Willem IV, Prince of Orange

by Susan Flantzer © Unofficial Royalty 2018

Credit – Wikipedia

Willem IV, Prince of Orange (Willem Karel Hendrik Friso) was the only son and the second of the two children of Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen,  two of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic, and Marie Luise of Hesse-Kassel. He was born on September 1, 1711, in Leeuwarden, Friesland, Dutch Republic. Six weeks before Willem’s birth, his 23-year-old father drowned when the ferry he was traveling on across a wide river capsized.

Willem had one elder sister:

Marie Luise and her two children, circa 1725; Credit – Wikipedia

From the day of his birth, Willem was Prince of Orange. He also succeeded to his father’s elective offices as Stadtholder of Friesland and as Stadtholder of Groningen under the regency of his mother Marie Luise until he reached his majority in 1731. In 1722, he was elected Stadtholder of Guelders and Marie Luise also served as regent of Guelders. Willem received an excellent education. He studied at the University of Franeker in Friesland and at Utrecht University. Willem IV spoke several languages and was interested in history. According to his history professor, Willem showed a particular interest in the mistakes of his ancestors.

Anne, Princess of Orange, Princess Royal; Credit – Wikipedia

Over in Great Britain, Anne, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of King George II, was bored with life at her father’s court.  Anne did not want to be a spinster and was anxious to marry. However, she had been disfigured by smallpox and was not considered attractive. Among the few Protestant possibilities, was Willem IV, Prince of Orange. Willem had a spinal deformity, which affected his appearance, but Anne was so anxious to marry that said she would marry him even “if he were a baboon.” Anne and Willem were betrothed in 1733. On March 25, 1734, Anne and Willem married at the Chapel Royal in St. James’s Palace in London, England.

When Anne and Willem arrived in the Netherlands, they took up residence at the Stadhouderlijk Hof in Leeuwarden, the provincial capital and seat of the States of Friesland (now in the Netherlands).  After enduring two miscarriages and two stillbirths, Anne and Willem had three children, but only two survived to adulthood. Through their son, they are ancestors of the Dutch Royal Family.

Willem IV, Prince of Orange; Anne, Princess of Orange and their two children Carolina and Willem; Credit – Wikipedia

In April of 1747, the French army threatened the Dutch Republic, which was weakened by internal division. The Dutch decided that their country needed a single strong executive, and turned to the House of Orange. On May 4, 1747, the States-General of the Netherlands named Willem IV, Prince of Orange, General Stadtholder of all seven of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and made the position hereditary for the first time.

Willem IV died at age 40 from a stroke on October 22, 1751, at Huis ten Bosch in The Hague and was buried in the crypt of the House of Orange in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Delft. He was succeeded by his three-year-old son as Willem V with his mother Anne serving as Regent.

Nieuwe Kerk in Delft; Credit – Wikipedia

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Marie Luise of Hesse-Kassel, Princess of Orange

by Susan Flantzer  © Unofficial Royalty 2018

Credit – Wikipedia

Marie Luise of Hesse-Kassel and her husband Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange hold the distinction of being the most recent common ancestors to all currently reigning European monarchs. In addition, they are the ancestors of many former monarchies. See Wikipedia: Royal descendants of John William Friso.

The second of the four daughters and ninth of the fourteen children of Karl I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel and his wife and cousin Maria Amalia of Courland, Marie Luise was born on February 7, 1688, in Kassel, Landgraviate of Hesse, now in Hesse, Germany.

Marie Luise had thirteen siblings:

Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange; Credit – Wikipedia

When she was 21-years-old, Marie Luise’s marriage was arranged by her future mother-in-law Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau who was concerned that her son Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange had been almost killed twice in battle and had no heir. She started searching for a bride and soon gave him a choice of two German princesses. Johan Willem Friso became engaged within a week to Marie Luise. They were married on April 26, 1709, in Kassel, Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, now in the German state of Hesse.

Marie Luise and Johan Willem Friso had two children:

Marie Luise and her children; Credit – Wikipedia

The couple made their home at the Stadhouderlijk Hof in Leeuwarden in Friesland one of the two of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic where Johan Willem Friso was Stadtholder. However, Johan Willem Friso was often away at war. Sadly, their marriage lasted only two years. In July 1711, Johan Willem Friso traveled from the battlefields of the War of the Spanish Succession to The Hague to meet with King Friedrich I of Prussia. To cross the Hollands Diep, a wide river in the Netherlands, Johan Willem Friso and his carriage traveled on a ferry. The captain had trouble with the sails and suddenly a great gust of wind filled the sails, the ferry capsized and Johan Willem Friso drowned at the age of 23. His body was found floating in the river eight days later. At the time of her husband’s death, Marie Luise was pregnant with her second child. Six weeks later, she gave birth to a son who immediately became Willem IV, Prince of Orange.

