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Luxembourg

Royal Wedding Rewind: the wedding of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa


Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

This year marks 40 years since the current Grand Duke Henri wed Cuban-born Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista on Valentine’s Day. To celebrate their ruby anniversary, we are taking a look back at their wedding on this day in 1981.

On the evening of 13 February, a gala dinner was held at the Government Palace for 110 guests; everyone sat at a U-shaped table to toast to the happy couple for the simple dinner.

Hereditary Grand Duke Henri married Maria Teresa in a civil ceremony at the Grand Ducal Palace on 14 February before heading to the church for a religious ceremony. They said their vows at Notre Dame Cathedral with their families, foreign royals and government officials in the cathedral while thousands of others watched on television or in the streets. The couple did not choose Valentine’s Day on purpose as they did not realise they had chosen their wedding to be on the romantic holiday; Valentine’s Day was not widely celebrated in Luxembourg at the time.

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Maria Teresa wore a custom Balmain gown. The white silk long-sleeved gown featured a bell skirt and fur trimming the wrist, neck and skirt. The embellished dress had a two-metre train that matched the length of her Brussels lace veil. Her new mother-in-law, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, loaned Maria Teresa her Belgian Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara to wear. Henri wore his black military uniform with the Order of the Gold Lion orange sash.

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Maria Teresa was escorted down the aisle by her father, José, and her sister, Catalina, served as a bridesmaid. The Archbishop of Luxembourg, Jean Hengen, officiated the Roman Catholic ceremony.

After the ceremony, the newly married couple walked out into the cold under swords held by the Luxembourgish Army. They then travelled to the Grand Ducal Palace, where they appeared on the balcony with their parents. Maria Teresa blew kisses to the crowd, and the couple shared a kissed on the terrace before the people. A reception for around 700 people followed in the palace.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.