AFTER A PERIOD OF WEATHER which, if rigorously winterly, was at least brilliant and seasonable, the night preceding the Royal Wedding ushered in a thaw. In a night the glittering white frost with which everything had been encrusted, and which lent an added beauty to the little town, disappeared, and the morning of the wedding found the streets of Sigmaringen in a hopeless condition of half-thawed ice, with a drizzling rain descending. But the town had woke itself to the fact that for the time it was the centre of Europe, and no weather-considerations checked the enthusiasm of its inhabitants or damped their energies.
The morning of Tuesday was mainly devoted by Prince Ferdinand and his bride to receiving deputations from the surrounding district, who came to tender congratulations, to present bouquets, addresses, and wedding-gifts. The more immediate business of the day did not begin until some time later, when, after a family déjeuner in the Castle, the civil ceremony of marriage was performed in the Red Hall by Herr von Wedel, Minister of the Household of the King of Prussia, the German Emperor being the first witness to affix his signature afterwards. The Town Church, where the grand ceremonial took place, is situated at the foot of the Castle rock, and is connected with the Castle by a covered corridor. The interior of the building is not particularly noteworthy. Of very moderate dimensions, it presents a somewhat ornate appearance in consequence of the frescoes and pictures which adorn the white-washed walls and ceiling. In the choir to the right and left of the altar are richly-stained glass windows, with figures of Prophets and Apostles. The marriage-hour was fixed for four. Long before that hour every available space in the building was crowded by an interested congregation, composed of civilians mainly, and therefore somberly dressed, and the necessary light and colour was not imparted to the scene until came the brilliant uniforms of the Royal families, their guests, and friends.
From presenting a somewhat gloomy appearance, an effect possibly reflected from the cheerless January afternoon outside, the scene quickly became more tinged with light and colour. As the hour of the ceremony approached the choir and altar were brilliantly illuminated by a numerous array of candles, and at a quarter-past four the brilliancy of the scene became further heightened by the entrance of the Castle guests. They entered the church by the private corridor to the choir before-mentioned. Among the first to enter were Sir Edward Malet, Count Schouvaloff, and Prince Ghika, all in full diplomatic uniform, wearing their orders. They were followed, at a considerable interval, by the Royal guests. First came the German Emperor, who, in honour of the English bride, wore his uniform of Admiral of the British Fleet. His Majesty conducted the Duchess of Edinburgh to her place on the left of the altar. The King of Roumania followed in a Roumanian General's uniform, with the Order of the Roumanian Star, and conducted to her place on the right of the altar the Princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Then came the Duke of Edinburgh, in the uniform of an English Admiral, with the Roumanian Order of the Star, and conducted his daughter to the prie-dieu in front of the altar, where the bridegroom immediately took his place beside her.
Prince Ferdinand, who had been waiting on the right hand side of the altar, was dressed in his Roumanian uniform, over which he wore the broad orange band of the Order of the Black Eagle, with which he had been personally decorated by the German Emperor the day before. Princess Marie was dressed in a charming robe of white corded silk, embroidered with pearls. The skirt was trimmed with bouquets of myrtle and orange blossoms, the body being bordered with white velvet and adorned also with myrtle and orange blossoms. The bridal veil was of the most beautiful
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