Willem V succeeded his father as Stadtholder of Friesland and as Stadtholder of Groningen under the regency of his mother until he reached his majority in 1731. In 1722, he was elected Stadtholder of Guelders and Marie Luise also served as regent of Guelders. She put much effort into ensuring her children received a proper education. Marie Luise was loved and admired by the Dutch people who called her Marijke Meu (Aunt Mary). In 1731, Marie Luise’s role as regent was over. She purchased the Princessehof in Leeuwarden, moved in, and started a collection of ceramics. Today her former home is the Princessehof Ceramics Museum and her collection forms part of the museum’s collection.

On March 25, 1734, Marie Luise’s son Willem IV, Prince of Orange married Anne, Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of King George II of Great Britain at the Chapel Royal in St. James’s Palace in London. It was the third time in less than 100 years that a British princess had married a Prince of Orange. Willem IV and Anne had two children including the future Willem V, Prince of Orange born in 1748. However, William IV died at age 40 from a stroke on October 22, 1751, and was succeeded by his three-year-old son as Willem V, Prince of Orange with his mother Anne serving as regent. Anne acted as regent until her death from dropsy in 1759 at age 49. As Willem V was still underage, his paternal grandmother 70-year-old Marie Luise became regent.

Marie Luise; Credit – Wikipedia

Marie Luise’s health had been deteriorating and she often had to travel from her home in Leeuwarden to The Hague for government business which exhausted her. She suffered a slight stroke that caused her to lose some functioning on the right side of her body. On Palm Sunday in 1765, Marie Luise was present at the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk in Leeuwarden greeting as many churchgoers as possible. The day before Easter, Marie Luise became ill and she was upset that her absence in church on Easter would disappoint the people. Two days after Easter, on April 9, 1765, Marie Luise died at the age of 77. She had survived her husband Johan Willem Friso by 54 years. Marie Luise was buried with her husband at the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk in Leeuwarden, Friesland now in the Netherlands, where sixteen members of Nassau-Diez family – six Stadtholders of Friesland, their spouses and children – are buried.

Grote of Jacobijnerkerk; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

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Princess Adrienne of Sweden, Duchess of Blekinge

by Susan Flantzer

Princess Adrienne; Photo Credit – http://www.kungahuset.se, photo: Christopher O’Neill

Princess Adrienne of Sweden was born on March 9, 2018, at Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. She is the third child of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and her husband Christopher O’Neill.

Princess Adrienne has two older siblings:

Leonore and Nicolas welcoming their little sister home ❤

A post shared by Princess Madeleine of Sweden (@princess_madeleine_of_sweden) on

At a council held at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden on March 12, 2018, attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the King announced the full name and title of his granddaughter: Her Royal Highness Princess Adrienne Josephine Alice, Duchess of Blekinge. This is the first time the province of Blekinge has been used as a ducal title for a member of the Swedish royal family.

  • Adrienne: A name liked by her parents
  • Josephine: Brought into the Swedish Royal Family when Joséphine of Leuchtenberg, a granddaughter of Empress Joséphine (Napoleon Bonaparte‘s first wife), married King Oscar I in 1823. It is one of the names of Adrienne’s mother Princess Madeleine (Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine).
  • Alice: For her great-grandmother Alice Soares de Toledo, the mother of her maternal grandmother Queen Silvia. It is also one of the names of Adrienne’s aunt Crown Princess Victoria (Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée).

On October 7, 2019, the Swedish Royal Court announced that King Carl XVI Gustaf had decided to make changes regarding the children of his son Prince Carl Philip and his daughter Princess Madeleine. Their children would no longer be members of The Royal House but would continue to be members of The Royal Family. Prince Alexander, Prince Gabriel, Princess Leonore, Prince Nicolas, and Princess Adrienne would no longer enjoy the style of Royal Highness but they would retain their titles of Duke and Duchess previously granted by King Carl XVI Gustaf. They will remain in the line of succession to the Swedish throne. In the future, they will not be expected to perform any royal duties. As a result, Adrienne will be styled Princess Adrienne, Duchess of Blekinge.

Princess Adrienne with her mother Princess Madeleine and her grandfather King Carl XVI Gustaf; Photo Credit – Swedish Royal Court, photo by Jonas Ekströmer

Princess Adrienne was christened on June 8, 2018, her parents’ fifth wedding anniversary, at the Drottningholm Palace Church. Princess Adrienne’s grandfather King Carl XVI Gustaf hosted a reception and a luncheon for the invited guests at Drottningholm Castle.

The godparents were:

  • Miss Anouska d’Abo: niece of Christopher O’Neill
  • Mrs. Coralie Charriol Paul: a friend of the parents
  • Mr. Nader Panahpour: a friend of the parents
  • Freiherr Gustav Thott: a friend of the parents
  • Mrs. Charlotte Kreuger Cederlund: a friend of the parents
  • Mrs. Natalie Werner: a friend of the parents

Wikipedia: Princess Adrienne of Sweden

Prince Gabriel of Sweden, Duke of Dalarna

by Susan Flantzer

Prince Gabriel sitting on his mother’s lap; Photo: Victor Ericsson, The Royal Court of Sweden, 2020

Prince Gabriel of Sweden was born on August 31, 2017, at Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the second child of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and his wife Princess Sofia, born Sofia Hellqvist. Prince Gabriel has an older brother Prince Alexander who was born April 19, 2016.

