Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Huge cheers for Alfonso as Beatriz marries

Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection

January 14, 1935
The "monarchistic spirit in Spain is dying hard," according to the Chicago Daily Tribune, which covered the wedding today of King Alfonso XIII's elder daughter, Infanta Beatriz, to Italian nobleman, Don Alessandro Torlonia. It is estimated that 4,000 Spaniards came to Rome to cheer the king and his daughter. The demonstrations outside the Jesuit Church of Jesus were described as "unusual," and the throngs of royalists threw kisses to their exiled king.

The only "jarring note" was the absence of the bride's mother, Queen Ena, who remained at her London hotel. There are unconfirmed rumors that the king and queen are estranged and will seek a divorce.

Further monarchists demonstrations took place at the Hotel Excelsior, where the wedding reception took place. The New York Times reported that "royalists gave vent to such loud cheering that Italian police sought to calm them."

The religious service was conducted by Pedro Cardinal Segura y Saenz, the exiled primate of Spain. The wedding guests included the King and Queen of Italy, and other members of the Italian royal family, who sat in the royal pew. Other royal houses that were represented were those of Bavaria, Orleans, Braganza, Greece and the French Bourbons, "with a sprinkling of Habsburgs."

The bride's family included her father, her sister, Maria Cristina, and three of her brothers, the Count of Covadonga, and the Infantes Jaime and Juan. Beatriz's youngest brother, Infante Gonzalo, was killed in an automobile accident last summer while Beatriz was driving the car.

Beatriz wore "a simple, almost severe, white satin gown with a long train." The train and the gown were trimmed with ermine. Orange blossoms from Spain "formed her coronet." Beatriz also wore a "tulle veil and a collar and necklace of pearls" that belonged to her grandmother, Queen Maria Cristina.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom had a private audience with Pope Pius XI.

Don Alessandro is half-American, as his mother is the former Elsie Moore of New York.

Princess Elsie "was pushed nearly out of the picture, taking her place on the benches back of the altar for near relatives." No chair was provided for her, as the mother of the bridegroom, as was customary. At the wedding breakfast, Elsie was seated "far down the left side of the table."

The bride received several impressive wedding gifts. King Alfonso's gift was a diadem, collar, and pendant of black pearls that once belonged to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and later to Beatriz's grandmother, Maria Cristina. An aquamarine parure was given to the bride by Queen Elena. Princess Torlonia's gift to her new daughter-in-law was a "jeweled spray."

The newlyweds "slipped away to Frascati" for an overnight stay before traveling on to London to visit Queen Ena.

Queen Ena has not responded to requests for interviews, but her secretary has issued the following statement: I cannot give any reason why her majesty did not go to Rome."

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