Monday, 2 January 2017

Three royal brides for January

Princess Astrid of Norway was a January royal bride

Royal brides don't heart January. Like December before it, it's got plenty of potential royal wedding issues attached to it. The weather's not the best for all those carriages rides/ balcony appearances that come with a set of royal nuptials, your long list of regal guests are probably finishing their seasonal holidays so the reception will look patchy at best and no one has got any spare cash to buy souvenirs after the Christmas splurge. The list of regal marriages for January is small and rather low key as a result but here are three royal brides who said 'I do' in the first month of the year.

Princess Caroline Marguerite Louise of Monaco married Ernst August, Prince of Hanover
on January 23rd 1999 in Monaco
This January royal wedding was all set to be discreet until an ancient part of royal history took over. Even though the bride was then heir to her country's throne and the groom was head of the House of Hanover, this was going to be a low key ceremony.  However, as the groom was a male line descendant of George II he had to get permission from the Queen to say 'I do' and in a very regal version of a save the date card, Elizabeth II issued a Declaration in Council on January 11th 1999 permitting the marriage of Ernst and Caroline. The couple wed 12 days later with very relaxed photos released afterwards. It was Caroline's third wedding (she had been widowed in 1990 on the death of her second husband. Stefano Casiraghi) and Ernst's second (his first wife had been a friend of his new bride) and the couple went on to have a daughter, Alexandra, later that year. 

Princess Margriet Francisca of the Netherlands married Pieter van Vollenhoven
on January 10th 1967 in The Hague

The third daughter of Queen Juliana and her consort, Prince Bernhard, Margriet was a university student when she met her future husband, Pieter van Vollenhoven. The couple became engaged in March 1965, not long after the controversial marriage of her sister, Irene, to Carlos Hugo of Parma. Just months later, Margriet's eldest sister, and heir to the throne, Beatrix, announced her own plans to marry and this January bride ended up waiting almost two years before she could say 'I do'. In the end, Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven enjoyed a glittering wedding at St James Church in The Hague. The Queen and Princess Anne were among the guests while Beatrix attended in the later stages of her first pregnancy - her baby would end up as King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. A pretty royal wedding photo all round.

Princess Astrid Maud Ingeborg of Norway married Johan Martin Ferner 
on January 12th 1961 in Asker
Princess Astrid's royal love story that ended in her marriage as a January bride wouldn't attract that much comment today but when she wed Johan Martin Ferner fifty six years ago, it was a very modern match. The groom had been divorced but Astrid was determined to marry the man she loved. There were some objections to Astrid's marriage from parts of the Lutheran church and eyebrows were raised as her groom was also a commoner but as her big sister, Ragnhild, had already wed a man with no royal title those protests were quickly calmed. By the time the couple arrived for their January 12th marriage, happiness reigned and although Astrid went from HRH to HH by saying 'I do'. she continued to act as First Lady of Norway for seven years until her only brother, Harald, married.  This January royal wedding resulted in a happy union that lasted for over fifty years until Johan Martin Ferner died in January 2015.

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