Thursday, September 30, 2021

Let the celebrations begin


The Duke of Aosta,  Grand Duke George, the Prince of Venice, and Prince Charles-Philippe of Orleans, Duke of Anjou,  (provided to me by a friend who is attending the wedding.)

Tonight -- actually now -- the  Vladimir Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, will play host to a cocktail reception to welcome the foreign guests who have been invited to Grand Duke George and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini's wedding.  The reception commences at 7 pm and will end at 1 a.m.  

There is a catch, however, guests cannot stay for the entire time.  Covid restrictions are in place and only 100 guests at a time can be at the reception.  The menu featured drinks and finger food.   A private family dinner for about 20 guests took place at the Vladimir Palace before the reception.   Grand Duke George and Victoria Romanovna were present for the dinner and stayed for the entire drinks reception.

More guests include the Duke and Duke of Braganza, Prince Charles-Henri Lobkowicz, Prince Rudolf and Princess Tilsim of Liechtenstein, Prince Wenzelaus of Liechtenstein, Crown Prince Leka and Crown Princess Elia of Albania, Prince Joachim and Princess Yasmine Murat, Prince Muhammad Ali and Princess Noal Zaher of Egypt, Prince Davit Bagration, Princess Irina Bagration, Juan Carlos Gamarra Skeels, Peru's ambassador to the UK, and his wife, Desiree Prinzessin von Preussen, who is a younger half-sister Grand Duke George's father,  Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia. 

 A number of regrets are due to Covid.  

The Vladimir Palace was the last imperial palace built in St. Petersburg.   The front of the palace faces the Palace Embankment and the Neva, as does the Marble and Winter Palaces.  

The palace was constructed for Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (1847-1909), a younger son of Emperor Alexander II.  Construction began in 1867 and was completed in 1872, two years before the Grand Duke's marriage to HH Duchess Marie Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

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Vladimir and Marie Pavlovna, as she was known after her marriage, were the parents of four children: Grand Duke Kirill (1876-1938), Grand Duke Boris (1877-1943), Grand Duke Andrew (1879-1956), and Grand Duchess Helen (1882-1957).

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[In 1902, Helen married Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, third son of King Gorge I of the Hellenes and Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinova of Russia.  They were the parents of three daughters, Olga (HRH Princess Paul of Yugoslavia), Elisabeth (HRH Countess von Toerring-Jettenbach) and Marina (HRH The Duchess of Kent)].

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 Grand Duke Kirill married his first cousin, HRH Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, the divorced wife of Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and By Rhine.

Victoria Melita was the second daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia, daughter of Alexander II.

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Kirill and Victoria Melita were married in 1905.  After Nicholas II recognized the marriage, Victoria, who had converted to Orthodoxy, was styled as Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna of Russia.

They had three children: Maria (1907-1951) who married Karl, 6th Prince of Leiningen in 1925), Kira (1909-1967), the wife of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, the head of the Imperial House of Germany), and Wladimir (1917-1992).

After the deaths of Nicholas II, his son Alexis and Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich,  Grand Duke Kirill succeeded as de jure Emperor of all the Russias.  Following his death, Wladimir became head of the Imperial House.

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Grand Duke George is a descendant of both Queen Victoria and Alexander II.

Victoria - Alfred - Victoria Melita - Wladimir - Maria - George

Victoria - Victoria - Wilhelm II - Joachim - Karl Franz Josef - Franz Wilhelm - George 

Alexander II - Maria Alexandrovna -Victoria Melita - Wladimir - Maria  - George

Alexander II - Vladimir - Kirill - Wladimir - Maria - George

The marriage between HIH Grand Duke Georg and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini will take place tomorrow at noon at St. Isaac's Cathedral.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Air Gotha arrives in St Petersburg

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In what may be the largest gathering of royalty in Russia since before 1914,  guests have begun to arrive in St. Petersburg for the wedding on Friday of HIH Grand Duke Georg of Russia and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini.   The Grand Duke is the son of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia and Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia.

The couple will exchange vows in St. Isaac's Cathedral at noon.

