed at Balmoral and Elizabeth said yes without consulting her parents. Although George VI approved of Philip, he resented that the “Royal Firm” of “Us Four” would be no more. The Royal Family was due to visit the Union of South Africa in early 1947 and the king did not want the engagement announced until their return. Apparently, some sort of argument ensued, but the king got his way. While Elizabeth was on her African trip, Philip, urged on by his uncle, renounced his Greek and Danish titles, become a naturalized British subject, and took the anglicized version of his mother’s surname, Mountbatten. On June 8, 1947, at midnight, the engagement was announced: “It is with the greatest pleasure that the King and Queen announce the betrothal of their dearly beloved daughter the Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, RN…to which the King has gladly given his consent.”

Source:
The Queen: The Life of Elizabeth II by Elizabeth Longford
Wikipedia: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Wikipedia: Queen Elizabeth II

The Engagement Ring

Philip did not have the kind of money needed for an engagement ring, but his mother came to the rescue. Alice had kept two tiaras and after a family discussion, it was decided that one of the tiaras would be dismantled to make the engagement ring and a bracelet that Philip would give to Princess Elizabeth as a wedding present.  The second tiara, the Meander Tiara, would be Alice’s wedding gift to Elizabeth.

Alice took the tiara to be dismantled to the jeweler Philip Antrobus Limited at 6 Old Bond Street in London where Princess Elizabeth’s platinum engagement ring was set with eleven diamonds in a design that Elizabeth and Philip had chosen together. The central stone is about three carats and is surrounded by five small diamonds on either side.

Source:
“Royal Sisters” by Anne Edwards

The Bridesmaids

Elizabeth had a retinue of eight bridesmaids. Two of the bridesmaids were also princesses: Margaret Rose, Elizabeth’s 17-year-old sister, and their paternal first cousin, Alexandra of Kent, the youngest in the wedding party at the age of 10.

Eldest of the eight bridesmaids was Diana Bowes-Lyon, the 24-year old daughter of The Honorable John Herbert Bowes-Lyon. The Honorable Margaret Elphinstone, the 22-year old daughter of the 16th Lord Elphinstone and his wife Mary Bowes-Lyon, was one of Elizabeth’s closest friends. Both were Elizabeth’s maternal first cousins.

Like Margaret Elphinstone, bridesmaid Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott had often accompanied Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret to the theater, to dinner parties, and to dances in fashionable West End clubs and restaurants. Lady Caroline, who was 20 at the time, was the younger daughter of the 8th Duke of Buccleuch.

Other bridesmaids were Lady Pamela Mountbatten, 18, daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and a first cousin of the bridegroom; Lady Mary Cambridge, 23, daughter of the 2nd Marquess of Cambridge and a grandniece of Queen Mary; and 23-year-old Lady Elizabeth Lambart, daughter of the 10th Earl of Cavan.

Sources:
“Royal Sisters” by Anne Edwards
Royal Genealogies, http://ftp.cac.psu.edu/~saw/royal/royalgen.html
Directory of Royal Genealogical Data, http://www.dcs.hull.ac.uk/public/genealogy/royal/

The Wedding Attire

Princess Elizabeth was an all-white bride, with an all-white retinue of eight bridesmaids. Her dress, inspired by a Botticelli painting and created by Norman Hartnell, dressmaker to the bride’s mother, was made of 15 yards of rich ivory duchesse satin and was cut along classical lines, with a fitted bodice, long, tight sleeves, a full falling skirt, and a full court train 15 feet long. The broad heart-shaped neckline of the bodice was delicately embroidered with seed pearls and crystal in a floral design. From the pointed waistline, formed by a girdle of pearl-embroidered star flowers, the swirling skirt was hand embroidered in an exquisite design representing garlands of white York roses. It was carried out in raised pearls entwined with ears of corn embroidered in crystals and oat-shaped pearls. Alternating between the garlands of roses and wheat, and forming a final border around the entire hem of the skirt, were bands of orange blossom and star flowers appliqué with transparent tulle bordered with seed pearls and crystal.

The train of transparent ivory silk tulle fell from the bride’s shoulders and was edged with graduated satin flowers, forming a border at the end of the fan-shaped train. A reverse type of embroidery, used on the wedding gown, was introduced on the train by appliqué satin star flowers, roses, and wheat, further encrusted with pearl and crystal embroideries.

Elizabeth also wore a voluminous bridal veil of white tulle which was held by a tiara of pearls and diamonds, and ivory satin-draped sandals that had higher heels than she had ever worn before. The open-toe back and side effect was finished off with a silver buckle studded with small pearls.

There was a ban of secrecy on the details of the wedding dress, imposed by the Princess herself. That was lifted for reporters, but only a few hours before the royal wedding.

The gowns for the eight bridesmaids were made of ivory silk tulle with a design inspired by pictures hanging in Buckingham Palace.

Five-year-old Prince Michael, son of the late Duke of Kent, and six-year-old Prince William, the elder son of the Duke of Gloucester, wore Royal Stuart tartan kilts. It was their duty to carry their cousin Elizabeth’s train.

Other royals wore eye-catching attire to the wedding. Queen Ingrid of Denmark selected a full-length gray silk dress with a short jacket of the same material trimmed with blue fox, and a small gray velvet hat with feathers. Former Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain wore a long, softly draped gown of chiffon velvet. A sable cape and a small gray hat trimmed with yellow osprey feathers finished off the outfit. Princess Juliana of the Netherlands chose a long, soft, silky moss green dress with a belt of golden sequins. Her hat was adorned with paradise feathers.

Sources:
“Royal Sisters” by Anne Edwards
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley
“Majesty” by Robert Lacey
“Royal Silver Jubilee” by Patrick Montague-Smith
Two Centuries of Royal Weddings by Christopher Warwick
“Majesty” Magazine, November 1997 & February 1998

The Ceremony

The bride and her father enter Westminster Abbey as the bridesmaids adjust the wedding gown and veil

November 20, 1947, the wedding day, arrived. Philip had converted from Greek Orthodoxy to the Church of England in September. The morning of the wedding, it was announced that the King had created Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich with the style His Royal Highness. It was too late to change wedding program where his name appeared as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.

The guests were all in their seats at Westminster Abbey anxiously awaiting the start of the wedding ceremony. The bride’s grandmother, Queen Mary, wearing an outfit that featured a hip-length cape of aquamarine velvet, led the Royal Procession into the Abbey. Next came the bride’s mother, Queen Elizabeth, in a dress of gold and apricot lamé. They were followed by the foreign sovereigns. A drum roll and trumpet voluntary announced the arrival of the bride and her father, King George VI. As Princess Elizabeth walked down the aisle, she felt a tug on her gown. Six-year-old page Prince William of Gloucester was so nervous that he stepped on her train, but luckily had not torn it. The other page, five-year-old Prince Michael of Kent clutched the train so tightly that he committed the sin of walking right over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Abbey aisle.

At the altar, Philip waited with the best man, his cousin David Mountbatten, the 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven. The King put his daughter’s hand in Philip’s and took his place next to the Queen. The Dean of Westminster began the rite of solemnization and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, performed the wedding ceremony which followed the normal wedding service from the Book of Common Prayer. In her vows, Elizabeth promised to “obey” Philip. Elizabeth’s gold wedding ring was made from the same Welsh nugget as her mother’s wedding ring.

As the couple moved to the high altar, the King bent down and helped Prince Michael with the train which had become too heavy for him. The Lord’s Prayer and the litany were followed by a favorite hymn of Elizabeth’s. Then the Archbishop of York gave his address to the couple. As The Lord Is My Shepherd was sung, Elizabeth, Philip, the King, the Queen and several others disappeared into the Chapel of Edward the Confessor to sign the registry. As Mendelssohn’s Wedding March sounded for the recessional, Elizabeth paused to curtsey first to her father, then her mother, and finally to her grandmother Queen Mary, while Philip offered a bow to each. Once again, Prince Michael delayed the bride’s progress and Philip glanced back at him several times to make sure poor little Michael kept in step.

