19 September 2014

Royal Wedding Anniversary of the Week: September 19

King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary in Greece this week - they hit the big 50 year mark yesterday. They were young when they married, she was 18 and he was 24, but even then their story was a long one.
They first met in 1959. Anne-Marie was the 13-year-old daughter of King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark, and Constantine was the Crown Prince of Greece, on a state visit to Denmark with his parents, King Paul and Queen Frederika. By 1961, a romance was in the works. Their engagement came early - too early, King Frederik thought, being concerned that his daughter was still just a teenager and still in school. He asked them to wait until Anne-Marie was 18 and had finished her education to marry, and so they did. They were intended to marry in January 1965, but things were moved up when King Paul died in March 1964 and Constantine took the throne. The wedding was set for September 18, 1964, just after the end of official court mourning. Less than a month after turning 18, Anne-Marie became a queen.
Her wedding gown has always been a sentimental favorite of mine, but then I'm apt to fall in love with any kind of simple, classic style paired with a lace veil. Designed by her mother's favorite couturier, Jørgen Bender, the gown has an elegant silhouette: a wide neckline delicately accessorized with a cross pendant, an empire waist, three-quarter length sleeves, and a split front skirt with a detailed edge and train behind. The whole affair was turned into a true queen's gown with a massive 20' long train flowing out from behind and requiring several royal bridesmaids to manage.
Video: Starting with the glittering pre-wedding ball. Attended by an enormous group of royals, in this clip alone we can see Anne-Marie in the Greek Emerald Parure, Queen Frederika in Queen Sophie's Diamond Tiara, Queen Ingrid in the Danish rubies, Queen Juliana in the Stuart Tiara, and more! 
Queen Anne-Marie was the youngest of Frederik and Ingrid's three daughters but the first to marry, and she set in place several trends that would be echoed by other brides in her family. Dress designer Jørgen Bender would go on to design the wedding gowns of her sisters Margrethe and Benedikte, as well as Benedikte's daughter Alexandra and Margrethe's daughter-in-law Alexandra. Though she already had a tiara collection of her own by this time (the Antique Corsage Tiara from her family, as well as the Greek emeralds and rubies, turned over to her by Queen Frederika), Anne-Marie borrowed a diamond tiara from her mother for the wedding. Her use of the Khedive of Egypt Tiara started a tradition that continues today with Ingrid's female descendants. She also borrowed the family wedding veil, solidifying a tradition that is still alive in the family.
The wedding placed two young, glamorous, fresh faces at the helm of the Greek monarchy, but the institution had a turbulent past and a less-than-stable footing, and it wasn't long before things got rocky once again. In 1967, the young couple and their family left Greece; by 1973, the monarchy was abolished. They remained in exile for many years, eventually settling in England, but in recent years they have returned to live once again in Greece.
At their golden wedding party, with most of their children and daughter/son-in-law (not pictured: Prince Nikolaos and wife Tatiana)
They may be former monarchs, but thanks to their family connections, they show up at many royal events (in addition to the Danish ties, King Constantine's sister is Queen Sofia of Spain and they are related to many royal houses going further back). Family members have joined them in Greece to celebrate, click for more: the party at the yacht club (also shown above - loving Marie-Chantal's ribbon belt), and a gathering the evening before.

Photos: Keystone/Hulton Royals, Keystone France/Gamma-Keystone, and Milos Bicanski, all via Getty