Sunday, October 15, 2023

The Marriage of Prince Arthur of Connaught and the Duchess of Fife

 The official announcement of the engagement of Prince Arthur of Connaught and the Duchess of Fife was published in the Court Circular on July 15, 1913.  “The King and Queen have received the gratifying intelligence of the betrothal of his Royal Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught, their Majesties’ cousin, to her Highness the Duchess of Fife, their Majesties’ niece to which union the King has gladly given his consent.”

This would be the first British royal wedding since June 1905, when Prince Arthur’s elder sister, Princess Margaret married the Crown Prince of Sweden.

Prince Arthur was the only son of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, and thus, a grandson of Queen Victoria. 

Embed from Getty Images 

 The Duchess of Fife was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria as her mother, Princess Louise, the Princess Royal, was the eldest daughter of Edward VII, and sister of George V.  The young duchess was still in mourning for the death of her father, the Duke of Fife, who had died on January 29, 1912, in Aswan, Egypt, from pleurisy.  He had never recovered from a chill after he and his wife and two daughters were among the survivors of the SS Delphi, which was shipwrecked off the Moroccan coast on December 12, 1911.  

The 30-year-old Prince Arthur was the “most active of the younger members of the English Royal House” who carried numerous engagements at home and abroad, and he “filled with ability and distinctions many important positions of trust” assigned to him by King Edward VII and King George V.   His popularity also extended to the army, as he served as a Captain in Scots Greys and as the personal aide-de-camp to the King. 

Prince Arthur stood out as an active member of the Royal Family because he was only one of three adult male royals in the British royal family.  The other two were his father, the Duke of Connaught, and the King.  Arthur’s first cousin, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, also was a British prince, but after the death of the Hereditary Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1899, young Duke of Albany became the heir presumptive to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Queen Victoria’s second son, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

The Coburg succession should have passed to the Duke of Edinburgh’s next brother, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, but he and his only son, Prince Arthur, renounced their rights in favor of the fatherless Charles Edward, who was packed off to Germany to prepare for his future role as sovereign of the tiny duchy.

Unlike her fiancé, the Duchess of Fife was unknown to most of the British public. She was born at East Sheen Lodge, Richmond, on May 17, 1891, as Lady Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise of Fife, the first daughter of Princess Louise and her husband, the Duke of Fife.   She succeeded her father as 2nd Duchess of Fife due to a special remainder attached to the second creation of the ducal title.

Embed from Getty Images

It was on November 9, 1905, when King Edward VII bestowed the title “Princess Royal” on his eldest daughter, Princess Louise.  He also created her daughters, Alexandra and Maud, as Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with the rank of Highness.  This meant that Lady Alexandra and Lady Maud Duff were now HH Princess Alexandra and HH Princess Maud.  Although styled as Princesses, Alexandra and Maud did not have a “prominent place in society,” due to their mother’s decision to retreat toward private life after her marriage to the Duke of Fife.  It also did not help the social skills of the young women they spent a lot of time caring for their ill mother.

This lack of social exposure did little to prevent the shy young Alexandra from being “the subject of many matrimonial rumors,” especially after her father’s death, when she inherited a share of his $5,000,000 fortune.  

Three years earlier, in 1910, Prince Christopher of Greece, who was one of the Princess Royal's first cousins, was a guest of the Fifes at Mar Lodge in Scotland, where he "conceived a very obvious passion for the daughter of the house."   He was convinced that the marriage "would meet with everyone's approval," as Louise's younger sister, Victoria, "had promised to arrange everything."   

 At least, that is what Prince Christopher wanted to believe, especially as he was encouraged by his mischievous cousin, Princess Victoria, 

Embed from Getty Images 

 Christopher and Alix "got engaged on the sly," and waited four days before approaching Alix's father.  Princess Victoria had not told her cousin that she had given her brother-in-law her “solemn assurance” that Christopher had given her his “word of honour to not propose” to Alix. The duke quickly "dispelled any illusion" for the marriage, making it clear that there would be no marriage, and Prince Christopher was sent packing.   The duke called Prince Christopher a cad for breaking his promise to not promise to ask Alix to marry him. Prince Christopher found it “impossible” to make the duke understand that he had “given his word,” and it was Princess Victoria’s “romantic tendencies alone were to blame for the absurd situation.” 