Among the 2,500 invited wedding guests were the following foreign sovereigns: King Frederick and Queen Ingrid of Denmark, King Haakon of Norway, King Michael and Queen Helen of Rumania, Queen Frederika of Greece, King Peter and Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia, Queen Victoria Eugenie (Ena) of Spain and the Dowager Queen Marie of Yugoslavia. Other foreign royals were: Princess Anne and Princess René of Bourbon-Parma, Prince Charles of Belgium, Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, The Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden, Prince and Princess George of Greece, The Duchess of Aosta, Princess Axel of Denmark, Prince Fleming of Denmark, Prince George of Denmark, Prince John and Princess Elizabeth of Luxembourg and Prince Nicholas of Greece.

Notably absent from the wedding celebrations were Philip’s three surviving sisters: Princess Margarita married to Prince Gottfried of Hohenlohe-Lagenburg; Princess Theodora married to Berthold, Margrave of Baden; and Princess Sophie, the widow of Prince Christoph of Hesse, and married to Prince George William of Hanover. The presence of German royalty so soon after World War II would have been embarrassing, especially since Prince Christoph, who died in World War II, had been a high-ranking Nazi. The sisters were simply not invited.

Also not invited were the uncle of the bride, the Duke of Windsor (the former King Edward VIII), and his wife, the Duchess of Windsor. The Duke was instructed to avoid answering questions from the press regarding the wedding which infuriated the Duchess.

Sources:
“Royal Sisters” by Anne Edwards
“Majesty” by Robert Lacey
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley
“Royal Silver Jubilee” by Patrick Montague-Smith

The Wedding Luncheon

A wedding luncheon for 150 was held in the State Dining Room at Buckingham Palace. The luncheon menu included Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau en Casserole, and Bombe Glace Princess Elizabeth served on gold plate. The speeches were short and the King rose with his champagne glass and said simply, “The bride!” Philip cut the cake with the sword of his grandfather, Lord Louis Mountbatten.

Sources:
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley
“Royal Sisters” by Anne Edwards

The Honeymoon

Photo taken three days after the wedding

After the luncheon, Elizabeth changed into a powder blue outfit and Philip into another uniform. It had started to rain, but Elizabeth insisted upon driving to Waterloo Station in an open carriage so the people could see the newly married couple. Hot water bottles were packed at her feet and Susan, her favorite Corgi who was accompanying her mistress, sat beneath her lap robe. As the couple left Buckingham Palace, members of the Royal Family threw paper rose petals at them.

The first part of the honeymoon was spent at Broadlands, the home of Lord and Lady Mountbatten, Philip’s aunt and uncle. The newlyweds had little privacy there as the public and photographers continuously sought opportunities to see them. The last part of the honeymoon was spent at the secluded Birkhall near Balmoral in Scotland.

Sources:
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley
“Royal Sisters” by Anne Edwards

Wedding of King George VI of The United Kingdom and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

by Susan Flantzer

Prince George, Duke of York (the future King George VI of the United Kingdom) and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were married on April 26, 1923 at Westminster Abbey in London, England.

Prince Albert’s Family

HRH Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George was born on December 14, 1895, the anniversary of the death in 1861 of his great-grandfather Prince Albert. The baby’s father was George, Duke of York (later George V) and his mother was Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (later Queen Mary). In his family, the new baby was always known as Bertie, but he was formally known as Prince Albert.

Queen Victoria received the news with mixed feelings. Her son, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) wrote to his son, the new baby’s father: “Grandmama was rather distressed that this happy event should have taken place on a darkly sad anniversary for us, but I think – as well as most of us in the family here – that it will break the spell of this unlucky date.”

Bertie had four brothers and one sister: Edward (1894) succeeded his father as Edward VIII, abdicated and was then styled HRH The Duke of Windsor; Mary (1897), later Princess Royal, married the 6th Earl of Harewood; Henry (1900), the Duke of Gloucester, married Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott; George (1902), the Duke of Kent, married Princess Marina of Greece; John (1905) died of epilepsy complications in 1919.

In 1901, Bertie’s great grandmother Queen Victoria died and his grandfather succeeded her as Edward VII. Bertie’s father George was created Prince of Wales in 1901. When his grandfather died in 1910, Bertie’s father ascended the throne as George V. Bertie’s elder brother Edward (known in the family as David) was created Prince of Wales in 1911.

Bertie, as a second son, grew up without any specific training for the throne. Following the tradition for second sons in the Royal Family, he entered the Royal Navy in 1913 and saw action during World War I. In 1916 Bertie was created a Knight of the Garter and in 1920 he was created Baron Killarney, Earl of Inverness and Duke of York, the same titles his father had received in 1892. In 1936, Bertie ascended the throne as King George VI upon the abdication of his brother.

Source:
“Brewer’s British Royalty” by David Williamson

Lady Elizabeth’s Family

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, on right, and her brother David, at St. Paul’s Waldenbury in 1905

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was born on August 4, 1900, in London. She was the fourth daughter and the ninth of ten children of Claude Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis (who succeeded his father as 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in 1904) and Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck, a descendant of the Marquess Wellesley (brother of the Duke of Wellington) and the Kings of Ireland. Little Elizabeth bore the courtesy title of “Honorable” until her father became Earl when she exchanged it for “Lady.”

Elizabeth had three sister and six brothers: Violet (1882) died in childhood; Mary (1883) married Baron Elphinstone; Patrick (1884), the future Earl of Strathmore, married Lady Dorothy Osborne, the daughter of the Duke of Leeds; John Herbert (1886) married Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefuss; Alexander (1887) died unmarried; Fergus (1889) was killed in World War I; Rose (1890) married the Earl of Granville; Michael (1893) married Elizabeth Cator; David (1902) married Rachel Spender-Clay.

Elizabeth was brought up at Glamis Castle and educated privately. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Bertie’s sister Princess Mary to Viscount Lascelles in 1922.

The Bowes-Lyon family is an old Scottish family. Robert II of Scotland granted Sir John Lyon the Thaneage of Glamis in 1372 as a reward for service. In 1376, Sir John married Joanna, a daughter of Robert II of Scotland. Their grandson Patrick was created Lord Glamis in 1445. The 9th Lord Glamis, also a Patrick, was created Earl of Kinghorne in 1606. His grandson, the 3rd Earl, obtained a charter in 1677 stating that he and his heirs “should in all future ages be styled Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Viscounts Lyon, Barons Glamis, Tannadyce, Sidlaw and Strathdichtie.” The 9th Earl married a Durham heiress, Mary Eleanor Bowes, and, as a condition of the marriage settlement, assumed the surname Bowes. Their sons, the 10th and 11th Earls and their grandson the 12th Earl adopted the surname Lyon-Bowes, but the 13th Earl reversed the order to the current Bowes-Lyon.

Sources:
Glamis Castle, http://www.great-houses-scotland.co.uk/glamis
Bowes Family of Brompton, Northallerton Yorkshire, http://www.bowe.demon.co.uk/Ancientbowes.html
“The Queen” by Elizabeth Longford
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford

The Engagement

Engagement Portrait

Although they had met at a tea party in 1916, Bertie and Elizabeth had their first significant meeting on July 8, 1920, at the Royal Air Force Ball at the Ritz in London. Bertie had come to the ball with his equerry James Stuart, the youngest son of the Earl of Moray. Elizabeth and James were old friends from Scotland and shared a dance. Bertie questioned James about his dance partner and asked to be introduced. Although the meeting did not make much of an impression upon Elizabeth, Bertie fell in love that evening and started courting Elizabeth. He first proposed to her in 1921 and was rejected because Elizabeth feared the changes in her life being a member of the Royal Family would require. Elizabeth served as a bridesmaid in the wedding of Bertie’s sister Mary in February 1922. The following month, Bertie again proposed to her and was turned down once more. On January 2, 1923, after taking Elizabeth to dinner at Claridge’s and the theater, Bertie proposed a third time. After talking to friends and relatives and expressing her feelings in the diary, Elizabeth agreed to marry Bertie on January 14, 1923, although she still had misgivings.

Sources:
“Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother: The Official Biography” by William Shawcross
“The Queen Mother” by Elizabeth Longford

The Trousseau

Designers from New York, Paris, London, Rome and Australia contributed to Lady Elizabeth’s trousseau, which included 65 formal gowns, over a hundred morning, tea and evening dresses and 72 fur coats and hats.

