Princess Sophie of Bavaria | Wittelsbach Royal Jewels | Wedding Duchess of Arenberg

Bavarian Royal Wedding

On January 20, 1955, Princess Sophie of Bavaria, the youngest daughter of Crown Prince Rupprecht, married Jean-Engelbert von Arenberg, the 12th Duke of Arenberg, in the collegiate church by the Archbishop of Munich, Dr. Joseph Cardinal Wendel.

The history of the Royal Diamond Star Tiara

Princess Sophie of Bavaria | Wittelsbach Royal Jewels | Wedding Duchess of Arenberg

The day of the church wedding began with the traditional Berchtesgaden Christmas archer custom of waking the bride. At 7 a.m. the „Markerer“ fired for the bride from the stand in the courtyard garden, the „Stanggasser“ for the groom at the Hotel Geiger. For the church wedding at 11 a.m. in the collegiate church, the »Berchtesgadener Anzeiger« not only mentions that the bride wore a white organza dress with a historical, light blue, silver-embroidered silk train, »over it a white ermine jacket, a bouquet of dewy white roses on the breast«, but also that Cardinal Wendel performed the wedding ceremony in the historic Maria Theresa regalia of the collegiate church. »At the wedding mass, HH Pastor Schüller is presbyter assistens, Honorary Levites are HH Chaplain Gillhuber and Father Gundekar from Munich, because, according to old tradition, a Capuchin priest should be present at every wedding in the Arenberg house. Centuries ago, when the Arenberg family was about to die out in the male line, the Pope at the time released a Capuchin from the Arenberg house from his vows so that he could start a family.«

Around 100 singers from the Stiftskirche choir and the Liedertafel, as well as instrumentalists, accompanied the wedding ceremony with Joseph Haydn’s »Holy Mass«. After the service, the market band played a stand concert on the Schlossplatz, whereby now around five thousand people had gathered and cheered the bridal couple. »And now came the great, probably most impressive moment: the tall figure of the crown prince is standing at the window. When he waves to the thousands, the cheering doesn’t end. The band sings the royal anthem. Enthusiastically, the crowd joins in the ‚Hail to our king, hail!‘ It’s amazing how many people can still read the text. Even men’s eyes water, many women sob with emotion. The sun is shining from the white-blue sky on the castle courtyard, which is crammed full of people. It is a unique, overwhelming moment. No one can escape the magic of this hour.«

Princess Sophie Maria Theresia of Bavaria was born in Starnberg on June 20, 1935; she was 19 years old when she got married. Her husband, Prince and Duke Jean-Engelbert Maria Paul Werner Anton Josef von Arenberg was born in The Hague on July 14, 1921; at the time of the marriage he was a doctor of law, magister artium, knight of honor of the Order of Malta and owner of one of the largest banks in Brussels; he died on August 15, 2011 in Lausanne. The couple has five children: Leopold, Karl-Ludwig, Marie-Gabrielle, Henri and Etienne von Arenberg. Incidentally, the bride’s father, Crown Prince Rupprecht, died just a few months after the wedding celebrations on August 2, 1955 at Leutstetten Castle near Starnberg. He was buried in the Munich Theatinerkirche.

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