02 February 2015

Jewel History: The Coming Royal Wedding (1894)


"The Coming Royal Wedding"
(originally appeared in the New York Times on 2 Feb 1894)

Queen Victoria, Emperor William, and the Prince of Wales will attend the wedding of Princess Victoria Melita of Coburg to the Grand Duke of Hesse [1], both of whom are grandchildren of Queen Victoria.



The Grand Duke -- Ernest Louis Charles Albert William [2] -- is the only surviving son and the fourth child of the late Grand Duke by his wife, Princess Alice of Great Britain. He was born at Darmstadt on November 25, 1868, and was educated under the care of Privy Councillor Mather. In May 1885, he was gazetted to a sub-lieutenancy of the First Hessian Infantry Regiment No. 115. In December 1889, he obtained his grade as full Lieutenant, and was then sent successively to the Universities of Leipzig and Giessen to complete his education. He resumed his military studies in 1891, and, following in the footsteps of his father, was attached to the First Prussian Regiment of Foot Guards at Potsdam. He succeeded his father as Grand Duke in March 1892. He is a Chevalier of the Order of the Black Eagle and a Knight of the Garter [3].






Princess Victoria Melita of Coburg is the second daughter and the third child of the Duke of Coburg -- better known as the Duke of Edinburgh. She was born at Malta on November 25, 1876, and is, consequently, in her eighteenth year. She has hitherto passed most of her life in England. On the accession of her father to the Duchy of Coburg, she became a permanent resident in Germany. Princess Victoria has three sisters and a brother. Her elder sister, Princess Marie, was married last year to the Crown Prince of Romania. The others are unmarried [4].


NOTES
1. If you know your royal history, you'll know that this royal marriage was one of the most spectacularly failed matches of the twentieth century. The two married and had a daughter, but they were incredibly unhappy and divorced after Queen Victoria's death in 1901. Each married a second time: Victoria to Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, Ernst to Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich.
2. This is the Anglicized version of his name; he was Ernst Ludwig Karl Albrecht Wilhelm, but was called "Ernie" by his family.
3. Ernst lost his Garter knighthood in 1915, during the First World War.
4. Victoria's brother, Alfred, died unmarried in 1899. Alexandra married Prince Ernst II of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, while Beatrice married the Duke of Galliera.