The bride-to-be received some spectacular jewels. As an engagement ring, Bertie had given her a large dark oval sapphire from Kashmir surrounded by diamonds. Her father, the Earl of Strathmore, gave her a platinum and diamond tiara with five large roses of gems separated by sprays of diamonds. From King George V, she received a diamond ribbon bow brooch. Her godmother presented her with a diamond and emerald arrow. Bertie also gave her a diamond replica of the badge of his naval cap and a diamond cluster corsage brooch designed as a spray of flowers with three diamond pendants suspended from a chain of platinum.

Sources:
“Thirty Years A Queen”, Geoffrey Wakeford
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley

The Wedding Attire

The bride’s dress was designed by Madame Handley-Seymour of New Bond Street, London. It was a pearl embroidered gown of ivory tinted chiffon moiré. The veil was an old “point de Flandres” veil loaned by Queen Mary. The train was made of machine-made lace from Nottingham in support of industry instead of the traditional handmade lace. Lady Elizabeth wore a double strand of matched pearls around her neck. The bridesmaids’ dresses were made of white chiffon lace also from Nottingham. In their hair, they wore myrtle green leaves and a white rose with a sprig of white heather.

Sources:

“Royal Weddings” by Dulcie M. Ashdown
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford

The Bridesmaids

Lady Elizabeth had an escort of eight bridesmaids. Her nieces Elizabeth Elphinstone, daughter of her sister Mary and the 16th Lord Elphinstone and 2nd Baron Elphinstone, and Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, daughter of her brother Patrick, the future 15th Earl of Strathmore, carried her train. The remaining bridesmaids were Lady May Cambridge, daughter of the1st Earl of Athlone (Queen Mary’s brother Alexander) and Princess Alice of Albany (Queen Victoria’s granddaughter); Lady Mary Cambridge, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Cambridge (Queen Mary’s brother Adolphus); Lady Katherine Hamilton, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Abercorn; Lady Mary Thynne, daughter of the 5th Marquess of Bath; The Honorable Diamond Hardinge, daughter of the 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst; and Miss Elizabeth Cator, who would marry Elizabeth’s brother Michael.

Sources:
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford
Royal Genealogies, http://ftp.cac.psu.edu/~saw/royal/royalgen.html
Directory of Royal Genealogical Data, http://www.dcs.hull.ac.uk/public/genealogy/royal/

The Ceremony

The wedding of HRH The Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was held on April 26, 1923, at Westminster Abbey, London. Before the ceremony, at Buckingham Palace, King George V bestowed upon Bertie the Most Ancient Order of the Thistle, the Scottish counterpart of the Garter, which he had received six years earlier.

The wedding procession started with the Archbishop of Canterbury, followed by the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of London, and the Primate of Scotland. The National Anthem was played followed by Elgar’s Imperial March. As the Royal Family entered the Abbey, the congregation rose. Princess Mary and her husband Viscount Lascelles appeared first followed by Prince George in midshipman’s uniform flanked by Queen Alexandra, the Queen Mother, and her sister Marie, the Dowager Empress of Russia. King George and Queen Mary followed. The King was wearing the full-dress uniform of an admiral. The Queen wore a silver and aquamarine gown with the sash of the Order of the Garter.

Bertie arrived at the Abbey with his brothers the Prince of Wales and Prince Henry. Bertie wore his Royal Air Force Group Captain’s uniform. The Prince of Wales wore a Welsh Guard uniform and Prince Henry wore a Hussar’s uniform. Their grandmother, Queen Alexandra, rose from her seat and embraced all three of her grandsons.

Cheers soon were heard announcing the bride’s arrival. Lady Elizabeth and her father entered the Abbey through the Great West Door. As Lady Elizabeth passed the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, whose remains had been brought from France and buried in the Abbey floor three years earlier, she laid her bouquet of white roses on it. No doubt she was thinking of her brother Fergus and all the other British soldiers who died in World War I.

As Elizabeth proceeded down the aisle, the boys’ choir sang Lead Us, Heavenly Father. Randall Thomas Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury and Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of York waited at the altar to perform the marriage ceremony. After the vows were exchanged, the Archbishop of York addressed the couple: “The warm and generous heart of this people takes you today unto itself. Will you not, in response, take that heart, with all its joys and sorrows, unto your own?”

The choir sang Beloved, Let Us Love One Another, which had been composed by the Westminster Abbey organist Sir Sydney Hugo Nicholson for the wedding of Princess Mary the previous year. The newly-married couple proceeded up the Abbey aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March.

Sources:
“Royal Weddings” by Dulcie M. Ashdown
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford;
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley

The Wedding Breakfast

The wedding breakfast was held at Buckingham Palace with the following menu: Consomme a la Windsor, Supremes de Saumon Reine Mary, Cotelettes d’Agneau Prince Albert, Chapons a la Strathmore, Jambon et Langue Decoupes a l’Aspic, Salade Royale, Asperges, Sauce Creme Mousseuse, Fraises Duchesse Elizabeth, Panier de Friandises, Dessert, Cafe.

Fourteen wedding cakes were made for the wedding breakfast. The most elaborate weighed 300 pounds and had nine tiers with a replica of the couple on top. On the first tier were reproductions of Windsor Castle and St. George’s Chapel. Glamis Castle appeared on the second tier and on the third tier were Masonic emblems in honor of Bertie and the Earl of Strathmore who were both Masons. Cupids ringing tiny silver wedding bells moved up and down ladders leading to the top of the cake. After the breakfast, the couple appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Sources:
“English Royal Cookbook” by Elizabeth Craig
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley

The Honeymoon

During the first part of their honeymoon at Polesden Lacey, Surrey

The couple took the train from Waterloo Station, London to Dorking, Surrey where they stayed at Polesden Lacey, the home of society hostess Mrs. Ronald Greville. They continued their honeymoon with a visit to Glamis Castle where Elizabeth came down with whooping cough. When she recovered, the couple concluded their honeymoon at Frogmore House, Windsor.

Sources:
“Elizabeth and Philip” by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley
“Thirty Years A Queen” by Geoffrey Wakeford
“The Queen” by Elizabeth Longford

Breaking News: Prince Philip admitted to the hospital

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Buckingham Palace released the following statement: “The Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London last night, as a precautionary measure, for treatment of an infection arising from a pre-existing condition. Prince Philip is in good spirits and is disappointed to be missing the State Opening of Parliament and Royal Ascot. The Prince of Wales will accompany The Queen to the State Opening. Her Majesty is being kept informed and will attend Royal Ascot as planned this afternoon.”

The Queen’s son Prince Charles, Prince of Wales accompanied his mother to the State Opening of Parliament which had been previously been planned with less pomp.  The Queen did not wear her usual robes and did not wear the crown.

Wedding of Prince Edward of the United Kingdom and Sophie Rhys-Jones

by Susan Flantzer and Scott Mehl

Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones were married on June 19, 1999 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in Windsor, England.

Family of Prince Edward

edward-family

HRH The Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis was born March 10, 1964, at Buckingham Palace, London. Edward was the fourth, and last, child of Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh.

Edward’s older siblings are Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, born in 1948; Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, born in 1950; and Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, born in 1960.

On his wedding day, June 19, 1999, Edward was created Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn, breaking with the tradition of a dukedom granted to the son of the Sovereign upon marriage.  However, it was announced that Prince Edward will eventually be granted the Dukedom of Edinburgh, currently his father’s title, at such time when it has reverted back to the Crown.

To learn more about Edward see:

Family of Sophie Rhys-Jones

Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones was born January 20, 1965, in Oxford, England.  She was the second child of Christopher Rhys-Jones and his wife Mary (née O’Sullivan) and has an older brother, David.  Sophie was named in honor of her paternal aunt, Helen, who had been killed in an accident some years before Sophie was born.

To learn more about Sophie see:

Engagement and Ring

edward_engagment

At the announcement of the engagement

On January 6, 1999, Prince Edward held a press conference to announce he and Sophie Rhys-Jones were engaged to be married. It was the culmination of a long courtship, beginning in 1993 when the two renewed a casual acquaintance at a Real Tennis Challenge, hosted by the Prince. Ms. Rhys-Jones, the public relations executive handling the event, was reportedly “charmed” by the youngest of the Queen’s sons, and he with her.

While the two publicly maintained they were merely good friends, it became apparent they were spending considerable time together when Ms. Rhys-Jones was photographed at various Windsor family occasions. Several times, Prince Edward took the press to task for badgering Sophie, leading many royal watchers to believe there might be more to the relationship than met the eye.

