A History Of Royal Weddings At Windsor: Princess Frederica of Hanover & Baron Alfons von Pawel-Rammi
The next Royal wedding at Windsor was not one of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's children for once! It was their niece - Her Royal Highness Princess Frederica of Hanover, daughter of Their Majesties King George V of Hanover and Queen Marie of Saxe-Altenburg. Now why would the daughter of a foreign monarch get married in England? It's all about family connections.
When The Hanoverians came to the British throne in 1714, they were Kings of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland AND Kings of Hanover. This changed when Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria of Kent ascended to the throne as Her Majesty Queen Victoria in 1837; females were barred from the Hanover succession. While the 18 year old became Queen of The United Kingdom, her uncle Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland became King of Hanover. As a male-line descendant of The Duke of Cumberland's father King George III of The United Kingdom and Hanover, Princess Frederica was also a Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. By the time she got married in 1880, her father King George had been deposed and subsequently died in Parisian exile. Their family was always welcome in England, though, where Princess Frederica's title was downgraded from Her Royal Highness to Her Highness.
Regardless of the downturn in family fortunes, Princess Frederica was still a very eligible bride. Surprisingly instead of making a match with one of the many Princes who courted her (who included Victoria and Albert's own son His Royal Highness Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany), The Princess fell in love with a commoner, Alfons, Baron von Pawel-Rammingen. Baron Alfons had been a faithful servant of The Princess' late father, and his loyalty probably played a part in her attraction to him as a groom. Naturally both Royal Families were appalled at her choice, but Queen Victoria had a soft spot for her niece and intervened.
The Baron was made a British citizen by Act of Parliament in March of 1880 and the following month on April 24, he and The Princess were married at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Queen Victoria herself gave away the bride. The ceremony was commemorated by none other than the famed British poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who wrote 'To Princess Frederica On Her Marriage':
"O you that were eyes and light to The King till he past 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."
After their wedding Princess Frederica and Baron Alfons lived in apartments at Hampton Court Palace given to them by The Queen, with whom they spent much of their time. Queen Victoria showered honors upon her new nephew - making him over the years a Knight Commander of the Order of The Bath and also a Knight Commander of The Royal Victorian Order. The couple had one child, a daughter, who died in infancy. Yet despite having Queen Victoria's support The Baron was never fully accepted by The Princess' Hanoverian relations (and some British ones, too). Regardless, they were married until Princess Frederica died in 1926. Towards the end of her life Princess Frederica and her husband lived in France, but when she died her body was returned to be buried where the couple had married. She lies in The Royal Vault at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.
Thankfully, besides the location and obvious approval of the reigning monarch, this Royal wedding at Windsor has nothing in common with the upcoming nuptials of His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle! While one cannot say that the snobbery of the old days has completely vanished – the beautiful and intelligent American actress and philanthropist seems to have won over her future family – with her stepmother-in-law to be, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall going on the record as saying “America’s loss is our gain”! We Americans like to think we’re all winning!
- Written by Marcia Masenda Mack
(Image: Princess Frederica of Hanover and Baron von Pawel-Rammingen, May 1887 via The Royal Collection Trust: https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/2909491/princess-frederica-of-hanover-and-baron-von-pawel-rammingen-may-1887)