Monday, December 17, 2012

Queen Victoria's Wedding (Part 19): The Duchess of Kent and the Royal Hanoverian Dukes

Victoria May Louise, Duchess of Kent
Painting by George Henry Harlow, circa 1830-1840
Photo Source: Grand Ladies
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Following the Royal Princesses, the Duchess of Kent and the Royal Hanoverian Dukes, Prince Adolphus of Cambridge and Prince Augustus Frederick of Sussex, made their way into the Chapel to take their seats near the altar.

The Duchess of Kent received a warm welcome from the crowd as she entered the Chapel. Although perhaps appearing “very distressed and disconsolate” {Hope, Our Queen, p. 65}, she made a grand impression in her white satin gown with its three blonde flounces and ornate silver brocade. Behind her trailed a sky-blue velvet train trimmed in ermine and lined with white satin. Her parure, including a diamond necklace, diamond earrings, and a diamond and feather headdress, must have been absolutely dazzling.

As she found her seat to the left of the altar, the Queen's esteemed uncles made their entrance. Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, at the age of 65, cast a striking image in his red and white Field Marshal's uniform. Elizabeth Longford reports that Uncle Adolphus "made loud, good-humoured comments" throughout the ceremony. {Longford, p. 142}

Following his brother, the Queen's affectionate Uncle Augustus Frederick, also wore the red and white uniform of a Field Marshal, decorated in the emblems of the royal orders. In addition, he wore what must have been his signature piece, a black skullcap upon his head. Ms. Longford writes that Uncle Augustus, who had the supreme honor of standing in for Victoria's father, "sobbed throughout the ceremony." {Longford, p. 142}

As the Dukes stood at the front, the choir began to sing Edward Bairstow's Psalm 67. Even then, the Bride was slowly making her way through the state rooms of St. James's Palace toward the Chapel doors.

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