Although not yet officially confirmed,  King Simeon of the Bulgarians and  King Fuad II of Egypt are among the former reigning sovereigns who have already arrived at their hotels in St. Petersburg.  Other guests who are reported to be in St Petersburg are Crown Prince Leka of Albania,  members of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein,  the Prince of Venice,  the Duke and Duchess of Aosta, Luis Alfonso de Borbón y Martínez-Bordiú, Prince David Bagration, and Prince Michel of Yugoslavia.

The Duchess of Aosta (Princess Olga of Greece) will represent King Constantine II of the Hellenes    It is also reported that Prince Michel, son of the late Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia will represent Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine, who are also unable to attend.

It is also understood that Her Majesty Margareta, Custodian of the Crown, and Prince Radu of Romania sent their regrets due to a previously scheduled event.

Grand Duke George's mother, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, the head of the Imperial house, and de jure Empress of all the Russias, arrived earlier today from Spain.  She was accompanied by her older half-sister, Helene Kirby, Countess Dvinskaya.

This post will be updated tomorrow as I expect to wake up to more messages from friends who are in St. Petersburg for the wedding.  The source for this post is a friend, who is attending the wedding festivities.  It was 4 a.m. in the morning (St. Petersburg time) that he messaged me with the guest information.

Grand Duke George and Victoria (Rebecca) Bettarini on the train en route to St.Petersburg.

An interview with Victoria and George.  Click on translate to read the article.  Victoria speaks English in the interview.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Villa Tasca: celebrating a royal wedding

@David Walker / Villa Tasca

 HRH Prince Jaime, Duke of  Noto, and Lady Charlotte Lindesay-Bethune spent the week before their wedding at Villa Tasca in Palermo.  The peace and tranquility offered at the Villa allowed the young couple to prepare for their wedding without any intrusion.  

The Villa is owned by the Mastrogiovanni Tasca family and managed by Claudia Ruffo di Calabria, a niece of Queen Paola of the Belgians.  Claudia's mother is Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca, is the sister of the present owner,  Lucio Mastrogiovanni Tasca, Count d’Almerita

@David Walker/ Villa Tasca

@David Walker/ Villa Tasca

The young couple -- now the TRH The Duke and Duchess of Noto --were able to enjoy walks in the park and candlelight dinners at the Villa after "days of official engagements,"  According to the Villa spokesman, Jaime, and Charlotte, who stayed in the Contessa Suite,  celebrated "intimate moments of relaxation and peace."

The Villa Tasca, according to their website,  "is located on the road from Palermo to Monreale, in a 20-acre park full of citrus orchards and majestic century-old trees

On Saturday morning,  the Duke of Noto invited his witnesses to "breakfast among the frescoes of Villa Tasca's salons."   The group of you men, family, and friends, some of who were dressed in a kilt, arrived at 8:00 a.m.   Afterward, they left for church, offering best wishes to the groom, as he prepared to dress for the wedding. 

Following the service at the Cathedral in Monreale and the wedding reception, which was held at the Royal Palace, the bride and groom returned to the Villa Tasca, where their official wedding photos were taken "in the magnificent romantic garden, among times, caves, enchanted lakes, and rare botanical species." 

@David Walker/ Villa Tasca

The Villa also hosted the couple's Sunday Brunch with more than 300 guests, including their parents TRH The Duke and Duchess of Calabria, and the Earl and Countess of Lindsay.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

The wedding of HRH The Duke of Noto and the Lady Charlotte Lindesay-Bethune


@the royal house of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies

HRH Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies and Lady Charlotte Lindesay-Bethune were married today in Monreale Cathedral.    The duke is the heir apparent to HRH Prince Pedro of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies and his wife, the former Doña Sofia.

Lady Charlotte is the daughter of James Randolph Lindesay-Bethune, 16th Earl of Lindsay, and Diana Mary Chamberlayne-Macdonald.

The couple will continue to live in London.

The wedding was conducted in four languages: Latin, Spanish, Italian, and English. The wedding vows were in English The celebrant was Cardinal Müller, Grand Prior of the Constantinian Order & Cardinal Mamberto, who is the prefect of the Apostolic Segnatura. Cardinal Mamberto represented the Pope and read a message from him to the couple.

The new Duchess of Noto converted to Catholicism last year in a ceremony at the Vatican.   

The reception was held at the royal palace in Palermo, which will be followed by a ball tonight.

