Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Luxarazzi 101: Wedding of Princess Marie-Astrid and Archduke Carl-Christian

During the early 1980's there was a little royal wedding boom going on in the Grand Duchy; within about 13 months three out of the five children of Grand Duke Jean and the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte got married. Over the next few weeks we will take advantage of their wedding anniversaries to selflessly indulge ourselves in memories of their weddings.

Our little mini series of Grand Ducal weddings starts with the couple that is celebrating their 31st wedding anniversary today: Princess Marie-Astrid and Archduke Carl-Christian of Austria.

Engagement day: the couple and their parents

In November 1981, the oldest child of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and the second son of Archduke Carl-Ludwig and Archduchess Yolande, née Princess de Ligne, announced their engagement. Both being descendants of Robert I, Duke of Parma and Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal, they are second cousins.

Princess Marie-Astrid was given a a sapphire and diamond engagement ring by her future husband. The couple's sons Archduke Imre and Archduke Christoph also gave their wives similar rings on the occassions of their engagements. (Though there is some confusion on Archduchess Adélaïde's part as she was actually wearing a ruby ring on her wedding day while a sapphire ring at their engagement party.)

Wedding portrait
Princess Marie-Astrid and Archduke Carl-Christian married civilly at the palais grand-ducal and religiously at the Cathédrale Notre Dame on 6th February 1982. They were civilly married by the former mayor of Luxembourg City Lydie Polfer, the religious ceremony was conducted by Jean Hengen, the late former archbishop of Luxembourg.

While the event at the palais was a rather private affair within the closest family circle, the religious wedding was a full blown state occassion. In attendance were an empress, three queens, a king, a few future head of states and countless royal, imperial and other highnesses. Their wedding party included the groom's cousin Archduchess Catharina, daughter of Archduke Rudolf and his second wife née Princess Anna Gabriele of Wrede, as well as Duchess Helene and Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria, daughters of Duke Max in Bavaria and his wife née Countess Elizabeth Douglas.

The bride wore a dress designed by Parisian couture house Balmain. The dress is said to have been inspired by a painting of Marie-Antoinette by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. Having examined a few of those paintings, it seems the the flower embroidery on the dress might have been the inspired part.

Princess Marie-Astrid anchored her veil with the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara that had also been worn by her mother, the then Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium, on the occassion of her wedding as well as by Maria-Teresa Mestre at her wedding to then Hereditary Grand Duke Henri a year earlier.

The bride also wore pearl earrings belonging to her mother. Twenty-six years forward, Princess Marie-Astrid's oldest daughter Archduchess Marie-Christine wore the same earrings at her wedding to Count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum.

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