Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Two royal weddings

July 11, 1818

The Duke of Clarence's marriage to Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen and the remarriage of the Duke and Duchess of Kent were to have taken place on Thursday.  The preparations were underway, and the "ancient silver plate to be used in the ceremony" was brought at an early hour from the Chapel Royal. St. James's and Whitehall, to Kew Palace.

Unfortunately, the weddings were postponed until earlier today.  This was due to the state of Queen Charlotte's health, according to the Times.

The Queen's health is in a much better state, which allowed her to be present for the two weddings.     Earlier this morning, a temporary altar was placed in the Queen's drawing room, "which looks into Kew Gardens, on the first floor."    The rail was extend to accommodate "the four Royal personages."

Four crimson velvet pillows were placed on the floor before the altar so the couples could kneel, and the entire altar was covered in crimson velvet.  The "valuable  and magnificent communion plate," from the Chapel Royal and Whitehall made a "most elegant and splendid appearance."

The two bridal couples and other members of the Royal family arrived shortly before 4 p.m., when the Queen "was conducted into the drawing room and took her seat on the right side of the altar."   This is wear she sat at the marriage of Princess Elizabeth with the Prince of Hesse-Homburg. 

Queen Charlotte was attended by her eldest son, the Prince Regent, "on her entrance into the drawing room."  They were followed by the Duke and Duchess of York, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Augusta, the Princess Sophia of Gloucester, the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, the Lord Chancellor, the Earl of Liverpool, Viscount Sidmouth, and the Count and Countess  Munster.

The Duke of Clarence and "his intended bride," and the Duke and Duchess of Kent took their places at the altar.  The Archbishop of Canterbury began the wedding ceremony, and was assisted by the Bishop of London.    The brides "had the honour of being given away" by the Prince Regent.  The Lord Chancellor "produced the sanction" of the Prince Regent in Council to the two marriages.

After the weddings, Queen Charlotte retired to her private apartment, where she had dinner.  The "state of her health" did not allow her to join the rest of the family for the wedding dinner.  At 5 p.m., the Prince Regent and the "remainder of the company sat down to a most sumptuous dinner."

Shortly after 7 p.m., the Duke and Duchess of Kent traveled in Prince Leopold's "chariot" to spend their honeymoon at Claremont.  The Prince Regent and other members of the Royal party "proceeded in open carriages to the Cottage" in Kew Gardens, near the Pagoda, to enjoy a cup of tea.    Afterwards, the Duke and Duchess of Clarence traveled to the Duke's residence in St. James's Palace, "which was brilliantly illuminated."   They arrived at their new home at about 11 p.m.

The Duchess of Kent's wedding dress was made from a "very rich and elegant gold tissue," with "two superb borders of scalloped lama flouncing, each border headed with rich gold trimming; the body and sleeves to correspond, richly trimmed with beautiful Brussels point lace, and tastefully ornamented with gold tassels; the robe of rich gold tissue, lined with white satin, and trimmed round with rich scalloped lama trimming to match the dress and fastened at the waist with a very brilliant diamond clasp."   The Duchess were a "wreath of diamonds" on her head.

The Duchess of Clarence wore a "very rich and elegant silver tissue" gown, with "two broad flounces of beautiful point lace, each flounce headed with rich silver shell trimmings; body and sleeves superbly trimmed with Brussels point lace and silver tassels; the robe of rich silver tissue, lined with white satin, trimmed with Brussels lace, and bordered with silver trimming to correspond, fastened at the waist with a brilliant diamond clasp."   Her head piece was a "superb wreath of diamonds."

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