Monday, December 9, 2019

Royal Romances of Today by Kellogg Durland

Part 1: Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain
Chapter 4: A Royal Wedding

The train which carried Princess Ena across France toward her unknown Destiny approached the Spanish frontier at dawn. On the platform of the first station within the borders of Spain paced the awaiting bridegroom,—eager, impatient, anxious. He smoked cigarette after cigarette as the minutes went by, pausing ever and anon to peer into the gloom which still lingered of the passing night as if to catch the first sight of the coming train. When at last it arrived and the Princess had alighted, her very first act was one which made an appeal to the Spanish people. Turning almost directly from the group of ministers, generals and courtiers who were there to greet her, she stepped toward the Mayor of the little village who was surrounded by a group of peasant delegates, and extending her hand for him to kiss, she graciously accepted the bouquet which he handed to her. This man was a field labourer—a peasant—and his comrades were all of the soil. Thus the first homage which she received and acknowledged was that which came directly from the people.
The evening of the day of her arrival at Madrid she seized a splendid opportunity. In the town{25} of Badajoz, the capital of the Province of Estremadura, was a man condemned to death and whose sentence was to have been carried out the day following the arrival of the bride-elect. On the evening of her arrival in Spain, the people of the town, representatives of all classes, telegraphed to the Princess an earnest petition beseeching her to exercise her influence with the King for him to exercise his prerogative of Royal clemency and pardon the condemned man. The Princess went immediately to the King and told him that almost the first message she had received upon her arrival in Spain was this petition asking her to save the life of a man. This wedding present, she said, would please her more than any gift she might receive. King Alfonso instantly granted her request and the Royal pardon was despatched by telegraph, arriving at Badajoz less than one hour before the sentence was to have been carried out. Upon receipt of the news, all the bells of the town were set ringing and there was a scene of extraordinary demonstration; the whole community gathering in the streets crying: “Long live Queen Victoria Eugenie.”
Thursday the 31st of May, 1906, had been appointed for the wedding. The day broke bright and clear in Madrid, a glorious sun tempered by a cooling breeze shone throughout the day and with not a cloud in the sky. The King arrived at the Palace of the Pardo just outside of Madrid where the Princess and her suite had remained during{26} the few days preceding the wedding, in a motor car at 6.30 in the morning; he appeared in the uniform of an Admiral. The first act of the day was an attendance at Mass in company with his bride-elect. Shortly after 8 o’clock the couple were driven in an electric brougham straight to the Ministry of Marine where the Princess donned her bridal robes. In this she was assisted by ladies-in-waiting, who had come in her suite from London, the last touch being added by Queen Maria Cristina who placed upon the head of the Princess the bridal veil. This veil was of Alençon lace and was the very one worn by herself at the time of her marriage to King Alfonso XII. This veil is being carefully preserved by Queen Victoria, who says that at the marriage of her first daughter she hopes to place it upon her head.
In Spain it is customary for the bridegroom to present his bride with her wedding gown; this is a universal custom common in all ranks of society. Don Alfonso, aided by his Royal Mother, had had prepared one of the most elaborate and exquisitely embroidered gowns ever seen at the Spanish Court Forty of the most expert Spanish women were engaged for fifty-six days in making this wonderful creation. Or, to put it another way, one woman, working constantly every day of the year, Sundays excepted, would have required almost precisely seven years to the task! The material was of the richest white satin and cloth of silver, cut in the style of dress known as Louis XVI. The dress was bordered with dull silver, slightly burnished and shaded at intervals and trimmed with exquisite rose-point lace, which was festooned over a background of cloth of silver. The lace flounce was eighteen inches in width and the whole gown was relieved with loops of orange blossoms.
The wedding took place in the Church of San Jeronimo, which is on the far side of the city from the Royal Palace. The church is not large, but there are no large churches in Madrid, Madrid being one of the most modern of all continental capitals, and big churches of the cathedral order are mostly relics of the Middle Ages. The selection of St. Jeronimo for the event was made in order that the bridal procession should of necessity pass across practically the entire city, thus affording the largest number of people an opportunity to view the spectacle.
The marriage service conformed to every last detail with the etiquette and rites of the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. The Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Sancha, was assisted by Dr. Brindle, Bishop of Nottingham, who had come from England especially for this occasion.
The bridal procession advanced very slowly, receiving the homage of the distinguished congregation section by section, the Spanish legislators, the courtiers, Ambassadors, the Special Missions, and the foreign Princes saluting in turn. Preceded by a crucifix, while the band continued playing the National Anthem, the King and his bride ad{28}vanced and took their places before the altar. After kneeling for a short period, King Alfonso rose, and passing behind the Princess approached his mother, who was on the bride’s left, and knelt and kissed her hand. Queen Cristina, bending over, affectionately embraced her son who thereupon returned to his prie-dieu before the altar. Following the bridegroom’s example Princess Victoria Eugenie descended the altar steps and passed down the nave to where her mother stood beside the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and warmly embraced her. The Princess then returned to the altar and the religious ceremony began.
