Monday, June 6, 2011

Crown Prince Wilhelm and Duchess Cecilie are wed

June 5, 1905

Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin were married today in the Palace Chapel in Berlin, reports the New York Times.

This was "one of the most distinguished assemblages that could be gathered in Europe," where several hundred guests witnesses the "simple wedding service of the Lutheran Church."  Seventy of the guests represented German and foreign royal houses, including Archduke Franz Ferdinand, representing Emperor Franz Joseph, Grand Duke Michael of Russia, Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands, representing Queen Wilhelmina; the Duke and Duchess of Aosta, representing the King and Queen of Italy; Prince Arthur of Connaught, representing King Edward VII; Prince Albert of Belgium; the Duke of Oporto, representing the King; Prince Ferdinand of Roumania, and the Crown Princes of Denmark and Greece.

As there were no pews in the church,  the royal personages stood around the altar, and behind then, "without regard to rank," were members of the diplomatic corps, including the American Ambassador Tower and his wife.  There were also members of the military at the ceremony, and "one newspaper correspondent from each of the principal countries, and five correspondents from Germany."

The couple were married in a civil ceremony earlier today.    The new Crown Princess entered the church on the arm of her husband.  She wore "a wreath of myrtle in her hair, over which was a small crown, placed there by the Empress, of diamonds and rubies, set in a gold frame on purple velvet."  She also wore a large diamond necklace.

Cecilie's wedding gown was "of Russian silver brocade, with a train four and a half yards in length."  The train was attached to the shoulders. The bridal veil "was of old Brussels lace."  Four maids of honor were dress in "pale blue silk," the Crown Prince's favorite color.  The attendants carried the bride's train.  She was also followed by two young pages.   

Crown Prince Wilhelm wore "the light blue uniform of a Major of the First Footguards, and his decorations."

The bride and bridegroom were followed by the Empress on the arm of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the bride's brother, and the Emperor with the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the bride's mother.  They and other members of the royal family "stood to the right of the altar."

The ceremony was officiated by Pastor Dryander, the court chaplain.   He "spoke beauty of love, the large responsibilities resting on the youthful pair, and their need for support of faith and spiritual vision."
The simple vows were made and rings exchanged.  The couple knelt before Pastor Dryander for a blessing.  The entire wedding ceremony took twenty minutes.

Dr. Dryander shook the Crown Prince's hand, and embraced the Crown princess, and then presented them with a "Bible ornamentally bound."   Wilhelm II kissed his new daughter-in-law on both cheeks and then kissed his son.  The Empress did likewise.

The bride and groom, their families and guests, made their way to the White Hall for supper, which was followed by a torchlight dance, "a practice peculiar to weddings in the House of Hohenzollern for centuries."  The dance was left by twelve pages.  Crown Prince Wilhelm took his wife's hand and "walked slowly behind the pages, keeping step to the music."  Kaiser Wilhelm II then led the Crown Princess and the Crown Prince "led his mother around the same circuit."

When the dance was over, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess got into an open carriage for the ride to the Stettin railroad station, to board a special train waiting for them.  Attached to the train was a new private car, which was made for the Crown Prince, "which will be used in all his future travels."

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess are spending their honeymoon at Hubertusstock, a hunting lodge in a large forest near Eberswalde, Prussia.

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