Prince Christopher remembered it was a “long and painful scene,” that involved “rivers of tears” from Alix and her mother.  Princess Victoria became “so tremulous” that she became “worse than useless as an ally.” Prince Christopher left Mar Lodge early the next morning before “anyone was awake.”

The Duke of Fife was not going to allow his elder daughter, the heiress to his title, marry a foreign prince, especially the eighth and youngest child of King George II of the Hellenes.  (The impecunious Prince Christopher, a man with little prospects, eventually found a rich wife, when he married the very wealthy American widow, Nancy Leeds.)

As the only unmarried adult British prince, Prince Arthur often found himself linked with numerous European princesses.   Only a year before his engagement was announced, he was forced to deny a report from St. Petersburg that he was about to announce his engagement to Princess Irina Alexandrovna of Russia, the only daughter of Grand Duke Alexander and Grand Duchess Xenia, younger sister of Nicholas II.

This dispatch came from the St. Petersburg correspondent of the Echo de Paris, who assured his readers that the marriage had already been decided upon in August 1911, but no official announcement was made because of Irina’s youthful age.  The engagement announcement was expected shortly, as Irina had recently celebrated her seventeenth birthday.

It had also been announced King George would attend the wedding, which would take place in St. Petersburg, according to the reporter.

Two days later, Prince Arthur offered a personal denial regarding the report of his marriage to Princess Irina.  The “continued rumors of his engagement, first to one and then to another Princess,” were a constant annoyance to Prince Arthur who often declared to “intimate friends that he is not a marrying man.”   He was a professional soldier and he wanted to take his military career seriously. 

One can only imagine Prince Arthur’s frustrations with the tabloid newspapers.  His mother, Louise Margaret, was a Prussian princess by birth, but she did not pursue a foreign marriage for her only son.  Arthur’s older sister, Princess Margaret, was the wife of Crown Prince Gusted Adolf of Sweden and was in the perfect position to search and recommend eligible European princesses. There is no evidence that she produced a list of prospective brides for her brother.

The rumors continued despite Arthur’s public denials.   In October 1912, a St. Petersburg dispatch to the Weekly Budget, a London newspaper with a small circulation, stated that the Russian Foreign Minister had visited Balmoral Castle to meet with King George V and give him Nicholas II’s assent to Irina’s marriage to Prince Arthur of Connaught.  The newspaper also reported that the prince would be created Duke of Kent “at the end of the year.”   Although a date for the marriage was not mentioned, the newspaper noted that the newlyweds would live at Claremont House in Esher.  (Claremont was the residence of the Duchess of Albany, the mother of Arthur’s first cousin, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.)

According to this report, Prince Arthur, then in Japan to attend the emperor’s funeral, was expected to travel to Peterhof to finalize the details before heading back to London, and meeting with the King.   There was some truth to the report, but the reporter did not have all the facts.

The Duke of Connaught’s biographer, Noble Falkland wrote that Prince Arthur was in Halifax, Nova Scotia in August 1912, (his father was the Governor-General of Canada), where he welcomed the naval and military authorities on board the Earl Grey.  Prince Arthur was handed a letter from King George, who was sending him to Tokyo for the funeral of the late Emperor of Japan.  Prince Arthur, according to Noble Falkland, thought it was a “rather long way to go for a funeral,” but he would be returning via St. Petersburg, Russia, which would have given him the opportunity “of seeing his young lady again.”  Prince Arthur was “hoping to marry” one of Nicholas II’s daughters, according to numerous media reports.

