A History Of Royal Weddings At Windsor: Princess Margaret of Connaught & Prince Gustaf Adolf
Updated: Mar 18, 2018
The next wedding in our series of Royal Weddings at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor is the biggest and most dynastically important union since the first we featured (that of Edward, Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark – the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of The United Kingdom). Why? Because it also involves a future King and beautiful Princess – Their Royal Highnesses Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden and Princess Margaret of Connaught!
Princess Margaret of Connaught was another of the late Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s granddaughters – the elder daughter of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Connaught (Prince Arthur and Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia). The groom was the grandson of His Majesty King Oscar II of Sweden and the eldest son of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden (Prince Gustaf and Princess Victoria of Baden). Princess Margaret met her future spouse in early 1905 while vacationing with her family in Egypt, and to the delight of her uncle King Edward VII, it was love at first sight. The Crown Prince proposed before the trip was even over and on June 15, 1905 the Royal couple were married at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor in a lavish ceremony fit for a future King and Queen.
Everything about this wedding was extra. The guest list was jam-packed with Royalty – headed up by the bride’s uncle King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, The Crown Princely Couple of Sweden, the future King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, The Hereditary Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Baden, The Prince and Princess Friedrich Karl of Hesse, The Prince and Princess Heinrich of Prussia, The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, The Duke and Duchess of Sparta, The Prince and Princess of Waldeck and Pyrmont, The Hereditary Prince and Princess of Wied, their various respective family members, and The Khedive of Egypt. It followed that every single bridesmaid was also a Princess: the bride’s sister HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught, and her cousins HH Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (the future Queen of Spain), HRH Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (the future Duchess of Galliera), and HRH Princess Mary of Wales (the future Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood).
On her wedding day Princess Margaret wore a French-made gown of white satin and Irish lace (her exquisite Irish lace veil was later handed down to her daughter Princess Ingrid, who became Queen of Denmark, and was most recently worn by Mary Donaldson, the bride of her great-grandson Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark in 2004). Princess Margaret opted out of wearing a tiara that day, donning daisies in her hair instead, but it wasn’t for a lack of tiaras. She received THREE spectacular tiaras as wedding gifts, all of which are still worn by her descendants and/or their consorts: 1. The Connaught Tiara, from The Duke and Duchess of Connaught and worn by Queen Silvia of Sweden and her daughters, 2. The Khedive of Egypt Tiara, from The Khedive of Egypt and worn by Queen Anne Marie of Greece, and 3. The Edward VII Ruby Tiara, from King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom and worn by Queen Silvia of Sweden. Besides all the bling, the bride and groom were also gifted a castle by the groom’s grandfather King Oscar - Sofiero Castle, in Helsingborg, Sweden, which they used as a summer residence.
The wedding ceremony was officiated by The Archbishop of Canterbury who was assisted by two bishops as well as the Dean of Windsor. Afterwards a lavish six-course wedding luncheon was held in Windsor Castle. The couple honeymooned in Ireland before making their home in Sweden.
By almost all accounts, Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Margaret were blissfully happy together. The first of their eventual five children, Prince Gusaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, was born in April 1906. The following year they became Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden upon the death of King Oscar. The new Crown Princess was a beloved figure in her new homeland, quickly learning Swedish, publishing two gardening books (whose proceeds went to charity), and actively supporting The Red Cross during World War I.
The fairytale ended in 1920. Pregnant with her sixth child, Crown Princess Margaret and her unborn baby died suddenly in Stockholm. She was just 38 years old and would never become Queen of Sweden or see her children grow up. Three years after her death Crown Prince Gustaf found another wife in Lady Louise Mountbatten (born Her Serene Highness Princess Louise of Battenberg). He became King Gustaf VI in 1950, but his and Princess Margaret’s eldest son The Duke of Västerbotten also died tragically at just 40 years old. Thankfully The Duke had already married and had a son of his own – who is the current Swedish monarch – King Carl XVI Gustaf.
So what on earth could this Royal wedding at Windsor possibly have in common with the one we are eagerly anticipating between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? Besides the venue and Archbishop of Canterbury officiating, we’ve heard Harry remark that, like Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Margaret, it was love at first sight when he met Meghan. Also, like the Swedish Crown Princely couple, they are blessed with generous and loving Royal grandparents in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (we can only hope The Queen gifts them with a country house, too). We certainly won’t see the same volume of Royal guests as their wedding is not a State occasion – but we can expect some as Harry is close to his German Royal relations as well as HRH Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. And of course, we hope that they are as happy (and for much longer) as Gustaf Adolf and Margaret seem to have been. Bring on the caramel Windsor babies! We can’t wait. Maybe they can have playdates with their Swedish cousins.
- Written by Marcia Masenda Mack
Bonus: Check out Crown Princess Margaret's wedding gift tiaras (and their current wearers)!
(Top and Middle Images: Wedding of Crown Prince Gustav of Sweden to Princess Margaret of Connaught, 15 Jun 1905 via The Royal Collection Trust; Bottom: Clockwise from left - Her Majesty Queen Anne Marie of Greece wearing The Khedive of Egypt Tiara, Crown Princess Margaret wearing The Connaught Tiara, Crown Princess Margaret wearing The Khedive of Egypt Tiara, Queen Silvia of Sweden wearing The Connaught Tiara, and Queen Silvia of Sweden wearing The Edward VII Ruby Tiara)