Category Archives: British Royals

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

Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince Consort

by Susan Flantzer

NPG x24138; Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha by Vernon Heath, printed and published by Samuel E. Poulton

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha by Vernon Heath, published by Samuel E. Poulton, albumen carte-de-visite, 1861 NPG x24138 © National Portrait Gallery, London

The husband of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was born at Schloss Rosenau near Coburg now in Bavaria, Germany on August 26, 1819. Albert was the second of the two sons of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his first wife Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Albert was christened with the German names Franz Albrecht August Karl Emanuel, but was called Albrecht, Albert in English. His godparents were:

Albert had one brother who was fourteen months older:

Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, with her children, Albert and Ernst; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Since Albert and Ernst were close in age, they were also close companions during their childhood. However, their childhood was marred by their parents’ disastrous marriage, separation, and divorce. Albert’s mother and father were very different and drifted apart soon after Albert’s birth. Albert’s father was a notorious womanizer and as a result, his young wife Louise (who was 17 years younger than her husband) sought consolation with Baron Alexander von Hanstein, who was the Duke’s equerry. Louise was exiled from court in 1824 and divorced in March of 1826. Seven months later, Louise secretly married von Hanstein. She died in 1831 at the age of 30 from cancer of the uterus. After Louise’s exile from court in 1824, it is probable that she never saw her sons again. In 1831, the Duke married again to Duchess Marie of Württemberg, his niece who was the daughter of his sister Antoinette. The Duke and Marie had no children, but Marie had a good relationship with her stepsons (who were also her first cousins) and maintained a correspondence with Albert throughout their lives.

Albert was first educated at home by a caring tutor, Johann Christoph Florschütz, who had a lifelong correspondence with Albert. Albert then studied with private tutors in Brussels, Belgium (where his paternal uncle was King Leopold I of the Belgians) and then studied at the University of Bonn, which many German princes attended. While at the University of Bonn, Albert studied law, political economy, philosophy, and art history. In his free time, he played music and excelled in gymnastics, fencing, and riding.

The Coburg family had strong ties to the British royal family. Albert’s uncle Leopold (the previously mentioned King of the Belgians) had married Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only child of King George IV, who had died in childbirth. His aunt Victoria had married King George III’s son, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and was the mother of the future Queen Victoria. Plans for a possible marriage between first cousins Victoria and Albert had first been mentioned by their grandmother the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg in letters to her daughter the Duchess of Kent in 1821. The idea was later taken up by their uncle Leopold.

In 1836, the cousins met for the first time when Ernst and Albert were taken by their father on a visit to 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 Ernst 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 Marie, “My future position will have its dark sides, and the sky will not always be blue and unclouded.” The couple was married in the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace on February 10, 1840 at 1 p.m. 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.
Unofficial Royalty: Wedding of Queen Victoria and Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

NPG D11227; The Bridal Morn (Queen Victoria; Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) by Samuel William Reynolds Jr, after Frederick William Lock

The Bridal Morn (Queen Victoria; Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) by Samuel William Reynolds Jr, after Frederick William Lock, mezzotint, published 1844 NPG D11227 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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 creating 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 and two of their daughters, Alice and Beatrice, were hemophilia carriers.
Unofficial Royalty: Hemophilia in Queen Victoria’s Family

Victoria and Albert’s children and grandchildren married into other European royal families giving Victoria the unofficial title of “Grandmother of Europe.” Their grandchildren sat upon the thrones of Germany/Prussia, Greece, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom as monarchs or consorts. 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.
Unofficial Royalty: Queen Victoria’s Children and Grandchildren

Victoria and Albert and their nine children in 1857; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

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 Italian style palace Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and in Balmoral, a castle in the Scottish highlands. Osborne and Balmoral became their favorite homes. Following Victoria’s death, Osborne was given to the state and served as a Royal Navy training college from 1903-1921. Today it is open to the public as a home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Balmoral Castle remains the private property of the monarch and is used by the British Royal Family for their summer holidays.
English Heritage: Osborne House
Official Website: Balmoral Castle and Estate

View image | gettyimages.com Balmoral Castle in 1854

 

Besides helping Victoria privately with her paperwork, Prince Albert took on a number of public roles. He became President of the Society for the Extinction of Slavery. Slavery had already been abolished throughout the British Empire, but was still legal in a number of places including the United States and the French colonies. After being appointed Chancellor of Cambridge University, Albert was able to have the curriculum modified to include modern history and the natural sciences in addition to the traditional mathematics and classics.