Falkland was certainly wrong about Prince Arthur being in Canada in 1912.  Arthur spent most of the year in England and represented the King at the funerals of the King of Denmark and the Japanese Emperor.  He was also wrong about when Arthur visited Russia.  Prince Arthur visited Gatchina and met with Nicholas II and his family in August 1911, and not in 1912, as noted in the Court Circular.  This was corroborated by Sir George Buchanan, then British Ambassador to Russia, who recalled Prince Arthur’s visit to Peterhof in 1911 in his memoirs. But there was no discussion of a marriage between the emperor’s eldest daughter, and her mother’s first cousin.   Sir George would have been involved in any negotiations for a marriage between Prince Arthur and Grand Duchess Olga.   His daughter, Meriel Buchanan wrote in her book, Queen Victoria’s Relations, “During the winter of 1913-14 the engagement of the Grand Duchess Olga was frequently discussed in society, and several young men were mentioned as suitors.  The Grand Duke Dimitri, Prince Arthur of Connaught, the Duke of Leuchtenberg, even at one moment, the Prince of Wales.”

Prince Arthur left for Japan on August 26, taking the train from Charing Cross, and traveling to Calais, where he caught another train to Warsaw, where he boarded the Trans-Siberian Express, eventually arriving in Tokyo by September 13 to attend the funeral.  He returned to London on October 13.  There were no news reports of Prince Arthur visiting Peterhof on his return home.

In the autumn of 1912, Arthur and King George V spent a lot of time shooting together, where; the king may have broached the question of Arthur’s marriage to the Duchess of Fife.

There may have been some truth to reports of the Russian marriage with Grand Duchess Olga, and not her first cousin, Princess Irina.  Such a marriage was out of the question, as Prince Arthur, as a senior adult male royal, was far too valuable to his cousin, the King.  Marrying a Grand Duchess and moving to Russia was not going to happen, especially, as Europe was moving inexorably toward a world war.

There also would be no foreign marriage for the Duchess of Fife.  No one took seriously the reports that she would marry the exiled King Manoel of Portugal, although he was keen to marry a British princess.

Alexandra was more likely to wed a British nobleman, perhaps a fellow peer, but it was not completely a surprise that Alexandra became engaged to her mother’s first cousin, Prince Arthur.  It seemed the perfect arrangement.  A young pretty and very wealthy peeress, a granddaughter of King Edward VII, would become the wife of Prince Arthur of Connaught, a prince of limited means.   Prince Arthur was heir to his father’s titles, but little else.  The Duke of Connaught’s two residences, Clarence House and Bagshot Park belonged to the Crown.

It is unlikely that this marriage was a love match.   The late Duke of Connaught’s biographers, including Noble Falkland, provide little information about the relationship between Prince Arthur and the Duchess of Fife.     The Duke of Connaught’s first biographer, Sir George Ashton, noted that the Duchess of Fife, a childhood friend of the Prince of Wales and his siblings, was “an excellent sportswoman [who] could handle rod and line with expert skill, having been school in their use by her mother, who was devoted to angling.

She also took great interest in her tenants, visiting them, “taking little delicacies to the sick and reading to the bedridden, and she was a great friend of the children on the estate.”    

 Alexandra was “trained in housewifery,” and could cook and sew, and was considered “more than competent to run her own establishment,” wrote Sir. George Ashton.   She was close to her sister, Princess Maud, and shared an “additional bond” with Princess Mary, as both were interested in nursing.

 Prince Arthur, who was born on January 13, 1883, attended Eton and passed out at Sandhurst.  He entered military service in 1901 when he received a commission in the Seventh Hussars.  He later transferred to the Scots Greys.   He carried out many royal engagements, was named as a personal ADC to King Edward VII and King George V, and was named as a Counsellor of State in 1911.

This wedding was the last major British royal event before the outbreak of World War I.  There was great public interest in the wedding as the London newspapers provided extensive details on what was meant to be a private affair.   The bride’s trousseau and Prince Arthur’s purchases were “exhaustively described” in the tabloid press.  In the weeks before the wedding, Prince Arthur, described as an “extremely modest and unassuming character,” went shopping, but his purchases were “simply that of a man of moderate means.”

Prince Arthur spent far less money on new clothes than most wealthy bridegrooms.  He did his own shopping, and purchased “few luxuries,” concentrating only on “the clothes, hats, etc., which are absolutely necessary for a man of his position.”

