The bridal couple (Copyright: Netty Leistra)
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Friday, 29 June 2007
Saturday, 30 June 2007
Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe and Nadja Anna Zsoeks walked the short way from Bückeburg Castle to be civilly wed at the town hall of Bückeburg. They posed for photographers at the castle gate. With a few minutes delay they reached the town hall where tens of people were waiting to catch a glimpse of the couple. The groom wore a dark blue crayon-line suit with blue shirt and pink tie. The bride wore a light yellow chiffon dress with Godet-collar with on top a yellow coat. In a ceremony that lasted less than half an hour mayor Reiner Brombach married the couple in front of a few guests. Witnesses were Prince Maximilian zu Ysenburg und Büdingen for the groom and Vera Wagner for the bride. Outside the room where they got married the Schütte choir sang some gospels for the couple. Then the bridal couple left the town hall and posed at the balcony. Fürst Alexander shortly speeched and told the people outside: : “We hadn’t counted on it, that the Bückeburger would take part in our wedding so much. We are very, very grateful.” School children sang for them and they were presented by gifts from the people in town: a painting of the castle and a cheque for a good cause. After shaking hands with the public they walked back to the castle where they posed once more for the photographers. The mother of the groom, Fürstin Benita zu Schaumburg-Lippe, was taken back by car. She had an accident some months ago and has not completely recovered yet. In the afternoon the couple and guests had lunch at the Torschreiberhaus restaurant in Stadthagen.
Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe in 1993 married Princess Marie-Louise "Lilly" zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. The couple divorced in 2002, but has remained friends. They have a son, Hereditary Prince Donatus. Princess Lilly told the press that she is very happy that her former husband is happy again and that her son Donatus gets a new mother. She herself has remarried to Lambros Milona and has a daughter, Lana. Despite of it being his second marriage the groom he didn't mind having another grand wedding as his bride hasn't been married before and deserves to have her fairytale wedding. Bride and groom met via Internet. Dr. Nadja Anna Zsoeks, a lawyer specialised in trademark law, read about the case about who was allowed to use the Internet domain name www.schaumburg-lippe.de and got in touch with Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe. They started an intensive juridical dialogue about internet and trademark law. They discussed for about one year by email when Alexander asked Nadja Anna if they could meet. In the autumn of 2005 they met for the first time at the October Feast in München in the tent of Käfer. Soon they started a relationship and the engagement was announced in August 2006.
Bride and groom at the castle gate with Eleonore Zsoeks and Hereditary Prince Donatus zu Schaumburg-Lippe and witnesses (Copyright: Stefan S.), just married (Copyright: Netty Leistra)
The wedding had before been announced for Friday 29 June 2007, so I had booked my train ticket for Thursday morning. Only days before I found out the wedding was already to take place on 28 June. Luckily I had booked such an early train that I arrived just in time, one or two minutes before the bridal couple reached the town hall. Because of my luggage unfortunately I missed the opportunity to follow the couple quickly back to the castle. I met with royalty-watchers Stig from Denmark and Stefan from Germany who were staying in the same hotel between castle and church where I was staying. So after the bridal couple had gone inside the castle I checked in in the hotel. Afterwards, not knowing that the bridal couple had lunch in Stadthagen, we also headed for Stadthagen to have a look at the castle and the old burial church of the Schaumburg-Lippe family. If only we had known! We only read it in the newspaper the day afterwards. In the evening we made a walk through Bückeburg having a look at a castle - now a school - and some decoration at Bückeburg Castle. The local newspapers were quite full with news about the wedding by the way in the days before and after the wedding, so we bought quite a few of them.
The cocktail reception and black-tie bridal soiree with some 300 guests took place on Friday evening 29 June 2007 in a huge tent at the Bückeburg Castle island. The guests were a mixture of royals, nobles, politicians, tv-stars, actresses and other prominent people. They arrived by foot, car or bus and were received by footmen in uniform at the head entrance. We thought it was pretty funny that the guests used the main entrance that is usually the entrance of the museum shop. Princess Lilly zu Schaumburg-Lippe was enthusiastically greeted by her son Hereditary Prince Donatus zu Schaumburg-Lippe. The guests enjoyed an evening with music from the Martin Ernst Big Band and food and drinks prepared by Feinkost Käfer from München. The party ended far after midnight.
