Luxembourg Royal Wedding Look-Back: Charlotte and Felix

  October 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm by

To mark the marriage of the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy this coming Friday and Saturday, the TRF blog will be stepping back in time and looking at past royal weddings in Luxembourg. We begin this series with the marriage of Her Royal Highness The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg and His Royal Highness Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix on their wedding day

Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix were married on November 6th, 1919 at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Luxembourg. Charlotte had become the reigning Grand Duchess ten months prior to the wedding, after her elder sister Marie-Adélaïde abdicated. The bridal couple were first cousins: their mothers, Marie Anne and Maria Antonia, were sisters, both being daughters of King Miguel I of Portugal.

The union of Charlotte and Felix was not well received in Luxembourg, coming just shy of one year following the armistice which ended World War One. Prince Felix had served in the Austrian Dragoons during the War, and the Luxembourg people were reluctant to accept a consort who had fought against their side in the War. It is said that the crowd gathered outside the cathedral did so in silence, even as the bridal couple exited. Following the religious ceremony, Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix appeared on the balcony of the Grand Ducal Palace.

Charlotte’s bridal attire consisted of a white wedding gown with long sleeves, a cowl neckline, and a lace skirt which was seen beneath the gown’s triangle-point overlay. She wore the opulent Luxembourg Empire Tiara over her lace veil, along with several diamond necklaces. This was the first time the tiara was worn in public, and is believed to have entered the Luxembourg family through Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mikhailovna of Russia, the first wife of Adolphe, Duke of Nassau (later the Grand Duke of Luxembourg).

A family portrait taken at the wedding of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix

Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix were married for fifty and a half years, until the Prince’s death in April 1970. They had six children: Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg; Elisabeth, Duchess of Hohenberg; Marie-Adélaïde, Countess of Donnersmarck; Marie Gabriele, Countess of Holstein-Ledreborg; Prince Charles of Luxembourg; and Alix, Princess of Ligne. Prince Felix brought the style ‘Royal Highness’ to the Grand Duchy, as he maintained his own title even after marriage. Up until 1986, when Grand Duke Jean renounced the title, members of the family were also ‘Prince/ss of Bourbon-Parma’ through descent from Prince Felix. The Grand Duchess outlived her husband by fifteen years, dying in 1985.

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