Thursday, March 21, 2013

Luxarazzi 101: Wedding of Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus

Today, it's time for the third and last part of our mini series about all those Grand Ducal weddings happening in Luxembourg in the early 1980's. (Part one was about Princess Marie-Astrid and part two about Grand Duke Henri.)

Engagement day: Margaretha and Nikolaus with their parents
Shortly after her older sister Princess Marie-Astrid had announced her engagement to an Austrian archduke, Princess Margaretha got engaged to Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein, third son of Prince Franz Josef II and Princess Gina. The engagement was announced by the cabinet office of the Principality on 8th December 1981 and they met the press in the Grand Duchy later on.

Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus had basically known each other for most of their lives as their parents had been friends for many years and the Grand Ducal Family had regularly spent their skiing holidays in the alpine principality, though it took them a hunt and the wedding festivities of then Hereditary Grand Duke Henri to get well acquainted and fall in love.

The groom arrived with his mother Princess Gina,
the bride on the arm of her father Grand Duke Jean
Princess Margaretha being the daughter of the Luxembourgish head of state and Prince Nikolaus being the son of Liechtenstein's reigning prince, this was in fact - if my memory serves me correctly - the last marital union between two reigning European houses.

As such, this wedding was of course a full blown state affair. Before the actual wedding, festivities and receptions were held in Liechtenstein. On 20th March 1982, the couple first got civilly married at the palais grand ducal and later religiously at the Cathédrale Notre Dame, just as two of the bride's older siblings had done before her.

Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus were civilly married by mayor Lydie Polfer, the religious wedding was celebrated by the Archbishop of Luxembourg Jean Hengen, the Apostolic Nuncio in Luxembourg Eugène Cardinale and the Bishop of Chur Dr. Johannes Vonderach. (Note: At the time Liechtenstein still belonged to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chur; the Archdiocese of Vaduz was only founded in 1997 to settle a few quarrels within the Diocese of Chur and reportedly against the will of the Princely Family.)

The wedding portrait
The wedding was attended by a whole string of royalty and nobility. Princess Margaretha chose her twin brother Prince Jean and her cousin Princess Sophie de Ligne to be her witnesses, Prince Nikolaus opted for his younger sister Princess Nora and Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este, who would marry Princess Margaretha's cousin Princess Astrid of Belgium about one and a half years later.

The bridal children were Prince Nikolaus's niece Princess Tatjana of Liechtenstein, daughter of Prince Hans-Adam II and his wife née Countess Marie Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau, and nephew Prince Wenzeslaus, son of Prince Philipp and his wife née Isabelle de l'Arbre de Malander.

Just as Princess Marie-Astrid and the former Maria-Teresa Mestre had done before her, she chose French designer Balmain to be the man for her dress. She topped of her ensemble with pearl earrings belonging to her mother that had also been worn by her sister a month earlier and the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara, the Luxembourgish wedding tiara during that time.

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