Thursday, May 10, 2012

Getting ready for the Royal Wedding

May 10, 1962

The guest have begun to arrive in Athens for the five-day celebration that will culminate on the 14th with the wedding of Princess Sophie of Greece and Prince Juan Carlos, son the pretender to the Spanish throne.

The New York Times reports that the couple will be married in two ceremonies, Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox.   Prince Juan Carlos and his family are Catholic, and Greek Orthodox is the faith of the Greek royal family.

The 135 guests include "two reigning kings, three queens, two former kings and their consorts, two queen mothers and three reigning princes." 

The stiff wedding invitation "topped by gilt crown and twin shields" read: "At the command of the Their Majesties the King and Queen of the Hellenes, and of Their Royal Highnesses, the Count and Countess of Barcelona, the Grand Marshal of the Court, Grand Master of Ceremonies, has the honor to invite ..."

Putting together the guest list was only one of the "tricky problems."

""You don't just send a wedding invitation to royalty," one palace told the New York Times' reporter.  "There is a far more complicated procedure.  You first end an announcement of the wedding and, if they signify their wish to attend, you send the formal invitations."

The Orthodox Cathedral and the Roman Catholic church are both small. Half the guests will attend the Orthodox service and the other half will be present at the Roman Catholic wedding.

There will be two "official evening receptions" before the wedding.  Five hundred guests are expected to attend.  The invitations had to be "handled with care so that no one could take offense at being invited to one or the other festivity."  A breakfast for 200 guests will be held at the palace.

One court official said: "If May were not an unpredictable month, we could lay out one big reception for 1,000 in the palace gardens, but we have had too many weather mishaps in May to take the risk.  The parties will have to be indoors."

Accommodating all the guests has also proven difficult.  There are not enough guest rooms at the palace in Athens to accommodate everyone, so only King Olav of Norway, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Queen Ingrid of Denmark and Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, grandmother of the the groom, and Queen Mother Helen of Romania, will stay at the palace.

All of the other royal guests will be staying at two large Athens hotels, the Grand Bretagne and the King George.

Prince Juan Carlos, 24, and his parents, are staying at the Maximos Mansion, next door to the palace. The residence is also known as the Little White House "since it served as the residence of the United States Ambassador.

Princess Sophia's younger brother, Crown Prince Constantine, 22, has taken on the task of entertaining "the young princes and princesses.  He will host a ball for them at the Grand Bretagne hotel, and has also made "arrangements for excursions and sight-seeing tours."

About "thirty-five scions of Athens society" have been chosen to escort the royal guests around the city. 

The bride and groom have received special dispensation from Pope John XXIII for the two wedding ceremonies.  The Roman Catholic wedding will take place at ten a.m., and will be followed at noon by the Orthodox service.

Princess  Sophia, 24, is expected to convert to the Roman Catholic faith after the wedding.  The conversion is "mandatory," due to Prince Juan Carlos' position "in regard to the Spanish throne.

More than 40,000 tourists are in Athens for the wedding, including 2,500 Spaniards, "who are coming to acclaim the princely couple" who one day may sit on Spain's throne.

1 comment:

phoebes in santa fe said...

And it's been an "interesting" marriage since then...