Photo Credit – http://www.kungahuset.se, photo taken by Prince Carl Philip

On September 4, 2017, at a Council at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, his paternal grandfather King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden announced his full name and title: His Royal Highness Prince Gabriel Carl Walther, Duke of Dalarna.

  • Gabriel: The name Gabriel has never been used in the Swedish royal family. However, it is found in Oxenstierna family, an old Swedish noble family, who are ancestors of the Swedish royal family.
  • Carl: For his paternal grandfather King Carl XVI Gustaf
  • Walther: For his paternal great-grandfather Walther Sommerlath (1901-1990), the father of his paternal grandmother Queen Silvia

Two other Swedish princes have held the title Duke of Dalarna:

On October 7, 2019, the Swedish Royal Court announced that King Carl XVI Gustaf had decided to make changes regarding the children of his son Prince Carl Philip and his daughter Princess Madeleine. Their children would no longer be members of The Royal House but would continue to be members of The Royal Family. Prince Alexander, Prince Gabriel, Princess Leonore, Prince Nicolas, and Princess Adrienne would no longer enjoy the style of Royal Highness but they would retain their titles of Duke and Duchess previously granted by King Carl XVI Gustaf. They will remain in the line of succession to the Swedish throne. In the future, they will not be expected to perform any royal duties. As a result, Gabriel will be styled Prince Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna.

Prince Gabriel was baptized in the Drottningholm Palace Church on December 1, 2017. His godparents were:

  • Princess Madeleine of Sweden, his paternal aunt
  • Sara Hellqvist, his maternal aunt
  • Thomas de Toledo Summerlath, his father’s maternal cousin
  • Oscar Kylberg, a friend of his parents
  • Carolina Pihl, a friend of his parents

Gabriel’s parents and brother with his godparents: Carolina Pihl, Sara Hellqvist, Thomas de Toledo Sommerlath, Princess Madeleine and Oscar Kylberg. Photo Credit: http://www.kungahuset.se, photo taken by Fredrik Sandberg/TT

A name for the newborn Swedish princess

Photo Credit – http://www.kungahuset.se, photo taken by Christoper O’Neill, the baby’s father

At a council held at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden on Monday, March 12, 2018, attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the King announced the names of the newborn daughter of Princess Madeleine: Her Royal Highness Princess Adrienne Josephine Alice, Duchess of Blekinge.

Josephine is a name brought into the Swedish Royal Family when Joséphine of Leuchtenberg, a granddaughter of Empress Joséphine (Napoleon Bonaparte‘s first wife) married King Oscar I in 1823. It is one of the names of the baby’s mother Princess Madeleine (Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine). Alice is most likely for the baby’s great-grandmother Alice Soares de Toledo, the mother of Queen Silvia. It is also one of the names of the baby’s aunt Crown Princess Victoria (Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée).

Learn more about the Swedish Royal Family at Unofficial Royalty: Swedish Index.

Crown Princess Victoria and King Carl XVI Gustaf attending the council; Photo Credit – http://www.kungahuset.se, photo taken by Erik Simander/TT

Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange

by Susan Flantzer  © Unofficial Royalty 2018

Credit – Wikipedia

Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange and his wife Princess Marie Luise of Hesse-Kassel hold the distinction of being the most recent common ancestors to all currently reigning European monarchs. In addition, they are the ancestors of many formerly reigning families. See Wikipedia: Royal descendants of John William Friso.

The only surviving son and the third of the nine children of Hendrik Casimir II, Prince of Nassau-Dietz and Stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen and Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau, Johan Willem Friso was born on August 14, 1687, in Dessau, Principality of Anhalt, now in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. His grandmothers Albertine Agnes and Henriëtte Catharina were daughters of Fredrik Hendrik, Prince of Orange and granddaughters of Willem I (the Silent), Prince of Orange. Upon his father’s death in 1696, nine-year-old Johan Willem Friso became Prince of Nassau-Dietz and Stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen, two of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic.

Johan Willem Friso had eight siblings:

At the time of Johan Willem Friso’s birth, his first cousin once removed Willem III was Prince of Orange and Stadtholder (Governor) of five of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic. Willem III had married his English first cousin Mary, the elder surviving child of King James II of England. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which deposed King James II, Willem and Mary jointly ruled England as King William III and Queen Mary II. However, the couple had no children. Mary II died in 1694 and William (Willem) III died in 1702. Upon William’s death, Mary’s younger sister succeeded as Queen Anne in England. However, in the Dutch Republic and the Principality of Orange, which had only male succession, the legitimate male line of Willem I (the Silent), Prince of Orange became extinct.

