Friday, January 23, 2009
Maria of Italy married to Bourbon-Parma prince
Princess Maria, the youngest daughter of King Victor Emmanuel and Queen Elena of Italy, was married this morning to Prince Louis of Bourbon-Parma. Princess Louis is the son of the late Duke of Parma and Duchess of Parma.
The court chaplain performed the "intimate but brilliant ceremony in the Pauline chapel of the Quirinal Palace." More than 500 guests attended the wedding, "representing the flower of Italian nobility."
Immediately after the ceremony, the bride and groom were received by Pope Pius, for a fifteen minute audience. The pope presented Maria with a rosary of agate beads set in gold. Prince Louis received a gold pontifical medal. The newlyweds then returned to the Quirinal Palace, where they will remain for several days before going on their wedding trip.
Princess Maria "wore a plainly cut white satin gown that fell in a straight line." Two members of the court bore the eighteen foot train. The princess' dark hair "was crowned by an orange blossom diadem, covered by a long lace veil held in place by a diamond clasp and reaching her feet. The groom wore full evening dress.
The bride's witnesses were her brother, the Crown Prince, and her uncle, the Count of Turin. The groom's brothers, Princes Saverio and Gaetano, were Prince Louis' witnesses.
At 11 a.m., the Grand Master of Ceremonies "announced the arrival of the royal procession. King Victor Emmanuel headed the procession with the bride, followed by King Boris of Bulgaria, who escorted Queen Elena. Prince Louis followed with his mother, then former King Ferdinand of Bulgaria with former Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, former King Alfonso XIII of Spain with Queen Giovanna of Bulgaria, a sister of the bride, the Crown Prince and Princess of Italy, the Prince of the Asturias and Prince Cyril of Bulgaria. The procession also included Prince Philipp of Hesse, who walked alone as his wife, Princess Mafalda, has been unwell, and was unable to attend her youngest sister's wedding, and Princess Yolanda of Italy and her husband, Count Calvi di Bergolo.
The Italian premier Benito Mussolini was also present. He "sat alone in his uniform with the golden braid and cocked hat, wearing the collar of the Annunciata, Italy's highest decoration."
The couple knelt at the altar, the witnesses at their said. When the chaplain asked "the ritual question," Princess Maria, before replying, "looked to her father for royal assent." When the king "nodded slightly", the bride bowed her head and whispered "yes," while the organ played "Ave Verum."
It is believed that the honeymoon will be spent in Italy, leaving in the spring for Mozamibique, where Prince Louis owns property.