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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s Journal - The wedding of Prince Albert Edward (King Edward VII) and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, 10th March 1863

On this day in 1863, the wedding of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and Princess Alexandra of Denmark took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. It was the first royal wedding to take place at St. George's, and the last wedding of a prince of Wales until Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer's 1981 wedding

“All is over & this (to me) most trying day is past, as a dream, for all seems like a dream now & leaves hardly any impression upon my poor mind & broken heart! Here I sit lonely & desolate, who so need love & tenderness, while our 2 daughters have each their loving husbands & Bertie has taken his lovely pure sweet Bride to Osborne, – such a jewel whom he is indeed lucky to have obtained. How I pray God may ever bless them! Oh! what I suffered in the Chapel, where all that was joy, pride & happiness on Jan: 25. ’58, was repeated without the principal figure of all, the guardian angel of the family being there. It was indescribable. At one moment, where first heard the flourish of trumpets, which brought back to my mind, my whole life of 20 years at his dear side safe, proud, secure & happy, – I felt as if I should faint. Only by a violent effort, could I succeed in masking my emotion! But now I must return to the beginning of the day. – Directly after breakfast went over to the State Rooms, to embrace darling Alix, & give her my blessing. Her mother was much affected. Went with her into Alix’s bedroom, where she was in her dressing gown, & very “émotionnée.” – Then I went back to my room & could see from my windows all the crowds of people assembling & arriving – Cold from nervousness & agitation I dressed, wearing my weeds, but a silk grown with crepe, a long veil & my cap, & for the 1rst time since Dec 61! the ribbon star & badge of the Order of the Garter, the latter being one my beloved one had worn, also the “Victoria & Albert” order, on which I have had dearest Albert’s head put above mine & a brooch containing a miniature of him set round with diamonds, which I have worn ever since 40. – Drove with the Dss of Sutherland & Jane Churchill, Katherine Bruce & Ld Methuen following in another carriage. […]

Prince Albert Edward and Princess Alexandra on their wedding day © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

We started from the usual door, going on to the north Terrace, where we got out & went through a covered way down the small stairs, quite quietly, up into the Deanery. A Guard of Honour was mounted in the Quadrangle. Before I had left I had seen Lenchen in her pretty dress & train, lilac & white & Louise & sweet Baby the same colours. Louise wore the pearls belonging to dearest Albert’s mother, which he had always intended to give her. To see them go alone was dreadful. – We waited a short while in the Deanery & then went along a covered way prepared over the leads, which brought us into the Royal closet. The divisions had been removed & when I stepped up to the window, the Chapel full of smartly dressed people, – the smartly dressed people, – the Knights of the Garter, in their robes, the moving hammers, the beautiful window, altar & reredos to my beloved one’s memory with the bells ringing outside, quite had the effect of a seem in a Play. Sat down feeling strange & bewildered. Where the Procession entered to the playing of the march in “Athalie” & after Aunt Cambridge Mary & near 5 fatherless Children, (the 3 girls & 2 little Boys) came into view, the latter without either Parent, (at Vicky’s wedding they walked before, behind & near me) – I felt terribly overcome. I could not take my eyes off precious little Baby, with her golden hair & large nosegay & smiled at her as she made a beautiful curtsey. Everyone bowed to me. I quite overlooked Alice coming in, looking extremely well in a violet dress, covered with her wedding lace, & a violet velvet train from the shoulders trimmed with the miniver beloved Mama had worn at Vicky’s wedding, – Louis in the Garter robes leading her. Last came dear Vicky, (leading little William) in a white satin dress trimmed with ermine &c. When she caught sight of me, coming up the Choir, she made a very low curtsey, with an inexpressible look of love & respect, which had a most touching effect.

There was a pause & then the trumpets sounded again & our Boy, supported by Ernest C. & Fritz, all in Garter robes, entered. Bertie looking pale & nervous. He bowed to me & during the long wait for his Bride, kept constantly looking up at me, with an anxious clinging look, which touched me much. At length she appeared, the Band playing Handel’s Processional March, with her 8 Bridesmaids looking very lovely. She was trembling & very pale. Dearest Albert’s Chorale was sung, which affected me much & then the service proceeded. When it was over the young couple looked up at me & I gave them on affectionate nod & kissed my hand to sweet Alix. They left together, immediately followed by all the others, Beethoven’s Hallelujah Chorus, (from the Mount of Olives) being played. – I went back to the castle, getting ant at the North Terrace & went upstairs for a few minutes. Then hearing the couple were coming, I hastened down the Grand Staircase (the 1rst time since my misfortune) where all the Beef Eaters were drawn up. My only thought was that of welcoming our children & I stepped out & embraced both dear Bertie & Alix most warmly, walking upstairs next to them & past several of the Guests, who past several of the Guests, who had already arrived.

The Marriage of the Prince of Wales with Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Windsor, 10 March 1863’ by William Powell Frith, dated 1863-1865 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

We went into the Anteroom, next the Rubens Room & here, soon after, Pss Christian, George, Ernest C. & Fritz joined us. Went then with Alice over to to the Dining room & afterwards to the White Drawing room, where the young couple & all the others came, for the signing of the Register, which took a very long time. A family luncheon of 38 followed, in the Dining room, the Joinvilles & daughter, Aumales, & Nemours & Marguerite, having come for that. Edward Weimar & the Maharaiah were also included. – I lunched alone with Baby. The 2 luncheons over, I went back to the White Drawing room, the whole assemblage of Royalties being in the Green Drawing room. Marguerite looked extremely well & wonderful to say, though she is not really pretty, she reminded me much of her beloved mother. Shortly afterwards went over with Lenchen, Baby &c – to the other side, where all the family were assembled & Bertie soon appeared, then darling Alix, looking lovely in a white silk dress, lace shawl & white bonnet with orange flowers. She was much agitated & affected, & was embraced by all her family who were in tears, then I once mare embraced her & Bertie, with feelings I cannot describe & gave them my warmest blessing. When I saw them go down the crowed staircase, I hurried back to the corridor & from there saw the open carriage in which the young Couple were seated & they stopped for a moments under the window, Bertie standing up, & both looking up lovingly at me. Then we hastened to my room, where I saw them drive off, through the enthusiastic crowds. It was so like our driving away 23 years ago to Windsor, amidst the same crowds & shouts of joy! Baby & Thyra were with me. Aunt Cambridge & Mary came in to wish me goodbye & then I drove with Lenchen down to the Mausoleum, & prayed by that beloved resting place, feeling soothed & calmed. Met good Herr von Gruben, whom we had specially sent for as he had been at our wedding, & he was much touched to see me again, not having done so since God took all from me! – Soon after I came home I saw Pss Christian. She was still agitated from the parting but spoke very sensibly about her dear daughter. – Gave Mme d’Oxholme & Cts Reventlow handsome bracelets. – Dined with Katherine B. – Heard that the young couple had arrived at Osborne at 8. – Went for a short while to the White Drawingroom, where the family were assembled. -“

© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

© Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest

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