It wasn't quite the spectacle that the recent wedding of Will and Kate was, and you may not even know about it, but today there was a royal wedding in the tiny Principality of Monaco. Actually, there was a wedding yesterday too.
In several European countries, a bride and groom must be legally married in a civil ceremony. If they wish they can have a religious ceremony, but really, that's just for show. It's the civil ceremony that counts.
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II (53) married former South African Olympic swimmer, Charlene Wittstock (33), on June 1, AND July 2, 2011, making her HSH Princess Charlene. The civil ceremony was quick and rather impersonal (it was for legal purposes though, so I can forgive that). Both the Prince and his bride looked uncomfortable at times. I can't say I blame them though.
After the ceremony, they had a reception for 5000 Monegasques (citizens of Monaco), followed by a concert by French singer Jean Michel Jarre.
Today though was the event we all cared about. The "real" wedding. It took place in the courtyard of the royal palace as the main church (St. Nicholas) could not accommodate the number of guests.
Princess Charlene wore a stunning dress designed by Giorgio Armani (who also attended the wedding). I found the dress interesting for several reasons. It was obvious that Kate Middleton's dress was influenced by Prince Albert's mother, Grace Kelly, but Charlene's dress was almost a polar opposite. Perhaps she's trying to say that she's not trying to fill Princess Grace's shoes. Or perhaps she's making it known that she is her own person, not a stand in for the small countries beloved princess. Or maybe she just likes off the shoulder, body skimming dresses.
According to the palace, the dress took the Armani team 2500 hours to make, 700 of those on the embroidery alone. The dress was made of 130 meters (142 yards) of off white silk and sewn with platinum coated thread. The decorations on the gown included 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 20,000 mother of pearl tear drops and 30,000 sparkling stones in "shades of gold." The train was made of 20 meters (22 yards) of silk tulle and took 100 hours to make.
Enlarge this photo so you can see the details of the embroidery on the front of her dress. Stunning! Her dad looked completely overwhelmed.
If you look at the dress from the side, it actually has 2 trains. Long trains (KATE!). I like how the top train attached just below the shoulders instead of at her waist.
The ceremony itself was very formal, but there were a few very cute moments. During one of the songs, the prince reached over and put his hand on her leg and they both shared a laugh over something he said:
After she slipped the 18k gold Cartier ring on his finger, she smiled and then though bought laughed. It was very sweet:
Prince Albert wore a cream colored summer uniform of the palace guards with gold oak and olive leaves embroidered on the sleeves. He looked rather dapper.
After the ceremony they drove from the palace on top of the mountain, down through the town to Sainte Devote Church where the princess laid her bouquet in a tradition in honor of the Patroness of Monaco. The princess wiped tears from her eyes several times as the choir sang. It was lovely.
The princess opted to forgo a royal tiara in favor of this beautiful jeweled head piece that sat gracefully above her low chignon. I have to admit, this is gorgeous and I wouldn't mind having one (could someone be a dear and let James Bond know?), but IMO, she should have gone with a tiara.
In case you were wondering what titles she'll hold, other than Her Serene Highness, Princess of Monaco, here's a list of all of Albert's titles (which would be quite a mouthful if they have to be said):
- Duke of Valentinois
- Marquis of Baux
- Count of Carladès
- Count of Polignac
- Baron of Calvinet
- Baron of Buis
- Lord of Saint-Rémy
- Sire of Matignon
- Count of Torigni
- Baron of Saint-Lô
- Baron of La Luthumière
- Baron of Hambye
- Duke of Estouteville
- Duke of Mazarin
- Duke of Mayenne
- Prince of Château-Porcien
- Count of Ferrette
- Count of Belfort
- Count of Thann
- Count of Rosemont
- Baron of Altkirch
- Lord of Isenheim
- Marquis of Chilly
- Count of Longjumeau
- Baron of Massy
- Marquis of Guiscard