Thursday, January 8, 2015
Marie José & Umberto are wed
Crown Prince Umberto of Italy married Princess Marie José of Italy today in the presence of three kings, two queen, two former Kings and three former Queens, twenty-eight princes and twenty-six princesses, according to the Associated Press.
After the wedding, the newlyweds drove to the Vatican, where "Pope Pius XI cordially received them, gave them the pontifical blessing and wished them happiness throughout their lives." This was the first time in the "history of the Papacy" that a Pope "received and blessed a future king and queen of a United Italy."
Premier Mussolini was also a guest at the wedding. His entrance into the Quirinal "with the wedding procession marked an epoch in the social development of Fascism." This was the first time since Mussolini's "advent to power" that he was "greeted by royalty and nobility on all sides with the Roman or Fascist salute."
The royal guests at the wedding including King Boris III of Bulgaria, former King Maoel of Portugal, former Queen Sophie of Greece and the former king and queen of Afghanistan.
King Albert and Queen Elisabeth, the parents of the bride, came from Brussels with the Duke and Duchess of Brabant, and the Count of Flanders. Other royal guests including Prince Kyril and Princess Eudoxia of Brazil, Prince and Princess Paul of Yugoslavia; and the Duke of York, representing his father, King George V. Infante Don Ferdinando represented King Alfonso XIII of Spain.
The wedding march was an old Sardinian hymn sung "by the papal choir, lent to the royal family" for Umberto's wedding.
Cardinal Maffi officiated the wedding, which included the reading of the Italian code governing marriages. There were smiles among many on the congregation when the Cardinal read that Marie José must "contribute to her husband's maintenance if he had not sufficient means."
Umberto's father, King Vittorio Emanule is the richest man in Italy.
The nuptial mass was celebrated "according to the royal prerogative. After the Gospel was read, the celebrant offered it to the Italian sovereign who "kissed it and returned it."
On "magnificent gilded thrones ranged along the left side of the altar sat the Belgian and Italian sovereigns and princes."
Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians was dressed "all in white, with a veil of precious Brussels lace, held on her head by a magnificent diadem of diamonds, and a long cloak over her shoulders, supported by two liveried attendants." Queen Elena of Italy's dress was "a very pale mauve." She also wore a veil and a diadem of diamonds. Around her neck, Queen Elena wore her "famous triple string of matched pearls.
Crown Prince Umberto and Princess Marie José "stood in front of the altar, before a prie dieu upholstered in red brocade and fringed with gold lace." The heir to the Italian throne was dressed in a "gray-green uniform of a Colonel of Italian infantry." His tunic was "resplendent with decorations."
Princess Marie-José, the only daughter of King Albert and Queen Elisabeth, "looked lovely, dressed all in white. She wore "on her head, over the nuptial veil, a magnificent diadem of diamonds and other precious stones set in platinum." The diadem was a gift from Queen Elena.
The bride's 20-foot train "of white satin velour, fringed with ermine" was a gift from Crown Prince Umberto.
Throughout the ceremony, the princess appeared to be "radiantly happy," often glancing at the Crown Prince, "who returned her smile fondly."
During the ceremony, four princes of the House of Savoy moved toward the altar. Two stood at the side of the Crown Prince, and the other two place themselves by Princess Marie José, as they "held the fine veil traditional used by the House of Savoy at the wedding of a first-born son."
Cardinal Maffi turned to Umberto and said: "Your Royal Highness, Prince Umberto of Savoy, do you wish to take her Royal Highness, Princess Marie José of Belgium, as your lawfully wedding wife, according to the rites of the Holy Mother Church."
Crown Prince Umberto turned to face his parents, as it making a "formal request for consent," which was "given with a nod of the head." He replied in a "firm, clear voice: 'Yes'."
The question was then addressed to the Princess, "who impulsively cried 'Yes,' forgetting to turn until afterward to ask her parents' consent."
This was followed by the Crown Prince placing the wedding ring on his bride's finger.
After uniting the couple in "holy matrimony in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," Cardinal Maffi concluded the ceremony with the reading of further articles from the Italian civil code. He read that the wife must "follow her husband wherever he goes," and she must support him if he cannot earn a living.
The marriage deed was drawn up and sighed by the Belgian and Italian sovereigns and notarized by the president of the Senate.
The newly weds led the procession from the Pauline chapel to the private apartments of the Quirinal Palace. Umberto and Marie José appeared to be "extremely happy," and their faces were "wreathed in smiles."
Most of the invited guests were not present for the service as the Pauline chapel could accommodate only a small number, so the "majority of guests" were waiting in a "a series of large and magnificent halls in the palace."
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess made their way to the palace's balcony where they "received a tremendous ovation from the enormous crowds that had gathered in the piazza below."
The couple were running late, so Marie José did not have an opportunity to change out of her wedding gown before visiting the Vatican. The Pope commented that he was glad to see her in her wedding dress.
The papal visit was "private" and without any pomp. There was an exchange of gifts before the couple went to St. Peter's Basilica to pray at the Tomb of the Apostle.
They were driven back to the Quirinal Palace, "where the wedding breakfast had been kept waiting for them." This was followed by a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier," where the couple placed a wreath.
The wedding celebrations will continue for another three days. The couple will remain in Rome to attend a military review, a reception by the city of Rome. They will also receive "floral offerings" from Rome's school children, and the
homage of delegations from provincial governments." They will also be present for an performance at the Royal Opera House.
At the weekend, the couple will leave for their honeymoon at the royal family's castle at Racconigi.
For the next three days, Princess Marie José will stay with her parents at the Quirinal Palace, while Umberto will remain at Vlla Savoia with the Italian royal family.