Johan Willem Friso claimed succession in the five provinces of the Dutch Republic that William (Willem) III had held as well as to the title Prince of Orange. However, the five provinces over which Willem III had ruled as Stadtholder – Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overijssel – all suspended the office of Stadtholder after his death. A dispute arose between Johan Willem Friso and Friedrich I, King in Prussia, also a grandson of Frederik Hendrik, Prince of Orange, over the Principality of Orange which was located in France. Friedrich I eventually inherited the land and ceded the land to France in 1713. However, the title Prince of Orange continued to be used in the Dutch Republic. Eventually, when the Netherlands became a kingdom, Prince of Orange became the title for the heir apparent to the throne. The Netherlands has had absolute primogeniture since 1983 which means the eldest child is the heir regardless of gender. In 2013, upon the succession of King Willem-Alexander to the Dutch throne, his eldest child Princess Catharina-Amalia became the heir apparent and the Princess of Orange.

Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1707, 20-year-old Johan Willem Friso became a general in the Dutch army and took part in the War of the Spanish Succession. He was almost killed on two occasions and his mother Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau realized that her son needed an heir. She started searching for a bride and soon gave him a choice of two German princesses. Johan Willem Friso became engaged within a week to Marie Luise of Hesse-Kassel. They were married on April 26, 1709, in Kassel.

Marie Luise and Johan Willem Friso had two children:

Marie Luise and her two children, circa 1725; Credit – Wikipedia

In July 1711, Johan Willem Friso traveled from the battlefields of the War of the Spanish Succession to The Hague to meet with King Friedrich I of Prussia about their succession dispute. To cross the Hollands Diep, a wide river in the Netherlands, Johan Willem Friso and his carriage traveled on a ferry. The captain had trouble with the sails and suddenly a great gust of wind filled the sails, the ferry capsized and Johan Willem Friso drowned at the age of 23 on July 14, 1711. His body was found floating in the river eight days later.

The drowning of Johan Willem Friso; Credit – Wikipedia

At the time of his death, Johan Willem Friso’s wife Marie Luise was pregnant with her second child. Six weeks later, she gave birth to a son who immediately became Willem IV, Prince of Orange. Marie Louise served as regent for her son from 1711 until he reached his majority in 1731. On February 25, 1712, more than seven months after his death, Johan Willem Friso was buried at the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk in Leeuwarden, Friesland now in the Netherlands, where sixteen members of Nassau-Diez family – six Stadtholders of Friesland, their spouses and children – are buried.

Grote of Jacobijnerkerk; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

This article is the intellectual property of Unofficial Royalty and is NOT TO BE COPIED, EDITED, OR POSTED IN ANY FORM ON ANOTHER WEBSITE under any circumstances. It is permissible to use a link that directs to Unofficial Royalty.

Wedding of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Princess Alexandra of Denmark

by Scott Mehl

On March 10, 1863, the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom married Princess Alexandra of Denmark, at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. It would be the first royal wedding held at St. George’s.

Edward’s Early Life

Prince Albert Edward was born at Buckingham Palace on November 9, 1841, the second child and eldest son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. As the eldest son and heir, he was titled Duke of Cornwall from birth and created Prince of Wales just a month later. Known within the family as Bertie, his education began with a strict program created by his father, but he was not a very good student. He later studied at the University of Edinburgh, Christ Church, Oxford, and Trinity College, Cambridge. His hopes for a military career were denied by Queen Victoria, however, he did hold several honorary commissions.

For more about Edward see:
Unofficial Royalty: King Edward VII of the United Kingdom

 

Alexandra’s Early Life

Alexandra (far right) with her parents and siblings, 1862

Alexandra was born December 1, 1844, at the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen, the second child and eldest daughter of the future King Christian IX of Denmark and Princess Luise of Hesse-Kassel. Her siblings were the future King Frederik VIII of Denmark, King George I of the Hellenes, The Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, The Crown Princess of Hanover, and Prince Valdemar of Denmark. At the time of her birth, she was a Princess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. However, in 1853, her father was named as heir to the Danish throne and Alexandra became a Princess of Denmark. At that time, the family moved to Bernstorff Palace where, despite their royal status, Alexandra and her siblings received a very simple upbringing. Educated privately at home, Alexandra became fluent in English at a young age.

For more about Alexandra see:
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Alexandra of Denmark

The Engagement

By 1860, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were already searching for an appropriate bride for the future King. With the help of Bertie’s older sister Vicky – by then the Crown Princess of Prussia – Queen Victoria developed a list of prospective brides. Princess Alexandra of Denmark was fifth on the list, but Vicky found her to be the perfect match for Bertie. And his father agreed that Alexandra was “the only one to be chosen.” The couple first met at Speyer Cathedral in Germany, on September 24, 1861, in a meeting arranged by Vicky. The following year, on September 9, 1862, Bertie and Alexandra became engaged at the Royal Palace of Laeken in Belgium, the home of Bertie’s great-uncle, King Leopold I of the Belgians. Bertie presented Alexandra with a ring featuring six precious stones – purposely selected so that their names would spell out ‘Bertie’ — Beryl, Emerald, Ruby, Turquoise, Jacynth and Emerald.

