On This Day: Wedding of George and Marina

  November 29, 2014 at 6:00 pm by

80 years ago, a British Prince married a Greek Princess in a glittering winter ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

The Duke and Duchess of Kent’s official wedding portrait

Prince George, the second youngest son of King George V of the United Kingdom and Princess Mary of Teck, had announced his engagement to Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, youngest daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, in August 1934. Their wedding was set for November 29.

A procession of glass coaches carried the bridal party to Westminster Abbey, where the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Cosmo Gordon Lang, married the couple in front of 1,500 guests. There were over 70 royals present for the ceremony, including the British Royal Family, the bride’s parents and sisters, the Kings and Queens of Denmark and Norway, and King George II of Greece.

Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent on her wedding day

Princess Marina wore a white and silver sheath wedding gown in suede brocade created by Edward Molyneux, that featured a cowl neckline, trumpet sleeves and a 12ft train. A lace and tulle veil was anchored by one of her wedding gifts: the Kent City of London Fringe Tiara. The tiara was presented to the Princess by the Lord Mayor of London on behalf of the London populace, and was made of diamonds set in gold and silver. It was designed to mimic the design of a Russian kokoshnik, in homage of Marina’s Russian heritage.

The bride was supported by eight bridesmaids: Princesses Irene, Katherine and Eugenie of Greece and Denmark, Princess Juliana of The Netherlands, Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia, Princess Elizabeth of York, Lady Iris Mountbatten and Lady Mary Cambridge. The groom had two of his elder brothers, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, as his supporters (the third elder brother, the Duke of Gloucester, was not present as he was overseas).

The Kent City of London Fringe Tiara, one of Princess Marina’s wedding gifts

Following the wedding ceremony, the new Duke and Duchess of Kent (Prince George had been given the Dukedom on October 12) made their way back to Buckingham Palace in a glass coach, through the streets of London decked out with 50,000 flags and 30 miles of flowers. Contemporary news reports wrote that approximately half a million people gathered in London on the wedding day.

Once the official party had arrived at Buckingham Palace, a Greek Orthodox ceremony performed by Archbishop Germanos inside the Palace’s private chapel for the couple’s immediate family. This second ceremony was done to honour the bride’s religion.

A wedding breakfast hosted by King George V and Queen Mary was then held, the reception rooms decorated with flowers from the Windsor estate: calanthe orchids, carnations and begonias. An 800lb wedding cake decorated with flowers which took Scottish bakers six weeks to prepare was served to the guests.

The Duke and Duchess of Kent pose for a photograph with their royal guests

George and Marina first honeymooned throughout England, ending up at Sandringham in time for Christmas. A few months later, the pair went on a tropical honeymoon in the Caribbean.

The Kents were married for almost eight years and had three children (Edward, Alexandra and Michael) before George was killed in a plane crash over Scotland in 1942. Princess Marina died in 1968.

Filed under Greece, Historical Royals, The United Kingdom
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One Response to On This Day: Wedding of George and Marina

  1. Anna says:

    This wedding took place during the Depression. Surely, some of that waste of money could have gone to the hungry English people.

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