Bells rang in Belgium on St. Nicholas Day as Archduchess Marie-Christine of Austria and Comte Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum got married in front of numerous European royals and nobles.
The English boarding school-educated 23-year-old bride is a daughter of Their Imperial and Royal Highnesses Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria née Princess of Luxembourg, a sister to Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. Her groom is from an illustrious dynasty dating back to the ninth century. His parents are the Count Christian and Countess Colienne van Limburg Stirum née Countess d’Oultremont. The bridegroom’s father Count Christian van Limburg Stirum is the brother of the late Count Evrard van Limburg Stirum, husband of Princess Hél?ne de France. The Count and Countess live at the ancestral domain Huldenberg, near Brussels.
The happy couple promised to love, honor and cherish each other for good and for worse first in a civil ceremony, then at the ‘Sint-Romboutskathedraal’ (St. Rumbolds Cathedral), during a religious ceremony officiated by His Eminence Godfried Cardinal Danneels, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel and Primate of Belgium. The Cardinal was assisted by His Excellence the Apostolic Nintius in Belgium Monseigneur Rauber, further by Monseigneur Mansour Labaky from Lebanon, Abbot Villermoz from Luxembourg, Father Daniel Ange from France and priests from Belgium, Luxemborg, the Netherlands, France and Spain. The Holy Mass was read in Dutch, French and German.
The bride was dressed in satin, designed by the Brussels couturier Yves Dooms. The 4 –meter-long train was covered by a veil of old lace once belonged to Empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon III and who previously covered the cradle of Napoleon Bonaparte’s son.
The bride wore a diadem, which belonged to the grand-ducal family.
The young couple had chosen Belgium because of their families’ ties in this country and especially with the City of Mechelen, a city with a glorious past where, amongst others, Margaretha of Austria, a direct ancestress of the bride, had her residence as Governess of the Netherlands.
The witnesses were Princess Annunziata of Liechtenstein, Baroness Elisabeth Gilles de Pelichy, Princess Xenia Galitzine, Count Philippe de Limburg Stirum, Count Francois-Guillaume de Limburg Stirum and Countess Marie de Limburg Stirum.
The pages were Prince Leopold of Nassau, Count Jean de Limburg Stirum, Count Costantino Secco di Aragona and Edouard Misonne. They were dressed in rich red velvet jackets for the occasion, paired with cream-colored trousers. Harmonizing with the boys in the procession were the junior bridesmaids (Princess Ladislaya (Laya) of Auersperg-Trautson, Princess Eleonora (Nora) of Auersperg-Trautson, Princess Charlotte of Nassau, Archduchess Antonia of Austria and Archduchess Isabelle of Austria), whose scarlet sashes added a touch of vibrancy to their ecru-hued dresses. Wreathes crowned the heads of each young girl, adding an angelic aura as they walked down the aisle.
Aristocrats and descendants of deposed European monarchies and representatives of Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal, Brazil, Romania, Liechtenstein, France, Germany and Yugoslavia attended the wedding. The Grand Duke and -Duchess of Luxembourg and a large delegation from the grand-ducal family was present, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Bragança, Prince Radu and Princess Margareta of Romania, Prince Alexander and Princess of Katharina of Yugoslavia and Prince Jean-Christophe Napoleon.
Here is a list of some royal figure who participated to this glittering fairytale like wedding: Queen Fabiola of the Belgians, Prince Philippe of Belgium, Princess Astrid of Belgium, Prince Laurent of Belgium, Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg, Prince Jean of Luxembourg, Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg, Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg.
The musical program was chosen by the engaged couple and was performed by the “Brussels Choral Society” under the direction of Eric Delson