04 October 2018

Royal Wedding Jewels in Bavaria

(Photo kindly provided by Gabi; do not reproduce!)

This weekend, a wedding took place in Bavaria between a countess and her American-born groom. It all sounds rather run-of-the-mill -- until you realize that the bride is a descendant of the Habsburgs, the Wittelsbachs, and the Savoys. It should come as no surprise, then, that a major royal tiara popped up on the bride's head!

(Photo kindly provided by Gabi; do not reproduce!)

Saturday's wedding at the basilica in Niederalteich joined together Colin McKenzie and Anna Therese, Countess von und zu Arco-Zinneberg. Anna Theresa is the eldest of the six daughters of Riprand, Count von und zu Arco-Zinneberg, and Maria Beatrice, Archduchess of Austria-Este. On her father's side, Anna Theresa is a great-great-granddaughter of King Ludwig III, the last Bavarian monarch; her great-grandmother was his youngest daughter, Princess Gundelinde. (Sidenote: Gundelinde's mother, Queen Maria Theresia, was the Jacobite claimant to the British throne, not that she ever pressed the matter.)

On her mother's side, Anna Theresa is a great-granddaughter of Emperor Karl I and Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary; her grandfather was Karl and Zita's second son, Robert, Archduke of Austria-Este. Robert married Anna Theresa's grandmother, Margherita of Savoy, in 1953. Margherita was the daughter of Amedeo, Duke of Aosta and Princess Anne of Orleans -- which of course means that Anna Theresa is descended from the former reigning families of Italy and France as well as those of Austria and Bavaria.

(Photo kindly provided by Gabi; do not reproduce!)

Anna Theresa has several royal aunts and uncles on her mother's side of the family, but perhaps the best connected is her Uncle Lorenz -- Prince Lorenz of Belgium, who married Princess Astrid of Belgium in 1984. Prince Lorenz gained his Belgian title in 1995, and when his father died in 1996, he also became head of the House of Austria-Este.

For his niece's wedding, Lorenz loaned her the Savoy-Aosta Tiara, which is most often worn today by Princess Astrid. (Yes, I know that many of you will complain that the tiara's base is still wrapped in blond-colored velvet to match Astrid's hair. Perhaps we should just be excited to see it worn by a different member of the family, regardless?) You can read more about the tiara's history here. Anna Theresa wore the tiara with earrings borrowed from her mother.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Here's a look at Princess Astrid wearing the tiara in October 2012, during the wedding festivities for her cousin, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg (who also happened to be a witness at this weekend's wedding). Our post on Astrid's gala jewels from earlier this summer also contains numerous other images of her wearing the tiara.

There's been some question in the past about precisely who currently owns the tiara -- Archduchess Margherita or Princess Astrid -- but this week royal jewel historian Vincent Meylan confirmed that it's Prince Lorenz who owns the diadem. (He made the statement in this thread, which also contains a fascinating discussion of the diamond stars that Anna Therese wore earlier in the wedding weekend.)

(Photo kindly provided by Gabi; do not reproduce!)

I want to give a big thanks to Gabi, who took the photographs of the bride on Saturday, and Netty Leistra, my fellow royal blogger who clued me in to the event and wrote a fantastic post on the wedding. Please be sure to head over to Netty's blog for more information and more of Gabi's photos of other royal guests!