In contrast, the Duchess of Fife bought eighteen pairs of shoes as a part of her bridal trousseau.  As the wife of a British prince, she would be expected to take on more royal duties, and, unlike her mother, Alexandra’s life would be less private.   According to reports, she did not favor the “glittering shoes which some women are now wearing,” preferring a simpler design of shoe.   Some of her new shoes have buckles, although the Duchess prefers “the bow to the more elaborate style of decoration.”  Most of her “trousseau shoes are trimmed with little embroidered bows.”   She also has purchased patent leather shoes in a variety of colors including gray, black and white, a pair of white satin shoes to wear on her wedding day, and at least two pairs of evening shoes in pale blue, the Duchess’ favorite color.

In August, Prince Arthur arranged to rent 54 Mount Street, which faced “the grounds of Grosvenor House and the Park, from the Earl of Plymouth.   The newlyweds were expected to move into the house with its grand marble staircase after they returned from their honeymoon.  The Duchess of Fife was actively involved in the decoration of the house.  Before heading to her own estate, Mar Lodge, in the Highlands, she spent some time visiting the house and made “careful notes of the alterations she desired and the assorted colors and decorations “she wanted to be used.

The Duchess wanted the alterations and designs to be “simply done.” It was also reported that Prince Arthur and his bride planned to give a dinner party as a “housewarming” in early December, although no “positive announcement has been made.”

Several “structural alterations” were made in the Chapel Royal to accommodate the guest list.  The pews were removed, and the chapel floor was raised to allow all the guests to have an unobstructed view of the wedding.  Chairs of State were reserved for King George and Queen Mary, Queen Alexandra, and the King and Queen of Norway.

Invitations were sent to “every member of the English Royal Family” but not all were expected to attend.  The correct dress for the wedding for men was “full dress with trousers,” and ladies were requested to wear “evening dress without feathers or trains.”  They were permitted to wear jewels, however.

The Duchess of Fife and her mother and younger sister traveled from Scotland and returned to their Portman Square home on October 4.   Only a week before the wedding the Crown Prince of Sweden stated that he would not be able to attend the wedding, due to his father’s illness. He was to have been one of Prince Arthur’s supporters, the other being the Duke of Connaught.  It was expected that the young Prince of Wales would step in for Prince Arthur’s brother-in-law.  Crown Princess Margaret arrived at Victoria Station on the evening of October 7 and was met by her father, her sister, Patricia, and Prince Arthur, along with other British and Swedish dignitaries.    

The Prince of Wales’ position as one of Prince Arthur’s supporters was announced on October 9. That night, the Princess Royal, the Duchess of Fife, and Prince Arthur were spotted at the Apollo Theatre, where they saw a performance of Never Say Die. They liked the play so much that Prince Arthur and the Duchess of Fife were in the audience again the next evening, this time bringing with them the Duke of Connaught, Princess Patricia, and the Crown Princess of Sweden.   

A more formal event took place on the 11th, where the young couple joined the Duke of Connaught in a private box at the Coliseum to see Good Samaritan, a benefit performance to raise funds for two hospitals. The King and Queen and other members of the Royal Family were in an adjoining box.    The next day, Queen Alexandra, accompanied by the King and Queen of Norway and Crown Prince Olav, arrived from Denmark onboard the George V’s yacht, Victoria & Albert.

Two days before the wedding, the King and Queen hosted an evening reception at St. James’s Palace, where many of the wedding gifts were on display.  Invitations were sent to the Diplomatic Corp, Ministers and their wives, and members of the European royal and princely families then in London.  One of the guests at this reception was Princess Daisy of Pleas.

The reception was in honor of the wedding as the bride and groom were not having a wedding breakfast or a “formal banquet to which outside guests would be invited.”  This party was arranged to serve “the double purpose of entertaining guests and giving them the opportunity of inspecting the wedding guests.”  More than eight hundred guests attended this reception, many of whom were personal guests of the king and queen, and others, “in the ordinary way,” were guests of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and the Princess Royal.

The King and Queen were accompanied by the Prince of Wales, and every member of the Royal Family in London was present, except for Princess Mary and Prince Leopold of Battenberg.  Prince Arthur and the Duchess of Fife also attended the reception. The other royal guests included the King and Queen of Norway, the Crown Princess of Sweden, and Prince and Princess Andrew of Greece.

The reception was not a “formal supper", as buffet tables were set up in some of the apartments.

