Monday, July 6, 2009

Duke of York marries Princess Mary of Teck

July 6, 1893

The Duke of York, the son of the Prince of Wales, was married today to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, "an event to which all England had been looking forward with great interest," reports the New York Times.

The wedding took place at 12:30 p.m, at the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace in London. The weather "was beautiful" and the wedding a "brilliant function," which was attended by members of the British royal family, "Continental sovereigns or their representatives, and many members of the highest nobility."
It was a "partial British holiday," and a day of "national rejoicing." Great crowds gathered along the route from Buckingham Palace up Constitution Hill through Piccadilly, St. James's Street and Marlborough Gate to the "garden entrance of St. James's Palace."

The decorations along the route were "profuse and beautiful."

The royal party left Buckingham Palace in four processions. The first carriages carried members of the household and "distinguished guests." The Duke of York was next with his supporters and the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh. The bride left in the third procession, accompanied by her father, the Duke of Teck, and her brother, Prince Adolphus. The last procession included Queen Victoria, who was accompanied by the Duchess of Teck, her two younger sons, Alexander and Francis, and the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine.

There was great cheering for the carriages as they drove toward the chapel.
The Queen headed the procession, walking alone, "leaning on an ebony stick." She wore a black dress with a train, and her bodice was of "broché silk with lace." She wore a diamond necklace, and a small diamond crown on her head, "from which a veil depended."

The Prince of Wales and his younger brother, the Duke of Edinburgh followed the Queen.

The bridegroom appeared "flushed, but this was perhaps due to the weather, which was intensely warm."

The Tsarevitch of Russia represented his father, Alexander III was dressed in a military uniform and "wore a picturesque white sling jacket edged with ermine."
King Christian IX escorted his daughter, the Princess of Wales, who was attired in "a dress of pure white silk and a tiara of diamonds."

The Queen "sat throughout the ceremony with absorbed attention." The Duke of York's responses to the questions were made in a "clear voice," but the princess's responses "were not so audible and could heard scarcely beyond the royal circle."
The the conclusion of the service, the Queen was the "first to salute" the newlyweds, after which the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Teck kissed the bride and groom.

The Duke of York and his new Duchess led the way out of the chapel, and were followed by Queen Victoria.

Princess Victoria Mary was escorted down the aisle by her father and her brother, Adolphus, to the strains of Wagner's Lohengrin. Her wedding gown was of "silver brocade," which was in "perfect harmony" with the bridesmaids' attire of "white satin and silver lace," with low bodices. The bridesmaids, wore a "simple rose in their hair."

The bridesmaids were Princesses  Victoria and Maud of Wales, the groom's unmarried sisters, Princesses Victoria Melita, Alexandra and Beatrice of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret and Princess Patricia of Connaught, Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein and Princess Ena of Battenberg and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

Other guests included the groom's sister, Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife, and her husband, the Duke of Fife; Prince and Princess Christian and Prince Albert of Schleswig Holstein, Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg, Princess Louise and the Marquess of Lorne, the Duke of Cambridge (uncle of the bride), the Duchess of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, Prince and Princess Henry of Prussia, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (aunt of the bride), Prince Waldemar of Denmark, Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince and Princess Edward of Saxe-Weimar, Prince and Princess Louis of Battenberg, the Hereditary Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Count Mensdorff, Countess Feodora, Victoria and Helena Gleichen.

After returning to Buckingham Palace, the Queen, the Duke and Duchess of York and the Duke and Duchess of Teck stepped out onto the balcony. The crowd outside went "wild with enthusiasm." The cheers continued for sometime, and the long-continued expressions of popular approval have seldom, if ever, been equaled in London."

Victoria appeared bothered by the heat, and "as she sat in the chair, she slowly fanned herself." Her face, however, "showed the pleasure she felt at the enthusiasm of the crowd, who in every way possible expressed its approval of the marriage which it is believed her Majesty to a certain extent brought about."
The Duchess of York "looked charmingly beautiful" on the balcony. She carried in one hand a bouquet of Provence roses, orchids and orange blossoms."

A wedding luncheon followed at 2:30 p.m. This was a very "social affair, royalty for the time being putting aside its prerogatives and entering fully into the joyousness of the occasion. The toasts were drunk with all the honor, and nearly two hours were spent at the table."

Crowds continue to gather outside of Buckingham Palace to await the departure of the bride and groom, who are spending part of their honeymoon at Sandringham.

It was at 4:30 p.m., when the Duke and Duchess said their goodbyes to the Queen and other relatives. The couple "descended to the street from the grand entrances," and got into an open carriage. The Duke "gallantly handed his bride into the carriage, and then. himself entering, they started for the railway station along the route selected, which was literally black with humanity."

The Queen and other members of the royal party "stood upon the balcony over the grand entrance and waved farewell to the bridal couple." The Duchess had changed from her bridal gown to a going away dress of "white Irish poplin, embroidered with gold cord. She wore a bonnet of "gold work surmounted by a small cluster of cream-colored plumes."

It can said that this marriage was largely arranged and encouraged by Queen Victoria. The bride, known as May, is the daughter of the queen's first cousin, Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck. Despite the German title, the princess is very much a British princess.

Princess May became engaged to the Duke of York's older brother, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale on December 7, 1891. Plans were in motion for a wedding in the spring of 1892.

But on January 11, 1892, the Court Circular announced that the Duke of Clarence was "suffering from a severe attack of influenza, accompanied by pneumonia." Two days later, the second in line to the throne's condition became critical. He died on January 14, 1892. Princess Victoria May was at his bedside when he died.

It came as no surprise earlier this year when Princess May became engaged to the Duke of Clarence's younger brother, Prince George, the Duke of York. The engagement was announced on May 15.

The engagement followed a family precedent.

In 1864, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Russia became engaged to Princess Dagmar of Denmark, the younger sister of the Princess of Wales. Nixa, as he was known to his family, died in April 1865 from tuberculosis. His final wish was for his fiancee to marry his brother, Alexander. A year later, Princess Dagmar married the new heir to the the Russian throne.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this very interesting item Marlene. I understood all of it, so much better than I would have, if I had not read your recommended biography of Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy.

Thank you again.