Monday, May 10, 2021

Archduke Otto weds in France

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 May 10, 1951

Archduke Otto of Austria, the titular Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire, married Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen today in Nancy, France.

The Associated Press reported that the ceremony was in the "lavish pomp of old."

The archduke, 38, is barred from returning to Austria.  He and 25-year-old Princess Regina were married in civil and religious ceremonies in Nancy, once the capital of Archduke Otto's  French ancestors, the Dukes of Lorraine.

The civil ceremony took place in the town's City Hall, where the Duchy of Lorraine's flag was flown from the balcony.  The Roman Catholic service took place in the Cathedral of the Ropemakers, where many of Otto's Lorraine ancestors are buried.

More than 400 guests attended the wedding, including David K.E. Bruce, the American ambassador to France, and Perle Mesta, the US Minister to Luxembourg.  Otto's brothers, Archduke Robert and Archduke Felix were the witnesses at the religious service.

Otto was accompanied by his mother, Empress Zita.   He succeeded his father, Emperor Karl, as the head of the House of Habsburg, in 1922, follow Karl's death from pneumonia.

Princess Regina wore a diamond tiara on her head.  Her gown was made from "oyster satin."  She was escorted down the aisle by her first cousin, Grand Duke Karl Augustus of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.   The new archduchess is the daughter of the late Prince Georg of Saxe-Meiningen, who died in 1946 in a Russian POW camp, and Countess Klara Marie von Korff genannt Schmissing-Kerssenbrock.

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The couple knelt on yellow cushions made by the women of Vienna and Linz for this wedding.  The cushions were sprinkled with dirt so it could be said that the marriage took place on Austrian soil. 

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Pope Pius XII's Apostolic Blessing to the newlyweds was read at the religious service.  "To our dear son, Prince Otto of Habsburg-Lorraine.  The awaited day will soon shine on the ceremony in which your Imperial and Royal Highness the Princess Regina of Saxony-Meiningen.  We do not wish this happy event to pass without giving to your souls the joy of our good wishes and our fatherly blessings."

Last 2 photos: Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

After the couple left for their honeymoon,  Mrs. Mesta told a reporter: "They are a charming couple.  Regina is a wonderful person  and I've known Otto for years."

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