Finally, after seeking permission from her father, the Prince asked Ms. Rhys-Jones to marry him over the 1998 Christmas holidays. In accepting the Prince’s proposal, Sophie also accepted an exquisite engagement ring. Because Diana and Sarah Ferguson had colored gemstones in their engagement rings, the superstitious Sophie insisted upon diamonds only. A cluster of three diamonds was set in white gold; a creation of royal jeweler Asprey and Garrard and estimated at $170,000.

edward_sophie ring

Rumors abounded that Sophie gave Prince Edward a marriage ultimatum and that they lived together prior to the wedding; rumors which have been denied by both bride and groom. The Prince said that while the love affair was not a sudden strike of lightning, he and Ms. Rhys-Jones are the best of friends and very much in love.

Sources: BBC News; London Telegraph; MSNBC

The Attendants

edward_sophie_attendants

As with many European weddings, Sophie’s attendants were young children.  Sophie and Edward carefully chose the four bridesmaids and pages, who were each special in some way.

Eight-year-old bridesmaid Camilla Hadden was the oldest of the children.  She is Edward’s goddaughter and the daughter of his friends Abel and Belinda Hadden.  Mr. Hadden was, at one time, the press officer for Margaret Thatcher.

Next in age, at seven, was page Felix Sowerbutts, the son of Julian and Lucinda Sowerbutts, who are friends of Sophie’s from well before the beginning of her public relations career.

Six-year-old page Harry Warburton, the son of Sarah Warburton, who was Prince Edward’s Assistant Private Secretary, and also happens to be the Prince’s godson.  Ms. Warburton was instrumental in many of the wedding preparations.

Five-year-old Olivia Taylor was the second bridesmaid.  She is the daughter of Ian and Lindy Taylor, some of Sophie’s oldest friends.

edward-wedding-brothers

Prince Edward also had two individuals who stood with him at the ceremony:  Prince Charles and Prince Andrew.  At most weddings, their roles would be considered that of Best Man.  However, in royal circles, they are termed “Supporters”.

Sources: BBC News; London Telegraph; British Royal Website; MSNBC; The Guardian

Wedding Attire

edward_sophie_wedding attire

Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones had already decided their wedding would be different than most royal events, and their wedding clothes, while traditional, also carried their own stamps of individuality.

It had been speculated that Sophie’s gown would be relatively simple, given the style of her chosen designer, Samantha Shaw. While the cut of the dress was simple: a hand-dyed ivory silk crepe corseted coat over a hand-dyed ivory silk organza skirt, it had the sparkle of 325,000 hand sewn cut-glass and pearl beads, as well. The beads decorated the deep V-neckline, which extended both in front and in back; as well as the slightly flared sleeves. Beads also cascaded down the cleverly designed train, which was sewn in panels so it would pleat out behind the bride as she walked down the aisle. Ms. Rhys-Jones also wore a hand-dyed silk tulle veil one inch longer than her train, which was dotted with occasional hand-sewn crystal beads, and supported by a diamond tiara borrowed from the Queen’s private collection. Her shoes were also ivory silk crepe, and her bouquet consisted of ivory garden roses, stephanotis, lily of the valley and freesia. Her most remarkable accessory, however, was the beautiful black and white pearl necklace and matching earrings designed by Prince Edward as a personal wedding gift.

The Prince looked dashing in formal morning dress, with a lively yellow waistcoat made especially for the wedding by John Kent. He also wore a blue shirt with white collar and a patterned blue and yellow tie. He, too, wore a special accessory: an 18 carat yellow gold Hunter pocket watch and chain given to him as a wedding gift by Sophie.

edward-wedding-group

The young attendants were dressed in the Plantagenet style. The bridesmaids wore ivory silk taffeta dresses with navy silk velvet tunics decorated with gold braid, and feather trimmed velvet hats. They each carried a small bouquet of heavily scented flowers tied informally with ivory ribbon. The pages were dressed in navy velvet knickers and tunics with brass buttons over ivory taffeta shirts and accented with taffeta cummerbunds. They, too, wore velvet berets with feathers.

The mother of the groom, remembering the day over fifty years before when she pledged her troth to Prince Philip, wore the pearl necklace, dainty pearl and diamond earrings and diamond brooch she donned on her own wedding day. Lovely in a lilac lace and chiffon gown by Sir Hardy Amies, a feathered hat in a similar hue completed the ensemble.

Sources: BBC News; London Telegraph; MSNBC; SkyNews

Wedding Guests

Prince Edward’s Family

  • The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh
  • Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
  • The Prince of Wales
  • Prince William of Wales
  • Prince Harry of Wales
  • The Duke of York
  • Princess Beatrice of York
  • Princess Eugenie of York
  • The Princess Royal and Commander Timothy Laurence
  • Mr. Peter Phillips
  • Miss Zara Phillips
  • The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon

Sophie Rhys-Jones’ Family

  • Christopher and Mary Rhys-Jones

Foreign Royalty

  • The Sultan of Brunei
  • Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
  • The Prince of Asturias
  • Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark

Some Notable Guests

  • Anthony Andrews
  • John Cleese
  • Billy Connolly
  • Sir David Frost
  • Stephen Fry
  • Ruthie Henshall
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber

Sources: BBC; CNN; British Monarchy Website

The Ceremony

As a televised audience of 200 million looked on, a throng of eight thousand locals fortunate enough to have been chosen to represent the residents of Windsor lined the drive leading up to Windsor Castle, witnessing the bride’s arrival in a vintage black Rolls Royce. The bride acknowledged the cheering crowd before entering the house of worship, where a new phase of her life as the Countess of Wessex would begin.

As the clock struck 5 P.M. the passionate strains of “The Marche Heroique” echoed through the chapel as the bride made her way past such illustrious witnesses as Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Frost to stand at the altar by her intended. A forty-five-minute ceremony followed, in which the bride was presented with a wedding band which, in the royal tradition, was fashioned from Welsh gold. At the conclusion of the nuptials, the Toccata from the 5th Symphony and The Coronation March– Crown Imperial escorted the newly betrothed up the aisle.

Following the ceremony, the new Earl and Countess of Wessex rode in an open carriage to the reception at Windsor Castle, greeting thousands of well-wishers who had come out to celebrate their marriage.

The Wedding Reception

edward-cake

Five hundred fifty guests gathered in the State Apartments of Windsor Castle for a feast fit for a king, complete with smoked haddock with rice and mushrooms in pastry, beef stroganoff and fresh raspberries for dessert. Attendees also nibbled on a seven-tier wedding cake adorned with sugar roses and fruit by Upper Crusts Country Kitchen before taking to the dance floor, where it was reported that the Queen danced along with her grandchildren to The Village People’s “YMCA.”

The Honeymoon

The couple chose Birkhall Lodge, located five miles from Balmoral, for their four-day honeymoon. The venue’s romantic past (Prince Philip, the groom’s father, proposed to the future Queen of the United Kingdom at the locale) makes the lodge a sentimental favorite among members of the royal family.

Wedding of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden and Princess Margaret of Connaught

by Scott Mehl

On Thursday, June 15, 1905, Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden, the future King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden, and Princess Margaret of Connaught were married at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Gustaf Adolf’s Early Life

Gustaf Adolf (left) with his brother Wilhelm, c1885

Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (Oscar Fredrik WIlhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf) was born on November 11, 1882 at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. At birth, he was created Duke of Skåne by his grandfather, King Oscar II. He was the eldest of three sons of the future King Gustav V and Victoria of Baden. Along with his two brothers – Prince Wilhelm and Prince Erik – Gustaf Adolf began his education at home, with a governess and then with tutors. In 1901, he began his formal education, studying history, economics, political science and archeology at Uppsala University. He also received military training at the Military Academy Karlberg, becoming an officer in the Swedish Army. He would eventually rise to the rank of Lieutenant General.

In 1907, Gustaf Adolf became Crown Prince upon his father’s accession to the Swedish throne. He would hold this title for nearly 43 years before becoming King himself in 1950.

For more information about Gustaf Adolf see:

Unofficial Royalty: King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden
Swedish Royal Court: King Gustaf VI Adolf

Margaret’s Early Life

Margaret (standing) with her parents and younger siblings, 1893. source: Wikipedia

Princess Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah of Connaught (known in the family as Daisy) was born at Bagshot Park, Windsor, on January 15, 1882, the eldest of three children of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Princess Luise Margarete of Prussia. Her godparents included her grandmother, Queen Victoria and the German Emperor Wilhelm I.

