Saturday, December 29, 2012

Something old, Something blue

While most people were looking at Archduchess Adelaide of Austria's wedding gown, designed by French couturier Diane Lelys, some royal fashionistas focused on what the mother of the bride was wearing.

Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria was dressed in  a robin egg blue suit that was first worn in 2000 by her late mother, Grand Duchess Josephine, at Grand Duke Henri's investiture ceremony.  This gives new meaning to raiding your mom's closet.

Marie Astrid wore the same suit, but in brown, to the wedding of her daughter, Archduchess Marie Christine.

Adelaide Drapé-Frisch, the eldest of five children of a French diplomat, and Archduke Christoph of Austria, third of five children of Archduke Christian of Austria and Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg, were married today at the Basilica of St. Epvre in Nancy, the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Lorraine.

Sixteen priests took part in the nuptial mass, which was officiated by Jean-Louis Papin, Bishop of Nancy.   The bride and groom received a dispensation to marry in the cathedral. 

The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg were among the guests at the wedding.  The Grand Duke is the groom's godfather.  (The groom's godmother is Archduchess Alexandra, sister of Archduke Christian.)   They were accompanied by the Hereditary Grand Duke and Grand Duchess,  Prince Felix and his fiancee, Claire Lademacher, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, and their son, Prince Gabriel, Princess Alexandra and Prince Sebastien.   The Grand Duke's siblings and members of their family were also in attendance, including Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein and her husband, Prince Nikolaus and their children, and Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla and their youngest child, Prince Jean.  I did not see Princess Margaretha's twin brother, Prince Jean, and his wife, Diane, at the wedding, although it is likely that their children were present.

Archduke Christoph's witnesses were his older brother, Imre, and their cousin, Prince Felix.   His siblings were also at the wedding.  Archduchess Marie Christine and her husband, Count Rodolphe of Limburg-Stirum, brought along their young (and adorable) son, Count Leopold.   Archuke Imre was accompanied by his new bride, Kathleen.  Christoph's youngest siblings, Gabriela and Alexander, entered the church together.

Christoph's widowed paternal grandmother, Archduchess Yolande, traveled from her Brussels' home to attend the civil and religious weddings, but his maternal grandfather, Grand Duke Jean was present for the church service and the official photographs,

Although a guest list has not been published, it is understood Christoph's Habsburg cousins were present in the basilica, as well as members of the de Ligne and Merode families.  Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein, were also among the guests.  The de Lignes included the Prince and Princess de Ligne and Prince Henri and Princess Alix de Ligne.  The Duke and Duchess of Croy were also in the cathedral, as was Countess Antonia Holstein-Ledreborg.

One cousin who was spotted by a photographer was Duchess Sophie of Hohenberg, younger daughter of the late Princess Elisabeth of Luxembourg. She attended the wedding with her husband, Baron Jean-Louis de Potesta, and their children, Charles, Louis, Elisabeth and Eleonore and her husband, Don Diego Fernandez de Cordova y Cervero.  Others spotted the Prince of Ligne and his children.

The bride and her father arrived by car.  She wore a cream colored gown with a fur trimmed jacket, which would keep her warm inside the church.  Adelaide wore the same floral tiara that Archduchess Marie Christine wore on her wedding day.  The tiara held the Habsburg family veil in place. 

Prince Jean of Nassau and Prince Noah of Nassau, sons of Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla and Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, respectively, were two of the pages.

After the wedding ceremony, the couple emerged from the cathedral arm in arm.  They got into a car and were driven back to the town hall, where they made a second appearance on the balcony, obliging the crowd with a kiss.   This was followed by a lunch, and in the evening a gala dinner.

The groom is 24, and his wife is 23 years old.

According to the Luxembourg Court, about 1000 people were present for the wedding.  One assumes that this number includes the general public as the wedding was open to the public.   But one can also assume that a few foreign royals were present for the ceremony, but so far none of the news articles have included the names or photographs of anyone but the immediate family and the Luxembourgs.  One wonders if there is a rift between Marie Astrid and her Belgian first cousins as none attended this wedding nor the wedding of her elder son, Imre, in Washington, D.C.

The last Habsburg to marry in Nancy was Archduke Otto, eldest son of Emperor Karl and Empress Zita, who married Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen in 1951.  As their marriage could not have taken place in Vienna,  Nancy, as the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Lorraine, was the next best thing.

Archduke Otto was the head of the former ruling house of Habsburg.  He was succeeded by his elder son, Archduke Karl.  Karl and his siblings are apparently not close to their paternal first cousins.  It is said that that breakdown occurred at the time of Archduke Karl's marriage to the very wealthy Baroness Francesca von Thyssen.  Other family members did not consider Francesca  as suitable for a de jure empress.  Francesca was described as canonically illegitimate by the Roman Catholic church as her parents were married in a civil ceremony only, as her father's first marriage had ended in divorce.  She was received into the Catholic church before she married Karl.

None of Archduke Otto's four brothers attended Karl's wedding.   They were not impressed with Francesca's millions nor her father's five marriages nor her own earlier party-girl lifestyle. According to the Sunday Telegraphy (January 31, 1993),  "thirty-five of the closest male relatives are reported to have signed a letter" appealing to Archduke Otto to "forbid the marriage."   Otto's brothers viewed Francesca as a "parvenu of questionable pedigree."

Otto brushed off their concerns,  allowed the marriage to take place, and accepted the marriage as equal.    The only requirement for an equal marriage now is for the bride to be a Christian.

Karl's wedding was boycotted by many of the Habsburgs including his uncles and their families.   The estrangement between Karl and his cousins remains.   He and Francesca live their own separate lives as well.

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