Thursday, September 23, 2021

Mafalda & Philipp marry

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September 23, 1925

It was a "ceremony of medieval overtones, gorgeous in the splendour of its setting," but "simple in the brief plainness of the ritual," according to the New York Times' coverage of the marriage between Princess Mafalda of Italy, 22, and Prince Philipp of Hesse.

The couple was married in the chapel at the castle of Racconigi.
The small chapel was dimly lit "by ancient artistic chandeliers, decorated with white flowers and green festoons." In front of the altar, which was "lit by hundreds of candles," Mafalda and Philipp knelt, side by side "on the cushions of crimson silk edged with gold."

Members of the Italian royal family were on the right side of the altar, kneeling at prie-dieu "prepared for their use." On the left side, "a brilliant group of royal princes representing European reigning houses."

Princess Mafalda, the second daughter of King Victor Emanuel and Queen Elena, was "attired all in white. She wore a "richly embroidered silk dress," which had a long train carried by "two pretty golden-hair little girls and two small boys, who were "dressed as medieval pages." Her veil was of "ancient hand-made lace, festooned with sprigs of orange blossoms.. Mafalda's fair hair -- she is the only light-skinned sibling --"was fastened in large coils at the back of her head."
The Princess' two younger sisters, Giovanna and Maria, were the bridesmaids. Giovanna wore a rose-colored dress and Maria was dressed in white.
The only jewelry that she wore was a strand of 300 pearls, a gift from her brother, the Crown Prince.

Prince Philipp, "broad-shouldered, fair, of athletic build," wore the uniform of a Lieutenant of Prussian Dragoons.

The blessing was performed by the Court Chaplain, who raised his hands over the couple.

Mafalda "looked radiantly happy," and her "apparent feelings were repeated in the expression" of Philipp's face.

The religious wedding was preceded by a civil ceremony, which was performed by Premier Mussolini in the castle's large hall. The Premier is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs and was acting in the capacity of the Crown Notary.
The Princess is "an accomplished linguist" and speaks most of the "European languages fluently." She adores Puccini, "whose airs she loves to render on the piano, violin, and harp." Mafalda is also a "keen sportswoman, and enjoys horseback, tennis, yachting and driving a car. She also enjoys riding a bicycle. Her new husband is of "medium height and very fair and stalwart," and is considered "a typical open-air man." His friends describe him as "full of fun." He is an accomplished architect "with an enviable record of beautiful buildings erected in his home city and elsewhere."

The couple left for their honeymoon by motor car. They expect to reach Friedrichshof "in easy stages," and after stopping there for a few days, they will return to Rome to live in a small villa on the grounds of the King's country residence. The villa was designed by Prince Philipp.

Mafalda, "who is a keen lover and student of the fine arts," met Prince Philipp, now 29,  at an exhibit of paintings in Rome. They met several more times at the Quirinal Palace, "where the fond friendship founded on similar interests soon budded into love."

At first, there was some opposition to the marriage because the Princess is Roman Catholic and Prince Philipp is a Lutheran. They were worried that the Vatican might not give its consent. But when the Vatican received a written declaration from Philipp "that he would renounce all claims to the throne and would make no effort to convert his wife," the dispensation for the mixed marriage was granted.

Prince Philipp is a nephew of the former Kaiser Wilhelm II. Members of nine royal families were present for the wedding: Italy, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Roumania, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Austria, and Montenegro. Crown Prince Umberto of Italy and Crown Prince Carol of Roumania served as witnesses for the civil ceremony, and the two witnesses for the religious service were the bride's brother-in-law, Count Calvi di Bergolo and Prince Christopher of Greece.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Was it a successful marriage?