Thursday, December 28, 2017

Etiquette and Suitable Royal Brides

Advocates of Anglo-American friendship are rooting for an American bride, and the Prince has doubtless seen plenty of suitable candidates over here, but the wish of the man-on-the-street undoubtedly is for “Our Young Man” to make an English marriage. There are no very rigid Court rules on the subject in England, the consent of the King being sufficient to satisfy etiquette, and the consent of Parliament, which has to be obtained by the heir to the throne... No one counted on him abdicating and marrying Wallis Simpson, a 2-time American divorcee, who was found to be both politically and socially unacceptable as his bride. –  Portrait by Reginald Grenville Eves, c. 1920

High Birth for Prince of Wales’ Bride?

Who is going to be the next Queen of England? This is the puzzle that certainly every woman, and most of the newspapers and male folk in England are trying to solve. For the first time since the matrimonial experiments of bluff King Henry VIII, there is an excellent chance of a “Commoner” mounting the throne of England, and hordes of matchmaking mammas, to say nothing of hundreds of blushing debutantes, who six years ago would have admitted themselves ruled out of the contest, realize that the Imperial Crown is well within their grasp, plus a very presentable Prince Charming. If they can manage to rope in the Prince of Wales. 

Among the many social upheavals caused by the war was not the least striking is the difference it has made to the Prince of Wales. Without a world war, he would certainly have been married —according to plan, and probably before now—to some German, Russian or other Princess. He might have been given a choice of two or three, but his list for selection would have been strictly limited. But with the wiping out of the Russian royal family, and the total eclipse of the German and Austrian dynasties, he has been able to call for a pack of cards for himself and claim a fresh deal. In fact, there are only four Princesses of suitable age left in Europe. They are the Italian Princesses Yolanda and Mafalda, Maire of Rumania and Margaret of Denmark. The Italian candidates are Catholics; perhaps not an insuperable obstacle, but anyway the Italian throne is not regarded as too stable just now, a consideration which will weigh very heavily when the final decision is taken by the powers that arrange royal marriages. 

The Danish Princess Margaret is a prime favorite of Queen-Mother Alexandra’s but there is no indication that the Prince has any views in that direction, while the exponents of High Policy can not see any advantage to Britain in an alliance with poor little bankrupt Rumania. Were King Albert’s daughter five or six years older, High Policy would doubtless win and an Anglo-Belgian alliance consummated, but little Princess Marie is only fourteen, and a Prince of Wales can not wait for her to grow up. Three English Princesses are available, two Teck Princesses and Maud, younger daughter of the late Duke of Fife, but the Tecks have little wealth or prestige, while the greater part of the Fife fortune went with the title to the elder daughter, Princess Alexandra, who married Prince Arthur of Connaught. Hence the matchmakers have turned to the “Old Nobility” of England and right here, the said “Old Nobility” must be kicking itself badly over the fact that it hasn’t more marriageable daughters to offer. 

Taking the three highest ranks, 28 Dukes can only provide fourteen daughters of suitable age, 42 Marquises but fifteen, and 225 Earls a paltry 37 eligible candidates. Three-quarters of these would be automatically ruled out through lack of fortune, personal looks or on account of “entanglements,” divorces, etc., of their parents or near relations, for no scandal must be raked up against the future Queen of England, nor can “dubious” relatives be tolerated. 

Advocates of Anglo-American friendship are rooting for an American bride, and the Prince has doubtless seen plenty of suitable candidates over here, but the wish of the man-on-the-street undoubtedly is for “Our Young Man" to make an English marriage. So far, however, no indication of his choice has been given by the Prince himself, not even the most confirmed matchmaker having detected him showing undue partiality for any particular person. There are no very rigid Court rules on the subject in England, the consent of the King being sufficient to satisfy etiquette, and the consent of Parliament, which has to be obtained by the heir to the throne.

In any event, royal or other wise, Parliament would readily consent to a non-royal bride, and it is generally believed that King George and Queen Mary are desirous of allowing the young Prince to choose for himself. Equally with the Prince of Wales, Princess Mary stands a fine chance of being permitted to take a non-royal husband, for there are no eligible Princes of her own age. One of the main qualifications for a non-royal Princess of Wales, or non-royal husband for Princess Mary, will be a substantial bankroll, for the British royal house is not wealthy. – 
By P. M. Sarl, United Press Staff Correspondent, LONDON. Nov. 7, 1920

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia