Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Connaught -Sweden wedding



June 15, 1905


The Times' special correspondent reports that the royal wedding "was, from beginning to end, the most joyous day of its kind that Windsor has seen during the present generation."   It was the bride's day, and she is "deservedly popular daughter of parents, exceptionally well-beloved of the British people."    Thousands flocked to Windsor to greet Princess Margaret "on her wedding day."

The 9:15 a.m., train from Paddington "was very heavy laden" with wedding guests, including a number of Scandinavians.  The Great Western Railway was not running any special trains with the exception of the 10:45 a.m., train reserved for the King's guests.

The church bells began to peal at 11:15, which was around the time the Eton boys arrived "on the scene."  Princess Margaret "had begged a holiday" for the young men, all of whom had the "tendency to cheer which is suitable for occasions of the kind."

The royal party arrived by carriages.  Little Princess Mary of Wales, the only daughter of the Prince and Princess of Wales, was seen to be "eager and earnest" as she sat in a carriage with Princess Patricia.

The guests began to fill the chapel, and arrived in some semblance of order  The Lord Chamberlain and his wife were among the first to enter St. George's, and were followed by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Lady Ashbourne, Mr. Balfour, Lord Lansdowne, the Duchess of Marlborough, the Dowager Duchesses of Roxeburghe and Manchester, the Duke and Duchess of Westminster and other members of the peerage.  Count Albert Mensdorff joined Countesses Feodora and Valda Gleichen, whose father was a nephew of the late Queen Victoria.

The procession of the clergy began at noon as the organist began to play Guillant's "Epithalame", and the clergy, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, took their places near the Communion table.

Prince Gustav Adolf and his supporters, Prince Eugen and Prince Vilhelm, all in uniform arrived at the sound of the Swedish National anthem.  King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra arrived at 12:15 p.m. and led the royal procession to the strains of Elgar's "Imperial March."    Queen Alexandra's "dress was a dream."   The gown was believed to be black with sequins, and the effect was that of "a robe of dark vapour glowing in the mysterious fashion of a rare opal.

On Alexandra's "stately head was a huge crown of diamonds, on her neck a great rope of pearls, beneath that a diamond necklace, and on either shoulder was a knot of diamonds."

The rest of the royal procession filled into their seats: the groom's father, the Crown Prince of Sweden and Norway, the Duchess of Connaught, the Crown Princess of Sweden and Norway, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Fife, the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Baden, Princess Victoria and the Hereditary Grand Duke of Baden.  In the back row sat Prince Albert and Prince Edward of Wales, Prince Arthur of Connaught, and Baron von Pawel-Rammingen.

On the south side of the chapel Princess Christian sat "at the outermost front seat," next to the Khédive of Egypt, followed by the Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, Princess Henry of Battenberg and the Duchess of Albany.  In the second row sat Princess Frederica of Hanover, who is married to the Baron von Pawel-Rammingen,  the Landgrave of Hesse, Princess Alexander of Teck and Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.  Behind them, in the back row, were Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (mother of Feodora and Valda Gleichen, who were seated elsewhere), and Prince Francis and Prince Alexander of Teck.

It was now time for the bridal party to arrive.  After the National Anthem was sung, the young boys' choir began to sing the hymn "When God of Old Came down from Heaven."   The bridal procession was "essentially and emphatically a  pretty and touching procession."

The bride, wearing a "beautiful dress of ivory satin with its long train, and carrying a Virgin Mary Lilies in her hand, was escorted down the aisle by her father, the Duke of Connaught, dressed in the Field Marshall's uniform  and "wearing the light blue ribbon of St Patrick."

Princess Patrica of Connaught walked behind her sister, assisting with the train, was dressed, along with the three bridesmaids, "in the palest shade of St. Patrick's blue. carrying white bouquets tied with ribbon of St. Patrick's blue, wearing white circular wreaths."

Princess Mary of Wales, "full of childish gravity" walked between Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg and Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh.

As the bride and bridegroom turned toward the king and queen, they bowed and took their places in front of the altar's steps.  Princess Patricia adjusted her sister's train and took her bouquet for the duration of the ceremony.

The service ended with the hymn "Now thank we all our God," the Benediction and Mendelssohn's "Wedding March."  Prince Gustaf Adolf led his bride to the Chapel's western door, and they got into their carriage for the ride back to Windsor Castle.

The wedding register was signed in the White Drawing room, and witnessed by the King and Queen.   The bride and groom, along with King Edward and Queen Alexandra and the Royal and Princely guests "were conducted to the State Dining room" for the wedding luncheon.  All of the other guests were "took luncheon in St. George's Hall."

The Crown Princess of Sweden and Norway did not attend the wedding banquet.


The bride and groom left Windsor just after 4 p.m., and, at the request of the King, took the long route to the railroad station.  By carriage, the newlyweds wend down the Long Walk to the main street and to the railroad station.  There were cheering crowds all along the way, as police maintained order. The new Hereditary Princess, "with her grave and almost childlike face," wore a simple white gown and a white hat "with a very pale blue feather."

The journey by train to Saighton  Grange took about four hours.  The couple were driven in an open landau and "passed through a welcome art of evergreens erected over the arch of the Grange."     The couple thanked everyone before going inside for the start of their honeymoon.

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