Sunday, April 29, 2018

Royal Weddings

The Big Royal Wedding Day is only 3 weeks away!!!  I have checked my local TV listings, and realized I have to get up at 2:30 am.  (or, y'know, just stay awake all night eating cake and waiting for a glimpse of the dress).  In the meantime, I'm taking a look at another royal wedding in history (or rather, royal adjacent), that of Deborah Mitford to Lord Andrew Cavendish on April 19, 1941.

Debo Mitford was the youngest of the famously fabulous Mitford clan (I'm obviously a big fan!), and Lord Andrew the younger son of the Duke of Devonshire.  They met at a dinner party in 1938, and "we never stopped talking."  The rest of the Season they met at house parties, balls, dinners, races, and nightclubs like the Cafe de Paris and the 400.  Her mother warned her "I should give up seeing him if I were you, he's unreliable," and his mother told him "You either have to marry that girl or stop asking her here."  Marriage it was.  By then it was 1941, and the wedding was held in the midst of the Blitz.

The Mitfords' house, the site of the reception, was hit two days before the wedding, and all the windows blown out.  Muv made improvised window curtains from rolls of gray and gold wallpaper, took all the champagne stock she could find, and ordered a cake sans icing (there was no sugar to be had after rationing, so the icing was a cardboard casing taken off to cut the actual cake).  The ceremony was at St. Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield, and there were no bridesmaids or pages, though the bride had a Victor Stiebel gown of eighty yards of tulle (just a few weeks before fabric rationing).  There were 6 days of honeymoon before Andrew left to join the Coldstream Guards.  His older brother was killed in the war, leaving the couple to eventually become the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

They had a sometimes rocky marriage, but a successeful partnership in bring the great house of Chatsworth back to life.  Andrew died in 2004, Debo in 2014.

The Duchess of Devonshire has lots of books, all of them worth reading, but I found the wedding info on Wait for Me! (2010) and The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters (2007)