These photos were taken by a dear friend, Guy Stair Sainty. He is the copyright holder. 

the cake I am told was "incredible"

Friday, September 24, 2021

Grand Duke George and Victoria Romanovna: We did it!!


@David Nivière 

Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini celebrated their civil wedding today at the Khamovnichesky registry office in  Moscow.

The couple was joined by Victoria (nee Rebecca Virginia) Bettarini's parents,  Italian Ambassador Roberto Bettarini, and his wife Carla.

Grand Duke George proposed to Victoria in August 2020 after living together for more than six years.  George had planned to propose over dinner in Brussels, but Victoria "actually spoiled his plans by inviting a friend to join him," according to an interview with Victoria earlier this year.  

“Then the next day we were catching a flight to Madrid, and he wanted the proposal to be in Brussels because it’s where we were dating and lived together,” she said.

So George proposed at the airport, where Victoria of course said yes.

She converted to Orthodoxy in July 2020, where she took the name Victoria Romanovna.  The official engagement was announced this past January.

Victoria is now HSH Princess Victoria Romanovna Romanov, a title that was bestowed on her by Grand Duchess Maria Vladmirovna.  

The couple's Orthodox wedding will take place at St Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg on October 1.

The couple will continue to live in Moscow, where they hope to raise a family.

For all of David's photos, please visit this blog

For details about the wedding  dresses:

I cannot thank David Nivière enough for allowing me to choose one photo to use here on Royal Musings.   Thank you so much.  Merci!!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Mafalda & Philipp marry

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September 23, 1925

It was a "ceremony of medieval overtones, gorgeous in the splendour of its setting," but "simple in the brief plainness of the ritual," according to the New York Times' coverage of the marriage between Princess Mafalda of Italy, 22, and Prince Philipp of Hesse.

The couple was married in the chapel at the castle of Racconigi.
The small chapel was dimly lit "by ancient artistic chandeliers, decorated with white flowers and green festoons." In front of the altar, which was "lit by hundreds of candles," Mafalda and Philipp knelt, side by side "on the cushions of crimson silk edged with gold."

Members of the Italian royal family were on the right side of the altar, kneeling at prie-dieu "prepared for their use." On the left side, "a brilliant group of royal princes representing European reigning houses."

Princess Mafalda, the second daughter of King Victor Emanuel and Queen Elena, was "attired all in white. She wore a "richly embroidered silk dress," which had a long train carried by "two pretty golden-hair little girls and two small boys, who were "dressed as medieval pages." Her veil was of "ancient hand-made lace, festooned with sprigs of orange blossoms.. Mafalda's fair hair -- she is the only light-skinned sibling --"was fastened in large coils at the back of her head."
The Princess' two younger sisters, Giovanna and Maria, were the bridesmaids. Giovanna wore a rose-colored dress and Maria was dressed in white.
The only jewelry that she wore was a strand of 300 pearls, a gift from her brother, the Crown Prince.

Prince Philipp, "broad-shouldered, fair, of athletic build," wore the uniform of a Lieutenant of Prussian Dragoons.

The blessing was performed by the Court Chaplain, who raised his hands over the couple.

Mafalda "looked radiantly happy," and her "apparent feelings were repeated in the expression" of Philipp's face.

The religious wedding was preceded by a civil ceremony, which was performed by Premier Mussolini in the castle's large hall. The Premier is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs and was acting in the capacity of the Crown Notary.
The Princess is "an accomplished linguist" and speaks most of the "European languages fluently." She adores Puccini, "whose airs she loves to render on the piano, violin, and harp." Mafalda is also a "keen sportswoman, and enjoys horseback, tennis, yachting and driving a car. She also enjoys riding a bicycle. Her new husband is of "medium height and very fair and stalwart," and is considered "a typical open-air man." His friends describe him as "full of fun." He is an accomplished architect "with an enviable record of beautiful buildings erected in his home city and elsewhere."

The couple left for their honeymoon by motor car. They expect to reach Friedrichshof "in easy stages," and after stopping there for a few days, they will return to Rome to live in a small villa on the grounds of the King's country residence. The villa was designed by Prince Philipp.

Mafalda, "who is a keen lover and student of the fine arts," met Prince Philipp, now 29,  at an exhibit of paintings in Rome. They met several more times at the Quirinal Palace, "where the fond friendship founded on similar interests soon budded into love."

