Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thirties Thursday

There is nothing that takes a nation's attention away from dire economic times than the excitement and anticipation of a royal wedding. Once the engagement is announced, the papers are filled with pictures of the happy couple and speculation begins about the wedding dress.

The groom is tall, handsome and popular. The bride; tall, dark, as beautiful as she is intelligent. Everyone agrees that they are a well-matched couple, sharing the same interests and liking the same activities.

The engagement ring is a seven carat emerald-cut sapphire, shouldered by diamonds, mounted in platinum. Wedding souveniers; tea towels, mugs, etc. all bearing the couple's pictures sell briskly in the shops.

The location is announced: Westminster Abbey.

Finally, the wedding day arrives. The bride leaves Buckingham Palace (having moved there before her wedding) in a state carriage. Cheered by the crowds gathered on the sidewalks, she arrives at Westminster Abbey and alights from the carriage. The first glimpses of the wedding dress are showered in an explosion of flash-bulbs from the awaiting photographers. The dress is all that the fashion experts have been predicting; a shimmering silver and white brocade embodying within its design the English rose. The sheath-like dress with a draped neckline and long sleeves lengthens in a train at the back. On her head she wears one of the wedding presents; a magnificent fringe tiara from which flows a long white tulle veil. She carries a bouquet of white lilies.

The groom is dressed in his naval uniform, complete with the sash and star of the Order of the Garter and is supported (as the best man is called in royal weddings) by his brother.

After the wedding, the couple returns to Buckingham Palace in the Glass Coach (named as such because of its large windows) for the wedding breakfast (as is traditional) and their appearance on the balcony elicits large cheers from the flag-waving crowds.

Have you just read a small piece of fiction? Am I speculating about the royal wedding scheduled for next year?

No; it is Thirties Thursday, after all.

This wedding took place November 29, 1934 and was the wedding of George, Duke of Kent and Princess Marina of Greece. George was the third son of King George V and Queen Mary. His elder brother was Edward, Prince of Wales and his next brother was Albert, Duke of York.

2 years and 1 month later they would be known to history as the Duke of Windsor and King George VI.

But, what's a wedding without pictures? Here are two:

The wedding party. In the back row, King George V is first on the left, Queen Mary is second on the right. Sitting below King George is Princess Elizabeth of York - the Queen at age 8.

The bride, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.


  1. Elspeth - You know, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Your description of this sumptuous wedding reminds me of the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. And I suspect the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will capture everyone's attention, too...

  2. That totally sounds as if it could be an accurate speculation towards the upcoming British royal wedding. Wow. Maybe things really don't change as much as we think they do...

  3. Terry; I'm glad you enjoyed another Thirties Thursday post. Thanks!

    Margot; I suspect it will. Let's hope this marriage has a happier outcome.

    JM; Excellent! That's exactly the impression I was hoping to achieve when I wrote it.

  4. I remember the Princess Diana wedding but it didn't really have the same effect on me as it did others. I guess I'm just not that much into royalty? I used to be into celebrity stuff but even that doesn't do much for me anymore.

  5. I was thinking Lady Di till you described the dress. Then I thought it was QEII, even though I know she was a teen during the War. And it could well be the nupitals that will take place next summer.

    And the Duchess of Kent is beautiful- is she the mother in law of the current Duchess of Kent- the elegant one who graces Wimbledon every year?

  6. Aw, the thirties. What a decade - especially for fashion! Based solely on the clothes, if I had to go back to an earlier era, the 1930s would probably be right up there at the top of my list. The shoes alone were simply fabulous back then.


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