Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A royal wedding at Darmstadt

April 30, 1884 

Princess Victoria of Hesse and By Rhine, eldest daughter of the Grand Duke, was married today to Prince Louis of Battenberg.

The town of Darmstadt was "profusely decorated with flags" in honor of the wedding, and people lined the streets for a glimpse of the couple, reports the New York Times.

After the civil wedding, the bride was led to the palace chapel, by her paternal grandmother, Princess Karl of Hesse and By Rhine.   They were followed by a procession lead by Queen Victoria, the bride's maternal grandmother, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Germany, the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Wilhelm of Germany, and  Prince Alexander of Bulgaria, a brother of the groom.

In the "bridal procession,"  Princess Victoria and Prince Louis walked "between the Princesses of Battenberg.  When they exchanged their rings at the altar, "a salute of 36 guns were fired.

At the end of the ceremony,  Queen Victoria "embraced the couple."   Princess Victoria wore her mother, Princess Alice's, bridal veil.   Princess Alice died  from diphtheria in 1878.

All the of the wedding guests, apart from Queen Victoria, attended the evening banquet.  The only toast that was offered was to "the health" of the newly weds. 

Afterward, Prince and Princess Louis let for Jugenheim "amid the plaudits of throngs of people.

The Times described the wedding as a "touching and imposing spectacle."

Queen Victoria wore a "black silk dress, with a wide coiffure of lace, diamond ornaments, and various orders. She entered the chapel "with a firm step", and was seated to the left of the altar.  The Grand Duke with his youngest daughter, Princess Alix, and Princesses Louise, Victoria and Maud of Wales, all in white, were the next to arrive.

Crown Prince Friedrich of Germany, "knightly and stalwart, as ever," escorted the Princess of Wales, dressed in a "lovely robe of white, with a sparking diadem of gems and various orders."  The Prince of Wales, wearing the uniform of a British Field Marshal,  lead his sister, the German Crown Princess to a place on the left of the altar.

Prince Wilhelm of Prussia escorted Princess Beatrice, who "wore a rich white dress," made from Indian material, with "diamonds and orders."  Prince Albert Victor of Wales escorted the Landgravine of Hesse and Prince Henry of Prussia led his sister, the Hereditary Princess of Saxe-Meiningen.  The Prince of  Bulgaria, "tall, dark, and soldier-like," escorted Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and By Rhine.  

Princess Elisabeth, the second daughter of the Grand Duke of Hesse and By Rhine, is betrothed to Grand Duke Serge of Russia.

Princess Victoria was "arrayed" in a gown of "lustrous and exquisite duchesse satin  robe with long flowing train, bridal view, diamonds and wreath of myrtle" on her head. 

One of the younger guests,  Queen Victoria's great-granddaughter, Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen was able to watch the wedding from the opposite side of the altar, "near the organ."  It was in this area where the wedding photograph was taken.

The bride's veil did not cover her face.  She had no bridesmaids.

In commemoration of the wedding, the bride's father, Grand Duke Ludwig,  "pardoned a number of prisoners."

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