Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The marriage of Princess Margrethe of Denmark and Prince Rene of Bourbon Parma

June 9, 1921

Princess Margrethe of Denmark and Prince Rene of Bourbon-Parma were married today at the  Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Copenhagen in the presence of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine,  Queen Louise, the Queen Mother,  the Dowager Empress of Russia, and other members of the Danish royal family.

The 25-year-old princess is the youngest child and only daughter of Prince Valdemar of Denmark, the youngest son of the late King Christian IX, and Princess Marie of Orléans, daughter of Prince Robert, Duke of Chartres, and Princess Francoise of Orléans.  When her parents married in 1885, it was decided that their sons would be raised Lutheran, the faith of their father, but daughters would be raised in Princess Marie's Roman Catholic faith.

Princess Margrethe was only 14 years old when her mother died after a short illness in December 1909.

King Christian IX and Princess Margrethe, 1899

The couple's four sons, Princes Aage, Axel, Erik, and Viggo were all baptized Lutheran but the youngest child, Princess Margrethe Françoise Louise Marie Helene was baptized as a Roman Catholic.   She was named for Princess Marie's sister, Princess Marguerite is married to  Marie-Armand-Patrice de Mac-Mahon, Duke of Magenta.

The Princess' First Communion

Prince Rene Charles Marie Joseph of Bourbon-Parma, 26, is the seventh surviving son of the late Duke Roberto I of Parma and his second wife, Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal.  Two of his full siblings are Prince Felix, the consort of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, and former Empress Zita, the widow of Emperor Karl of Austria, who died in exile in 1922.

The prince and two of his brothers, the Duke of Parma and Prince Felix joined the Austrian army during the Great War.

Princess Margarete, a first cousin of King George V, lived in England for several years during the war, where she worked as a nurse at  Harrogate Hospital which treated wounded soldiers. During her stay in England, she lived with Queen Alexandra until the end of 1920.   Family members were somewhat concerned that Margrethe had not yet found a husband.  She eschewed their attempts at matchmaking, saying that she would marry for love, "even if he turned out to be a chimney sweep."

The Princess was in Paris visiting her cousin, Prince George of Greece when she married Prince Rene.  She did not take her grandmother, the Duchess of Chartres' advice: 'Whatever you do, never marry a Bourbon." 

The couple fell in love and began to make plans for their future together.  The engagement of Prince Rene and the "pretty, vivacious" Princess Margrethe was announced in March.

 She was one of the "most popular" princesses in Denmark and has received numerous gifts, which include a sapphire and brilliants ring from Queen Alexandrine, a pearl collar from the Dowager Queen Olga of Greece, "a tiara of brilliants and rubies," from the bride's grandmother, the Duchess of Chartres, a diamond collar from Empress Zita, and from the Duke and Duchess of Magenta, a diamond bracelet.

The bride wore her mother's bridal veil, made from "old Brussels lace."

Large crowds were lining the streets of Copenhagen to "cheer the Princess on her return from church to Amalienborg Castle," where the reception was held.

All images  Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

The newlyweds plan to live in Paris.

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