Wedding of Prince Michael of Kent and Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz – 30th June 1978

  June 30, 2009 at 9:29 pm by

The engagement between HRH Prince Michael of Kent and Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz was announced on 30th May 1978. The official pictures were taken by Lord Lichfield. image The couple were unable to marry in an Anglican chuch because she was divorced and the Catholic Church also refused to recognise the union. The Queen had given her consent to the couple’s marriage and it was announced that Marie-Christine would become Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent. However by marrying a Catholic, Prince Michael had to give up his rights to the throne – in 1978 he was 15th in the line of succession. An English civil marriage that involved a member of the Royal Family was not allowed at the time thus they choose to marry in Vienna, Austria. The couple married in the town hall in Vienna on 30th June 1978 surrounded only by close family. Princess Anne, the Duke of Kent, Lady Helen Windsor (now Taylor) and Princess Alexandra with her husband Angus Ogilvy were the only members of the British royal family to attend. image Marie-Christine wore a simple cream suit by British royal designer Hardy Amies. image

Following the civil cermony, a ball was held that night in Schwarzenberg Palace for the couple. The bride wore a Bellville Sassoon cream silk crepe gown. The dress had a pin tucked bodice, a deep neckline with see trough panel and lace trim. image There was a small train and the skirt of the dress had inserts of Chantilly lace. image

At the wedding ball, Marie-Christine wore some of the late Princess Marina’s jewellery. This included a stunning diamond fringe tiara. image The diamond fringe tiara had been a wedding present from the City of London to Princess Marina when she married the Duke of Kent on 29th November 1934. Marina’s tiara is dervived from the Russian koloshnik style and unlike many of similair ones made at the time it does not convert into a necklace. Marina wore this tiara on her wedding day image as well as her daughter Princess Alexandra in 1963 image and thus Marie-Christine choose to wear this piece, as a gesture to her late mother-in-law, at the wedding ball. The diamond hoop earrings with a hanging diamond centre (which can be removed and replaced with other jewels) were also from the late Princess Marina’s vast jewellery collection. The bride also wore a multi-strand pearl choker.

On 6th April 1979, Marie-Christine gave birth to Lord Frederick Michael George David Louis Windsor. Then on 23rd April 1981 Lady Gabriella Marina Alexandra Ophelia Windsor was born. Both children were brought up in the Anglican church and remainin the line of succession. In 1983, the marriage was finally recognised by the Catholic Church. The Pope allowed the couple to renew their wedding vows in a Catholic Church. On 29th July 1983, wearing the same cream suit that she wore to her civil marriage five years previous, the couple renewed their vows in Archbishop’s House Westminster. image

In 2008 the couple celebrated their Pearl (30th) wedding anniversary. A new official picture was released to mark the occassion. image

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