Margaret and her siblings were raised at Bagshot Park and at Clarence House, her family’s home in London, and was educated privately at home. As a member of the British Royal Family, she often took part in family functions and events and served as a bridesmaid (along with her sister) at the wedding of the future King George V and Queen Mary in 1893.

For more information about Margaret see:

Unofficial Royalty: Princess Margaret of Connaught
Swedish Royal Court: Princess Margareta

The Engagement

source: Wikipedia

Margaret and her sister, Patricia, were considered two of the most eligible princesses in Europe, and their parents set out to find suitable royal husbands. After visiting the court of King Carlos of Portugal, the family traveled to Cairo to attend a birthday banquet for Khedive Abbas Hilmi Pasha of Egypt in January 1905. Also invited was Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, who had been visiting his mother, Queen Victoria of Sweden, at her home in Capri. The couple met and were instantly smitten. Ironically, it was Margaret’s sister Patricia who had been rumored as a possible bride for Gustaf Adolf, but he quickly determined that he only had an interest in Margaret. Fully supported by Margaret’s parents, the Prince proposed on February 25, 1905, at a dinner at the British Consulate, and Margaret quickly accepted. The news came as a great surprise to the people of Sweden and was received with great joy by the Prince’s grandfather, King Oscar II.

On their way back to Britain at the end of March, the newly engaged couple – and her parents – stopped in Rome. There, they were invited to a grand dinner at the Quirinale Palace, hosted by King Vittorio Emanuele III and Queen Elena, in honor of their visit.

Pre-Wedding Festivities

Clarence House. photo: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=735793

On June 9, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught hosted a Garden Party at Clarence House, where the wedding gifts were all displayed. The following day, the groom left Stockholm to travel to London, while his father and uncle, Prince Eugen, traveled on the 11th.

The festivities began on two large dinner parties held at Windsor Castle on June 12 and June 13. On June 14th, with all of the royal guests having arrived, a Garden Party was held at Windsor Castle, followed by a State Banquet that evening in St. George’s Hall, Windsor Castle.

Wedding Guests

Abbas II Hilmi Bey, The Khedive of Egypt, one of the wedding guests. source: Wikipedia

The wedding was attended by many of the British and Swedish Royal Families, as well as numerous foreign royal guests. Below is a partial listing of the guests.

The Groom’s Family
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden – the groom’s parents
Prince Wilhelm of Sweden – the groom’s brother
Prince Erik of Sweden – the groom’s brother
Prince Eugen of Sweden – the groom’s paternal uncle
Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg of Sweden – the groom’s paternal uncle and aunt

The Bride’s Family
The Duke and Duchess of Connaught – the bride’s parents
Prince Arthur of Connaught – the bride’s brother
Princess Patricia of Connaught – the bride’s sister

The British Royal Family
King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom
The Prince of Wales (future King George V)
The Princess Victoria
The Duchess of Albany
Princess Alice and Prince Alexander of Teck
The Princess Helena and Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
The Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll and the Duke of Argyll
The Princess Beatrice, Princess Henry of Battenberg
Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg

Royal Guests
Prince and Princess Christian of Denmark (future King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine)
The Hereditary Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Baden
Prince and Princess Maximilian of Baden
Prince Georg of Brunswick-Luneburg
The Khedive of Egypt
Prince and Princess Friedrich Karl of Hesse
Prince and Princess Heinrich of Prussia
The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Duke and Duchess of Sparta
Prince and Princess of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Hereditary Prince and Princess of Wied

The Wedding Attendants

(l-r) Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Princess Mary of Wales (in front), Gustav Adolf, Margaret, and Patricia of Connaught

The bride’s attendants were:

  • Princess Patricia of Connaught – the bride’s sister
  • Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg – the bride’s first cousin
  • Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha – the bride’s first cousin
  • Princess Mary of Wales – the bride’s first cousin once removed

The Wedding Attire

Princess Margaret’s gown, made in France, was white satin with orange blossoms and myrtle, covered with white Irish lace. Instead of a tiara, she wore a floral crown which held her veil in place. The veil was a gift from the Ladies of Ireland, and was later worn by her daughter, Ingrid, and all of Ingrid’s female descendants.

The flowers in her hair and the bridal bouquet featured daisies – a nod to her name (Margaret comes from Marguerite, which is the French word for daisy).

Gustaf Adolf wore full military uniform with several orders of chivalry:

  • The Star and Collar of the Order of the Seraphim (Swedish)
  • The Sash and Star of the Order of the Sword (Swedish)
  • The Necklet of the Order of the Polar Star (Swedish)
  • The Star and Collar of the Order of the Bath (British)

Wedding Gifts

An illustrated depiction of some of the wedding gifts

Included in the wedding gifts were some prominent pieces of jewelry, including three tiaras which are still in use today.

Princess Madeleine of Sweden wearing the Connaught Tiara. source: Zimbio

The Connaught Tiara was a gift from The Duke and Duchess of Connaught.  The all-diamond tiara features a looped garland of diamonds with several large diamonds suspended. The tiara remains part of the Swedish collection today.

 Queen Silvia of Sweden wearing the Edward VII Ruby Tiara

The Edward VII Ruby Tiara was a gift from King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom. The tiara of diamonds and rubies was later left to Margaret’s second son, Sigvard, and then bought back by King Carl XVI Gustaf, and remains part of the Swedish collection today.

Queen Anne-Marie of Greece wearing the Khedive Tiara. source: Zimbio

The Khedive of Egypt Tiara, as its name suggests, was a gift from the Khedive of Egypt, recognizing that the couple had first met while in Cairo. The diamond tiara was left to Margaret’s daughter, Ingrid, who became Queen of Denmark. Since then, it has been used as a wedding tiara by all of Ingrid’s female descendants. Upon Ingrid’s death, it passed to her youngest daughter, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.

Sofiero Castle, photo by Abelson at English Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12847343

In addition to the jewelry and other gifts, the couple also received Sofiero Castle, in Helsingborg, Sweden, as a gift from the groom’s grandfather, King Oscar II of Sweden. Oscar had the castle built in the 1860s, and later expanded in the 1870s.

The Ceremony

St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. photo by Aurelien Guichard from London, United Kingdom – Windsor Uploaded by BaldBoris, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15203080

The wedding was held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Oxford and the Dean of Windsor. The bride was escorted by her father, The Duke of Connaught, while the groom was supported by his brother Wilhelm and his uncle Eugen.

Following the ceremony, the bride and groom, and their guests processed back to Windsor Castle where the marriage register was signed in the White Drawing Room. The King and Queen led their guests through the Red and Green Drawing Rooms, en route to the wedding luncheon.

The Wedding Luncheon

St. George’s Hall, Windsor Castle. photo by Joshua Barnett – http://www.flickr.com/photos/angel_malachite/3478010368/sizes/o/in/photostream/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12061979

Following the wedding, The King and Queen hosted the wedding luncheon at Windsor Castle for the guests. The newly married couple, their families and royal guests were seated in the State Dining Room, while other invited guests were in St. George’s Hall. The menu consisted of:

Zéphires de Crabes à la Suédoise
(soufflé of crabmeat, cheese, mushrooms and herbs)
—–
Côtelettes d’Agneau à la Clamart
(lamb cutlets with peas, lettuce and onions)

Chaufroix de Cailles à la Bernadotte
(breast of quail in aspic)
—–
Les Buffets de Viandes Froides
(buffet of cold meats)
—–
Poussins Rôtis sur Canapés
(roasted baby chicken with a Madeira sauce with truffles)

Salade à la Française
(cold roast beef with a dressing of parsley, onion, anchovy and mustard)
—–
Asperges d’Argenteuil, Sauce Mousseline
(white asparagus in a mousseline sauce)
—–
Flumeries aux Fraises
(chilled mousse on an oatmeal porridge with stewed strawberries)

Macédoine de Fruits au Champagne
(diced fruit in a champagne syrup)
—–
Pâtisseries Parisienne
(variety of small pastries)
Corbeilles aux Bouquets de la Mariée
(baskets made of sugar icing filled with flowers made of sugar and marzipan,
representing flowers from the bridal bouquet)

The wedding cake, as described in the New York Times, was:

“… five feet in height, consisting of three tiers, the lower tier being three feet in diameter. Overhanging each tier were four balconies, beneath which were figures, modeled in sugar, bearing wheat, the symbol of plenty. The tiers were borne by four silver Grecian columns, and on the top of the cake was a draped female figure supporting a porcelain vase, from which hung garlands of natural flowers.”