At first, there was some opposition to the marriage because the Princess is Roman Catholic and Prince Philipp is a Lutheran. They were worried that the Vatican might not give its consent. But when the Vatican received a written declaration from Philipp "that he would renounce all claims to the throne and would make no effort to convert his wife," the dispensation for the mixed marriage was granted.

Prince Philipp is a nephew of the former Kaiser Wilhelm II. Members of nine royal families were present for the wedding: Italy, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Roumania, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Austria, and Montenegro. Crown Prince Umberto of Italy and Crown Prince Carol of Roumania served as witnesses for the civil ceremony, and the two witnesses for the religious service were the bride's brother-in-law, Count Calvi di Bergolo and Prince Christopher of Greece.

If you liked this article, you could buy me a cup of coffee

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

KIng George II arrives in London

Embed from Getty Images

  September 22, 1941

King George II of the Hellenes arrived today in London "five months to the day since he left his stricken country," reports the New York Times.   The King was accompanied by his brother, Crown Prince Paul, and "high officials" from the Greek government.

The King and his party "alighted from a special train at Euston Station."  Their "long journey" began in Egypt and South Africa before landing in England and traveling to London by train.

They were welcomed by King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, the Duke and Duchess of Kent as well as Prime Minister Churchill and other officials.

The Greek king's party also included his niece, Princess Alexandra, and her mother, Princess Aspasia, and other Greek officials.

George II joins the Kings of Norway, Yugoslavia, Albania, the Queen of the Netherlands, and the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg in seeking refuge from his German-occupied nation.

It is expected that the King's officials will set up a government in exile.

Luxembourg royals commemorate Grand Duke Jean's centenary

 The Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg commemorated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Grand Duke Jean (January 5, 1921-April 23, 2019) On September 20th, with several events including a concert.

© Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

Front row  S.A.R. le Prince Liam de Nassau ; S.A.R. le Prince Félix de Nassau ; S.A.R. la Princesse Victoria de Bourbon Parme ; S.A.R. la Princesse Amalia de Nassau ; Comte Léopold de Limburg-Stirum ; Comte Gabriel de Limburg-Stirum ; Comte Constantin de Limburg-Stirum.

1st row : S.A.R. la Princesse Alexandra de Luxembourg, S.A.R. la Grande-Duchesse de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. le Grand-Duc de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. la Grand-Duchesse héritière ; S.A.R. le Grand-Duc héritier avec S.A.R. le Prince Charles de Luxembourg.

2nd row : S.A.R. le Prince Noah de Nassau ; S.A.R. le Prince Gabriel de Nassau ; S.A.R. la Princesse Margaretha de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. le Prince Jean de Luxembourg ; S.A.I.R. l’Archiduchesse Marie-Astrid d’Autriche ; S.A.I.R. l’Archiduc Christian d’Autriche ; S.A.R. la Princesse Sibilla ; S.A.R. le Prince Guillaume de Luxembourg.

3rd row: S.A.R. le Prince Félix de Luxembourg ; S.A.I.R. l’Archiduchesse Marie-Christine d’Autriche ; le Comte Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum ; S.A.R. le Prince Sébastien de Luxembourg ; S.A.S. la Princesse Anunciata de Liechtenstein ; Mademoiselle Scarlett Lauren-Sirgue ; S.A.R. le Prince Louis de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. le Prince Henri de Bourbon-Parme ; S.A.I.R. l’Archiduchesse Gabriella d’Autriche avec S.A.R. la Princesse Anastasia de Bourbon-Parme.

4th row : S.A.R. la Princesse Kathryn de Nassau ; S.A.R. le Prince Constantin de Nassau ; S.A.S. le Prince Josef de Liechtenstein ; Mademoiselle Maria Claudia Echavarria ; S.A.R. la Princesse Charlotte de Nassau ; S.A.I.R. l’Archiduc Alexander d’Autriche.

© Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

Front row: Comte Constantin de Limburg-Stirum ; Comte Gabriel de Limburg-Stirum ; S.A.R. la Princesse Amalia de Nassau ; S.A.R. le Prince Félix de Nassau ; S.A.R. le Prince Liam de Nassau ; Comte Léopold de Limburg-Stirum ; S.A.R. la Princesse Victoria de Bourbon Parme.