Cardinal Sancha, arrayed in his Pontifical robes and having on either side the assisting bishops, gave his archiepiscopal crozier to the Master of Ceremonies, and addressed King Alfonso and his bride as follows:
“High and Mighty Senor Don Alfonso XIII, of Bourbon and Austria, Catholic King of Spain, I demand of your Majesty, as I also demand of your Royal Highness Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena Maria Cristina, Princess of Battenberg, to say if you know of any impediment against the celebration of this marriage, or against the validity or legality; That is to say, if there exists between your Majesty and your Royal Highness any impediment either of consanguinity, affinity, or spiritual relationship; if you have made a vow of chastity or of religion; and, finally, if there is any other impediment, your{29} Majesty and your Royal Highness shall declare it. And the same I demand of all those here present. For the second and the third time I require that if there exist any impediment whatsoever you shall freely make it known.”
Having concluded these questions, the Cardinal paused for a while, and then, turning to the Princess, said:
“Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena Maria Cristina, Princess of Battenberg, does your Royal Highness desire to have Don Alfonso XIII, of Bourbon and Austria, Catholic King of Spain, for your lawful spouse and husband by words de presente, as is ordained by the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church?”
This was a very solemn moment, and not a whisper broke the almost painful silence. All eyes were turned toward the Princess who replied, in a clear voice:
“Yes, I do desire him.” (Si, quiero.)
His Eminence then said:
“Does your Royal Highness consent to be the lawful spouse and wife of the high and mighty Señor Don Alfonso XIII, of Bourbon and Austria, Catholic King of Spain?”
Looking at His Majesty, Princess Victoria Eugenie replied, in clear tones:
“Yes, I consent.” (Si, otorgo.)
Continuing, Cardinal Sancha asked:
“Does your Royal Highness accept the said Señor Don Alfonso XIII, of Bourbon and Aus{30}tria, King of Spain, for your lawful spouse and husband?”
With even stronger emphasis, the Princess replied:
“Yes, I accept him.” (Si, recibo.)
Cardinal Sancha thereupon asked the three questions, in identical terms of King Alfonso. His Majesty, with his eyes fixed upon his bride, and in a strong and clear voice, which was distinctly heard in every part of the church, answered to the several questions, “I desire,” “I consent,” and “I accept.”
At this moment, Princess Ena betrayed emotion and glanced toward the place where her mother sat. Queen Maria Cristina was scarcely able to restrain her tears and looked alternately from the King to his bride and from the bride to her son. King Alfonso, who was perfectly calm, gave his hand to the Princess according to the directions of the Master of the Ceremonies, and while the Royal couple had their hands joined, Cardinal Sancha took his archiepiscopal staff and said:
“And I, on the part of Almighty God and of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, and of the Holy Mother Church, do join in matrimony your Majesty, Don Alfonso XIII, of Bourbon and Austria, Catholic King of Spain, to your Royal Highness, Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena Maria Cristina, Princess of Battenberg, and I confirm this Sacrament of matrimony in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.—Amen.
Then the Bridal Mass began, the King and{31} Queen kneeling, and as the swell of music filled the church and died away, a faintly tinkling bell announced the Elevation of the Host. All knelt with heads bowed low—the most impressive moment of great silence broken only by the clinking of swords and the hum of distant voices outside the church. Mass over, the Royal bride and bridegroom proceeded to the daïs. A little lower down the Queen-Mother, in her beautiful robes and splendid jewels, stood beside her Chair of State, while kneeling on either side were the heralds, in their gorgeous uniforms. Princess Victoria Eugenie, now Queen of Spain, lovely, young, dignified and looking “every inch a Queen,” standing beside the youthful and most charming King-Bridegroom, whose face was beaming with proud happiness, all made a picture, touching, beautiful and never to be forgotten by any of those present.
Then came a most picturesque and ideal scene. The newly-married Royal pair proceeded arm-in-arm to the spot nearby where formerly a grand old monastery had stood, and where there still remains a ruined cloister, and here the register was signed, the King having chosen this spot a few days before the wedding. One corner of the cloister had been screened off with magnificent tapestries of world-wide renown, on which were depicted scenes from Don Quixote; on a wide table, covered with crimson cloth, stood the necessary implements—a silver inkstand, pens, and the books in which the signatures were to be entered. The procession of{32} Royal personages who followed the bride and bridegroom in pairs through the quaint old cloister was led by the Prince of Wales, who conducted the Queen-Mother; then came the Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria with the Princess of Wales, followed by the other Royalties in order of rank.
On the return of the procession to the church, the assemblage dispersed according to Spanish Court etiquette, in order of precedence, commencing with the lowest, each couple advancing to the daïs, where they bowed and curtsied to the King and Queen, who were seated in their Chairs of State. The Prince and Princess of Wales were the last of the Royal guests to go. The Queen-Mother then rose, and, advancing to the front of the daïs, made a reverence to her son and his bride, both of whom rose simultaneously and returned the salutation. Last of all the Royal personages, the King and Queen passed down the nave under the baldaquin and the gorgeous scene melted away.
Just before midday, the sound of saluting cannon announced to all that the King and Queen had left the church, and the procession started for the palace in the following order:
The Kings of Arms.
Miss Cochrane
Lord and Lady William Cecil
{33}Gentlemen-in-Waiting on Her Majesty the Queen.