The Marriage Treaty was signed in January 1863 and ratified three months later. It established that the marriage would take place in Britain, in a Church of England ceremony, and also provided financial arrangements for the future Princess of Wales. Under the terms, she would receive £10,000 annually for her sole use. And if she were to become widowed, she would receive £30,000 annually in lieu of any dower. Parliament agreed to the terms of the treaty, granting them a total of £50,000 per year (£10k of which was for the bride).

Pre-Wedding Festivities

Princess Alexandra’s arrival procession passing the Mansion House. painting by Robert Dudley

Princess Alexandra arrived in England on March 7, 1863, having sailed from Denmark aboard the British Royal yacht Victoria and Albert II. She was greeted upon her arrival in Gravesend, Kent the Prince of Wales, and large crowds who welcomed their future Queen to her new homeland. The couple, along with the bride’s family, traveled by Royal Train to London, where they processed by carriage through the streets of the city. Making their way to Paddington Station, they again boarded the train to make their way to Windsor. Disembarking at Slough, they began another carriage procession to Windsor Castle. Bad weather forced the use closed carriages, much to the dismay of the vast crowds gathered along the route, hoping to catch a glimpse of Alexandra. Upon their arrival, at 6:30 in the evening, they were greeted by a very anxious Queen Victoria, who had been patiently waiting to welcome her new daughter-in-law and her family.

After a day to rest, the festivities continued on March 9, with numerous delegations being presented to the couple, and presenting wedding gifts. These included the Lord Mayor of London and other officials, who presented the bride with a necklace and earrings of Golconda diamonds, which had previously been approved by the Prince Consort before his death. After receiving numerous guests, the couple took a carriage ride through the park, where they were greeted by the students of Eton – among them a young Randolph Churchill. That evening, a dinner party was held at the Castle followed by a fireworks display in the Home Park.

Wedding Guests

Despite the fact that this was the marriage of the future King of the United Kingdom, the guest list was kept rather small, with only a few foreign royals and members of the British aristocracy in attendance. As the British Court was still in mourning for Prince Albert, the ladies’ dresses were limited to grey, lilac or mauve.

The Groom’s Immediate Family
Queen Victoria
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Prussia
Prince Wilhelm of Prussia
Prince and Princess Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine
Princess Louise
Princess Helena
Prince Arthur
Prince Leopold
Princess Beatrice

The Bride’s Immediate Family
Prince and Princess Christian of Denmark
Prince Frederik of Denmark
Prince Vilhelm of Denmark
Princess Dagmar of Denmark
Princess Thyra of Denmark

Other Royal Guests
The Duke of Cambridge
The Duchess of Cambridge
Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge
King Leopold I of the Belgians
The Count of Flanders
The Duchess of Brabant
Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Ernst Leopold, 4th Prince of Leiningen
Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Maharajah Duleep Singh
The Duke of Holstein
Prince Friedrich of Hesse-Kassel
Count and Countess Gleichen

Some Other Notable Guests
The Prime Minister, Viscount Palmerston
William Gladstone (future Prime Minister)
Benjamin Disraeli (future Prime Minister)
Charles Dickens
William Makepeace Thackeray
Alfred Tennyson
Charles Kingsley
Jenny Lind

The Wedding Attendants and Supporters

The bridesmaids of Alexandra of Denmark by an unknown photographer. source: National Portrait Gallery, NPG x33255

For the ceremony, the bride was supported by her father, Prince Christian of Denmark, and The Duke of Cambridge. The groom was supported by his brother-in-law, Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia, and his uncle, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

In addition, the bride had eight bridesmaids, all of whom were unmarried daughters of British Dukes and Earls:

  • Lady Diana Beauclerk, daughter of the Duke of St. Albans
  • Lady Elma Bruce, daughter of the Earl of Elgin
  • Lady Eleanor Hare, daughter of the Earl of Listowel
  • Lady Victoria Howard, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk
  • Lady Victoria Montagu Douglas Scott, daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch
  • Lady Emily Villiers, daughter of the Earl of Clarendon
  • Lady Feodore Wellesley, daughter of the Earl Cowley
  • Lady Agenta Yorke, daughter of the Earl of Hardwicke

 

The Wedding Attire

The bride’s dress – a gift from King Leopold I of the Belgians – was made of white silk trimmed with orange blossoms and myrtle and was overlaid with flounces of tulle and Honiton lace. The train, 21-feet in length, was of silver moiré also trimmed in orange blossoms. Her veil, trimmed with the same lace as her gown, featured English roses, Irish shamrocks, and Scottish thistles, and was held in place by a wreath of orange blossoms and myrtle atop her head.

Alexandra’s jewels were all wedding gifts. She wore a pearl necklace, earrings, and brooch given to her by The Prince of Wales, an opal and diamond bracelet from Queen Victoria, another opal and diamond bracelet from the Ladies of Manchester, and a diamond bracelet from the Ladies of Leeds.

