Monday, May 14, 2012

Sophia weds her prince

May 14, 1962

Princess Sophia of Greece today wed her "six-foot blond, curly-haired Spanish prince,"   The New York Times reports that Sophia's "wedding dress was all shimmering white with a frothy twenty-foot train carried by eight princesses from six countries, and everyone agreed that the Princess was as lovely as a swan."

The Princess, 23, is the elder daughter of King Paul and Queen Frederika of the Hellenes.  Her new husband, Prince Juan Carlos, 24, is the son of the Count of Barcelona, pretender to the Spanish throne.  One day, the newlyweds may become the King and Queen of Spain.

Athens police estimate that more than a million people lined the streets between the palace, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, but other observers "thought the crowd was closer to 200,000."

Princess Sophia's wedding dress was made of silver lamé "sheathed in layers of tulle and old family lace.  She wore her mother's bridal veil.

The couple were married first at St. Denis Roman Catholic Church, which was followed by an Orthodox service at the Cathedral.  At both services, she "smiled constantly at her parents."    After leaving the Orthodox Cathedral, she "tossed her tiny white bouquet."  It was caught by one of her bridesmaids, Princess Anne Marie of Denmark.

Queen Ingrid of Denmark and Princess Grace of Monaco were "the most talked about guests," due to their outfits.  Ingrid wore "heavy red silk with a cap of red feathers," and Princess Grace wore "an ice-blue gown with a decoration ribbon across the bodice."

According to Greek law, the marriage "was not recognized" until after the Orthodox ceremony.

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, King Olav of Norway, Queen Ingrid of Denmark, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco were among the 120 royal guests.

Pope John XXIII gave a special dispensation for the marriage as Princess Sophia "pledged to raise her children in the Roman Catholic faith."  She also renounced her rights to the Greek throne. 

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