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Leopold, Duke of Albany, married Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on Thursday, 27 April 1882.


Leopold, the youngest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, was born with haemophilia so his mother believed he would most likely never marry, however Leopold had other ideas. Anxious to escape his mother’s suffocating presence, he decided marriage was the best route to independence but his health condition proved to be an obstacle.

Determined her son would make a good match, Queen Victoria suggested he meet Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont who was the sister of Queen Emma of the Netherlands. Helen proved to be an ideal match as she had a keen intellect that appealed to Leopold who was the most intelligent of Queen Victoria’s sons. The young couple became engaged in November 1881.


The wedding took place on 27 April 1882 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, which had become a favourite venue for the weddings of Queen Victoria’s children. The service was conducted by Archibald Campbell Tait, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was aided by the Dean of the Chapels royal, and the Bishops of Winchester, Oxford, and Worcester.

Prince Leopold was attended by his eldest brother, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and his brother-in-law, Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse. Not long after, Helen arrived with her father, Georg Victor, and they walked down the aisle to a special piece of music written especially for the wedding by Charles Gounod, a friend of Leopold.


Unlike previous royal weddings, Helen’s dress was made in Paris and was presented to her by her sister, Queen Emma. The dress was made by Madame Corbay of Rue Menar and was made of white satin, decorated with traditional orange blossom and myrtle, and trimmed with fleur-de-lis, with the edge topped with point d’Alençon and white satin. 

The long tulle veil was held in place by a diamond head dress and a wreath of orange blossoms and myrtle. The bodice was swathed in tulle and ruched laces with a small bouquet of flowers.


The bridesmaids wore a petticoat of white moiré, with deep flounces of lace near the hem, trimmed with violets, with bouquets of primroses and white heather. The white white moiré bodices were trimmed with bouquets of flowers arranged in a similar manner as the hem. The bridesmaids wore their hair in a low coil at the back where a tulle veil and flowers were fixed.

  • Lady Florence Anson
  • Lady Florence Bootle-Wilbraham
  • Lady Blanche Butler
  • Lady Mary Campbell
  • Lady Anne Lindsay
  • Lady Ermyntrude Russell
  • Lady Alexandrina Vane-Tempest
  • Lady Feodore Yorke


After the wedding breakfast, Leopold and Helen left for a honeymoon at Claremont House which would become their home.

The honeymoon was marred by tragedy though as Helen’s sister, Marie, who had been unable to attend the wedding due to an advanced state of pregnancy, gave birth to a stillborn daughter and herself later died of complications. As a result, Helen was required to enter a period of mourning.