April 17, 2011

{Did You Know?} No. 1: "The First 'Spectacle' of a Royal Wedding"

[This is the first of the Did You Know? posts which are randomly-regular blog additions highlighting facts and folklore about brides, weddings & courtship.]

Did you know that Victoria, the great-great-great-grandmother of Prince William, was the first reigning British queen to be married? And after the grand spectacle of her wedding celebration, weddings world-wide were never the same! Queen Victoria "became famous in wedding history for setting a new standard," explains the book, Planet Wedding. "The white dress and the orange blossoms she wore became instant traditions" and set the vogue for future brides.

"On the day of the wedding, February 10, 1840, thousands braved damp weather to witness a wedding procession that traveled from Buckingham Palace to the chapel at St. James's. The event captured the imagination of the public and the press alike, leaving us with many eyewitness accounts of the spectacle, including this one from Victoria, Queen of England (1868) by James Parton:"

The queen, as brides generally do, looked pale and anxious. Her dress was a rich white satin, trimmed with orange blossoms, and upon her head she wore a wreath of the same beautiful flowers. Over her head, but not so as to conceal her face, a veil of honiton lace thrown. She was sparingly decorated with diamonds. She wore, however, a pair of very large diamond ear-rings, and a diamond necklace. Her twelve bridesmaids were attired in similar taste, and they were all young ladies of remarkable beauty.

Princess Helena, 1905.
"By the second half of the nineteenth century, girls everywhere strove to follow in Victoria's footsteps, publicity and all. Weddings became public affairs, church weddings became the norm, and for the first time ever weddings were defined not by ritual but by romance." ~

(Thanks to Planet Wedding: A Nuptial-pedia for this contribution.)

[This is the first of the Did You Know? posts which are randomly-regular blog additions highlighting facts and folklore about brides, weddings & courtship. Another will be posted soon!]

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