Last weekend, royals and aristocrats descended on Munich for the wedding of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Sophie-Alexandra Evekink. The festivities didn’t just include one spectacular wedding tiara—there was a gala filled with heirloom tiaras and jewels!
Prince Ludwig and Sophie-Alexandra Evekink were wed in a religious ceremony at Munich’s Theatine Church of St. Cajetan and Adelaide on Saturday, May 20. The baroque church is the resting place of many of Prince Ludwig’s ancestors, including King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, and Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria. The bride made headlines by briefly fainting during the ceremony, but the groom caught her and she recovered quickly.
One of our dear readers, Stefan, was in Munich for the nuptials and kindly offered to share his photographs from the wedding and gala with all of us. Huge thanks to him for his incredible generosity!
Prince Ludwig of Bavaria is a direct descendant of the former Bavarian royal family, who lost their throne in 1918 at the end of World War I. He is heir to the headship of the House of Wittelsbach, the dynasty that formerly ruled Bavaria, and will one day likely use the title of “Duke of Bavaria” in that role. He studied political science and law in Göttingen, specializing in human rights and humanitarian law, and he’s also the founder of Learning Lions, an educational project in Kenya. (The blue and white bracelets that you’ll see the wedding guests wearing appear to be linked to the Learning Lions initiative.) In recent years, he’s been working to learn the ins and outs of managing the family’s estates as well.
His new wife, Sophie-Alexandra Evekink, is a doctoral candidate in law at Oxford whose work focuses on seeking justice for victims of conflict-related sexual violence. Sophie has both Dutch and Canadian citizenship. She has done extensive work with the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and she also holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics and East European Studies from University College London and a master’s degree in science from the University of Oxford.
For the wedding, Sophie wore an elegant Reem Acra gown that featured floral lace detailing and sheer sleeves.
She paired the gown with a special veil made in Ukraine by WONA Concept.
Sophie carried a lovely bouquet of lily of the valley for the wedding ceremony.
The floral theme carried through to her jewelry as well. She borrowed the family’s antique diamond and sapphire floral tiara. The jewel is a legacy from the groom’s grandparents, Prince Ludwig and Princess Irmingard of Bavaria.
Princess Irmingard wore the tiara during her wedding celebrations in July 1950, and it’s since also been worn by Prince Ludwig’s mother, Princess Beatrix. Prince Ludwig’s sisters, Princess Auguste and Princess Alice, both wore the tiara for their own weddings, as did his sister-in-law, Princess Henriette.
Sophie kept the rest of her wedding jewelry simple, wearing a pair of diamond earrings with cross pendants, a diamond necklace with a small pendant, and her engagement ring.
After the wedding, the celebrations continued at Schloss Nymphenburg, a baroque palace that was once the primary summer residence of the Bavarian royal family. Today, the head of the family, Prince Franz, Duke of Bavaria, still maintains a home at the palace. He hosted the reception for Prince Ludwig and Princess Sophie there on Saturday. (Sophie changed into a second dress for the gala, a light blue off-the-shoulder evening gown also made by WONA Concept. The color was specifically chosen so that the dress would be easier to rewear for later formal occasions.)
Prince Franz uses the title of “Duke of Bavaria” as the current head of the House of Wittelsbach and pretender to the Bavarian throne. Eighty-nine-year-old Franz is a great-grandson of the last Bavarian monarch, King Ludwig III, who reigned from 1913 until 1918. (Interestingly, he’s also the Jacobite pretender to the British throne, though he’s said that he’s not interested at all in pursuing that claim. The next two heirs in the Jacobite line of succession are Franz’s brother, Prince Max, and Max’s daughter, Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein. Since Sophie attended the recent coronation, I think it’s safe to say that Charles’s throne is secure where the Jacobites are concerned.)
Prince Franz has no children, and Prince Ludwig, his first cousin once removed, is currently expected to inherit the Wittlesbach headship one day. (Franz’s brother, Max, is his heir, but Max’s five daughters are not eligible to become head of the house.) Franz has been in a relationship with his partner, Thomas Greinwald, since 1980. Thomas accompanied Franz to the wedding gala this weekend.
Prince Ludwig is the third of the five children of Prince Luitpold of Bavaria (the only surviving son of Prince Ludwig and Princess Irmingard, who were both grandchildren of King Ludwig III of Bavaria). His eldest sister, Princess Auguste of Lippe-Weissenfeld, went tiara-less for the wedding gala, wearing an interesting suite of antique diamond jewels instead.