She carried a bouquet of orange blossoms, white rosebuds, lily of the valley, orchids, and myrtle. The flowers were held in a “bouquet holder of carved crystal adorned with pearls and coral. The stem features a band of emeralds and diamonds with a jeweled coronet; the foot is formed of a ball of crystal with rubies and diamonds. By turning the ball, the foot springs open into four supports, in each of which is a plume and cipher. Attached to the holder is a chain of gold and pearls and a hoop ring of eight pearls.” The flower and bouquet holder were a gift from the Maharajah Dhuleep Singh.  (source: An Historical Record of the Marriage of The Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, published by Darton and Hodge, London)

The groom was resplendent in full dress uniform of a British General beneath his Garter Robes.

The bridesmaids wore dresses of white glacé silk trimmed with tulle and roses, and wreaths of roses on their heads.

The Ceremony

painting by William Frith, c1865.

Despite her perpetual mourning for the late Prince Consort, Queen Victoria decreed that the Prince of Wales should be married with “the utmost magnificence”, and chose St. George’s Chapel, Windsor as the site of the ceremony. This would be the first of many royal weddings at St. George’s, a tradition which continues to this day for many members of the Royal Family.

Guests began to arrive at the Chapel at 10:30 on the morning of March 10, 1863, and by 11:30 the more prominent attendees were escorted to their seats. The Knights of the Order of the Garter were led in procession by Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister. They were followed by the Lord Chancellor, carrying the Great Seal, and the Lord Chief Justice of all England. Next came the clergy – the Archbishop of Canterbury, followed by the Bishops of London, Oxford, Winchester, and Chester, and the Dean of Windsor. The Diplomatic Corps was the last to take their seats before the royal processions began.

Carriage processions began from Windsor Castle at 11:30, beginning with the royal guests and the bride’s family, followed by members of the British Royal Family and then the groom and his supporters. The last procession was the bride. The Queen, still in mourning, made her way privately to the chapel, and did not take part in the carriage procession.

Just before noon, Queen Victoria, escorted by the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, made her way to the Catherine of Aragon Closet, a room with an oriel window overlooking the left side of the altar. Dressed in a black silk dress with white collar and cuffs, along with her widow’s cap, she took her seat largely out of view of the guests in the chapel, along with Lady Augusta Bruce – her Lady of the Bedchamber. (She can be seen in the upper right of the picture above)

At 12:00, the procession began, with the royal guests and family members making their way up the aisle, each offering a bow or curtsy to The Queen before taking their seats. Next came The Prince of Wales, accompanied by his brother-in-law and uncle, who processed to The Wedding March. They too stopped to bow to The Queen, who had now stood and come to the front of the balcony to receive their homage. Last to process was the bride, accompanied by her father and the Duke of Cambridge both in full uniform and decorations. After she reached the altar and curtseyed to The Queen, the choir sang a chant which had been written by The Prince Consort. Overcome with emotion, The Queen was seen to cry and step back, out of view from those gathered below.

The ceremony was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It began with the couple taking their vows, followed by a brief service of readings, prayers and a homily from the Archbishop. Following the benediction, the couple joined hands, turned to bow and curtsy to The Queen and began their procession out of the chapel. At this point, The Queen made her way quietly back to the castle.

The Witnesses

As is traditional at British royal weddings, many of the royal guests served as witnesses for the marriage register. These included the groom’s mother, Queen Victoria, his siblings and their spouses, the bride’s parents and her siblings. Other signers included the Danish Minister, church dignitaries, the Lord Chancellor and other ministers of the Crown.

The Wedding Banquet

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State Dining Room where the royal guests had luncheon

Following the wedding, the bride and groom, and their royal guests processed back to Windsor Castle by carriage, arriving at the Grand Entrance where Edward and Alexandra were met by Queen Victoria. They made their way to the Green Drawing Room and then the White Drawing Room, where the marriage register was signed. Lunch was then served in the State Dining Room for the royal guests, and in St. George’s Hall for the Diplomatic Corps, members of the royal households, and the more prominent guests at the wedding – nearly 400 people.

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St. George’s Hall, circa 1845

There were two wedding cakes, one in each venue. The cake in the State Dining Room was octagonal, featuring a square altar at the center, and a Cupid on each angle holding a piece of wedding cake. The cake in St. George’s Hall weighed nearly 80 pounds. It was octagonal in shape and displayed the arms of the Prince of Wales, the new Princess of Wales, Great Britain and Denmark alternately on each side. It was decorated with orange blossoms and jasmine and surmounted by a vase filled with a jasmine bouquet.

At 4 pm, the newly married couple took leave of their guests and traveled by open carriage, accompanied by a guard of honor from the Coldstream Guards, to Paddington Station where they boarded a train which took them to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight for their honeymoon.

Children

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Bertie and Alexandra had six children:

Another daughter for Princess Madeleine of Sweden

Photo: Anna-Lena Ahlström, Swedish Royal Court

The Swedish Royal Court has announced that Princess Madeleine gave birth to her third child – a daughter – this morning at 12:41am at the Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm.  Both mother and baby are doing well.  The baby weighed 3465 grams (about 7.6 pounds) and is 50cm in length (about 19.6 inches).