On the first day tickets were made available to view the wedding gifts on October 13 and 14.  The first day members of the Royal Family, including the King and Queen, visited the palace to inspect the gifts. 

A full wedding rehearsal took place at the Chapel Royal, the day before the wedding, which included King George V and Queen Mary.  

Huge crowds gathered along the route on the morning of the wedding.  The day was, according to The Times’ correspondent to be “beautifully fine and the sun shone brightly.”

King George V and Queen Mary, in a “blaze of scarlet and gold,” traveled in a procession from Buckingham Palace to St. James’s Palace.  They were accompanied by the Prince of Wales and Princess Mary, who was one of the bridesmaids.  Their procession consisted of three coaches and “a captain’s escort of the Life Guards, which made a very vivid spectacle,” toward St. James’s Palace. Queen Mary was seen to be wearing white, while the King was dressed in a Field Marshal’s uniform.  

Accompanied by her mother, the Princess Royal, and attended by Lord and Lady Farquhar, Her Highness the Duchess of Fife left her mother’s home at 15 Portman Square at 11:30 a.m., and traveled by carriage to St. James’s Palace.  Portman Square was “flooded with sunlight,” which added to the “foliage in the enclosed gardens.”   Crowds lined both sides of the roadway.  Shortly before 11:30, Princess Maud, “carrying a bouquet of pink carnations,” left the house, and got into a closed carriage.   Ten minutes later, the bride, accompanied by the Princess Royal, got into the family coach, “which was decorated inside with a few sprays of white heather.”

The Duchess was greeted with applause and cheers, which she and her mother acknowledged with bows from inside the coach.

The carriage route traveled by Hyde Park and Constitution Hill, and the cheers grew louder as the coach entered the Mall, where the crowds could see the bride “in a cloud of white.”

Shortly before 11:00, the Duke of Connaught was one of the first guests to arrive at the Chapel Royal as he wanted “to have a final look at the arrangements” for the wedding.  By 11:30 most of the guests had arrived and, in their seats, awaiting the royal guests and the bride and groom.

By royal standards, the wedding of Prince Arthur and the Duchess of Fife was an intimate family occasion. The processions were small and “devoid of the pomp and pageantry that is generally associated on State occasions with Royalty and the Church,” but this did not deter crowds from lining the Mall to witness the carriage processions.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Canon Edgar Sheppard took their places on the north and south sides of the Chapel, respectively.   There was a “short pause” before the first members of the royal family arrived: The King and Queen and Crown Prince Olav of Norway, Princess Victoria the Duchess of Albany, Princess Henry of Battenberg and her son, Prince Maurice of Battenberg, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein and her three children, Prince Albert and  Princess Helena Victoria and Princess Marie Louise,  Prince and Princess Louis of Battenberg and their daughter, Princess Louise, the  Duke and Duchess of Teck, Prince and Princess Alexander of Teck and Prince Rupert of Teck, Prince and Princess Andrew of Greece,  Grand Duke Michael of Russia and his wife, Countess Torby, Princess Patricia of Connaught and the Crown Princess of Sweden.  

At 11:40, Queen Mary and Queen Alexandra walked in together to the strains of Sir Charles Stanford’s “procession music from Drake.  The congregation rose to greet the two queens and remained standing until the two women were seated.

Prince Arthur, wearing the full-dress uniform of the Scots Grays, appeared “punctually” at 11:50 as Marche Triomphale was played by the organist.  He was supported by his father, the Duke of Connaught, wearing the uniform of a Field Marshal, and the Prince of Wales, in the uniform of a naval lieutenant.   They took their places “at the altar-step" on the right of the chancel when the bride arrived at the Garden entrance to St. James’s Palace.  At 11:55, she was taken to the Throne Room, where her bridesmaids were waiting. – Princess Maud, Princess, Mary (King George V’s daughter), Princesses Helena and Mary of Teck (daughters of the Duke and Duchess of Teck) and Princess May of Teck (daughter of Prince and Princess Alexander of Teck) .   

