Tuesday, May 31, 2016

BULLETIN: Bomb thrown at Alfonso & Ena during wedding procession

May 31, 1906

The newly married King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain had "come from the altar and were receiving an ovation from their myriad of subjects," greater than this "proud capital" had ever seen, when, according to a special cable dispatch from the Washington Post, they "were brought face to face with the peril of assassination in its deadliest form."

The king and queen, in their carriage, were enjoying the roses, "flung from every side," falling in a "soft cascade," upon the carriage.  Queen Victoria Eugenia, showing "unfeigned delight," bowed right and left in "acknowledgment of the deafening, unending chorus of welcome and congratulations."

King Alfonso ignored the crowd and was "feasting his eyes upon the face of his bride," when a bunch f roses, "flung from a balcony," fell in front of the carriage.   There was a "terrible crash," and smoke and began to rise.

Within an instant "death and consternation" supplanted the "mirth and rejoicing."  Men and women were dead or injured.  Many "turned instinctively" toward the king and queen, and "saw their faces pale amid the ruins, gazing pitifully at the terrifying scene around them."

The Duke of Cornachuelos rushed toward the bridal carriage. He opened the door and "fairly dragged" the King and Queen to the ground, where they were surrounded by the royal escort and quickly led to another carriage.   King Alfonso "mastered his emotion," and turned his attention to his "terrified bride."

The procession was restarted and made its way to the palace, a mile away.

Neither the King and Queen were hurt, which was nothing short of a miracle.  The Queen showed great bravery as she tried to control her feelings, but the "fearful transition from joy to horror" was too much for her to endure and she burst into tears.  The King was also seen to be weeping in sympathy.

The day has started out with great promise as Madrid's citizens gathered on the streets to witness the celebration of the marriage of King Alfonso to Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg.

One of the most adorable sights was the "tiny" Infante Alfonso, heir presumptive to the throne, who accompanied his uncle, King Alfonso.  The four-year-old boy is the son of Alfonso's older sister, Mercedes, Princess of Asturias. who died after giving birth to a daughter in 1904.  The little boy was dressed in white silk knickerbockers.

King Alfonso reached the altar "long before" his bride, and there appeared to be a "lengthy wait," as the king gazed toward the cathedral's door.

The bride was up early.  She came early to the Pardo Palace, accompanied by her mother, Princess Henry of Battenberg, and her "ladies of honor, and escorted by a regiment of the Royal Guards.  They arrived at the ministry of marine, where the bride put on her wedding dress,  Queen Maria Cristina welcomed the bride, and the "ladies breakfasted together in the blue salon."

The wedding procession began at the royal palace at 9:30 a.m,, when the church bells began to ring.

The coaches included the Spanish Grandees, which were followed by the coaches carrying members of the foreign royal families including the Prince and Princess of Wales, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia, Prince Albrecht of Prussia, and Prince Albert of the Belgians.

The King's coach was greeted with a "great roar." Alfonso could be seen "smiling and bowing." He was accompanied by his brother in law, Infante Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the widower of the late Princess of Asturias and his young son, Infante Alfonso.

This procession was followed by the coaches carrying the Lords and Ladies in waiting and the Princes and Princesses of the House Battenberg.  The final coach in the procession was the "famed mahogany coach" with the "radiant bride," accompanied by her mother and Queen Maria Christina.

There were great cheers for the young woman who was about to become their Queen.  Within minutes those cheers would turn to screams as the joy of the day was marred when an anarchist throws a bomb at the bridal carriage.

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