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.