Royal Weddings: Royal Bride, Maria Teresa of Luxembourg

Maria Teresa de Mestre became a royal bride on Valentine's Day 1981 but despite the romance associated with this particular date, she said she wasn't really aware that she had chosen the feast of love for her nuptials as it wasn't particularly celebrated in her new regal home at the time. For Maria Teresa walked down the aisle and into royal history in Luxembourg. She was the bride of Henri, then Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg and their wedding was a surprise with a happy ever after.

Thirty five years since she became a royal bride, Maria Teresa posed for special photos with her groom to mark their wedding anniversary
(photo Cour Grand-Ducale/Carole Bellaiche)

Maria Teresa had met her handsome prince while they were both students and their relationship wasn't known about until November 8th 1980 when their engagement was announced. Maria Teresa had been living in Switzerland but she had been born in Cuba before leaving with her family after Fidel Castro took power. She had grown up in American and Switzerland and it was while studying at Geneva that she became friends with Henri, heir of Luxembourg. He had been linked to several European princesses but when he announced his intention to marry some people were surprised that his wife to be had no title of her own already.

Maria Teresa was presented with a gold and ruby engagement ring and the couple set their wedding for the following spring but their choice of dates was limited because of an upcoming state visit. They plumped for February 14th and so became one of the few royal couples to say 'I do' on Valentine's Day.  The couple married at Notre Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg having already contracted civil marriage. Royal bride Maria Teresa chose a dress by Balmain that was simple, stylish and a bit of a trend setter. It was pure white with a fitted bodice, long sleeves and bell shaped skirt. Unusually for a modern royal wedding dress there was a white fur trim at the scooped neckline, cuffs and at the edge of the skirt.

Her train was attached at the shoulders and covered all the way by a fine white veil. She chose to wear the Congo Diamond Tiara which had been used by her new mother-in-law on her own wedding day. Henri's mother was Princess Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium and she had brought the diadem with her on her marriage.

There was no shortage of royal guests waiting to watch Maria Teresa become an Hereditary Grand Duchess with the King and Queen of the Belgians, Baudouin and Fabiola, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Olav V of Norway and the ex Queen of Italy, Marie Jose, among the congregation. The Duke of Edinburgh was present as were Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco.

This royal love story had a very happy ever after with the couple going on to have five children together before Henri's father abdicated in his favour in 2000 when they became the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. They now have three grandchildren as well and their love story was celebrated in 2016 with special photos to mark their 35th wedding anniversary.

Henri and Maria Teresa of Luxembourg in an official photo marking their 35th wedding anniversary
(photo Cour Grand-Ducale/Carole Bellaiche)

It's a romance that captured hearts everywhere on Valentine's Day 1981 when Maria Teresa of Luxembourg became a royal bride.


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