Sunday, March 11, 2018

Royal Wedding of the Weekend

(Next week, my newest mystery, Santa Fe Mourning, first in my 1920s series, will be out and about at last!!!  I am so excited.  To celebrate, I'll start things off with a giveaway on Tuesday, and a few posts about the history of my hometown, Santa Fe, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, today's royal wedding...)

Today we'll take a look at the grandparents of last week's bride, Princess Mary, on their anniversary (March 10, 1863), Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.

Alexandra's early life sounds something like a Cinderella tale.  Even though she was the daughter of the Danish king, and enjoyed a very close-knit family upbringing, the Danes were an obscure and not very wealthy royal family, especially compared with the might of the British Empire and Queen Victoria.  But the queen and the late Prince Albert had always despaired of their eldest son, thinking him debauched and not serious, and they were sure marrying and settling down early would do him good.  After Albert's death, Victoria turned to her eldest daughter Princess Vicky, now settled in Prussia, to find the right bride for Albert Edward (Bertie).  The queen wanted a German bride, but none were deemed pretty enough.  In fact, the only one who would do was the gorgeous Alexandra, then 16 years old.  A meeting was arranged, and a betrothal swiftly followed.

The wedding took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor (which we will see again this May!), but the venue wasn't a popular choice.  It was outside London, so crowds wouldn't get a glimpse of the couple; it was small, so invitations were scarce; and it was inconvenient to get to.  The princess's elaborate gown (the first royal wedding dress to be photographed at the occasion; Victoria and Albert were photographed in their wedding clothes, but years after the event) was very fashionable.  Made of white Spitalfields silk satin, it was trimmed with wreaths of orange blossoms, myrtle, swaths of tulle, and Honiton lace, with a matching lace veil depicting English roses, Irish shamrocks, and Scottish thistles.  It was created by a Mrs. James of Belgravia, lace done by Messrs Julius Tucker and Co.

Alexandra was Princess of Wales until 1901, the longest to ever hold that title, and proved to be a very popular and stylish royal.  Despite Bertie's constant infidelities and her own health troubles (including growing deafness), they had 6 children and a relatively harmonious life together.  Bertie died in 1910, after a mere few years as queen, and Alexandra in 1925.

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