Princess Maud was the chief bridesmaid, and she was dressed in a gown of “pale pink charmeuse,” which was arranged “with one of the new tunics in cream shadow lace, finished at the waist with a narrow belt formed of a trellis-work of crystals and diamante,” which was tucked into a “spray of white heather.”  She wore in her hair a wreath made of pink roses, and her bouquet was made of white heather.”

After the groom and his two supporters were in their places, there “was a pause of perfect stillness” before the chapel’s clock chimed twelve.  The chapel’s choir made up of children and men began to sing “Lead us, Heavenly Father, Lead Us,” as the Duchess of Fife, escorted by her uncle, the King, and her mother, the Princess Royal, walked toward the aisle.  Her bridesmaids, Princess Mary (the King’s daughter), Princess Maud, Princess Mary, and Princess Helena of Teck (daughters of the Duke and Duchess of Teck), and Princess May (daughter of Prince and Princess Alexander of Teck) followed.

The three Teck bridesmaids were nieces of Queen Mary.  Princess Alexander was born Princess Alice of Albany, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and a first cousin of the King.  

The only foreign royal guests were close family members.  None of the Duchess of Connaught’s family was invited, and most of the congregation was made up of members of peers and their spouses, and the American, French, Turkish, Spanish, Austro-Hungarian, and Japanese Ambassadors.

The ceremony began with an address from Canon Sheppard, but the “most intimately personal passages in the sacred rite of marriage,” which included the vows and the “ring as the token that man and the woman become husband and wife,” were conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The bride spoke in a tone "so low that it was almost inaudible."  In contrast, Prince Arthur’s responses were made in “a clear voice, which was heard all over the chapel.”

The Princess looked charming in her wedding dress of “white satin charmeuse, heavily embroidered with pearls," and the "veil of tulle [was] richly embroidered with Brussels lace.   The bride eschewed family tiaras, choosing instead to wear a “wreath of orange blossoms and heather."   

The wedding gown opened in front to “show an under-dress of pearl embroidery, adorned with a spray of leaves worked in diamante.”  The gown was complemented by a long Court train of white charmeuse “trimmed down the left side and round the hem with Brussels appliqué lace,” which was made especially for the Duchess of Fife.  The train was held in place by a “broad band of pearl and diamante embroidery terminating at the hem in a true lovers’ knot.”

 The Bishop of London offered the final prayers. Following the benediction, pronounced by the Archbishop, the Chapel’s organist, Dr. Alcock began playing Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, as the newly married Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught processed out of the chapel.

After the ceremony, the bride and bridegroom and their royal guests gathered in the Picture Gallery to sign the register. The archbishop was the first to sign the document, followed by Arthur Frederick and Alexandra.  The witnesses also signed the register, George RI, Mary, Alexandra, Louise Princess Royal, Arthur (Duke of Connaught), Louise Margaret (Duchess of Connaught), Haakon R, Maud, Margaret (Crown Princess of Sweden), Edward P (Prince of Wales), Victoria, Patricia, Helena and Beatrice.

Prince and Princess Arthur received congratulations from their guests while standing at the entrance of the Picture Gallery while members of the Royal Family remained inside the Gallery.   When all of the guests had been received, Prince and Princess Arthur went into Queen Anne’s Chamber where he cut the wedding cake with a sword.

Keeping with the intimacy of the wedding, the reception was very brief.  After receiving further congratulations from their guests, the newlyweds made their way through the Tapestry Room and Banqueting Room before getting into an open State Carriage, “drawn by a team of silver greys and attended by servants in the Royal livery.”

The Princess Royal and Princess Maud left St. James’s Palace ten minutes before the departure of the bride and groom, returning to Portman Square in the family carriage.

The open carriage proved a delight with the crowds lining both sides of the Mall, as Alexandra “had her veil thrown back, and on her young face was a shy, pleased smile,” while her new husband “looked well in his uniform.”   He appeared “most eager to acknowledge the people’s greetings to his bride and himself.”  

Tens of thousands of people were out in force to cheer and applaud as the State coach wended its way down the Mall to Hyde Park Corner and Marble Arch.  The carriage moved through Hyde Park in “the sunshine at a slow trot.”  

