Aristocrats flock to Russia for first royal marriage ceremony in century

Russia on Friday held its first royal marriage ceremony for the reason that 1917 Bolshevik revolution toppled the Romanov monarchy, with aristocrats travelling from throughout Europe for the lavish ceremony.

Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov, 40, and his Italian fiance Rebecca Virginia Bettarini, 39, have been wed at Saint Isaac’s cathedral within the former imperial capital Saint Petersburg.

A whole lot of international friends travelled to Russia’s second metropolis for the Orthodox Christian ceremony, together with royals from 20 nations such because the final king of Bulgaria, Simeon II, the final king of Egypt and the Sudan, Fuad II, and Princess Lea of Belgium.

The visitor listing of round 1,500 folks included different distinguished names like Konstantin Malofeyev, a monarchist and billionaire near the Kremlin, and Russian international ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Bettarini transformed to the Orthodox religion final yr.

Younger bridesmaids wearing orange carried the bride’s prepare that featured the coat of arms of the Russian Empire, embroidered in gold.

Bettarini additionally wore a diamond-encrusted tiara made by high-end jewellers Chaumet.

Surrounded by monks in golden robes, Romanov and Bettarini beamed as Metropolitan Varsofony of Saint-Petersburg and Ladoga carried out the blessing.

Metropolitan Varsofony praised the couple for his or her want to serve Russia.

“We’re comfortable that you just love Russia, and participate in charity initiatives,” he stated.

The ceremony included the trade of marriage ceremony rings made by Faberge.

The Home of Faberge stated it was the primary time it had created marriage ceremony rings for members of the Romanov household “since earlier than the Russian revolution”.

– ‘My coronary heart rejoices’ –

Some ladies sported designer hats and furs, and males sporting Cossack uniforms embellished with medals may be seen.

Natalya Grigorovich, a descendant of Ivan Grigorovich, Tsarist Russia’s final naval minister, described the ceremony as “touching”.

“My coronary heart rejoices,” she added.

Passing by Saint Isaac’s cathedral, Saint Petersburg resident Galina Bobrova stated she wished the couple “happiness”.

“For us the monarchy is one thing from a previous life, after all, nevertheless it’s attention-grabbing,” the 50-year-old instructed AFP.

After the ceremony the sword-bearing honour guard saluted the newlyweds as they kissed outdoors the cathedral.

Greater than 500 friends have been invited to attend the marriage dinner on the metropolis’s Museum of Ethnography later Friday.

The final marriage ceremony in Russia of an inheritor to the Romanovs was that of Nicholas II and Alexandra, 127 years in the past.

Forward of the ceremony, Romanov stated the couple selected to tie the knot in Saint Petersburg as a result of it was the primary place within the nation the place the household returned within the early Nineteen Nineties.

“It is vitally, very near our household,” he instructed Saint Petersburg-based information web site Fontanka forward of the marriage.

Saint Petersburg is “the historical past of Russia,” he added, “the historical past of the Home of Romanov”.

– ‘Ambassadors of goodwill’ –

Born in Madrid, Romanov is the son of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova, the self-proclaimed inheritor to Russia’s imperial throne.

She is the granddaughter of Grand Duke Kirill, a cousin of Nicholas II, the final Russian tsar who was executed alongside along with his spouse Alexandra and 5 youngsters by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Buried after their execution in a spot lengthy saved secret by the Soviet authorities, their our bodies and people of their youngsters have been transferred in 1998 to the Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg.

The household was canonised by the Orthodox Church in 2000 as martyrs.

After the marriage the newlyweds laid flowers on the Peter and Paul Cathedral.

Romanov, who spent a lot of his life in France, graduated from Oxford and labored within the European Parliament. He additionally held jobs at Russian mining big Norilsk Nickel.

The couple moved to Russia three years in the past, settling first within the Moscow suburbs earlier than relocating to town centre subsequent to the Kremlin.

Romanov now works on a number of charity initiatives.

He stated he believes European and Russian royals may assist Moscow and the West mend fraying ties.

“I believe that we might be ambassadors of goodwill.”

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman instructed reporters that the Kremlin at all times wished all newlyweds happinesses however the president didn’t plan to congratulate the couple.

“This marriage doesn’t belong on our agenda in any manner,” stated Dmitry Peskov.


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