Empress Alexandra Feodrovna in 1894-1895.
This interesting jewel was a traditional Victorian mourning jewel belonging to Tsarina Alexandra. The tiara style hair comb with jet balls was a hair accessory of the time. She wore black, because she was in mourning of her father-in-law, the tsar.
However, in 1894, tradition was broken for one day, wrote in a letter of 5 Nov 1884 to Queen Victoria, before the marriage of her sister Princess Alix of Hesse to Emperor Nicholas II, described the wedding ceremonies and traditions of the imperial court. She also gives an insider’s glimpse of the family mourning the death of Alexander III, her brother-in-law.
From Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs, opening at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse on 21 June 2019.
Notes from the press of the days:
It is going to cost Germany over half a million dollars to get her future Emperor married, but in return for their money the folk of the fatherland will have a show of pomp and ceremony such as seldom has been seen in modern Europe. In the preparations for his eldest son’s wedding to the Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, which is now set for Monday, May 22,1905, the Kaiser is giving full reign to his love of imperial splendor and display.
On the marriage ceremony itself, which will take place in the magnificent new cathedral in Berlin in the presence of an exalted company whose like never has gathered under one roof, $50,000 will be spent. The presents which will be given to the young couple by municipalities and public corporations will amount to a. total of at least $250,000, while a similar sum is being spent on the bride’s trousseau.
On her wedding day the Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin will be almost 19 years of age, while her young husband will have attained the age of 23.
No part of the elaborate ceremonial In connection with her wedding will be more impressive than the Duchess Cecilie’s journey from her home in Schwerin to Berlin, which will take place a few days before her marriage. From the palace of her brother, the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin with whom she has lived up to now, to the Schwerin railway station the Duchess will be escorted by the Grand Duke himself, by the Ministers of state of the grand duchy, by the high officers of the garrison at Schwerin and by a deputation of noblemen and noblewomen representing the leading families of Mecklenburg aristocracy.
Surrounded by a magnificent company, Duchess Cecilie will drive in an open carriage from her home to the railway station, where a special train will be waiting to convey her to Berlin. This train will consist of cars painted in blue and gold. The locomotive will be gaily decorated with flowers and a wreath of myrtle will be hung around the stack.
The Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin as well as a magnificent suite consisting of over fifty persons will escort Duchess Cecilie to Berlin, a journey of about three hours. A guard of honor will be drawn up on the platform of the station at Schwerin and at the moment the train begins to glide away on its journey these troops will present arms, a roll will be beaten on the drums and a blast of trumpets will proclaim the departure of the Crown Prince’s bride. At the same moment the guns of the fortress of Schwerin will boom out a salute of thirty-three guns, and there will be cheers from the children of the public schools of the little capital, drawn up on the platform.
The arrival at Berlin will be a still more impressive affair. On the platform the German Emperor, the Crown Prince, the five younger sons of the Kaiser, the Emperor’s brother, Prince Henry, and four other royal princes of the Hohenzollern family will be waiting to greet Duchess Cecilie. The moment the train slops the bride-elect will descend the steps of the saloon car and will be embraced and kissed first by the Emperor and then by the Crown Prince, who probably will secretly resent the rigid rules of court etiquette which gives this imperial father the right of precedence on this occasion.
Duchess Cecilie will then shake hands with the other royal princes while the usual military honors are being paid to her. The royal party will then enter open carriages to drive to the Imperial castle situated in the heart of the city of Berlin. The Emperor and the Duchess Cecilie will ride side by side in the first carriage, the Crown Prince sitting opposite to them with his back to the coachman. The other royal princes and the various suites will follow in other carriages, of which there will be about thirty in the procession. The state carriages conveying the Emperor, Crown Prince and Duchess Cecilie will be drawn by six white horses and will be preceded and followed by a squadron of cavalry guards as an escort. The streets through which the procession of the carriages will pass will be lined with spectators who will accord their future Empress a warm popular reception.
The German Empress will be waiting on the threshold pt the imperial castle, where she will embrace and kiss her future daughter-in-law. Duchess Cecilie will remain in her residence at the imperial castle, but the Crown Prince will continue to reside in the palace at Potsdam, coming into Berlin each morning by train and returning each evening, for etiquette provides that he shall not sleep under the same roof as his bride during the few nights preceding the wedding. The last day or two will be fully occupied with the completion of all the necessary arrangements.
The wedding ceremony will be solemnized in the new cathedral which the German Emperor has erected on the open space in front of the imperial castle in Berlin. The distance from the imperial castle to the cathedral is only two or three hundred yards and the wedding party will pass from one building to the other on foot.
The Crown Prince will wear the uniform of the First Regiment of Guards, consisting of a long blue coat, blue trousers and gaiters extending to the knees. He will wear a helmet with white plumes and his breast will be decorated with tho ribbons of all the exalted orders to which he belongs.
After the Crown Prince has taken up his stand in the cathedral in front of the altar the German Emperor will leave the imperial castle, accompanied by the Empress, the other members of the Prussian royal family and all the royal guests, who will be present as representatives of the reigning families of Europe.
These will include the King of Spain; the Czar‘ s brother. Grand Duke Michael of Russia: the successor to the Austrian throne. Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the Duke of Aosta, representing Italy, and the Prince of Wales, representing England.
Including the rulers of the smaller German states, there will be twenty reigning monarchs and thirty royal Princes and Princesses, making a total of over fifty royal personages present at the wedding. These royalties, with their suites of gorgeously uniformed officers, will form a company of unprecedented brilliancy.
After the members of this party have entered the cathedral and have taken their allotted seats the bride will leave the Imperial castle to proceed to the ceremony.
She will wear a white dress adorned with the costliest lace, for which her dressmaker will receive a check for $25,000; a long white veil and a small wreath of myrtle with the nuptial crown, „The Prinzessinnenkrone „on her head.
The ceremony will last rather more than half an hour and as soon as it is concluded the organ will strike up a wedding march, while the guns of the forts around Berlin will fire a salute of 101 guns.
A magnificent state banquet will be given In the imperial castle, at which covers will be laid for five hundred guests. The Crown Prince and the Crown Princess will sit side by side at one end of the central table, with the Emperor and the Empress opposite them at the other end. The Emperor will propose the toast of the young couple, and he’s expected to make a speech in which he will refer to the high destiny in store for his son when he is called upon to ascend the Imperial throne of Germany.
The wedding presents, which will number many hundreds, will be piled in heaps on tables in one of the big halls of the castle and will be inspected by the guests of the wedding party.
Later In the day the Crown Prince and his bride will leave Berlin to spend their honeymoon at the Crown Prince’s estate in Silesia.
The distinguished pair will possess a stable of 200 horses, some for riding and some for driving.
The bride’s trousseau will come of hundreds of trunks, full of coats and fur tunes articles. It is hat the presents given to the imperial couple by royal personages throughout Europe win amount to a total of at least S28M*