10 June 1948 Wedding of King Mihai I of Romania and Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma
‘She met her future husband in London in November 1947, at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Greece. Their introduction was arranged. One of her brothers took Michael to the cinema and afterwards returned to the family suite at Claridge’s where the princess was waiting to receive him. Despite the formality of their meeting, King Michael claimed a coup de foudre. He was charmed, he said, by her frank regard, her bold smile and her simplicity.
The next day they visited St James’s Palace together to view the wedding presents before going sightseeing and shopping. A friend noticed that the young King looked remarkably relaxed in her company. He proposed to her within days. Unwilling to commit herself after such a short acquaintance, she at first declined, but accepted an invitation to accompany him and his mother, Queen Helen, to Switzerland.
There, after a series of long walks and drives, she agreed to marry him. Their wedding arrangements were to run less smoothly. King Michael, who could not marry without the consent of Romania’s parliament, returned to Bucharest in December 1947.
When the Communist leader, Petru Groza, sought an audience with Michael and his mother to discuss “an intimate family matter”, they presumed that he wished to discuss the marriage. In fact he had come to force the King to abdicate, and on December 30 1947 Michael fled to exile in Switzerland.
Anne was now put under great strain. The Romanian government was keen to imply that Michael had abdicated because the government had opposed his marriage, and it was thought better that she should not be seen with him until he had a chance to clarify the situation. It was not until a few weeks later that she was able to join him at a skiing party.
There was also the matter of religion. Anne’s family was mostly Catholic, while Michael’s was Orthodox. The Vatican insisted that any children must be brought up Catholic, while the Romanian constitution decreed that all royal children should be brought up in the Orthodox Church. Despite the efforts of Anne’s mother and her future mother-in-law, who went to Rome to try to come to an arrangement, the Pope remained inflexible.
The plight of the young couple captured the imagination of the press and Anne was besieged by reporters. She was particularly disturbed by speculative articles about her state of mind. The marriage had been fixed for June 1948 in Greece, but further Vatican pronouncements brought hesitations, postponement of the ceremony – and Anne to the edge of nervous breakdown.After a series of family meetings, she was eventually married to King Michael on June 10 in the Royal Palace at Athens as guests of Prince Paul of Greece, Queen Helen’s brother. Anne’s family was represented only by her Protestant uncle, Prince Erik of Denmark, who gave her away. As Catholics her parents could not attend the ceremony. King Paul accorded the couple all the privileges due to their royal status and they were married in the presence of the Greek government and the Orthodox hierarchy.
They spent the first few days of their honeymoon at King Paul’s summer estate at Tatoi, north of Athens, after which they went to Locarno. But the curiosity of visitors to their hotel forced them to flee to Queen Helen’s villa in Italy.
Years later, during a visit to Monaco, where they stayed with Prince Rainier, Princess Grace told Anne about some friends from different religious backgrounds who had recently married. The Church had relaxed its stance, she told her. Twenty years after their first wedding, Anne was able to marry her husband in a simple private ceremony following Catholic rites.’ [Excerpt from the obituary from the Telegraph, 1 August 2016 +]
Anne’s flower girls were the daughters of Queen Frederica and King Paul I of Greece, Princess Sophia (Queen Sofía of Spain) and Princess Irene, page boys were Frederica’s and Paul’s son Prince Constantine (King Constantine II) and Prince Karl of Hesse. You can see Paul ordering Constantine to sit down in a not so tender way..+