Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wedding of King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie

This is a clip of a Greek television broadcast of the 1964 wedding of King Constantine II to Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark:

Sadly we are unable to translate what the broadcaster is saying. However, we did catch at the 0:18 mark that he makes mention of "Don Juan Carlos" and "Prinkipessa Sophia". This is in reference to Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia, Constantine II's elder sister, who were married in Athens just two years before and are now the present king and queen of Spain.

At 0:28, the groom, King Constantine II and his mother, Queen Frederica, emerge in their carriage from the royal palace.

At 0:58, the bride, Princess Anne-Marie, with her father, King Frederick IX of Denmark, leave the royal palace.

At 0:19 the King and Queen Frederica arrive at the Mitropolis in Athens, where the wedding will be held.

At 1:32, Princess Anne-Marie and the King of Denmark arrive at the Mitropolis. Anne-Marie, who had just turned eighteen years old, famously turns and waves her bouquet at the cheering crowds.

As is customary in Eastern Orthodox weddings, the guests remain standing throughout the duration of the ceremony. The groom has groomsmen, called
; the bride had bridesmaids but they do not perform any official function in the wedding ceremony and do not walk with the bride down the aisle. Their primary function is to assist her with her gown and train. The Koumbari at the wedding of Constantine II were Crown Prince Harald of Norway (now King Harald V), Prince Charles of Great Britain (now the Prince of Wales) and

At 3:20, the tradition of crossing the crowns over the heads of the bridal couple. This is done by the groom's mother, Queen Frederica.

At 3:35 the bridal couple perform the ceremonial walk, symbolizing their first steps together as husband and wife.

At 3:53, the bridal couple kiss the Bible.

At 4:00, King Constantine receives kisses and blessings from his mother, who is now the Queen Dowager Frederica. She also kisses her new daughter-in-law; in a moment of awkward royal protocol, both queens bow to each other.

At 4:06, the bride receives kisses and blessings from her mother, Queen Ingrid of Denmark. King Constantine then kisses his new mother-in-law and kisses her hand as well, as is customary among royal men when they greet a queen.

At 4:13, the bride receives a kiss from her father, who kisses her hand as well.

The video ends with the King and the new Queen of the Hellenes parading through the streets of Athens receiving cheers and adulation from the public.

Notice at 5:13, the horses drawing the carriage are leaning in to one another. Queen Anne-Marie later recalled that they were startled by the noise from the crowds and by the rice being thrown into the streets. She admitted to being nervous at their leaning and feared that the carriage would be tipped over if they continued walking in such a manner.

This video is available on YouTube and on the Greek royal family's official website,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prince William's Engagement

HRH Prince William of Wales, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, formally announced his engagement to Catherine Middleton, his girlfriend of eight years, in a press conference held at St. James Palace on 16 November 2010. In a year that has seen an exceptional helping of royal weddings - the wedding of the Swedish crown princess in June, the wedding of the former Greek king's son in August - the long-awaited announcement of the British heir's engagement surely tops them all.

At the press conference, the prince disclosed that he had bestowed upon his fiancee the same engagement ring worn by his late mother, Lady Diana Spencer. Ms. Middleton explained her excitement about the marriage to journalists but admitted that she found her role as future queen to be "daunting".

No date has been set for the wedding, but Clarence House (the official residence of the Prince of Wales and his wife and sons) stated that the nuptials will most likely take place in the spring or summer of 2011.

Further speculation comes in the question of which titles Ms. Middleton will receive upon marrying into the royal family. Officially, she will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess William of Wales. Contrary to popular belief, her formal title will not be Princess Catherine, as she is not a princess in her own right and only inherits the title of princess through her husband; thus, Princess William. This applied to her late mother-in-law, Diana, who was frequently (albeit incorrectly) referred to as Princess Diana. Diana's formal title was The Princess Charles, Princess of Wales, though she was generally referred to as simply The Princess of Wales.

However, by tradition the reigning sovereign generally bestows titles of nobility upon their children and grandchildren at the time of their marriages. Prince William's uncles, Andrew and Edward, were both awarded the titles Duke of York and Earl of Wessex, respectively, upon their marriages. It is likely that the Queen will grant William such a title before his wedding.

William will not be able to use the title Prince of Wales until his father either succeeds to the throne or dies; however, he does not automatically inherit the title as he must be created Prince of Wales by the sovereign. The title Duke of York will become vacant upon the death of his uncle Andrew (as he only has daughters and no sons to inherit it); however, the title is traditionally reserved for the second son of the reigning sovereign and could potentially be passed onto William's brother, Prince Harry, if the current Duke of York dies and the present Prince of Wales succeeds to the throne.

Some sources are already speculating that Prince William will be created Duke of Cambridge, a royal title which has been vacant since the death of Prince George, Duke of Cambridge (a grandson of King George III) in 1904. Another vacant title is the Duke of Clarence (last borne by Prince Albert Victor of Wales, eldest son of King Edward VII, whose unexpected death in 1892 placed his younger brother, the future King George V, second in the line of succession). In the event that William inherits either of these titles, Ms. Middleton will take on their feminine forms (i.e. HRH The Duchess of Cambridge; HRH The Duchess of Clarence).

Though Clarence House announced that he sought the approval of Ms. Middleton's father for her hand in marriage, Prince William was not required to seek the permission of the Queen. According to the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, members of the royal family under the age of 25 cannot marry without the consent of the sovereign. Prince William is 28 years of age and is therefore able to marry without his grandmother's consent.