30 July 2015

Jewel History: Montenegro's Royal Wedding (1899)

Duchess Jutta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Crown Princess of Montenegro (source)

"Montenegro's Royal Wedding"
(originally appeared in the New York Times, 28 July 1899)

Cettinje, July 27 -- The wedding of Crown Prince Danilo of Montenegro [1] and the Duchess of Jutta [2] was celebrated this afternoon by the Metropolitan of Cettinje in the presence of the bride's mother [3] and brother [4], the Prince and Princess of Montenegro [5], the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz [6], Duke Frederick [7], and others. The inhabitants displayed the greatest enthusiasm, and throughout the day royal salutes were fired.

The bride wore the Montenegrin national costume and was everywhere affectionately welcomed. After returning to Prince Danilo's [pictured above] palace, the pair appeared on the balcony and were greeted with acclamations by the populace. The town was tastefully decorated, and tonight most of the buildings were brilliantly illuminated and a torchlight procession marched through the streets.

1. Danilo of Montenegro (1871-1939) was the eldest son of Nicholas I of Montenegro and Milena Vukotić, the daughter of one of Montenegro's greatest landowners. He was the country's crown prince from his birth until 1918, when the country merged first with Serbia and then with Yugoslavia. In 1921, after the death of his father, Danilo was proclaimed the pretender king of Montenegro -- but then, a few days later, he abdicated in favor of his nephew. And then the day after that, he retracted his abdication -- and then the next day, he abdicated again. Nobody really knows why.
2. The Times is pretty confused about the bride's name and title. She was Duchess Jutta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1880-1946), the daughter of Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich V of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (a first cousin of Queen Mary of the United Kingdom) and Elisabeth of Anhalt. When she agreed to marry Danilo, Jutta also converted to the Orthodox faith and took a new name, Militza. When Montenegro became a part of Serbia in 1918, the royal family was exiled. Danilo and Jutta never had children, and they lived together in France for the rest of their lives.
3. The bride's mother was Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1857-1933), who was born a princess of Anhalt. Her four children were the subject of scandal and tragedy. Her eldest daughter, Duchess Marie, had an illegitimate child with a palace servant. (Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom declared in a letter that she believed Marie had been drugged by the servant.) Elisabeth's eldest son succeeded to the family's dukedom as Adolf Friedrich VI, but he committed suicide after the end of World War I. Jutta was exiled with the Montenegrin royal family, and Elisabeth's younger son, Karl, was killed in a duel.
4. This is probably Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1882-1918). He was seventeen at the time of the wedding.
5. These are the groom's parents, Nicholas I (1841-1921) and Milena (1847-1923) of Montenegro. Until 1910, Montenegro was ruled by a sovereign prince. That year, Nicholas and Milena were upgraded to king and queen.
6. Grand Duchess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1822-1916), born Princess Augusta of Cambridge, was the bride's grandmother. She was a granddaughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte, who was also born a duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She corresponded regularly with many members of her royal families, including her niece, Queen Mary of the United Kingdom.
7. This is probably Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Mecklenburg-Streltiz (1819-1904), the bride's grandfather, who had married a British princess at Buckingham Palace in 1843. Curiously, the report does not mention the bride's father being in attendance at the wedding.