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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria's Journal - The wedding of Prince Arthur of Connaught and Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, 13th March 1879

On the 13th March 1879, Prince Arthur, third son and seventh child of Queen Victoria, married Princess Louise Margaret at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

"Thank God, the morning was beautifully bright. — Arthur & Louischen breakfasted with me alone. They gave me a very pretty gold hand bracelet, with their names in raised letters. He also gave me an enamel portrait of himself. I gave Louischen a small ivory prayer book, & Arthur a diamond pin, which had belonged to dear Mama. — All was stir & agitation, crowds assembling, the Guards marching up, — Everything en fête. — Went up to Louischen, where her Father joined her, & then went to Marianne. She was still in her dressing gown, already coiffé, & very nervous, with tears in her eyes. Went also over to Vicky, who was occupied with her toilette. Fritz, came over to see me. — At length my dressing had to begin. I wore my long white veil, with the large Opal & Diamond Circlet, a black silk dress, with velvet embroideries, & a court train (for the first time since 61), my

large diamond necklace, the Kohi-nor, a pendant of a flat diamond, under which there was a miniature of dear Alice, which I have just had arranged. Went to see the dear Bride, who looked so dear & young. We had to wait a few minutes for the procession of all the Royalties. At a little past 12, my turn came. The 2 pages, EddieGleichen & Victor Spencer, carried my train. Beatrice & Eddy, the latter, looking very nice in his naval Cadet uniform, went with me, the Band playing & trumpets sounding, as I got into my carriage. A contretemps occurred, as we started, the Field Officer of the Escort (Blues) came down with his horse, but got up at once, & we drove off, going down Castle Hill, which was immensely crowded, — great cheering. Turned in at the Arch, just the same as at Louise's wedding, but with what different feelings did I come this day, for then I was parting with my dear child, whereas now, it is to see, a dear or excellent son give me a daughter, in the Bride of his choice, whom he so dearly loves! the Rifle Brigade mounted Guard at the Chapel.

The Duchess of Connaught, when Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, in her wedding dress © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

Entered the West Door, & here the Procession formed, with all the court officials & my Household, proceeded by the Heralds. I walked alone, my train being carried by the Groom of the Robes, as well as the Pages. Beatrice looked very sweet, in pale blue velvet, feathers, veil & diamonds, her train carried by Jane Churchill. Eddy followed me closely. We proceeded slowly up the Nave, the March in Athalie being played meanwhile, & ascended the Hant Pas, near the Altar, where stood the distinguished guests on either side, including my own family. The Arch Bishop of Canterbury & 14 Clergy including the Bishops of London, Winchester & Worcester & the Dean & Canons, all stood within the altar rails. All my daughters & daughters-in-law, looked lovely, Lenchen, very handsome, in dark red velvet. We had not to wait very long before dear Arthur appeared, supported by his 2 brothers Bertie & Affie, & followed by all the gentlemen in waiting. He was in his Rifle uniform with the Belgian order, Bertie also wore the Rifle uniform. Some little time after, to the sounds of the Handel's Occasional Overture, the Bridal procession advanced. Louischen looked charming, her train carried by Ladies Ela Russell, Georgina S. Churchill, Adelaide Taylor, Blanche Conyngham, Cecilia Hay, Louise Bruce, Victoria Edgecombe, & Mabel Bridgeman. Fritz Carl, & Fritz supported the Bride — The poor Arch Bishop read extremely well. His voice faltered at the beginning, but he soon recovered, & read very slowly & impressively. It was all very beautiful. Louischen's manner was charming, so modest & so gentle, the very picture of a Bride, with a lovely colour in her cheeks. She spoke low, but distinct. My dear good Arthur's manner was perfect, so earnest, & so manly. After the benediction, the young couple first embraced their Parents & then came to me, whilst the anthem, the Hallelujah Chorus, was being sung, & remained standing before the altar, till it was finished. The Bridegroom then led the Bride, followed by their mutual Supporters, down the Chapel, while Mendelssohn's Wedding March was played. Many of Arthur's Irish acquaintances, & successive Commanding officers were present. — Returned to the Castle as we came, & went up to the Green Drawing Room, where the marriage Register was signed. Then he went to the Reception Room where all the guests invited to the Chapel, & those in the Castle, were assembled. — Afterwards went to luncheon, Arthur & Louischen, going first. Leopold of B. led me in, & Arthur with Louischen sat on the left. Luncheon was in the big Dining Room. At Dessert, I proposed the health of the Bride & Bridegroom, then Bertie, the Empr & Empss of Germany & Leopold & Marie's, Leopold proposing mine, after which, the 2 Pipers, walked round the table. We only stopped a moment in the Green Drawingroom, & then, all went to undress, which we did quickly. Soon after 4, went to the Corridor where the whole family was assembled & many others besides. Arthur & Louischen appeared, she, dressed in white silk, the jacket trimmed with white fox. All followed them to downstairs. Embraced them tenderly, & saw them drive off, amidst showers of rice & shoes, & great cheering, the Band playing. Poor Marianne was crying, & I took her upstairs to my room, that she might see the carriage drive up the Long Walk, after they had gone through the Town. They were going to Claremont by Old Windsor, Egham, & Chertsey, where the Escort was to leave them.

The Duke and Duchess of Connaught, 1887 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

Poor Marianne said, amidst tears, the return to Berlin would be dreadful. Poor thing, she seems to be so crushed, & thoroughly miserable. — Took a short drive quite late, with Marie of B. Marianne & Beatrice, going right through the Town & Eton, both of which were decorated with endless flags, festoons & draperies, mottoes & emblems, — very pretty & gay. — I gave many pairs of Lithographs of the young Couple, to my people in the house. — Heard that they had reached Claremont safely. — Dinner as yesterday in the Dining Room, only the gentlemen in uniform I gave Pce Frederick Charles's health, & he mine. He was very cross. He had been to Bagshot, & complained that there were not sufficient rooms!! I assured him, I had just the same at Osborne! Went again to the Reception Room, & I was completely done up taking to every body, for over an hour. Thus closed this eventful day. -"

© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

© Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest

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