||08-08-2005 03:03 PM
Prince Richard of Gloucester and Birgitte van Deurs - 1972
Excerpt from the book "Two centuries of Royal Weddings" by Christopher Warwick.
"The couple were engaged in the spring of 1972, followed by their wedding on 8 July that same year.
There were no plans for a lavish society wedding on this occasion chiefly because Prince Richard wanted to be married quiety. The wedding was solemnized in the village church of St Andrew, no more than two hundred yards from his house at Barnwell Manor, and his decision delighted the local people. The church was decorated with pink and white roses and sweet peas-though in moderation because the best man, Prince William of Gloucester, suffered from Hay fever.
The Queen Mother together with the Prince of Wales and Princess Margaret flew into Barnwell by royal helicopter to lunch with the bridegroom's mother, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester; a little later the bride, who was also at the house with her parents and two half-sisters, went to her room to dress for the wedding.
The bride's wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell, as the one worn by her future mother-in-law in 1935. He designed a long dress of white Swiss organdie with a high neck and long sleeves on which was embossed a floral motif. The bride's white tulle veil, not quite floor-length, was edged, like Princess Margaret's in 1960, with white organdie piping and it was secured by the simplest band of creamy stephanotis, a favorite bridal flower. Princess Alice herself made her daughter-in-law's bridal bouquet and, modelled on a traditional Danish wedding sheaf, it was composed of white and cream summer flowers bound with satin ribbon.
Shortly before four o'clock the royal party arrived at the church, Prince Michael of Kent escorted Princess Alice, Countess of Althone; Prince of Wales with the Queen Mother followed by Princess Margaret and the groom's mother.
There were no bridesmaids or pages at this wedding and so the next arrival, shielded by a huge umbrella, was the bride herself. The press was barred from entering the church since this was designated a private wedding in the strictest sense. The Dean of Windsor married the couple--the bride did not promise to 'obey' the groom. After the wedding, the couple made their way to Barnwell Manor for the wedding reception. This too, was an informal affair with a buffet instead of the usual formal royal wedding breakfast. It was at this point that the ailing Duke of Gloucester joined the party."