Friday, June 21, 2019

Princess Cecilie weds American interior designer

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June 21, 1949

Princess Cecilie of Prussia, a granddaughter of the late Kaiser Wilhelm II, was married today at Burg Hohenzollern in Hechingen, to Clyde Harris, an Amarillo, Texas,-based interior designer, reports the Associated Press

The couple met at Schloss Wolfsgarten in Langen.  Harris, then an Army officer, was based in the area.

The civil ceremony took place in the castle's Tower room, and was performed by Hechingen's Mayor Paul Binderief.

This was followed by a Lutheran ceremony in the castle's chapel. The ceremony was performed by a refugee pastor from Silesia, the Rev. Reinhard Macholds.
A best man is not customary in German royal weddings, but Cecilie's brother, Prince Friedrich did the honors for his new brother-in-law. 

In an concession to another American custom, Princess Cecilie was given away by her father, Crown Prince Wilhelm, in the presence of members of her family, including her mother, Crown Princess Cecilie, her sister-in-law, Grand Duchess Kira, the wife of Prince Louis Ferdinand,  Prince Hubertus and his wife, Princess Magdalene,  Prince Friedrich, who came from England with his wife, Lady Brigid Guinness,  Princess Wilhelm of Prussia, the widow of Cecilie's eldest brother, Wilhelm, who had been killed in the second world war, and Prince and Princess Ludwig of Hesse and By Rhine, the owners of Schloss Wolfsgarten, where Cecilie met Harris.

A "peaked tiara glittered on the bride's head," holding a veil that her sister-in-law, Brigid, had brought from London.  Her wedding gown was made from white chiffon and made in Germany.  Cecilie chose to have a "short unroyal train."

A number of Americans were also present for the wedding including Lawrence Hagy, the mayor of Amarillo,  Texas, and Colonel and Mrs. Calhoun Ancram of Charleston, South Carolina.  Mrs. Ancrum is the former Princess Xenia Andreevna of Russia, daughter of  Prince Andrew Alexandrovich of Russia, eldest son of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, younger sister of the late Emperor Nicholas II.

The Hohenzollern Black Eagle flag was flown over the castle in honor of the princess' wedding.

Following the two ceremonies a reception was held in castle, where the guests "dined on goose liver, filet of sole, English roast beef, French fried potatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower salad, a fancy brick ice cream called Count Pucklereis, cheeses and coffee.

The bride and groom, both of whom are 31 years old, were serenaded by local villagers as they drove away to a "secret refuge somewhere in Germany."   The honeymoon is expected to last for ten days before Harris flies back to Texas to return to work and find a new apartment.   After completing the paperwork to emigrate to the United States, the new Mrs. Harris is expected to sail "three or four weeks later."

It was shortly after VE day in 1945, when Clyde Harris first met Cecilie, noting that  "the sun gleaming in her golden-brown hair, her blue eyes, and the low music of her laughter.

Schloss Wolfsgarten, the home of Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine and his British-born wife, Princess Margaret, was filled with royal refugees, including members of the Prussian royal family, who had fled their homes in the eastern part of Germany.  Harris, a member of the US military's Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program,  had originally come to Germany to help find and rescue German works of art.  He rescued Holbein Madonna and hart works,  which belonged to Philipp, the Prince of Hesse, which had been hidden in the Veste Coburg, and brought back to Wolfsgarten.

The Prince of Hesse, a noted Nazi, was married to Princess Mafalda of Italy, daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele, who died in a concentration camp in 1944.

Clyde Harris was invited to Wolfsgarten to catalog Prince Ludwig's art collection.

1 comment:

Gammyjill said...

I wondered if the two stayed married, and found out via Wiki that Captain Harris died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 39. He was one of Monuments Men.