Princess Madeleine and her husband, Christopher O’Neill, have two older children – Princess Leonore, born in February 2014, and Prince NIcolas, born in June 2015.  Their new daughter will be 10th in the line of succession to the Swedish throne.

As is the tradition in Sweden, the King will announce the baby’s names and titles at a Council meeting to be held on Monday, March 12, 2018.  The meeting will be followed by a Te Deum service held in the Castle Church.

Willem II, Prince of Orange

by Susan Flantzer  © Unofficial Royalty 2018

Credit – Wikipedia

The father of King William III of England, Willem II, Prince of Orange was the eldest of the nine children of Frederik Hendrik, Prince of Orange and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels. He was born on May 27, 1626, in The Hague, Dutch Republic, now in the Netherlands.

Willem at age six; Credit – Wikipedia

Willem had eight siblings but only four survived childhood:

Willem’s father, mother, and three youngest sisters, circa 1647; Credit – Wikipedia

King Charles I of England had wanted his eldest daughter Mary, Princess Royal to marry one of the sons of King Felipe IV of Spain or her first cousin Karl I Ludwig, Elector Palatine, but both marriage prospects failed. Instead, Mary was betrothed to Willem, whose parents were thrilled to have such an alliance with England. On May 2, 1641, at the Chapel Royal of the Palace of Whitehall in London, England, nine-year-old Mary married Willem, who would have his 15th birthday in a couple of weeks. Because of Mary’s young age, the marriage was not consummated for several years.

Willem and Mary, Princess Royal by Anthony Van Dyck; Credit – Wikipedia

In February 1642, Willem and Mary, accompanied by her mother Henrietta Maria of France, sailed from England to The Hague in the Dutch Republic. Once in The Hague, Mary was warmly greeted by her in-laws and her paternal aunt Elizabeth Stuart, Electress Palatine and some of her children. A second marriage ceremony was held in The Hague on November 4, 1643.

Mary and Willem had one child:

Willem III, Prince of Orange in 1654; Credit – Wikipedia

Frederik Hendrik, Prince of Orange died in 1647 and his son Willem became Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. His two brothers-in-law, the future King Charles II and King James II, exiled because of the English Civil War, were welcomed to Willem and Mary’s court in 1648.

Since 1568, initially under Willem II’s grandfather, Willem I (the Silent), Prince of Orange, the Dutch provinces had been engaged in the Eighty Years’ War against Spain for its independence. Under Frederik Hendrik, the Dutch provinces had largely won the war, and since 1646 had been negotiating with Spain on the terms for ending the war. In 1648, Willem II opposed the signing of the Peace of Westphalia, although it officially recognized the independence of the Dutch provinces. However, six of the seven Dutch provinces voted to accept it so the treaty went into effect.

Willem II and Mary, Prince and Princess of Orange in 1647; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1650, there was a serious confrontation between Willem II and the province of Holland, led by the regents of Amsterdam who requested the reduction of the army, according to the Peace of Westphalia. Willem II denied the request and imprisoned several members of the Provincial Assembly of the Netherlands and sent troops to take Amsterdam, but the campaign failed due to bad weather.

In 1650, Mary was pregnant with her first child when her husband Willem II fell ill with smallpox. He died on November 6, 1650, at the age of 24, and was buried at the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft. Eight days later, on November 14, 1650, Mary gave birth to her only child Willem III, Prince of Orange who went on to marry his first cousin Mary, the eldest surviving child of the future King James II of England. Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in which James II was deposed, they jointly reigned as King William III and Queen Mary II.

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Wikipedia: William II, Prince of Orange

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, Princess of Orange

by Susan Flantzer  © Unofficial Royalty 2018

Credit – Wikipedia

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels was born on August 31, 1602, at Braunfels Castle (Schloss Braunfels) in Braunfels, then in the County of Solms-Braunfels now in Hesse, Germany. She was the fourth of five daughters and the eighth of the eleven children of Johann Albrecht I, Count of Solms-Braunfels and Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein.

Schloss Braunfels, Amalia’s birthplace; Photo Credit – By I, ArtMechanic, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=196823

Amalia had ten siblings but only five survived childhood:

  • Friedrich Kasimir (1591 – 1595), died in early childhood
  • Elisabeth (1593 – 1636), married Wolfgang Friedrich, Count of Salm, Wild and Rheingraf, had seven children
  • Ursula (1594 – 1657), married Christoph, Count of Dohna, had twelve children
  • Konrad Ludwig, Count of Solms-Braunfels (1595 – 1635), married Anna Sibylla, Baroness Winneburg, no children
  • Juliana (1597 – 1599), died in early childhood
  • Otto (born and died 1598)
  • Johann Albrecht II, Count of Solms-Braunfels (1599 – 1648), married Anna Elisabeth, Baroness Daun-Falkenstein, had two children
  • Friedrich (1604 – 1605), died in early childhood
  • Johann Philipp (1605 – 1609), died in early childhood
  • Louise Christina (1606 – 1669), married Johan Wolfert van Brederode, 16th Lord van Brederode, had eight children

