First royal wedding held in Russia since revolution
SAINT PETERSBURG: Russia on Friday held its first royal wedding since the 1917 Bolshevik revolution toppled the Romanov monarchy, with aristocrats travelling from across Europe for the lavish ceremony.
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov, 40, and his Italian fiance Rebecca Virginia Bettarini, 39, were wed at Saint Isaac’s cathedral in the former imperial capital Saint Petersburg.
Hundreds of foreign guests travelled to Russia’s second city for the Orthodox Christian ceremony, including royals from 20 countries such as the last king of Bulgaria, Simeon II, the last king of Egypt and the Sudan, Fuad II, and Princess Lea of Belgium.
The guest list of around 1,500 people included other prominent names like Konstantin Malofeyev, a monarchist and billionaire close to the Kremlin, and Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Bettarini converted to the Orthodox faith last year.
Young bridesmaids dressed in orange carried the bride’s train that featured the coat of arms of the Russian Empire, embroidered in gold.
Bettarini also wore a diamond-encrusted tiara made by high-end jewellers Chaumet.
Surrounded by priests in golden robes, Romanov and Bettarini beamed as Metropolitan Varsofony of Saint-Petersburg and Ladoga performed the blessing.
Metropolitan Varsofony praised the couple for their desire to serve Russia.
“We are happy that you love Russia, and take part in charity projects,” he said.
The ceremony included the exchange of wedding rings made by Faberge.
The House of Faberge said it was the first time it had created wedding rings for members of the Romanov family “since before the Russian revolution.”
– ‘My heart rejoices’ –
Some women sported designer hats and furs, and men wearing Cossack uniforms decorated with medals could also be seen.
Natalya Grigorovich, a descendant of Ivan Grigorovich, Tsarist Russia’s last naval minister, described the ceremony as “touching”.
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