1st row: S.A.R. le Prince Noah de Nassau ; S.A.R. la Princesse Margaretha de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. le Prince Jean de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. la Grande-Duchesse héritière avec S.A.R. le Prince Charles de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. le Grand-Duc héritier ; S.A.R. la Grande-Duchesse de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. le Grand-Duc de Luxembourg ; S.A.I.R. l’Archiduchesse Marie-Astrid d’Autriche ; S.A.I.R. l’Archiduc Christiand’Autriche ; S.A.R. la Princesse Sibilla de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. le Prince Guillaume de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. le Prince Gabriel de Nassau.

2nd row : S.A.R. le Prince Constantin de Nassau ; S.A.R. la Princesse Kathryn de Nassau ; S.A.R. le Prince Sébastien de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. la Princesse Alexandra de Luxembourg ; S.A.R. le Prince Félix de Luxembourg ; Mademoiselle Scarlett Lauren-Sirgue ; S.A.R. le Prince Louis ; S.A.I.R. l’Archiduchesse Marie-Christine d’Autriche ; le Comte Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum.

4th row: S.A.I.R. l’Archiduchesse Gabriella d’Autriche ; S.A.R. le Prince Henri de Bourbon-Parme avec S.A.R. la Princesse Anastasia de Bourbon-Parme ; S.A.R. la Princesse Charlotte de Nassau ; S.A.S. la Princesse Anunciata de Liechtenstein ; S.A.I.R. l’Archiduc Alexander d’Autriche ; Mademoiselle Maria-Claudia Echavarria ; S.A.S. le Prince Josef de Liechtenstein.

© Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

LL.AA.RR. le Prince Gabriel, le Prince Noah, le Prince Louis, Madame Scarlett-Lauren Sirgue, le Prince Félix, la Grande-Duchesse, le Grand-Duc, le Princesse héritière, le Prince héritier, la Princesse Alexandra, le Prince Sébastien

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Happy 25th anniversary

 to HM Margarita, Custodian of the Crown & HRH Prince Radu of Romania who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary today.  They were married on September 21, 1996, in Lausanne.   

Her Majesty is the eldest of five daughters of the late King Michael and the late Queen Anne of Romania.

In 1990, then Princess Margarita paid her first visit to Romania.  Today she and Prince Radu have official roles within Romania and divide their time between the Elisabetha Palace in Bucharest and Săvârșin Castle.   

Săvârșin was restored in 2000 to King Michael.  

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images 

Embed from Getty Images

Monday, September 20, 2021

Beatrice von Preussen to marry Edmund Jenner: will it be Guinness or Harvey's at the wedding reception?

 Beatrice's fiance, Edmund Jenner, is the son of Miles Anthony Jenner, Head Brewer and joint Managing Director at Harvey's Brewery in Sussex, and Sally Abbott. The Jenner family has been involved with the brewery since the 1930s.  Ed's grandfather, Anthony, was the first non-descendant of John Harvey, who founded the brewery, to serve as Chairman.

I am sure the wedding reception will feature both Guinness and Harvey's beers.

Although the title Princess is used socially,  Beatrice's legal name is Beatrice von Preussen, as she was born in the United Kingdom and is a UK citizen.  Her parents' marriage was considered unequal by the then head of the house of Prussia,  HI & RH Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, but recently,  HI & RH Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, head of the house, decreed that the morganatic marriages have been now been recognized and the children who had the surname Prinz von Preussen or Prinzessin von Preussen are now HRH Prince or Princess Christian name of Prussia.  Thus, Beatrice is now HRH Princess Beatrice of Prussia, although the title would not be recognized in the United Kingdom.

Her paternal grandfather, HRH Prince Friedrich of Prussia (1911-1966) was the fourth son of HI & RH Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and his wife,  HRH Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenberg-Schwerin.  

Prince Friedrich, who was using the name Count Lingen, was studying in Cambridge in September 1939 when the second world war began.  As he was a German national, Friedrich was taken into custody and sent to an internment camp near Quebec City. He also spent time in another internment in Farnham, Quebec, before returning to England, where he met his future wife, Lady Brigid Guinness (1920-1995), the youngest daughter of Rupert, 2nd Earl of Iveagh.