His second sister, Princess Alice of Auersperg, though, went for a major tiara moment. She wore a diamond aigrette in the shape of a bird, placing it low across her forehead in 1920s style. She also wore a pearl necklace with a jeweled pendant with her zebra-print evening dress.
Prince Ludwig’s sister-in-law, Princess Henriette, also wore a diamond tiara and necklace. (Prince Heinrich Rudolf and Princess Henriette have one son, Prince Maximilian, and are expecting their second child.)
Prince Franz’s brother, Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria, was also present for the wedding. He arrived at the gala with his second daughter, Duchess Marie-Caroline. (His eldest daughter, the Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein, attended the wedding but not the reception.)
Duchess Marie-Caroline wore the diamond floral tiara that belongs to her mother, the Swedish aristocrat Countess Elisabeth Douglas. Marie-Caroline also wore a modern demi-parure with large pink gemstone pendants and a lovely diamond bracelet.
Here’s another of Prince Max’s daughters, Duchess Elisabeth Marie, wearing a pink ballgown with a bold floral print. She accessorized with the Bavarian Pearl and Diamond Floral Tiara, which was worn a century ago by Maria Theresa of Austria-Este, the last Queen of Bavaria.
The Hereditary Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein may not have been at the gala, but another princess from the family was! Princess Maria-Anunciata of Liechtenstein (who married Emanuele Musini in September 2021) was in attendance. She didn’t wear a tiara, but she did borrow a lovely suite of antique sapphire and diamond jewels from her mother, Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg. There’s a family connection here, too: Prince Ludwig of Bavaria is great-grandson of Princess Antonia of Luxembourg (the second wife of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria).
The Bavarian royal family has a big, sprawling family tree, and there were representatives there from lots of different branches. Here’s Princess Anna of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, wife of Prince Manuel of Bavaria. (Prince Manuel is a descendant of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and a distant cousin of the groom.) She wore the same petite diamond fringe tiara that she wore for the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden in 2013.
And here are more cousins: Prince Wolfgang of Bavaria, a first cousin of the groom’s father, who arrived with his wife, Princess Tatiana. She wore sparkling diamonds, emeralds, and pearls for the occasion.
Prince Wolfgang’s sister, Princess Gisela of Bavaria, was there as well, wearing a lovely parure of ruby, diamond, and pearl jewels. She’s married to Prince Alexander, one of the claimants to the headship of the House of Saxony.
A big royal wedding like this brings out lots of the prominent people from former reigning families in Germany. Two of the most familiar are Prince Georg Friedrich and Princess Sophie of Prussia. Georg Friedrich is the head of the House of Hohenzollern, which formerly ruled over the entire German Empire. (He’s a great-great-grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II.)
Princess Sophie brought out one of my very favorite royal tiaras for the occasion: the Prussian Meander Kokoshnik, made by Koch in 1905 for Crown Princess Cecilie of Germany.
Stefan even managed to capture this fantastic shot of the back of the tiara. Love it!
Princess Sophie’s brother, Prince Viktor of Isenburg, attended the wedding gala with his wife, Princess Jungeun Agnès. She wore a floral tiara that looks to be set with diamonds and sapphires.
A particularly exciting tiara moment came thanks to Princess Floria, wife of Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse, who wore a major family tiara that hasn’t been seen in some time. This is the swooping, graceful kokoshnik tiara designed by Koch for the family in the early 1930s. It was originally worn with a set of diamond and pearl stars, but more recent wearers have used a set of pearl button ornaments with the piece. That’s the way Floria wore it for last weekend’s wedding gala.
Princess Stephanie, wife of Prince Bernhard, Margrave of Baden, wore an heirloom tiara as well: the Baden Sunburst Tiara, which she also wore for her own wedding in 2001. This time, she wore it with diamond drop earrings and a gorgeous antique diamond necklace.
The House of Hanover was represented by the younger Prince Ernst August and his wife, Princess Ekaterina. She wore the family’s grand diamond floral tiara for the gala. She wore the tiara for their wedding, and later her sister-in-law chose the same tiara for her wedding, too.
We’ll wrap up today’s article with another familiar royal heirloom. Princess Kelly, the American-born wife of the Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, wore the family’s diamond and turquoise parure for the gala.
Kelly wore the tiara, earrings, and necklace from the turquoise set, which originally belonged to Prince Hubertus’s great-grandmother, Victoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein. Kelly often wears the turquoises for royal events, especially those hosted by their close royal cousins in Sweden.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the tiaras worn at this wedding gala so far. Stay tuned for a second post including even more jewels tomorrow—and in the meantime, please join me in thanking Stefan once again for sharing these spectacular images with all of us! You can follow him on Instagram at @royaltravelevents.