Her Majesty Queen Maria Cristina’s
Mistress of the Robes
The First Huntsman
Gentlemen-of-the-Chamber-in-Waiting on
His Majesty the King.
Mistress of the Robes of the Palace
Grand Chamberlain of Queen Maria Cristina.
Superior Chief of the Palace
Grand Chamberlain of their Majesties
Commandant-General of the Halberdiers.
Princes Leopold and Maurice of Battenberg
Princess Marie of Battenberg
(Princess of Erbach-Schönberg)
Prince Alexander of Teck
Prince Alexander of Battenberg.
The Infante Don Alfonso of Orleans
Princes Rainer and Philip of Bourbon.
The Infantas Doña Paz and Doña Eulalia.
The Infantas Doña Maria Teresa and Doña
Maria Isabel
The Infante Don Fernando of Bavaria and Prince
{34}Gennaro of Bourbon.

Princess Frederica of Hanover
Princess Alexander of Teck.
The Duchess of Saxe-Coburg
Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg
Prince Henry of Prussia.
Prince Eugene of Sweden
Crown Prince of Monaco
Princes Louis Ferdinand and Alfonso of Bavaria.
The Duke and Duchess of Genoa
Prince Albert of Prussia
Prince Andrew of Greece.
Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria
Crown Prince of Portugal
Prince Albert of Belgium
The Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia.
The Prince and Princess of Wales.
Her Majesty the Queen, Doña Maria Cristina
Princess Henry of Battenberg
The Infante Don Carlos
The Infante Don Alfonso (Heir-presumptive).
Their Majesties the KING and QUEEN.
The spectacle along the route of the return journey was one of indescribable rejoicing and excitement. The Pageant was magnificent, and the procession took nearly an hour to pass. The batteries of artillery thundered out a royal salute, trumpets blared, the bells of the churches pealed forth, and the populace raised a mighty roar of acclamation. Coach after coach passed along the route—each to be greeted with cheers by the delighted crowds. The beautiful “mahogany coach,” in which were seated Queen Cristina, Princess Henry of Battenberg, Don Carlos, and his son Don Alfonso, came in for a specially warm greeting. That containing the Prince and Princess of Wales was also received with shouts of welcome. At last came that which most of all the multitude had assembled to see, and to greet with demonstrations of the greatest enthusiasm—the coach of the Royal Crown drawn by eight superb horses, with nodding white plumes, and containing the Royal couple. That the young King and his beautiful bride were immensely popular there could be no doubt. One had only to hear the hearty and repeated cries of “Viva el Rey!” “Viva la Reina!” to know that the young couple had won the hearts of the people and all Spain was rejoicing at their wedding.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Royal Romances of Today by Kellogg Durland

Part 1: Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain Chapter 4: A Royal Wedding The  train which carried Princess Ena across France toward her unk...