Monday, April 18, 2011

Countess Alice Szecheny marries in "brilliant bridal"

April 18, 1931

Countess Alice S. Szechenyi, 19, daughter of the Hungarian minister to the United States, and Countess Szechenyi, and Count Bela Hadik, 26, son of Count John Hadik, a member of the upper house of the Hungarian Parliament, and his wife, the former Countess Alexandra Zichy, were married today in Washington, D.C., reports the New York Times.

More than 1,000 guests attended the wedding which took place at St. Matthew's Church. The Apostolic delegate concluded the Roman Catholic service with the reading of a cable message in which " 'as a pledge of heavenly favor,' the Pope conferred upon the bridal couple his apostolic blessing.

The bride entered the church on the arm of her father.  She was dressed in a "gown of white satin, made with long sleeves, round lace and lace flounce, the long satin train being embroidered in silver and silk.  Her veil was "old lace."  Both the gown and veil were worn by her mother, the former Gladys Vanderbilt, at her own wedding.

The bride was met was the chancel steps by Count Bela, and his best man, Count Stephen Szechenyi, both of whom were in "the Hungarian court costumes of their respective ranks."

Countess Cornelia Szechenyi was maid of honor for her sister and the bridesmaids were Countess Margaret Hadik, Princess Elizabeth Cantacuzene, niece of Prince and Princess Michael Cantucuzene; Miss Dora White, and Miss Estelle Eustis.  The bride's younger sisters, Countesses Sylvia, and Nandine Szechenyi were the flower girls.   All of the attendants were dressed in "long, pale green chiffon dresses, made with capes, and green straw hats with bands of green ribbon.  The bouquets were made from Spring flowers.

The bride and groom received messages of congratulations from Hungarian Prime Minister, Count Stephen Bethlen and his wife; from the Regent Horthy, Archduke Friedrich and Archduchess Isabella of Austria, and Nicholas Roosevelt, U.S. Minister to Hungary.

Count Bela and his wife will sail in early May for Hungary and will make their home at Seregélyes, the Hadik family estate south of Budapest.   The Count, who studied at the Agricultural College in Magarovar, Hungary, will be taking over the running of the estate.

The couple received more than 200 wedding gifts.  Mrs. Hoover, the wife of President Hoover, sent "an early edition of John Howard Hinton's history of the United States of America.    Countess Hadik's gift to her new daughter-in-law is a diamond necklace and matching earrings, which Empress Maria Teresia of Austria had given to "an ancestor of the bride and bridegroom.

Count Hadik's gift "was a porcelain dinner set for twenty-four persons made in Herend, Hungary."   The newlyweds included a diamond and emerald bracelet and earrings and a new car.  Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney sent a "single strand necklace of matched pearls, with a pendant of rubies, emeralds, and diamonds."

The reception was held at the Hungarian Legation.

[Count and Countess Bela are buried in the family tomb at  Seregélyes.  During the second world war, the palace was occupied first by German troops, and then by the Soviets.  Most of the family's possessions were lost during this time.  The castle is now a luxury hotel. The family escaped from Hungary in 1945 and settled in the United States in 1946.  They lived for many years in Chester, New Hampshire. 
Bela and Alice had two sons, John Bela and Laszlo.  In June 1956, Laszlo married Countess Vita Strachwitz.  John Bela married Edith Gaillet in 1962.   Count Bela Hadik died in February 1971 at Camden, South Carolina.  At the time of his death,  Laszlo was living in Washington, D.C., and John Bela was residing in Switzerland.  He was survived by his wife, two sons, and seven grandchildren. 

 Alice was on a flight from Boston to Lisbon when she became ill.  She was taken off the plane in Lison and died there on February 26, 1974.  The cause of death was a stroke.  Alice was 64 years old.  Her son, Count Laszlo, was killed in a plane crash at Boston's Logan Airport in August 1974.]

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