Albert’s interest in applying science and art to the manufacturing industry led to the Great Exhibition of 1851.  Prince Albert, along with Sir Henry Cole, a civil servant and an inventor, organized the exhibition. In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, the exhibition allowed countries to show their modern and technological achievements. Queen Victoria opened the exhibition in a specially designed glass building known as the Crystal Palace on May 1, 1851. It was a huge success and a surplus of £180,000 was used to purchase land in South Kensington, London on which was established educational and cultural institutions, including what would later be the Victoria and Albert Museum.

NPG D16397; The Great Industrial Exhibition of 1851. Plate 2. The Foreign Nave by Joseph Nash

The Great Industrial Exhibition of 1851. Plate 2. The Foreign Nave by Joseph Nash, hand-coloured lithograph, published 1851, NPG D16397 © National Portrait Gallery, London

After years of mismanagement by the previous Hanover monarchs, Albert managed to modernize the royal finances and investments, and under his watch, the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall, the hereditary property of the Prince of Wales, steadily increased. Today’s British royal family can thank Prince Albert for their financial situation.

On March 16, 1861, Queen Victoria’s mother died. Because of Victoria’s grief, Albert took over many of her duties despite the fact that he was chronically suffering from stomach problems. In the fall, Victoria and Albert learned that their 20-year-old eldest son Bertie (the future King Edward VII) was having an affair with an Irish actress. Devastated by this news, Albert traveled to Cambridge to discuss the matter with his son. On November 25, 1861, the two walked together in the pouring rain while Albert explained how horrified he and the Queen felt about the situation. Victoria later blamed her son for Albert’s final illness – “That boy…I never can, or ever shall look at him without a shudder.”

When Albert returned to Windsor Castle, he complained of shoulder, leg, back, and stomach pain and could not eat or sleep. He was examined by doctors who assured Victoria that Albert would be better in two or three days. Even while Albert was feeling ill, he was still working. When the Trent Affair, the forcible removal of Confederate diplomats from a British ship by Union forces during the American Civil War, threatened war between the United States and United Kingdom, Albert intervened on November 30, 1861 to soften the British diplomatic response. His action probably prevented war between the United States and the United Kingdom.

However, Albert’s condition continued to worsen. Victoria continued to hope for a recovery, but finally, on December 11, the doctors told her the dismal prognosis. At 10:50 PM on December 14, 1861, Albert died in the presence of his wife and five of their nine children.

Sir William Jenner, one of Prince Albert’s doctors, diagnosed his final illness as typhoid fever, but Albert’s modern biographers have argued that the diagnosis is incorrect. Albert had been complaining of stomach pains for two years and this may indicate that he died of some chronic disease, perhaps Crohn’s disease, kidney failure, or cancer.

L0021975 The last moments of HRH the Prince Consort.

The last moments of HRH the Prince Consort, Photo Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Left a widow with nine children at the age of 42, the Queen’s grief was immense. She withdrew from public life and wore black for the 40 years that she survived Albert. The Blue Room in Windsor Castle where Albert had died was kept as it had been when he was alive, complete with hot water brought in the morning, and linen and towels changed daily. Among themselves, Queen Victoria’s family called December 14 “Mausoleum Day.” They were expected to attend the annual memorial service in the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore where Albert was buried. After her death on January 22, 1901 at the age of 81, Victoria was interred alongside her beloved Albert in the Royal Mausoleum.

Tomb of Victoria and Albert; Photo Credit – findagrave.com, Scott Michaels

Wikipedia: Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince Consort

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King James II of England

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Born on October 14, 1633 at St. James’ Palace in London, King James II of England, was the third, but second surviving son of King Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France, daughter of King Henri IV of France. He was designated Duke of York from birth, the traditional title of the monarch’s second son, but was not formally created until 1643.

