Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jean & Josephine Charlotte: a political arrangement?

April 11, 1953

Today's Daily Mirror, a mass circulation newspaper reports today "whispers" that the marriage between Princess Josephine Charlotte of Belgium and Prince Jean of Luxembourg was a "political arrangement," and not a love match, according to an Associated Press dispatch.

Several guests who attended the wedding were upset by "an unexpected and unfortunate incident" between 74-year-old Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians, widow of King Albert, and the "glamorous"  Princess Liliane, second wife of former King Leopold III, who is Elisabeth's eldest child.

A photograph of Princess Josephine Charlotte in her wedding dress was splashed across the Mirror with a headline in two-inch type:  "The Sad Royal Bride."

The newspaper alluded to rumors "flying through Luxembourg" that the princess' "sad face" was not due to illness, despite what court officials have insisted.

Less than 12 hours after the wedding, when the 25-year-old Princess "looked pale and strained" on her husband's arm, the gossips were saying that this was "just a marriage of convenience to unite the Belgian and Luxembourg royal dynasties."

The rumors are being denied by Joseph Bech, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister. He states that the rumors are "mischievous, malicious and completely unfounded."

The Mirror also reports that the "incident" between the Belgian Queen Mother and her daughter-in-law was due to a question of precedence.

Princess Liliane was "relegated to eighth place" in Luxembourg's "strict order" of precedence.

But as the newlyweds "walked up the aisle to lead the royal procession, Princess Liliane rose to her feet rather early."  Prince Felix, the husband of Grand Duchess Charlotte, found Liliane "beside her in place of the Queen Mother, who should have been his partner."

"Prince Felix," according to the Mirror, "looking thunderous, stopped.   The Princess stared straight ahead.  Queen Elizabeth, standing alone 'looked distressed."

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