Thursday, March 20, 2014

King Peter weds Princess Alexandra

Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection
March 21, 1944

King Peter II of Yugoslavia married Princess Alexandra of Greece today in a "long-awaited and often-postponed" ceremony.

The couple was married at the Yugoslav Legation.  The marriage could "stir up political developments in the Balkans," reports the New York Times.

The couple's engagement was announced in 1942, there have been numerous "political squabbles in Yugoslavia."  Serbs, who hold most of the power, have been opposed to marriage because a marriage made in exile by the King would not be "received well" by his people.

On the other hand, the Croatians and Slovenes, are in favor of marriage as a "political expedient."

Princess Alexandra, 23, was dressed in a white gown and "wore her hair in a rolled halo, with a white flower spray almost hiding her miniature skull cap."  The 21-year-old King Peter, who wore the "light blue uniform of the Yugoslav Air Force," appeared "slightly shorter than his tall, slim dark bride."

The wedding ceremony took place in a "flower-bowered room" by the priests representing the Serbian and Greek Orthodox churches. The wedding rings were placed "on their fingers," by Peter's godfather, King George VI.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom were kissed by King George and Queen Elizabeth.  Before the marriage ceremony, the wedding crowns were placed "firmly on the heads of the couple," and not held over their heads, which is the usual custom.

At the end of the wedding, the bride and groom walked around the altar three times, followed by King George VI and King George II of the Hellenes, both of whom carried lighted candles.

Other royal guests at the wedding included King Haakon of Norway, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Prince Bernhard, Princess Aspasia, the bride's mother, the Duchess of Kent, and the Duke of Gloucester.

The groom's mother, Queen Marie, was unable to attend the wedding due to poor health.

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