James had seven siblings:

James and his siblings in 1637: Left to right: Mary, James, Charles, Elizabeth, and Anne; Credit – Wikipedia

James was educated along with his elder brother Charles by William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle and Brian Duppa, Bishop of Winchester and then later by John Earle, Bishop of Salisbury.

During the English Civil War, James remained in Oxford, the royalist stronghold, while his father fought against the forces of the Parliamentarians and the Puritans. When the city of Oxford surrendered in 1646, Parliament placed James under arrest in St. James’ Palace. In 1648, he managed to escape and fled to The Hague where his sister Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange lived. On January 30, 1649, James’ father King Charles I was executed.

Eventually, James sought refuge in France where his mother and sister Henriette were already living in exile, and where his young first cousin King Louis XIV sat upon the throne of France. James served in the French army under Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne. In 1656, when his brother Charles entered into an alliance with Spain, an enemy of France, James was forced to leave the French army. He then joined the Spanish army and served under Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé.

While he was still in exile in The Hague, James fell in love with Lady Anne Hyde, one of his sister’s ladies-in-waiting and the daughter of one of his brother’s strongest supporters, Edward Hyde, later 1st Earl of Clarendon.  James and Anne made a pledge to each other in what might have been a marriage ceremony on November 24, 1659. Anne became pregnant in 1660, the same year the monarchy was restored in England and James’ brother became King Charles II. When Anne became visibly pregnant, the King was consulted resulting in James and Anne being officially married at Worcester House in London on September 3, 1660, just seven weeks before the birth of their first child.

James and Anne Hyde in the 1660s, by Sir Peter Lely; Credit – Wikipedia

James and Anne had eight children, but only two survived childhood and both were Queen Regnants:

The Family of James, Duke of York. The Duke (later King James II and VII) and Duchess of York (previously Anne Hyde) were painted by Peter Lely in between 1668 and 1670. Their two daughters, Mary (left) and Anne (right), later Queen Mary II and Queen Anne, were added by Benedetto Gennari in or after 1680. Windsor Castle is in the background; Credit – Wikipedia

After the Restoration, James was appointed Lord High Admiral and was commander of the Royal Navy during the Second (1665-1667) and the Third Anglo-Dutch Wars (1672-1674). In 1664, after the British had conquered the Dutch territory New Netherlands in North America, the city of New Amsterdam was renamed as the city of New York in honor of James, Duke of York. 150 miles upstream on the Hudson River, the former Dutch Fort Orange was renamed Albany (now the capital of New York State) after Charles’ second title, Duke of Albany.

Both Anne and James had been exposed to Roman Catholicism while they were abroad, and Anne converted secretly in 1670. She was instrumental in James’ conversion to Roman Catholicism shortly afterward, although he continued to attend Church of England services until 1676. On March 3, 1671, Anne died of breast cancer at the age of 34, about six weeks after the birth of her last child (who lived only 10 months) and was buried in the vault of Mary, Queen of Scots in the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey.

After James’ conversion to Roman Catholicism, his Protestant opponents in Parliament were able to pass the Test Act requiring all civilian and military government employees to take an oath, which was incompatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church. They also had to receive Holy Communion according to the rites of the Church of England. James refused to take the oath and to receive Holy Communion according to the rites of the Church of England and resigned his post as Lord High Admiral. King Charles II insisted that James’ surviving daughters Mary and Anne be raised in the Church of England. Despite all this, King Charles II allowed his brother James to make a second marriage with the fifteen-year-old Catholic Mary Beatrice of Modena on September 20, 1673. Many British people distrusted the new Duchess of York and looked upon her as an agent of the Pope.

Mary Beatrice had several miscarriages and stillbirths and had seven live births, but only two of these children survived childhood.

