Rather unprecedented glamour in Portugal as the Court of the Quirinale seemed to reappear after the downfall of the Italian Monarchy, in February 1955. Following the Agamenon cruise organized by HM Queen Frederika of The Hellenes, it was announced that HRH Princess Maria Pia of Italy, eldest daughter of the exiled Italian royal couple, was to marry HRH Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, son of Prince Regent Paul and Princess Paul, born Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark. Portugal was then a favourite destination of exiled monarchs and heads of royal houses, and, in the outskirts of Lisbon, Estoril and nearby Cascais held the predilection. On the days prior to the wedding, two most splendid receptions were held in honour of the royal couple. On the one held by TM The King and Queen of Italy at the Palace Hotel of Estoril for 2500 guests, this stunning official photograph, depicting King Umberto and Queen Maria José, the Prince of Naples, Princess Maria Pia and Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, was made.
On the left, HRH Princess Maria Pia of Italy and HRH Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia two days before their wedding, at the reception held in the Palace Hotel of Estoril. The Prince wears the Collar of the Santissima Annunziata, conferred upon him by King Umberto. On the right, a brilliant closeup of the beautiful Princess, made on the other reception offered, in the Castro Guimarães Museum, in Cascais, on the eve of the wedding. To both the glittering events, Her Royal Highness wore a most magnificent tiara of ivy leaves and berries, in diamonds and pearls. The provenance and the owner of this elegant jewel, worn on different occasions by Princesses Maria Pia and Maria Gabriella and also by Queen Giovanna of the Bulgarians, are unknown. At the time it was said it had belonged to the Princess’ grandmother, HM Queen Elena of Italy.
TM King Umberto and Queen Maria José of Italy are depicted arriving to the unforgettable reception they held in the Palace Hotel of Estoril, perhaps the most glittering ball ever held in Portugal. Queen Maria José wears the splendid Musy diamond and pearl tiara, along with two necklaces of diamonds mounted in platinum and two stunning pearl earrings and other diamond clips and brooches.
Another picture of the King and Queen arriving at the hotel, on the left, and, on the right, HRH The Duchess-Mother of Aosta, born Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, widow of Duke Aimone of Aosta. Mother of the current Duke of Aosta, she was the daughter of King Constantine I of The Hellenes and Queen Sophia, and the sister of Kings George II, Alexander and Paul I of The Hellenes. She wears the same diamond tiara she had worn on her wedding day.
On the left, Princess Maria Pia and Prince Alexander during the second reception held, at the Castro Guimarães Museum, to the Italian community as well as to royal guests, where long dresses and sparkling jewels mingled with more ordinary clothes and where thousands of Italians cheered King Umberto and Queen Maria José as they arrived. On the right, royal guests leaving the Palace Hotel after the first reception: HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (sister of Princess Paul of Yugoslavia and thus aunt of Prince Alexander), is seen on top of the stairs, while her sister, Princess Paul, born Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark, wearing the fantastic Greek diamond and ruby parure that today belongs to Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes, is seen coming down the stairs and covers her face with her hand. Prince Regent Paul is seen next to the Duchess of Kent.
On the left, HM Queen Maria José arriving at the reception held to the Italian community at the Castro Guimarães Museum. She wears the Musy diamond and pearl diadem of Queen Margherita but this time with three strings of pearls as a necklace and the pearl earrings. On the right, a delightfully regal picture of HRH Infanta D. Maria Cristina of Spain, Countess Marone (sister of HRH The Count of Barcelona), is seen talking to HRH Infanta D. Maria Adelaide of Portugal during one of the receptions. Infanta D. Beatriz wears a diamond tiara with a large flower with a pearl in the centre, which once belonged to HRH Infanta D. Isabel Francisca of Spain, known as “La Chata”.
On the left, Monseigneur Le Comte and Madame La Comtesse de Paris arrive to one of the receptions held on the days prior to the Italian-Yugoslav Royal Wedding. Madame superbly wears the beautiful parure of diamonds and sapphires that had belonged to Queen Marie-Amélie of France. The parure was sold in the late 1990’s. Behind the French royal couple it is possible to see one of their daughters wearing the diamond and sapphire tiara given to Madame as a wedding present by the Action Française. On the right, HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, is accompanied by her brother-in-law, HRH Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, to the reception in the Palace Hotel. The British Princess, born Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, wears the Fringe Tiara presented to her by the City of London on the occasion of her marriage to Prince George of the United Kingdom, Duke of Kent, and worn by the Greek Princess on her wedding day. The tiara, later worn by HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy, on her wedding day, belongs today to HRH Prince Michael of Kent and is frequently worn by his wife, Princess Michael.