Friday, October 19, 2012

Soak it up, folks

The wedding celebrations for Prince Guillaume and Princess Stephanie are truly grand.  Right now as I write this piece,  a gala white tie dinner is taking palace at the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg.   Who cares what the men are wearing because the women are dazzling arrays of sparkle galore. 

Much to everyone's surprise,  Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg, the wife of Prince Guillaume, youngest brother of Grand Duke Henri, arrived wearing Queen Ena's aquamarine tiara.  Sibilla had kindly allowed her sister-in-law, Diane de Nassau, wife of Prince Jean, to borrow her own diamond tiara.

(This may be Diane's first official royal event in Luxembourg, as her wedding to Prince Jean did not go down well at the Palace.  Jean's first wife, Helene Vestsur, was also invited to the wedding.)

Several months ago, the Spanish press was speculating that King Juan Carlos II had purchased the aquamarine tiara as a 50th anniversary gift for Queen Sofia.  At the time, I thought the story was a bit far-fetched on several levels. For one thing,  most of the descendants of Infanta Beatriz (who inherited the tiara) do not need the cash.  Her youngest daughter, Olimpia, is the widow of the then richest man in France, Paul-Annick Weiller, who was worth billions.  

The fragile state of the Spanish economy is the second reason why Juan Carlos would not have bought the tiara, even if he got it a bargain basement price, and he paid for it with his own funds.  Such a purchase could fan the flames for further discontent in Spain.  Not the time to be making the big ticket purchase.

The third reason is the relationship between the King and the Queen.  A super tiara won't assuage all the pain that Juan Carlos has caused Sofia, so a grand tiara is not the kind of gift Juan Carlos should be even considering. 

The story was bogus, and the tiara has made a grand reappearance on the head of a very pretty princess.

This wedding will be the last grand royal wedding for some years to come.  All of the heirs to the throne are married.  The second in line to the British throne is also married.

The eldest of the heirs apparents' heirs is 17-year-old Prince Joseph Wenzel of Liechtenstein.  His wedding will unlikely be a truly grand occasion on the same level as other European weddings.

In Britain,  Prince Harry's wedding will be major news with live television coverage.  It is unlikely that the weddings of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie will be televised live, especially if they do not become full working members of the Royal Family.

Sweden has two unmarried royals:  Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine.  There will certainly be interest by royalty watchers (and the Scandinavian media)  in the marriages of Crown Princess Victoria's younger siblings.  But the weddings will not be state occasions.

I won't be surprised if the next royal wedding announcement also comes out of Luxembourg with Prince Félix finally marrying his longtime girlfriend, Claire Lademacher.   Prince Félix and his brother, Prince Sébastian and their sister, Princess Alexandra are unmarried.  Alexandra and Sébastian attend college in the United States.

This means a definite dearth of gala royal events in the next two decades There may be a few state funerals and a Coronation, perhaps wedding anniversaries, but no major royal weddings for European reigning royal families.

A case of hatched, matched, and ... dispatched.

Enjoy this wedding.  The live streaming is not geo-blocked, and yes, on this side of the pond, we do have to get up early if we want to watch the wedding tomorrow.   It will be worth it!

1 comment:

emily said...

It's kind of disappointing, as we've had a lot of tiara-wearing events over the past ten years. I think we were a little spoiled in seeing all of the jewels displayed so often!

I see a lot of royal babies coming about in the near future. I could presumably see Guillaume/Stephanie, Victoria/Daniel, William/Kate,and Albert/Charlene all become parents (or in V&D's case, become parents again) in the next five years.