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A History of Royal Weddings At Windsor: Princess Helena and Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein

Next up in our series of weddings at Windsor Castle is July 5, 1866 when Her Royal Highness The Princess Helena of the United Kingdom, third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, wed Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein in Windsor’s private Royal Chapel. The groom was a minor Danish-born German Prince, second son of Their Serene Highnesses Christian August, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg and Countess Louise Sophie of Danneskiold-Samsøe.

This wedding was smaller and more private as opposed to the state occasion of Princess Helena’s eldest brother and his wife The Prince and Princess of Wales, but there were still some illustrious Royal guests present including Her Majesty Queen Victoria (in mourning still), Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, His Royal Highness Prince Alfred The Duke of Edinburgh, and Their Majesties King Leopold II and Queen Marie Henriette of the Belgians. Because of Prince Albert’s untimely death, the bride was escorted down the aisle by her mother, and the Archbishop of Canterbury conducted the service.

Princess Helena’s gown was of rich white satin with deep flounces of Honiton lace, the design of which featured the tradition British emblems of roses, ivy, and myrtle. Her veil was also of matchless Honiton lace, and her bridal wreath was adorned with delicate orange blossoms and myrtle. Queen Victoria had given her an exquisite parure of opals and diamonds which she also wore (thankfully she was not superstitious like her sister-in-law Alexandra, Princess of Wales, who considered opals to be unlucky).

A week before the wedding, the Queen granted Prince Christian the style of 'Royal Highness’ rather than the 'Serene Highness’ with which he’d been born (though this was in effect only in the British Empire), and the couple made their home at Frogmore House on the grounds of Windsor Castle then later at Cumberland Lodge at Windsor Great Park. They celebrated 50 years of marriage before Prince Christian passed away in 1917.

- Written by Heidi Retzer

(Top Image: 'The Marriage of Princess Helena, 5 July 1866' by Christian Karl Magnussen; Bottom: Princess Helena and Prince Christian)