A large crowd was also gathering in Portman Square.  When the carriage pulled up in front of the Princess Royal’s home, Prince and Princess Arthur “stood up and waved their hands.”  They repeated this gesture shortly before going inside, and much to the delight of the crowds, a few minutes after entering the house, the young couple, “to the delight of all,” appeared on the balcony.  Once again, they waved to the crowds, and Prince Arthur offered another salute, in gratitude for the support of those who came out to see the bride and groom.

The crowds remained outside the house for several hours and were rewarded with the arrival of the Royal Family.  King George and Queen Mary “were loudly cheered” as they arrived in an open carriage with the Prince of Wales and Princess Mary.  Queen Alexandra followed with the Duke of Connaught, the Crown Princess of Sweden, Princess Patricia of Connaught, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, Princess Christian, Princess Victoria, the Duchess of Albany, and the bridesmaids.

After a private family reception, members of the Royal Family gathered on the steps of the house at 3:45 p.m.  All were offered handfuls of rice in preparation for the departure of the newlyweds.  King George was the most enthusiastic, as he stood at the bottom of the steps and showered the couple with “tangible congratulations” as they entered a car.  Queen Mary was also enjoying the moment, as she tossed rice at the newlyweds.  The crowds delighted “with the informality of the proceeding,” cheered their approval.  A white slipper was tossed at the couple as they drove away, and another shoe, a white satin slipper,” was tied at the back of the automobile.

En route to Charing Cross, the prince and princess stopped at Clarence House to “bid farewell” to Prince Arthur’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. They left shortly after 4 p.m., and were accompanied by the Duke of Connaught, Princess Patricia, and the Crown Princess of Sweden

Prince and Princess Arthur had wanted their departure for their honeymoon to be private, but the public had other ideas.  Every approach to Charing Cross was filled with spectators.  A special barrier was put in place by Platform 1, to allow the public to witness the departure.  The royal party arrived at the station at 4:15.  The platform was filled with the couple’s luggage, including golf bags, all with the initial “A.”

Prince and Princess Arthur said their goodbyes and boarded the train for Sandwich, pulled out of the station at 4:23 p.m.

Embed from Getty Images 

 Princess Arthur’s going away dress was a “pale gray charmeuse, the corsage being composed with grey lace made with a coatee effect and finished with a turn down collar of white lawn edged with lace.”  Her hat was of “mole velvet, trimmed round the crown with a band of ermine and finished in front with a white aigrette.”  Her coat was of “grey plush, with a stole and muff of ermine and chinchilla,” and she carried a handkerchief “embroidered by poor women in the Church Army workrooms.”

After the train was out of sight, the Duke of Connaught and his two daughters got back into their car and were driven to Clarence House.  They, too, were “warmly greeted” by the crowds as they left Charing Cross.

Prince and Princess Arthur arrived at Sandwich shortly after 6 p.m. and were quickly escorted to the waiting car.  They took a few minutes to acknowledge the crowd that had gathered outside the station and then were whisked off to Rest Harrow, the home of Waldorf Astor, located on Sandwich Bay.  Rest Harrow, which was built in 1910, was located next to a golf course, where Prince Arthur was able to indulge in his passion for golf.

They spent only a few days at Rest Harrow, seen as an “unconventional holiday” where the golf links played a prominent role.  Princess Arthur was seen wearing a “simple tweed skirt with a yellow golf jersey and a small golf cap” as she joined her husband on the golf course.  Much to her delight, Alexandra played against her husband and won several “hard-fought rounds.”  It was also noted that the princess was a “devotee of tobacco.” One of the first things she did after arriving at Rest Harrow was to take a cigarette from her husband’s cigarette case and indulge in smoking.  

They drove from Sandwich to Canterbury on the 19th, where they were given a private tour of the Cathedral.  The following day, the newlyweds left for the Continent, stopping first in Paris, and then traveling to Spain to spend time with Queen Ena, one of Prince Arthur’s first cousins.  They returned to London on November 20, and after spending only a few days in their home on Mount Street, Prince and Princess Arthur traveled to Sandringham to spend December with King George and other members of the royal family.

If you liked this article, perhaps you can buy me a coffee

1 comment:

Andrea said...

They are related.
I know that sure.

Greetings to Harper and Fleur .