Following the luncheon, Gustav Adolf and Margareta (having taken on the Swedish version of her name) traveled to Saighton Grange in Cheshire, the home of the Earl and Countess Grosvenor, where they spent the night before traveling to Ireland for the rest of their honeymoon. The couple then returned to Sweden, arriving on July 8, 1905.

Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma has died

Photo Credit – http://de.royalpedia.wikia.com/wiki

Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma died on June 13, 2017 at the age of 93 at her home in Mersham, Kent, England.  The following was released by her family:

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of the Countess Mountbatten of Burma.
Patricia Mountbatten died peacefully on Tuesday 13 June at her home in Mersham, Kent, surrounded by her children. Her husband, the celebrated film producer Lord Brabourne, died in 2005. The arrangements for a funeral in London followed by a burial service in Mersham will be announced in due course.
– KNATCHBULL AND MOUNTBATTEN FAMILIES

Patricia Edwina Victoria (Mountbatten) Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Dowager Lady Brabourne was a British peer in her own right and the elder of the two daughters of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and his wife, the heiress Edwina Ashley. In 1946, Patricia married John Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne and the couple had eight children. Upon the assassination of her father in 1979 (scroll down), Patricia succeeded to his titles as her father’s peerages had been created by the Crown with special remainder to his daughters and their heirs male.

The Countess was a first cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as her father and the Duke’s mother were siblings.  She was also a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria via her daughter Princess Alice. The Countess’ eldest son Norton Louis Philip Knatchbull, 8th Baron Brabourne will succeed her as 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

Daily Mail: Prince Philip’s cousin Countess Mountbatten, who survived the IRA bomb that killed her father and her son, dies at the age of 93

Wedding of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles

by Susan Flantzer and Scott Mehl

The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles were married in a civil ceremony on April 9, 2005 at the Windsor Guildhall in Windsor, England followed by a Service of Prayer and Dedication at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in Windsor, England.

The Family of Prince Charles

HRH Prince Charles Philip Arthur George was born on November 14, 1948, at Buckingham Palace, London. Charles was the first child of HRH Princess Elizabeth and her husband of one year, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, born HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. Elizabeth was the elder daughter and the first of two children of King George VI and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who was the youngest daughter and the ninth of ten children of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Philip’s father was HRH Prince Andrew of Greece, the son of King George I of Greece (formerly Prince William of Denmark) and Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia. His mother was Her Serene Highness Princess Alice of Battenberg. Alice was the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. During World War I, when King George V ordered his family to relinquish their German styles and titles, Prince Louis became the Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven. Princess Victoria’s mother was Princess Alice, a daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Therefore, Charles’ parents are both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Charles’ parents added another child to the family, Princess Anne, born on August 15, 1950. Ill with lung cancer, King George VI died on February 6, 1952, and the 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. Her duties as Queen postponed additions to the family. Prince Andrew was born eight years later on February 19, 1960, and Prince Edward was born on March 10, 1964.

As soon as his mother became Queen, Charles was the heir apparent to the throne and as the monarch’s eldest son became Duke of Cornwall. In the Scottish peerage, he became Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on July 26, 1958. He was invested as Prince of Wales on July 1, 1969, at Caernarvon Castle in Wales.

On July 29, 1981, Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in a lavish wedding held at St Paul’s Cathedral, London.  The couple had two sons – Prince William, born 1982, and Prince Henry (Harry), born 1984.  Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, and she was tragically killed the following year in a car accident in Paris.

The Family of Camilla Parker Bowles

Camilla with her mother

Camilla Rosemary Shand was born July 17, 1947, at King’s College Hospital in London.  She is the daughter of Major Bruce Shand and the Honourable Rosalind Cubitt, daughter of the 3rd Baron Ashcombe.  Camilla has a sister, Annabel Shand Elliot, and a brother Mark Shand.  In 1973, Camilla Shand married Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles, and the couple had two children – a son Tom, born in 1974, and a daughter Laura, born in 1978.  Camilla and Andrew divorced in 1995.  Camilla has five grandchildren.  Tom and his wife Sarah have a daughter Lola, born in 2007, and a son Freddy, born in 2010.  Laura and her husband Harry Lopes have a daughter Eliza, born in 2008, and twin sons Gus and Louis, born in 2009.

The Engagement

Official Engagement photo, released by Clarence House

After many years of speculation, the engagement of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was announced by Clarence House on February 10, 2005.  At this point, it was also announced that when Charles becomes King, “it is intended” that Camilla will use the title of Princess Consort instead of Queen.  It was announced that a civil marriage would take place on April 8th, followed by a Service of Prayer and Dedication at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.  This was later postponed until the 9th, allowing The Prince of Wales to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II in Rome.

Upon marriage, Mrs. Parker Bowles took on all of Prince Charles’ titles, including Princess of Wales.  However, out of respect for the late Diana, Princess of Wales, it was decided that she would be styled HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

The Ring

Prince Charles presented Camilla with a ring that had belonged to his beloved grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.  The 1930s Art Deco style ring, set in platinum, has an emerald cut diamond with three diamond baguettes on each side.  It is believed to have been part of the large collection of jewels inherited by The Queen Mother from Mrs. Ronald Greville.  At the time of the engagement, it was estimated to have a value of about £100,000.

The Wedding Attire

The Civil Ceremony
photo: John D. McHugh/AP

For the civil ceremony, Camilla wore a cream-colored silk chiffon dress, hemmed with vertical rows of appliqued woven disks.  This was topped with an oyster silk basket-weave coat with herringbone stitch embroidery.  Her hat, designed by Philip Treacy, was a straw hat overlaid with ivory French lace and trimmed with feathers.  The dress was designed by Robinson Valentine, London.

The Service of Prayer and Dedication

For the Service of Prayer and Dedication, she wore a floor-length pale blue and gold coat over a matching chiffon gown, designed by Robinson Valentine.  Her hat, again designed by Philip Treacy, was a headdress of gold-leafed feathers, tipped with Swarovski crystals, in her hair.

The Prince of Wales wore traditional morning suit with gray pinstripe trousers.  He finished off his outfit with a helibor, from his gardens at Highgrove.

Mrs. Parker Bowles’ carried a small bouquet of flowers in shades of gray and cream, mixed with Lily of the Vally, all bound with the same silk as her dress.  Tucked in the bouquet was a small spring of myrtle, the traditional symbol of a happy marriage.

The Civil Marriage

The civil wedding ceremony took place on April 9, 2005, in the Guildhall, Windsor. Prince William and Tom Parker Bowles (Camilla’s son)  served as witnesses to the civil wedding ceremony, which was conducted by the Royal Borough’s Superintendent Registrar, Clair Williams.  The couple arrived in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI from the Queen’s fleet, while the rest of the guests arrived by small bus.  The ceremony took place in the Ascot Room within the Guildhall and lasted approximately 20 minutes.  Throughout the room were flowers cut from the Highgrove estate, as well as Raymill House, Camilla’s home nearby.  At the couple’s request, the flowers were donated to local hospices after the ceremony.  The couple exchanged rings, made of gold from the Clogau St David’s mine in Bontddu, North Wales and designed by Wartski of London.  The Civil Ceremony was attended by members of both Charles’ and Camilla’s families.  The Queen did not attend, due to her position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and the church’s rules regarding the marriage of divorced people.  She and the Duke of Edinburgh did, however, attend the Service of Prayer and Dedication.