Their marriage took place at Little Hadham on July 30, 1945.    Two years later, Prince Friedrich was acknowledged as a British citizen using the requirements of the Sophia Naturalization Act (1705), which gave British citizenship to the Protestant heirs of her body in perpetuity.  This law was superseded by the British Nationality Act (1948).  Prince Friedrich became Friedrich von Preussen.

His marriage to Lady Brigid was deemed equal, so the couple's five children: Nicholas (1945), Andrew (1947), Victoria (1952), and twins, Rupert and Antonia (1955).    All three sons married non-dynastically.  Antonia is the wife of the Duke of Wellington.

Beatrice was born on February 10, 1981, the eldest of 5 children.  She has two younger sisters, Florence (the Hon Mrs. James Tollemache) and Augusta (Mrs. Caspar Helmore), and a younger brother Frederick whose marriage to Mathilda Johnson took place earlier this year. 

She is a gifted artist whose most recent exhibit, An Exhibition of Illustration and Printmaking from the Arctic and Antarctic, was held in 2019.

 Edmund Henry Jenner was born on September 30, 1984.  He is currently Head of Technical Services at the Harvey's Brewery in Sussex.  His father, Anthony became Harvey's head brewer after selling the family brewery, which was known as "the Theatre Brewers" as "Jenner's beer was in every theatre bar in the West End.

In an interview with the Morning Advertiser in 2010,  Miles said he named his son Edmund "after Bury St. Edmund," where Miles trained as a brewer at Greene King in Suffolk.

Miles and Edmund Jenner  @Harvey's Brewery

Beatrice is a descendant of Queen Victoria:

Victoria - Victoria - Wilhelm II - Wilhelm - Friedrich - Nicholas - Beatrice

Princess Beatrice has a daughter


Monday, September 13, 2021

Victoria Romanovna's dresses for her upcoming wedding



The first wedding of a Grand Duke of Russia to be held in Russia after the Revolution, and the first Romanov wedding to be held in Saint Isaac’s Cathedral after over 300 years, required a few dresses, and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini wanted to make sure that each of them paid homage to Russian traditions as well as Italian fashion. An international collaboration was therefore initiated, to create unique looks for each event. 


 Reem Acra, Elina Samarina for Sergio Marcone Moscow and Torzhok embroideries. 

The bride chose a design from the internationally renowned designer Reem Acra, whose creations are a favourite red carpet choice of Hollywood stars. The dress has impeccable lines. 

“Reem Acra has exquisite taste and her gowns are designed holistically as if they were a masterwork of architecture,” notes the bride. “I had only two requirements: a refined and modern dress made of Italian Silk Mikado, in the classic Italian wedding gowns of the 1960s. To create lightness and volume in a skirt made of such a rigid and heavy material, it requires an expert touch and Mrs. Acra was the right person to design such a complex and sophisticated gown.” 

The dress is a classic that is made to give a nod to the purity of the symbolism of marriage. Made of European fabric and designed in New York, and worn in Russia it’s a combination of 3 worlds and a tribute to our common roots.-  REEM ACRA

 The result is an elegant and classic, yet modern gown. It has long sleeves, a crew neckline and a 6-meter long train with a paneled cape created by Russian born designer Elina Samarina. 

“It was important for me that the dress would pull together different cultural motifs in a sort of cultural exchange."

 Elina Samarina, founder of the Sergio Marcone brand in Moscow was essential in creating something unique which would showcase the best of Russian artistry.

 Elina masterfully reinterprets Russian styles. That’s why she immediately had ideas on how to incorporate patterns of Russian style and embroidery into the ensemble of the wedding dress. There is a very long and rich tradition of embroidery in Russia, which continues to our own day, with patterns and designs that vary from region to region.  They are small masterpieces! 

It was an honour for me to take part in this project and I am proud as a Russian that I get the chance to showcase our Russian style and craftsmanship to the world.  ELINA SAMARINA 

The embroidery of the veil is done in the traditional Torzhok style embroidered into the tulle veil, instead of velvet, and which took five weeks of intense work to complete. 

“The wedding gown has a lot of symbolism,” according to the bride. 

