L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bridal Jewels of the Romanovs

Before the revolution, before the war, when the Romanov's celebrated a dynastic marriage, there was much extravagant tradition to be honored in the nuptial proceedings.  For the bride's wedding day toilette, nothing was more prominent - and personally uncomfortable - than her jewelry.  There were particular of the Crown jewels that every Grand Duchess wore.  In the words of Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, from her memoir, Education of a Princess:

"These were, first, the diadem of the Empress Catherine, with a pink diamond of extraordinary beauty in the centre and the small crimson velvet crown all covered with diamonds.  Then came the diamond necklace of large stones, the bracelets, and the earrings in the shape of cherries, so heavy that they had to be attached to gold hoops and ringed over the ears.

"...Finally, they laid upon my shoulders the crimson mantle of velvet, with cape and edges of ermine, fastened by an immense [diamond] buckle.  Someone helped me to rise.  I was ready."

The Grand Duchess also relates that later that day, after the wedding:

"My earrings hurt me so that in the middle of the banquet I took them off and hung them, to the great amusement of the Emperor [Nicholas II], on the edge of the glass of water before me."  She wasn't the first Grand Duchess to complain that the weight of the earrings made the gold wire cut into her ears; one must sometimes suffer to be beautiful, but I suppose there's a limit.

Some Imperial Brides

The same Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna on her wedding day, May 3, 1908, with her husband Prince Vilhelm
of Sweden, Duke of Södermanland, in the Arabesque Hall of the Catherine Palace, Tsarskoe Selo.

Her first cousin Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna on her wedding day, August 29, 1902, with her husband
Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, in the Portrait Hall of the Catherine Palace, Tsarskoe Selo.
Grand Duchess Elizaveta Mavrikievna on her wedding day, April 27, 1884.
With the "crimson mantle of velvet, with cape and edges of ermine"...
...and without.
Tsar Nicholas II and his bride Alexandra Feodorovna
on their wedding day, November 26, 1894. 
Only a month after the death of Nicholas' father, Alexander III - court mourning was suspended for the day - the wedding was celebrated
in the Grand Church of the Winter Palace.  Unusually, Alexandra's mantle is of cloth-of-gold rather than crimson velvet; I assume this was
because she was marrying a reigning monarch rather than a Grand Duke or foreign prince.  A painting by the Danish artist Laurits Tuxen.

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