Guests at the civil ceremony included:

Family of Prince Charles

  • Prince William of Wales
  • Prince Harry of Wales
  • The Duke of York
  • Princess Beatrice of York
  • Princess Eugenie of York
  • The Earl and Countess of Wessex
  • The Princess Royal and Rear Admiral Timothy Laurence
  • Mr. Peter Phillips
  • Miss Zara Phillips
  • Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy
  • Viscount and Viscountess Linley
  • Mr. Daniel and Lady Sarah Chatto

Family of Camilla Parker Bowles

  • Major Bruce Shand
  • Mr. Tom Parker Bowles and Miss Sara Buys
  • Miss Laura Parker Bowles and Mr. Harry Lopes
  • Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Parker Bowles
  • Mr. Mark Shand
  • Mr. and Mrs. Simon (Annabel) Elliot
  • Mr. Ben Elliot
  • Miss Katie Elliot
  • Mr. and Mrs. Luke (Alice) Irwin

Sources: BBC; Telegraph

The Service of Prayer and Dedication

At 2:30 that afternoon, a Service of Prayer and Dedication was held at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, presided over by The Archbishop of Canterbury.  Nearly 800 guests were in attendance.  Following the service, the couple posed for photographs on the steps of the chapel, before greeting some of the public who had gathered outside the chapel. These included representatives from some of the couple’s charities and organizations. They were then driven back to Windsor Castle for a reception in the State Apartments.

In addition to those who attended the civil ceremony, the guests at the service included:

Family of Prince Charles

  • The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh
  • The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
  • The Duke and Duchess of Kent
  • Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
  • Mr. and Mrs. James (Julia) Ogilvy

Foreign Royalty

  • The King of Bahrain
  • King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
  • The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway
  • The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Yugoslavia
  • Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands
  • Princess Margarita of Romania and Radu, Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen
  • Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud and Princess Nouf bint Fahd bin Khalid Al Saud
  • Prince Bandar bin Sultan

Viceroys and Politicians

  • The Governor-General of Antiqua and Barbuda
  • The Governor-General of Australia
  • The Governor-General of Barbados
  • The Governor-General of Canada
  • The Governor-General of Grenada
  • The Governor-General of New Zealand
  • The Governor-General of Papua New Guinea
  • The Governor-General of St Christopher and Nevis
  • The Queen’s Representative in the Cook Islands
  • The Commonwealth Secretary-General
  • The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, Prime Minister
  • The Rt. Hon. Michael Howard, Conservative Party leader
  • The Rt. Hon. Charles Kennedy, Liberal Democrat leader
  • The Rt. Hon. Jack McConnell, First Minister of Scotland
  • The Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan, First Minister for Wales
  • The Rt. Hon. Paul Murphy, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The Clergy

  • The Most Reverend and Rt. Hon. Archbishop of Canterbury
  • The Rt. Rev. and Rt. Hon. The Lord Carey of Clifton
  • The Rt. Rev. The Dean of Windsor
  • The Rev. Canon Doctor Hueston Finlay
  • The Rev. Canon Laurence Gunner
  • The Rev. Cannon John Ovenden
  • The Rev. John White

Other Notable Guests

  • Lady Annabel Goldsmith
  • Christopher Warren-Green
  • David Frost
  • Edward Fox
  • Jilly Cooper
  • Joan Rivers
  • Joanna Lumley
  • Jonathan Dimbleby
  • Martina Milburn
  • The Rt. Hon. The Lord Bragg
  • Nicholas Soames
  • Paddy Campbell
  • Phil Collins
  • Philip Treacy
  • Prunella Scales
  • Richard E. Grant
  • Robert Harris
  • Ronald Harwood
  • Sanjeev Bhaskar
  • Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • Stephen Fry
  • Sir Stephen Lamport
  • Timothy West
  • Trudie Styler
  • Valentino Garavani
  • William Shawcross
  • William Rees-Mogg
  • Rowan Atkinson
  • Staff from Clarence House, Highgrove House, Birkhall, and Sandringham

Sources: BBC; Telegraph

The Reception

photo: Hugo Burnand, Pool/Getty Images

Following the service, the Queen hosted a reception in the State Apartments at Windsor Castle.  Items on the menu included smoked salmon, roast venison with Balmoral redcurrant and port jelly, egg and cress sandwiches, potted shrimp rolls and mini Cornish pastries.  Mrs. Ethel Richardson, of Wales, provided 20 fruit cakes at the request of the Prince of Wales.  After a toast of Duchy champagne, the couple left to begin their honeymoon.  The wedding cake was made by Dawn Blunden, owner of a cake shop in Lincolnshire.

Source: BBC; Netty’s Royalty Page

The Honeymoon

Following the reception, the newlywed couple departed for Birkhall, Prince Charles’ home on the Balmoral Estate in Scotland.  Princes William and Harry had decorated the car which was taking them from the castle.  The words “Prince” and “Duchess” were written on the windshield, with “Just Married” written on the back.  Bunches of red, white and yellow metallic balloons had also been tied to the car. The Prince and Duchess boarded a plane at RAF Northolt for their flight to Aberdeen.

Source: BBC; Netty’s Royalty Page

Wedding of Queen Victoria of The United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

by Susan Flantzer

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha were married at the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace in London, England on February 10, 1840.

Queen Victoria’s Family

On November 6, 1817, a great tragedy struck the British Royal Family. Twenty-one year old Princess Charlotte, the only child of George, Prince of Wales, died after delivering a stillborn son. At the time of her death, Charlotte, who was second in line to the throne, was the only legitimate grandchild of King George III, despite the fact that thirteen of his fifteen children were still alive. Her death left no legitimate heir in the second generation and prompted the aging sons of George III to begin a frantic search for brides to provide for the succession.

George III’s eldest son (Charlotte’s father) and his second son Frederick, Duke of York, were in loveless marriages, and their wives, both in their late forties, were not expected to produce heirs. William, Duke of Clarence, age 53, married 26-year-old Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. 50-year-old Edward, Duke of Kent, married 32-year-old widow Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld. Victoria was the sister of Leopold, Princess Charlotte’s widower. Twenty-one year old Augusta of Hesse-Cassel married 44-year-old Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge. It was then the scramble to produce an heir began.

Within a short time, the three new duchesses, along with Frederica, wife of Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, became pregnant. Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a son on March 26, 1819, and Adelaide, Duchess of Clarence had a daughter the following day. Victoria, Duchess of Kent produced a daughter on May 24, 1819, and three days later Frederica, Duchess of Cumberland had a boy. Adelaide’s daughter would have been the heir but she died in infancy. The child of the next Royal Duke in seniority stood to inherit the throne. This was Alexandrina Victoria, daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent and Victoria. The baby was fifth in line to the throne after her uncles George, Frederick and William, and her father Edward.

The baby’s father, Edward, died on January 23, 1820, eight months after her birth. Six days later, King George III’s death brought his eldest son to the throne as George IV. Frederick, Duke of York, died in 1827, bringing the young princess a step closer to the throne. George IV died in 1830 and his brother William (IV) succeeded him. During William’s reign, little Drina, as she was called, was the heiress presumptive. There was always the possibility that King William IV and Queen Adelaide would still produce an heir, but it was not to be. William died on June 20, 1837, and left the throne to his 18-year-old niece, who is known to history as Queen Victoria.

Sources:
“Brewer’s British Royalty” by David Williamson
“Her Little Majesty” by Carolly Erickson
“Royal Weddings” by Dulcie M. Ashdown

Prince Albert’s Family

Prince Francis Albert Charles Augustus Emanuel of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was born at Rosenau Castle near Coburg, Germany on August 26, 1819. Albert was the second son of the reigning Duke Ernest I of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Albert’s parents had marital problems shortly after his birth. Ernest was a notorious womanizer and Louise also sought affection elsewhere. The couple separated in 1824 and divorced in 1826. After Louise’s early death from cancer in 1831, Ernest married his niece, Marie of Württemberg. Albert grew up at Rosenau Castle with Ernest, his older brother. The two brothers were complete opposites. Ernest grew up to be a womanizer like his father. Albert was serious minded with a great love for the arts and sciences.

The Coburg family had strong ties to the British Royal Family. Albert and Ernest’s uncle Leopold had married Princess Charlotte of Wales, who died tragically in childbirth. Victoria, their aunt, married George III’s son, Edward, Duke of Kent, and was the mother of Princess Victoria. The Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, grandmother of Victoria and Albert, suggested the possibility of marriage between them in a letter to her daughter Victoria, Duchess of Kent, in 1821, when the children were but two years old. Later, the idea was taken up by their uncle Leopold, who became the first King of the Belgians in 1831.

First cousins Victoria and Albert met for the first time in 1836 when Albert and Ernest visited England. Seventeen-year-old Victoria seemed instantly infatuated with Albert. She wrote to her uncle Leopold, “How delighted I am with him, and how much I like him in every way. He possesses every quality that could be desired to make me perfectly happy.”