Flower decoration at the entrance of Bückeburg Castle (Copyright: Netty Leistra)
Stig, Stefan and I decided to have another look at Bückeburg Castle in the morning, where they were preparing more decoration at the entrance. Then we walked around the castle and visited the mausoleum of the Schaumburg-Lippe family in the park. We were allowed to visit the cemetery around the mausoleum where the most recently deceased members of the family are buried. In town we found little wedding cakes for sale at the backery, and of course we had to taste them. We were lucky to be allowed to have a look inside the church where the flower decoration was almost finished and the order of services with names of the guests on it were on its places. Then we headed for the castle to be in time for the bridal soiree. We saw many guests arriving. Unfortunately, as it looked still quite light and my camera didn't really protest, I forgot to use my flash so quite a lot of my pictures are either too dark or too much moved. But never mind, it was quite some fun to see the guests arriving. We recognised quite a few of them. We met some Dutch and German royalty-watchers outside who had been travelling to Bückeburg especially for the wedding also.
While Stig, Stefan and I had breakfast Anuschka arrived to join us. It was unfortunately not the most beautiful day of the week. While Anuschka and Stefan found themselves a good place in the public, Stig and I managed to get a place at the press stand. The distance to the church was a bit big, but we had a good view at the red carpet. Because it was not completely dry we decided to buy some umbrellas in a nearby shop. Then guests slowly arrived, not only via the red carpet but also from a side street. It was all a bit messy and we saw several known guests too far away from us to make any good pictures. In the morning the flower decoration outside the church had been finished, the red carpet was laid out, and the audience slowly arrived to have a look at the wedding. Guests started arriving pretty messy from about 10.30am. About 900 people were invited for the wedding. Among the guests were many known and less known royals and nobles. The famous German actress Marie-Louise Marjan stole the show and took her time to greet fans and let everybody make pictures. When Princess Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg arrived with husband and daughter it was clear that she is still much loved by the people of Bückeburg.
Around 11.40 the carriages from the stables of the castle arrived one by one. In the first carriage were groom Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe – in grey morning suit
with orange tie - with his mother Fürstin Benita. The groom took the time to give some interviews to the waiting press. In the second carriage were seated the four witnesses,
followed by the carriage with the six flower children and a carriage with the four bridesmaids. At the door of the church was Land Bishop Jürgen Johannesdotter waiting to greet
the bridal couple. The witnesses at the wedding who were seated in the carriage were Prince Maximilian zu Ysenburg und Büdingen, Sven Ley, Prince Heinrich von Croy and
Hereditary Prince Donatus zu Schaumburg-Lippe. The other witness Oliver von Boch arrived seperately. The bridesmaids were Vera Wagner, Janna Kauert, Szahra Haghihri and Dr.
Fabienne Daigeler. Princess Leonille zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Gracia von der Leyen, Antonia Cobanli, Maximilian von zur Mühlen, Leopold von der Schulenburg and Count
Stanislaus von Stackelberg were the flower children.
Arrival of the groom and his mother, arrival of the bride and her mother (Copyright: Netty Leistra)
And then the waiting for the bride started. It became noon, but no bride. And it had started raining a bit harder. Finally about half an hour too late the bride accompanied by her mother Eleonore Zsoeks arrived at church. It turned out that one of the horses of the carriages had to be replaced because it was very restless. And then it took a while before the bride reached the carriage. Consequence of the delay was that the bride arrived in a little rain shower. The bride wore an elegant champagne coloured dress of Radzimir-silk with lace top and a five meter long train designed by Rena Lange. She wore the Cunningham diadem from the collection of the princely house of Schaumburg-Lippe.
The couple had wanted an oecumenical wedding, as Nadja Anna Zsoeks is catholic, but this wasn’t possible because Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe divorced his first wife. A catholic service will therefore take place later on in private in Austria. Land bishop Jürgen Johannesdotter opened the evangelical wedding service with a short wish for peace, followed by a hymn and a cello performance by Roderic von Bennigsen. The land bishop then read a part of Psalm 36. In his sermon the Reverend Thomas Krage of the evangelical reformed parish talked about the wedding motto of bride and groom: “God hasn’t given us the spirit of the fear, but the strength, the love and the steadiness”. He also told the couple that “it is easier to build a castle than to be married”. Afterwards soprano Helen Donath sang Dreams of Richard Wagner. After a reading of the land bishop, bride and groom finally could firmly say “Yes, with the help of God”. After the blessing and the Our Father there were the promises of the witnesses. At the end the Göttinger Symhonical Orchestra played a special version of “Great God, we praise you”.
