Thursday, February 12, 2015

Maria Pia weds Alexander

February 12, 1955

Princess Maria Pia of Italy and Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia were married today in the parish church in Cascais, a fishing village in Portugal.

The 20-year-old princess is the daughter of the exiled King Umberto of Italy.  Prince Alexander, 30, is the eldest of three children of the exiled Prince and Princess Paul.

The "simple ceremony" took only seven minutes as Princess Maria Pia is a Roman Catholic and Prince Alexander is a member of the Orthodox church.   As this was a mixed marriage, the nuptial mass was not performed.

The Italian and Yugoslav national anthems were sung as the newly married couple appeared at the church.  Waiting outside were 2500 cheering Italians, who had traveled to Portugal for this event.  More than 10,000 Portuguese "surrounded the church."

The couple met last year on the Greek liner Agamemnon, on a cruise hosted by Queen Frederika for European royalty.

Former Queen Marie Jose of Italy and Prince Paul headed the procession.  They were followed by Prince Alexander and his mother, Princess Olga.  Last to arrive at the church were King Umberto and Princess Maria Pia.

The bride was dressed in a "gown of white satin the Italian Renaissance style."  Her train was described as "medium length," and the veil was held in place a diamond diadem.  She carried a bouquet of orange blossoms, "surrounded by Portuguese lace," and she held a "small embroidered purse" that that three Roman girls had made "and sent for luck.

The "magnificent reception" at the Estoril Palace hotel followed the wedding service.

United Press reports that 4000 people attended the reception, where "champagne flowed freely."   Guests included the young exiled King of Simeon of Bulgaria, Archduke Franz Josef of Austria, the Count of Barcelona, the Count of Paris, the Duke of Braganza.

The "huge wedding cake" was cut with a ceremonial sword. 

The newly married Prince and Princess Alexander left the hotel for a "secret honeymoon haven at a private walled estate in Portugal," and were expected to travel to Madeira in a few days.

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