James Francis Edward and Louisa Maria Teresa; Credit – Wikipedia

Although the James’ brother King Charles II is well known for his illegitimate children, James also had his share of children born from the wrong side of the sheets.

by Arabella Churchill

by Catherine Sedley

In 1677, James, Duke of York attempted to appease Protestants by allowing his daughter Mary to marry the Protestant William III, Prince of Orange, who was the son of his sister Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange. Despite this concession, the fear of a future Catholic monarch remained and was exacerbated by the failure of the marriage of King Charles II to produce any children. Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury and others undertook attempts to exclude the Catholic James from the line of succession. Some even suggested that the eldest illegitimate son of King Charles II, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth should be the heir to the throne.

King Charles II died in 1685 after converting to Catholicism on his deathbed. Having no legitimate children, Charles was succeeded by his brother James, who reigned in England and Ireland as King James II, and in Scotland as King James VII. James and Mary Beatrice were crowned on April 23, 1685 following the Church of England rite but omitting Holy Communion. The previous day, they had been privately crowned and anointed in a Catholic rite in their private chapel at the Palace of Whitehall.

On June 11, 1685, James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, the eldest of the illegitimate children of King Charles II, claimed the throne as the Protestant champion. Monmouth’s forces were defeated by his uncle’s forces at the Battle of Sedgemoor.  The Duke of Monmouth was beheaded for treason on July 15, 1685.

James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth; Credit – Wikipedia

King James II was now set on a course of restoring Catholicism to England. He issued a Declaration of Indulgence removing restrictions that had been imposed on those that did not conform to the Church of England. England might very well have tolerated King James II knowing that his heirs were the Protestant daughters of his first wife Anne Hyde, Mary and Anne. However, on June 10, 1688, Queen Mary Beatrice, who had no surviving children, gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward. Immediately, false rumors swirled that the infant had been smuggled into the queen’s chambers in a warming pan.

Mary Beatrice and her son James Francis Stuart; Credit – Wikipedia

On November 5, 1688, William III, Prince of Orange, the nephew and son-in-law of King James II, landed in England vowing to safeguard the Protestant interest. He marched to London, gathering many supporters. James panicked and sent his wife and infant son to France. He tried to flee to France about a month later, but was captured. William III, Prince of Orange had no desire to make his uncle a martyr, so he allowed him to escape. James was received in France by his cousin King Louis XIV, who offered him a palace and a pension.

Back in England, Parliament refused to depose James, but declared that having fled to France, James had effectively abdicated the throne and that therefore the throne had become vacant. James’s elder daughter Mary was declared Queen Mary II and she was to rule jointly with her husband and first cousin William, who would be King William III. At that time, William, the only child of King James II’s elder sister Mary, was third in the line of succession after his wife and first cousin Mary and her sister Anne. This overthrow of King James II is known as the Glorious Revolution.

James, his wife, and his son settled at the Palace of St. Germain-en-Laye near Paris, where a court in exile was established. James was determined to regain the throne and landed in Ireland with a French force in 1689. He was defeated by his nephew William at the Battle of the Boyne on July 1, 1690 and was forced to withdraw once again to France.

Battle of the Boyne between James II and William III by Jan van Huchtenburg; Credit – Wikipedia

James spent the rest of his life in France, planning invasions that never happened. In 1692, Mary Beatrice gave birth to a daughter Louisa Maria Teresa. His little daughter gave him great comfort as did letters from his daughter Anne who could never quite reconcile her betrayal of her father.

Louisa Maria Teresa; Credit – Wikipedia

James died from a stroke on September 16, 1701 at St. Germain. His remains were buried at the at the Chapel of Saint Edmund in the Church of the English Benedictines in the Rue St. Jacques in Paris and his viscera were buried at the Parish Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. In October of 1793, the Chapel of Saint Edmund and all the English Benedictines buildings were destroyed by a mob along with the remains of King James II. His viscera were rediscovered and reburied in 1824 at the Parish Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. In 1855, Queen Victoria paid for a memorial to James at the Parish Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

Memorial to James II at the Parish Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye; Photo Credit – findagrave.com

Photo Credit – findagrave.com

Wikipedia: King James II of England