Why do we commoners get a kick out of royal weddings?
Maybe it’s the garb: brides in white silk with laced veils, grooms decked out in full military dress. Or the pomp and circumstance: ancient rituals, gilded carriages, thousands of cheering spectators. Or it could be the simple desire to watch a fairy tale turn real.
Newspapers invariably get into the act, reporting on bridal processions, wedding cakes, and everything in between.
Check out these four royal nuptials from the past:
King Kamehameha IV and Emma Rooke
Honolulu, Jun. 19, 1856—After the ceremony performed in both Hawaiian and English at the great stone Kawaiaha‘o Church, 500 guests are treated to an opulent royal ball held at the palace, the grounds of which are brilliantly illuminated, producing the closest thing to a “fairy land,” The Polynesian (Honolulu, HI), June 21, 1856.
Czar Nicholas II and Princess Alexandra Feodorovna
St. Petersburg, Nov. 26, 1894—In gilded carriages pulled by majestic white steeds, the royal pair travel to the Winter Palace for an intimate ceremony, the Czar wearing the uniform of the Red Hussars of the Guard and the bride a vision in white and diamonds.
Prince Regent Hirohito and Princess Nagako of Kuni
Tokyo, Jan. 26, 1924—In dazzling Japanese costumes of embroidery and silk, the royal couple are married in the sacred quarters of the Imperial Palace; the “spirits of 122 royal predecessors” witness the union and give their blessings as they exchange bowls of sacred rice wine according to ancient custom.
Crown Prince Leopold III of Belgium and Princess Astrid of Sweden
Stockholm, Nov. 4, 1926—After celebrating with “reindeer steaks served on the finest gold plates,” thousands gather in the bitter cold following a blizzard to cheer the young royal lovers, whose romance is “gripping the hearts of the Swedish people,” Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, IL), November 4, 1926, p. 25.