The Wonderful Wives of Windsor - Part 2

Continuing our series on Windsor Weddings.
The Brides of Windsor Castle.

We look at more Royal brides who chose Windsor Castle as the setting for their nuptials and how styles have changed through the years.


Princess Frederica

Princess Frederica

Our next bride of the series is the elder daughter of King George V of Hanover. Princess Frederica Sophie Marie Henrietta Amelia Theresa or ‘Lily’ as her family and friends knew her. On the 24th April 1880, she married Baron Alfons Von Pawel-Rammingen at St George’s Chapel.

Courted by several notable suiters, including Alexander, Prince of Orange and Prince Leopold the Duke of Albany, Lily was in love with her father’s former equerry. And so, following on from Alfons becoming a British subject and gaining Queen Victoria’s blessing, the pair were married.

In the following March at 33, Lily became a mother to Victoria Georgina Beatrice Maud Anne von Pawel-Rammingen, tragically the baby died 20 days later.

Tennyson wrote a quatrain in honour of the marriage and in tribute to the bride’s blind father who passed away two years earlier.

O you that were eyes and light to the King till he passed away
From the darkness of life —
He saw not his daughter — he blest her: the blind King sees you to-day,
He blesses the wife.

Queen Victoria played a large role in the marriage which was not well thought of in certain circles. The Queen wrote: “Every inch a Queen she looked; her dress was my gift made at Paris with the Irish lace trimming and the veil the same. I led her in and gave her away. Her own mother refusing to give her, her blessing and her sister and brother casting her off. She looks on me as her mother, and on Beatrice and Leopold as her sister and brother."

Queen Victoria also wrote to the Crown Princess of Prussia: As we approached the Chapel, I took Lily’s hand, & led her up to the Altar, the organ playing Gounod’s Marche Religieuse. Lily spoke very distinctly, though the numbers of names both have, were rather troublesome for them & the Bishop. I gave Lily away. It was a very pretty wedding. When the service was concluded, dear Lily turned & kissed me with the greatest affection."

Frederica was involved with many charitable organisations, including work with the blind and deaf.
Eventually, she and Alfons gave up their apartment at Hampton Court to spend their time in their Villa Mouriscot, in Biarritz, France.
Princess Frederica passed away in 1926 in her beloved Baarritz, she was buried in St George’s Chapel in the Royal Vault at Windsor Castle.


Princess Helena

Princess Helena Frederica Augusta

Prince Leopold, eighth child of Queen Victoria, suffered from haemophilia and epilepsy which was an illness that many of the families at that time kept hidden as epilepsy was considered a social stigma. Leopold found himself rejected by several potential brides and so Queen Victoria and daughter Victoria decided to take on the matchmaking role.

Helena Frederica Augusta, Her Serene Highness Princess Helena of Waldeck-Pyrmont was born to parents George Victor, Sovereign Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont and Princess Helena of Nassau on the 17th February 1861. The fifth child of seven, she was raised at Arolsen Castle in the capital of the Principality of Waldeck-Pyrmont now known as Bad Arolsen, located in Hesse, Germany. She benefitted from a Lutheran education provided by a liberal minded tutor which encouraged her to be well educated and academic.

Helena and Leopold first met in 1881 in Darmstadt and by November the couple were engaged. Leopold was ecstatic. Writing to his brother in law Louis he said, “when you really know her, then you will understand why I’m mad with joy today.”
The wedding took place on 27th April 1882.The bride was given away by her father. Music was written for the day by Leopold’s friend, French composer Charles Gounod.

Her dress was a gift from her sister Queen Emma of the Netherlands. It was crafted from white satin and decorated with traditional orange blossom and myrtle. They had two children, Alice and Charles Edward.

Tragically after only two happy years together, Leopold slipped and fell suffering a head injury which, combined with his haemophilia, resulted in an early death aged only 31. He never knew his son who was born four months after the accident.
Helena died following a heart attack, she was 61 years old. She chose to be buried in the stunning Austrian countryside of Hinteriss, after spending her life at Claremont house. She will be remembered for her work with the community of Deptford and the Albany Institute.


Princess Marie Louise

Princess Marie Louise

Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein and Prince Aribert of Anhalt were married on the 6th July 1891 following a very swift courtship. Aribert’s proposal was accepted after only four weeks and they were married within 8 months.

Her father was Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein and her mother Princess Helena, fifth child and third daughter of Queen Victoria. It was to the Queen that Princess Helena turned, in panic, when eight years into the marriage, the Duke of Anhalt demanded his daughter-in-law, Marie Louise face divorce proceedings on the grounds, she had made life intolerable by neglecting her marital duties. Divorce at the time being taboo.

Although never directly suggested, rumours circulated that Aribert was caught being indiscrete with a male attendant. This would explain the Prince being cold and indifferent following the wedding, preferring the company of male officers to that of his wife.

Marie Louise was often lonely for weeks at a time, heavily restricted in the German Duchy by rules and protocols governing every part of her life. A far contrast from her loving, outdoor play in childhood and extremely close bond with Queen Victoria. She later shared she wasn’t wanted by her husband who found her presence to be irksome.

Queen Victoria, notoriously well informed, refused to send Marie to Dessau and brought her grand daughter home to England. Horrified to learn of the untrue allegations made against her she sought help from the Queen who had the marriage quietly annulled on the grounds it was never consummated. Despite the sad sorry situation, Marie believed she had made a solemn promise and never remarried wearing her wedding band for the rest of her life.

She wrote an autobiography which touched many called ‘My memories of six reigns’ and within a few months died at her Berkeley Square home. She was interred with her parents at Frogmore Royal Burial Ground.