British Royal Wedding Look-Back: Edward VII and Alexandra

  April 22, 2011 at 6:00 am by

As part of The Royal Forums’ lead up to the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton on Friday April 29th, the TRF Blog will be taking a journey through time, giving our readers a look at past British royal weddings. We begin in 1863, when His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales married Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

The couple first met in 1861, introduced by the Prince of Wales’ sister, the Crown Princess of Prussia. Little came of the meeting, but at their next meeting in Brussels the following year, the Prince of Wales asked Princess Alexandra, known as “Alix” by the family, for her hand in marriage. Their engagement took place on September 9th and was marked by a series of portraits taken at the Royal Palace of Laeken, home of the Prince’s uncle, Leopold I of the Belgians.

Princess Alix made her final pre-wedding journey from Denmark to London after her eighteenth birthday, arriving at the beginning of March 1863. Her wedding was scheduled for March 10th. The Princess was given a rapturous welcome by the population as she made her way through the streets of London.

View more images related to Edward and Alexandra's wedding at The Royal Collection

The wedding ceremony took place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor due to the continued period of court mourning for the Prince of Wales’ father, Prince Albert. It was because of this mourning that female guests were informed to wear only the secondary mourning colours of grey, lilac and mauve. The couple was married by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Longley; while Queen Victoria watched from above, secluded in the Edward IV Chantry. The groom’s nephew, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (then four years of age), was a mischievous little boy – the future Emperor, dressed in a Scottish kilt, was reprimanded for crawling around the Chapel floor and then biting the legs of his uncles, Princes Arthur and Leopold.

The bride wore a gown made of white satin and Honiton lace; designed and stitched in England (the lace sent by King Leopold went unused because it was not ‘British’). Orange blossoms adorned the front of the gown’s skirts; Princess Alix also wore a large floral headdress to match. The Prince of Wales wore the uniform of an army general under his Order of the Garter robes.

Among the lavish gifts the Prince and Princess of Wales received were a large number of jewels for the bride, including the stunningly lavish ‘Dagmar Necklace’ from King Frederik VII of Denmark.

Despite Edward’s infidelity, the couple were married for forty-seven years before the-then King Edward VII’s death in 1910 (Edward succeed the throne upon Queen Victoria’s death in January 1901). They had six children, five of which lived to adulthood – Prince Albert Victor; King George V; Louise, Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife; The Princess Victoria; and Queen Maud of Norway. Prince Alexander John died twenty-four hours after birth. Alix outlived her husband by fifteen years.

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