|all three Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection|
January 8, 1930
The Crown Prince of Italy and Princess Marie-José were united in marriage today in a brilliant ceremony in the Pauline Chapel of the Quirinal Palace. It was, according to the New York Times, "probably the most brilliant assemblage of kings, queens, princes, princesses, diplomats, government officials and other notables since the World War."
The Roman Catholic ceremony was officiated by the Archbishop of Pisa, Cardinal Maffi. After the ceremony, the bride and groom called upon the Pope and "received the first pontifical blessing accorded in connection with royal Italian nuptials since the fall of papal temporal power in 1870.
The men - princes, diplomats and court officials -- were all dressed in "uniforms of their offices and ranks. The ladies "all wore court dresses of pale, pastel colors, with long cloaks falling from their shoulders to form trains trailing on the ground and veils of exquisite lace on their heads."
On "magnificent gilded thrones ranged along the left side of the altar," sat the members of the Belgian and Italian royal families. King Albert of the Belgians "wore the khaki uniform of a general of the Belgian army." King Victor Emanuel "wore a similar uniform of Italian gray-green."
Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians "was dressed in all white, with a veil of precious Brussels lace," which was held in place by a "magnificent diadem of diamonds." Her long cloak was supported two two liveried attendants. Queen Elena of Italy's dress was of "very pale mauve. She also wore a "veil and a diadem of diamonds," and around her neck, she wore her "very famous triple string of matched pearls." Her golden cloak and train were carried by "four men in livery."
Crown Prince Umberto and Princess Marie-José stood in front of the altar, in front of a prie dieu, "upholstered in red brocade and fringed with gold lace." Umberto wore a "gray-green uniform of a Colonel of Italian infantry."
More than 1500 guests attended the service, which included King Boris of Bulgaria, despite rumors that he would attend due to the rumors of a romance with Umberto's sister, Princess Giovanna. Other royal guests include the Duke of York, the Crown Prince of Belgium, former King Manoel of Portugal, the former king of Afghanistan, who now lives in Italy, the Prince of Monaco, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Prince Danilo of Montenegro, Prince and Princess Paul of Yugoslavia, Don Fernando of Bavaria, Queen Sophie of the Hellenes, and "former princes, princesses, kings and queens from all over Europe," according to the Chicago Tribune's correspondent, who was the only American journalist invited to attend the wedding.
A very special "cordial greeting was given the Duchess of Aosta, who was dressed in white and wore a diamond diadem." She responded to the greetings with a "smiling hauteur."
As expected, Princess Marie-José "looked lovely," in a white gown. She wore on her head a veil, which was held in place by a "diadem of diamonds and other precious stones set in platinum." The diadem was a gift from Queen Elena. The princess' "magnificent twenty-foot train of white satin velour, fringed with ermine," was Umberto's gift to his bride.
After the the mass, which included the singing of a choir and the "blare of bugles and the rolling of drums during the elevation of the host," the "function was reached with the marriage ceremony proper.
Four male members of the House of Savoy stepped forth and "placed themselves two on each side" of the bride and groom, and "held stretched over their heads the fine veil traditionally used by the House of Savoy at the wedding of a first-born son."
The marriage vows were exchanged. Princess Marie-José cried when she answered Yes, and then forgot to turn to her parents to ask for their consent until after she had responded to the Cardinal's question.
Cardinal Maffi blessed the ring and sprinkled with holy water. "Bless, Oh Lord! this ring, which we bless in Thy name so that she who wears it, keeping entire faith with her husband, may remain firm in peace and in Thy will and live always with him in mutual love. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, amen."
The wedding ceremony was concluded when the Cardinal read "the articles of Italian civil code in relation to matrimony." The civil law requires "that the wife must follow the husband wherever he goes and that she must support him if he us incapable of earning his own living."
The official witnesses for the groom were his cousins, the Count of Turin and the Duke of Aosta. The bride's brothers, the Crown Prince and the Count of Flanders, were her witnesses.
After the wedding, the newlyweds made an appearance on the palace's balcony, "where they were greeted with great enthusiasm," which meant they had to appear on the balcony "again and again." The "popular demonstration" meant that the couple were late for their meeting with the Pope. The princess apologized for her lateness and for not being able to change out of her wedding dress. The Pope said he was very happy to see her in her wedding dress.
The private audience with the Pope lasted for a half hour. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess then went to St. Peter's Basilica where they prayed at the Tomb of the Apostle.
They returned to the Quirinal Palace by car for the wedding breakfast and then, they were driven to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where they laid a wreath.
The official wedding celebrations will continue for another three days, and only then will Umberto and Marie José be able to go to Racconigi for their honeymoon.
The royal couple will participate in official receptions and military reviews, accept flowers from school children and receive "homage of delegations of provincial governments." They will also attend a performance at the Royal Opera house. During this time, the Princess will stay with her parents at the Quirinal Palace, and Prince Umberto will remain with his family at the Villa Savoia. The Princess had been staying at the Belgian embassy prior to the wedding. Tonight, she will sleep in an apartment in the Quirinal Palace, which was prepared for her by Queen Elena, who supervised the rose-colored decorations. The chamber includes a "rose-colored canopy."