In October of 1839, Albert and Ernest again visited England, staying at Windsor Castle with Victoria, who was now Queen. On October 15, 1839, the 20-year-old monarch summoned her cousin Albert and proposed to him. Albert accepted, but wrote to his stepmother, “My future position will have its dark sides, and the sky will not always be blue and unclouded.”

Sources:
“Brewer’s British Royalty” by David Williamson
“Her Little Majesty” by Carolly Erickson
“Uncrowned King” by Stanley Weintraub
“Royal Weddings” by Dulcie M. Ashdown

Engagement and Ceremony

Queen Victoria proposed to her cousin Albert on October 15, 1839. He accepted, and the couple was married in the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace on February 10, 1840, at 1 pm. Traditionally, royal weddings took place at night, but this wedding was held during the day so the Queen’s subjects could see the couple as they traveled down The Mall from Buckingham Palace.

Victoria’s Wedding Dress

Bridesmaid’s Dress

Albert wore the uniform of a British field marshal, over which hung the collar of the Order of the Garter, an honor which had recently been bestowed on him by Victoria. Her wedding dress (which is now in the London Museum) was of rich white satin, trimmed with orange flower blossoms. On her head, she wore a wreath of the same flowers, over which was a veil of Honiton lace. She wore her Turkish diamond necklace and earrings and Albert’s wedding present of a sapphire brooch. The twelve bridesmaids, all daughters of peers of the realm, were simply dressed in tulle and white roses. Each bridesmaid received a gold brooch in the shape of an eagle covered in turquoise, rubies, and pearls with a diamond beak, designed by Victoria herself.

The simple ceremony took place at the altar and was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, and the Bishop of London. There had been no rehearsal and the chapel was really too small for the large wedding party. The bridesmaids stepped on each other’s dresses and kicked each other’s heels. At times it appeared Albert was not quite sure what he should be doing, and he seemed rather awkward and embarrassed.

The Wedding Cake

Following the ceremony, the couple returned to Buckingham Palace for a wedding breakfast. Hundreds of wedding cakes were distributed, mainly to members of the royal family. The main wedding cake was more than nine feet in diameter, but only sixteen inches high. This remarkable piece of Victoriana (albeit a perishable one), consisted of Britannia gazing at the royal couple while they pledged their vows at the top of the cake. At their feet were two turtledoves and a dog. The letters “V & A” were visible as well as Cupid writing the date of the wedding on his tablet.

After the breakfast, the couple changed into their traveling outfits. Prince Albert wore a dark suit, while Victoria was attired in a white satin cloak trimmed with swans down, and a textured white velvet bonnet with plumes of feathers and a deep fall of Brussels point lace. They set off for Windsor Castle, where they spent their two-day honeymoon.

Sources:
“Victoria & Albert: A Family Life at Osborne House” by The Duchess of York
“Prince Albert: A Biography” by Robert Rhodes James
“Queen Victoria” by Cecil Woodham-Smith

The Honeymoon

View from Coopers Hill, with Runnemede and Windsor Castle,
engraved by E. Radclyffe after a picture by Thomas Allom,
published 1842

Newlyweds Victoria and Albert set off in a coach for Windsor Castle for a short honeymoon. There were so many well-wishers along the route that their arrival at Windsor was delayed. Victoria had a “sick headache” and had to lie down on a sofa. Despite this, she described her wedding night as “bliss beyond belief” and confided to her diary, “we did not sleep much.”

The Duchess of Bedford, one of Victoria’s Ladies of the Bedchamber, observed that Albert seemed to be “not a bit” in love with Victoria and gave the impression of “not being happy.” He spent the afternoon lying down recovering from the previous day’s and night’s activities. After a very short stay at Windsor Castle, the couple returned to London where Victoria resumed her duties.

Sources:
“Brewer’s British Royalty” by David Williamson
“Her Little Majesty” by Carolly Erickson
“Uncrowned King” by Stanley Weintraub

The Couple

1854: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Shortly after his marriage, Albert wrote to a friend, “I am only the husband and not the master in my house.” Albert was expected to be ready at a moment’s notice to go to his new wife to read aloud, play the piano, be petted, or blot her signature. Victoria was delighted to parade Albert before her court and, as she confided to her diary, to have him put her stockings on her feet.

It was during Victoria’s early pregnancies that Albert showed a talent for diplomatic dealings with her ministers and an ability to understand complex government documents. Soon Albert was dealing with more and more of Victoria’s governmental duties and they worked with their desks side by side. As Albert’s influence over Victoria grew, she began to defer to him on every issue.

Victoria was quite temperamental and had a strong sexuality which Albert apparently met, as evidenced by the birth of nine children. Albert was somewhat prudish and his high moral standards would never allow extramarital affairs. He found marriage to Victoria a full-time job which exhausted him physically and mentally. Victoria rewarded Albert by making him Prince Consort in 1857.

All of Victoria and Albert’s nine children grew to adulthood. However, their youngest son, Leopold, was afflicted with the genetic blood clotting disease hemophilia. See Unofficial Royalty: Hemophilia.

Victoria and Albert’s family consisted of Victoria, Princess Royal (1840), Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (1841), Alice (1843), Alfred (1844), Helena (1846), Louise (1848), Arthur (1850), Leopold (1853) and Beatrice (1857). Their nine children and 39 grandchildren married into other European royal families giving Victoria the additional title of “Grandmother of Europe.” The thrones of the United Kingdom, Germany/Prussia, Russia, Norway, Romania, Greece, and Spain have all been occupied by grandchildren of Victoria and Albert. Through these marriages, Victoria and Albert’s daughters and granddaughters transmitted the genetic disease hemophilia into other royal families. Victoria and Albert’s descendants currently sit upon the thrones of Denmark, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Victoria and Albert, whose primary residences were Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, felt they needed residences of their very own. Albert’s architectural talents are evident in the seaside Italianate palace Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and in Balmoral, a castle in the Scottish highlands. Osborne and Balmoral became Victoria’s favorite homes.

In December 1861, Albert, exhausted from dealing with a foreign policy issue and his eldest son’s affair with an actress, fell ill with a fever. Delirious and suffering from pain and chills, Albert died at Windsor Castle on December 14, 1861, at the age of 42. The cause of his death was diagnosed as typhoid fever, but modern medical experts speculate that he died from stomach cancer or some other debilitating disease.

Left a widow at 42, Victoria never fully recovered from her beloved Albert’s death. For the rest of her life, she wore only clothes of mourning black with a white widow’s cap on her head. Her handkerchiefs and stationery displayed wide black edges. In each of her homes, Albert’s room was kept as if he were still alive. Servants opened and closed the curtains, changed linens and laid out Albert’s clothes. Victoria slept with his nightshirt for years. Most notable was her almost complete withdrawal from public life for the rest of her reign. She did find some comfort in her ever-growing family of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Victoria survived Albert by 39 years, dying at her beloved Osborne House on January 22, 1901. She is buried beside Albert in the mausoleum which Albert designed at Frogmore near Windsor Castle.

Sources:
“Brewer’s British Royalty” by David Williamson
“Her Little Majesty” by Carolly Erickson
“Uncrowned King” by Stanley Weintraub
“Royal Weddings” by Dulcie M. Ashdown

Children of Victoria and Albert

Carte-de-visite photomontage, circa 1861 by John Mayall

Unofficial Royalty: Queen Victoria’s Children and Grandchildren

  • Victoria, The Princess Royal: (1840-1901) married the future German Kaiser Frederick III, January 25, 1858 at the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace
  • Edward VII: (1841-1910) married Alexandra of Denmark, March 10, 1863 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor
  • Alice: (1843-1878) married Louis, the future Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, July 1, 1862 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight
  • Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh: (1844-1900) married, Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia, daughter of Tsar Alexander II, January 23, 1874 at the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg
  • Helena: (1846-1923) married July 5, 1866, Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, July 5, 1866 in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle
  • Louise: (1848-1939) married John Campbell, the future Duke of Argyll, March 21, 1871 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor
  • Arthur, Duke of Connaught: (1850-1942) married Louise of Prussia, March 13, 1879 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor
  • Leopold, Duke of Albany: (1853-1884) married Helen of Waldeck, April 27, 1882 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor
  • Beatrice: (1857-1944) married Henry of Battenberg, July 23, 1885 at St. Mildred’s Church, Whippingham, Isle of Wight