Amalia spent her childhood at the family’s castle in Braunfels. In 1619, Amalia’s father became an adviser to Friedrich V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine who had just been elected King of Bohemia. Amalia’s family traveled to Prague, the capital of Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic) and Amalia became a maid of honor to King Friedrich’s wife Elizabeth Stuart, the eldest daughter of King James I of England. The crown of Bohemia had been in Habsburg hands for a long time and the Habsburg heir, Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor refused to accept Friedrich as King of Bohemia. Friedrich’s reign ended with his defeat by Ferdinand at the Battle of White Mountain, one of the early battles of the Thirty Years’ War, on November 8, 1620. Friedrich and Elizabeth are called the Winter King and the Winter Queen in reference to their short reign as King and Queen of Bohemia.

Elizabeth, pregnant with her fifth child, left Prague with Amalia in attendance. At the Castle of Custrin outside of Berlin, Elizabeth gave birth to her son Moritz with the help of Amalia. Friedrich and Elizabeth were given asylum by Maurits, Prince of Orange, and invited to live in The Hague. It was at a ball in honor of Elizabeth in 1622 in The Hague that Amalia met her future husband Frederik Hendrik, the only child of Willem I (the Silent), Prince of Orange and his fourth wife Louise de Coligny, and the half-brother of the Prince of Orange, Maurits. Frederik Hendrik, who was unmarried, fell madly in love with Amalia and wanted her to become his mistress. Amalia refused to accept anything but marriage.

Frederik Hendrik and Amalia; Credit – Wikipedia

Frederik Hendrik’s half-brother Maurits, Prince of Orange never married but he did have a number of illegitimate children. In 1625, while on his deathbed, Maurits threatened to legitimize his illegitimate sons which would then threaten the succession of Frederik Hendrik. Because of Maurits’ threat to legitimize his illegitimate sons, Frederik Hendrik summoned Amalia and married her on April 4, 1625. The marriage and the promise of children satisfied Maurits. He died on April 23, 1625, at the age of 57. Frederik Hendrik succeeded him as Prince of Orange and the other hereditary titles of their father. He also succeeded in the elective offices as Stadtholder (Governor) of five of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic and as the Captain-General and Admiral of the military forces of the Dutch Republic.

Frederik Hendrik and Amalia had nine children but four did not survive infancy:

Frederik Hendrik with his wife and three youngest daughters, circa 1647; Credit – Wikipedia

Apparently, Amalia and her husband had a good relationship and a happy marriage. She was the main matchmaker of the family, arranging the marriage of her son Willem with Mary, Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, and the marriages of her daughters with German princes. Amalia had influence in politics, initially as Frederik Hendrik’s adviser, and then, after 1640, when her husband became ill, she became openly involved in political life and received foreign diplomats and envoys.

For many years before his death, Frederik Hendrik suffered from gout. In the summer of 1646, he had a stroke which temporarily prevented him from speaking. After that, Frederik Hendrik was physically weak, difficult to cope with, and sometimes mentally unstable. He died on March 14, 1647, in The Hague, Holland, Dutch Republic at the age of 63. His 21-year-old eldest son succeeded him as Willem II, Prince of Orange.

Willem II served as Stadtholder and Prince of Orange for only three years. On November 6, 1650, he died from smallpox. His wife Mary gave birth to their only child eight days later. The 19-year-old widow wanted to name her son Charles after her brother King Charles II of England but her mother-in-law Amalia insisted that her grandson be named Willem Hendrik and she got her way. From birth, the infant was Willem III, Prince of Orange.

Amalia’s grandson Willem III, Prince of Orange, later King William III of England; Credit – Wikipedia

During Willem’s minority, his mother Mary had to share his guardianship and regency with his paternal grandmother Amalia and Friedrich Wilhelm, Elector of Brandenburg, whose wife Louise Henriette was the elder sister of little Willem’s father. In 1660, Willem’s mother Mary died from smallpox while visiting her brothers King Charles II and the future King James II in England and Amalia became the sole regent for her 10-year-old grandson. In 1672, Willem III, Prince of Orange was declared an adult and his regency council was dismissed. Amalia witnessed her grandson become Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel and Captain-General of the military forces. Willem went on to marry his first cousin Mary, the eldest surviving child of the future King James II of England. During the Glorious Revolution of 1688, King James II was overthrown and his son-in-law and daughter then reigned jointly as King William III and Queen Mary II.

Amalia died on September 8, 1675, in The Hague at the age of 73. She was buried at the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft.

Nieuwe Kerk in Delft; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

This article is the intellectual property of Unofficial Royalty and is NOT TO BE COPIED, EDITED, OR POSTED IN ANY FORM ON ANOTHER WEBSITE under any circumstances. It is permissible to use a link that directs to Unofficial Royalty.