 “It pays a joint tribute to the Italian and Russian culture. It showcases a blend of Russian craftsmanship and Italian elegance. It connects with symbols and motifs every Russian can identify with. It expresses continuity between the present and the past, and it’s issued of a high skilled collaboration between our countries.”

 “Although it was very difficult to work on this wedding dress during the pandemic, I am extremely pleased with the results. I wanted this dress to be the perfect synthesis of our cultures. The idea of having two companies involved in the process on two different continents certainly created some logistical problems, but everyone worked with enthusiasm and professionalism to create this dress as I had imagined it.” 


Reem Acra and Elina Samarina for Sergio Marcone Moscow and Torzhok embroideries. 

The bride chose a hand-embroidered tulle gown made of the fabric that Mrs. Acra describes “dreams are made of”. 

Elina Samarina added a Russian touch by creating a white cape made of silk Mikado, inspired by traditional designs and embroidered in a Torzhok style. 

According to fashion designer Elina Samarina, “the Romanoffs have always fascinated and inspired people's imaginations through their unique interpretation of Russian traditions in fashion. They were ambassadors of Russian culture, opulence, and traditions abroad, this is why for such a special occasion I wanted to revive Russian unique manufacturing traditions. It is a privilege for me to have been able to work on this extraordinary project.

 “It doesn't often happen to have clients asking me to do historical research on Russian fashion. As a Russian, I am very happy that the bride decided to pay homage to the traditions of our country “ Elina Samarina 


The dress for the civil ceremony is embroidered with Kokhloma designs

The dress for the Civil Ceremony was made by the designer Chiara Boni in an ice-blue color, embroidered with gold thread inspired by the traditional folkloric designs of Khokhloma. Ice-blue is also the color of the Imperial Order of Saint Andrew the First-Called which is the most important dynastic order of the Russian Imperial House. It was founded by Peter the Great in 1698. The light blue ribbon of the order of Saint Andrews served as an inspiration for the shade of the dress of the civil marriage.



For the first event, the bride chose a black velvet and tulle gown embroidered with golden appliqué by Lebanese designer Gatti Nolli by Marwan. The dress is black and gold, the house colours of the Romanoff Dynasty, and combines a velvet bustier with a diaphanous tulle skirt. 


Friday, September 10, 2021

After 26 years together, India said I do

@Ken Stone

 After  26 years and 5 children, India Hicks and David Flint Wood were married today at the St. Bartholomew's Church in Brightwell Baldwin, Oxfordshire. 

 A reception at the Nelson Pub in  Brightwell Baldwin was held after the service.

India, 54, is the youngest child of the late interior designer, David Hicks, and his wife, Lady Pamela Mountbatten, the younger daughter of the late Earl Mountbatten of Burma and the Hon, Edwina Ashley.  She and David have been together for 26 years and have four children, Felix, 24, Amory, 22, Conrad, 18, and Domino, 13.  They also have an adopted son, Wesley whose mother died some years ago from cancer.  All five children were at the wedding as was India's mother, Lady Pamela.

Felix escorted his mother down the aisle.

The Daily Mail has a largely good article about the wedding,  but the writer, Bridie Pearson-Jones refers to the bride as Lady India Hicks.    India is not the daughter of a duke, marquess, or an earl.   Her mother is Lady Pamela as she is the daughter of an earl.

Ashley Hicks pushes his mother's Lady Pamela Hicks' wheelchair

In July 1981, young India was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her godfather, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Charles' parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947.  Prince Philip is Lady Pamela's first cousin.

No members of the Royal Family were present for today's wedding.

The guest list included India's older sister and brother, Edwina, and Ashley, who was accompanied by his girlfriend, Martina Mondadori, and his two daughters, Angelica and Ambrosia from his first marriage, the Marquess and Marchioness of Milford Haven,   The Hon Philip, and the Hon. Timothy Knatchbull, the bride's first cousins, served as ushers.

The Hon. Mr. & Mrs Timothy Knatchbull

The Marquess & Marchioness of Milford Haven

All the photos were taken by Ken Stone.  

India, a designer in her own right, and David divide their time between homes in the Bahamas and Oxfordshire.  He owns and runs Hibiscus Hill on Harbour Island.

The photos may not be reproduced without the permission of the photographer, Ken Stone.  He is the copyright holder.  I am grateful to his kindness for allowing me to use these photos.