Germany’s somewhat contoversial wedding of the year rolled out in Hanover on Saturday with fanfares, church bells, a coach ride, and a major turnout of young royals.
A solemn religious ceremony between Prince Ernst-August Jr. and Ekaterina Malysheva took place in the Market Church before 600 guests while a crowd of several thousand, many in traditional costume, gathered outside.
The couple, who were wed in a civil service on Thursday, departed the historic church in a red silk-lined carriage setting off for the first of two celebrations: a luncheon at historic Herrenhauser Gardens and night time event at Marienburg Castle.
As church bells tolled their exit, the couple’s horse-drawn departure was accompanied by cheers and salutes from a 100-member local honor guard which included a hunting horn chorus.
The groom’s father Prince Ernst-August — who on Monday announced that he was opposing the marriage — did not attend. The groom’s mother Chantal Hochuli did attend the ceremony, which also marks the first time a Hanoverian prince has married in the church in 66 years.
Ernst-August Jr.’s stepmother Monaco’s Princess Caroline has been separated from the elder Ernst-August since 2009 and chose not to attend. Approval of her stepson’s union, however, was indicated by the presence of her immediate family, including all her daughters, sons and their wives at both Thursday’s intimate civil ceremony and today’s larger festivities.
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Caroline’s daughter Princess Alexandra of Hanover, 17, was seen helping gather up the long trained bridal gown outside the church at noon. Also in the wedding party, her sister Charlotte Casiraghi, who protected herself from the sun with a broad brimmed straw hat.
Also prominent in the wedding party was Ernst-August Jr.’s step-brother Andrea Casiraghi and his wife Tatiana Santo Domingo, who carried their children Sasha and India into the church service. Pierre Casiraghi and his wife Beatrice Borromeo (who sported a beige turban) also travelled to Hanover to participate in the occasion.
The bride, a London-based fashion designer, wore a traditional white embroidered bridal gown with pearl appliques, created by her friend Sandra Mansour. According to reports, Ekaterina’s veil was topped by a family heirloom from the prince’s family: a diadem created for the May 1913 wedding of Princess Victoria Luise, daughter of Germany’s last Kaiser, for her wedding to Ernst August III, the groom’s great-grandfather.