The church on the outside (Copyright: Netty Leistra), and inside the church the evening before the wedding (Copyright: Stig N.)
About 12.000 to 15.000 people had gathered along the route to catch a glimpse of bride and groom. They cheered loudly when bride and groom left church after a one-hour service. The couple was photographed extensively and after having given several interviews the couple could finally climb into the carriage for the short ride to Bückeburg Castle. At the entrance of the castle they were greeted by a couple in regional costume who offered them the traditional bread and salt. In the afternoon a reception for about 750 guests was held at the castle.
Bride and groom leaving church (Copyright: Netty Leistra)
Because it took quite a while before bride and groom drove off by carriage the guests had to wait until the carpet was empty to head for the castle to attend the reception. Stig and I stayed at the press stand instead of trying to take even more photos of bride and groom. So we had all space to have a look at the guests in front of us and even talk to some of them. Stig had a nice conversation in Danish with Prince Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe who told him that he, Fürstin Benita and a curator had to give permission for the wedding, and of course had given it. When asking one of the guests who he was, it turned out to be the son of a Princess zu Schaumburg-Lippe and the brother of the count von Stackelberg of whom I had heard he stayed in our hotel, opposite of my hotel room. Quite funny we all thought and we were allowed to make some nice pictures of them. Several other guests were willing to pose for us while waiting until they could go to the castle for the reception. We had been given a guestlist by the Hofkammer of the castle, but saw a few known guests that weren't on that list. Afterwards we met up again with Anuschka and Stefan. Before walking to the castle we saw people stealing all the flower decoration from the church entrance. The doors of the church itself remained closed for the audience. Not much to see anymore at the castle so we decided to go back to the hotel to see our pictures. On our way we met an Internet acquaintance, Ulrike. Unfortunately Anuschka and Ulrike had to leave in time. Because of the weather and pictures Stefan, Stig and I remained in the hotel for a while.
In the evening 200 guests were invited for the big wedding soiree. At midnight a romantic and impressive torch light procession and tattoo took place on the courtyard. Outside hundreds of people – locals and tourists - followed the small event standing around the courtyard while the wedding guests appeared on the balconies of the castle. Speeches were held by town major Rolf Netzer, Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe and Prime Minister of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) Christian Wulff. Mr Netzer in his speech expressed a warm welcome to the new Fürstin and also said to hope that Fürstin Benita will make a full recovery soon. Fürst Alexander spoke about the friendship between his family and the local community and said to be very happy with the warm welcome his wife has received. Mr Wulff said to be proud that Schaumburg is a part of Niedersachsen. Afterwards the bridal waltz was held and the ball really started with music of Guido Perrey and Winnie Appel. The party went on for a long time.
We had had some hope to be able to see guests arriving at the castle for the wedding soiree, but we saw pretty little. Only a few guests arrived by foot and unfortunately most people arrived by bus and car. We saw some lovely glittering tiaras behind car windows. We decided to go for a late dinner and to return at the castle later in the evening for the torch light procession and tattoo. We had heard when they would open the courtyard again, so we wanted to be in time. We were lucky to get a place at the front of the people when we came back and hurried afterwards to get a good place. The procession was great, the tattoo a bit long, but overall we enjoyed it very much. The speeches were especially very good. Although we couldn't really see who were out on the balconies of the castle we saw shadows of the guests there. The bride was the only one recognisable with her white veil. We returned back to the hotel.
Torch light procession and tattoo (Copyright: Netty Leistra)
Stefan left on Sunday morning while Stig and I decided to have another look at the castle having heard there was to take place a brunch on Sunday afternoon. We saw several guests and made some lovely pictures but often had to promise not to publish them. Therefore no pictures of the brunch on this website or in the press. But reckon we had a lovely afternoon. The weather was sunny and the benches in the courtyard sat quite well. The guests who showed up were still in a good mood, although some looked a bit sleepy.
This list contains royal and noble guests and the most prominent non-noble guests. There were many more guests at the wedding.