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Detail from a portrait of the marriage of Princess Helena

The history of Royal weddings as seen through items in the Royal Collection

Nicholas Chevalier (1828-1902)

The Marriage of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, 23 January 1874 1874-75

RCIN 404476

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Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, was the fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. He married the Grand Duchess Marie, daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, in the Imperial Chapel of the Winter Palace in St Petersburg on 23 January 1874.

As Queen Victoria was unable to attend the ceremonies in Russia herself, the artist Nicholas Chevalier was commissioned to record the event. There were both Greek and English ceremonies. Prince Alfred's English wedding ceremony was conducted by the Dean of Westminster. Initially, the Lord Chamberlain said that for the marriage to be legally valid under the terms of the Royal Marriages Act, the Anglican chapel in the Winter Palace had to be declared a temporary British sovereign territory. However, this was contested by the Lord Chancellor, who determined that the Anglican service was purely religious and needed no extraterritorial space. Chevalier produced sketches depicting key moments of the occasion which were sent to Queen Victoria. The Duke of Edinburgh wrote to his mother:

I hope to [be] able to send with this by tomorrows messenger two sketches by Chevalier & in one of the Greek ceremony by using the little additional slips you will be able to follow the different parts of the service

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

This completed painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1875.