Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grand wedding in Athens as Constantine marries Sophie

October 27, 1889

The weather was "delightful" today in Athens as Crown Prince Constantine of the Hellenes, Duke of Sparta, and Princess Sophie of Prussia were united in marriage, the New York Times reports. The wedding procession began at 11:00 a.m., "headed by a squadron of Calvary."

The first carriage was occupied by the Greek and German Court Marshals. In the second marriage were Prince George and Princesses Victoria and Maud of Wales and Princess Marie of Greece; in the third, Princess Viktoria and Margarete of Prussia, Prince Albert Victor of Wales and the Prince of Mecklenburg-Schwerin; in the fourth, the hereditary Prince and Princess of Saxe-Meiningen and Prince Henry of Prussia; in the fifth, the Princess of Wales, the Czarevitch and Prince Waldemar of Denmark; in the sixth, Empress Friedrich of Germany and the Prince of Wales; in the seventh, the Empress of Germany and the Queen of Denmark; in the eighth, Emperor Wilhelm of Germany and the King of Denmark.

This procession was followed by the "gorgeous state carriage" containing Queen Olga and the bride, "drawn by six black horses, covered with silver trimmings." On the other side of the carriage, on horseback, "were King George, the Duke of Sparta, and his brothers."

The entire route was lined with troops, "behind whom were packed solid masses of spectators."

They were special cheers for Wilhelm II and his wife, Augusta Viktoria, who wore 'magnificent diamonds" and attracted "universal admiration."

The scene in the cathedral was "a brilliant one, the uniforms of the assembled dignitaries the superb dresses and jewels of the ladies forming a splendid spectacle." The cathedral's enter aisle was strewn with roses. The Greek Orthodox service lasted for more than an hour.

Golden crowns were held over the bride and groom's heads. Prince Henry of Prussia and Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales "held the bride's coronet," while the young Russian heir, Nicholas, and his cousins, Prince Waldemar of Denmark and Prince George of Greece "held the coronet of the bridegroom.

The wedding party returned to the palace by a different route at 1 p.m. The couple celebrated a second marriage ceremony, according to the rites of the Lutheran church. This wedding was solemnized in the king's private chapel. Although Queen Olga and the Greek royal children are Orthodox, King George has retained his Lutheran faith. The new Crown Princess Sophie is also a Lutheran.

It was at 4 p.m., when the Duke of Sparta "conducted his bride from the royal palace to his own palace," amid cheers from the crowd. The Duchess of Sparta, "who was very pale, smilingly bowed in response."

The newlyweds were "obliged to appear on the balcony when they were greeted with cheers."

The Prince of Wales and his two sons will leave for Egypt tomorrow. The Princess of Wales and her daughters will remain in Greece for two weeks. Empress Frederick and her younger daughters, will also stay in Greece for several weeks before traveling on to Italy.

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