All of the sudden it is royal wedding time. In September and October 2021 a lot of couples got or are getting married. Some are already married and now hold their parties, others only got married civilly and now had their religious wedding including party. The amount of guests is still somewhat restricted, but a lot is possible again. Also Fürst (Prince) Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe and his fiancée Mahkameh Navabi planned to get married in 2020. They opted for a civil marriage on 12 September 2020 at Bückeburg Palace with a limited amount of guests. They decided to postpone their religious wedding.
The celebrations started on Friday 8 October 2021 with an evening party with a live band and dance at Bückeburg Palace. The wedding on Saturday was followed by a reception and a gala dinner/ball (a small report will follow later this week), and a brunch on Sunday. As I had only arrived in nearby Minden on Friday afternoon and was pretty tired I skipped the evening party. But of course I headed to Bückeburg pretty early on Saturday, went for a stroll at the palace square and in the park, where I met a few royalty friends, and already quite early, before 10am, we were at the church. While it was quite chilly and foggy in the morning, the sun came out later on and the wedding day turned out to be one with pretty good and sunny weather.
For all my pictures see my Flickr account.
The religious wedding of Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe and Mahkameh Navabi took place at the late Gothic Stadtkirche Bückeburg from 1615 at noon. At least that was the plan. Around 11am the first guests arrived at the church. It had been requested that both the media present and the guests were either vaccinated or tested for Covid-19. Just a handful of media (including Bunte and Point de Vue) were allowed inside the church and the palace. The place in front of the church hadn’t been cordoned off with fences. The entrance to the church was lined by people from the area (invited) wearing beautiful and colourful local costumes.
Although the media had been asked not to report about the wedding beforehand, there were quite a few onlookers, which isn’t surprising if you marry in a church at the end of a big shopping street in the middle of the day on a Saturday. What followed was somewhat chaotic … some onlookers decided to have a closer look and part of them even blocked the road, media walked around quite freely also. The guests mainly had to get in via the two side entrances, where a guestlist was kept on tables and people’s invitation and corona-papers were being checked. Pieter Haitsma Mulier, the brother-in-law of the groom, arrived in uniform by bike. I guarded one side entrance where quite a few good guests arrived. I however missed the arrival of the groom with his ex-wife Princess Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and some other family members.
Back at the main entrance everybody had to wait for quite a while. The bride was late. I later heard from the coachman that she had been in the 17th century carriage from the princely stables in time, but that it had taken a while to get all the guests in the church in time (I think one couple was a bit late anyway). So she waited for the church to be filled. Finally arriving at church it turned out to be pretty difficult to leave the carriage, no wonder as the bride was wearing a huge princess dress by the Lebanese designers George Azzi and Assaad Osta (Azzi & Osta). I was not a huge fan of the top, but the skirt with lace layers and the long veil were absolutely breathtaking. The bride wore the wonderful Schaumburg-Lippe family tiara. It was unfortunately a bit difficult to take photos from the church entrance, as some photographers were standing right in front of the carriage.
The wedding ceremony
The service was led by the regional bishop Dr. Karl-Hinrich Manzke and Vicar Dr. Marc Bergermann. The couple’s love for music was clearly reflected in the program for the ceremony. The bride is a concert pianist and the prince a jazz musician.
- Prelude, arrival of the bride: Richard Wagner – Lohengrin 2nd act: “Gesegnet soll sie schreiten” (Blessed shall she walk). Played by the Orchestra of the Opera Wroclawska led by Bassem Akiki.
- Welcome by the regional bishop.
- Hymn: “Geh aus, mein Herz, und suche Freud” (Go Forth, My Heart, and Seek Delight).
- Psalm 51, free prayer by the regional bishop.
- George Friedrich Händel: Xerxes HWV 40 “Ombra mai fu”. Countertenor Matteo el-Khodr, Orchestra of the Opera Wroclawska led by Bassem Akiki.
- Persian poem (in Farsi, English and German) by Sholeh and Melory Midtbø.
- First performance of “Beauty surrounds you” (inspired by Rumi), composed by Bassem Akiki, dedicated to the bridal couple. Orchestra of the Opera Wroclawska led by Bassem Akiki.
- Bridal text, sermon (in English), based on Psalm 85,11 (Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other).
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Magnificat Wq. 215 “Deposuit potentes de sede”. Countertenor Matteo el-Khodr, Tenor Sebastian Mach, Orchestra of the Opera Wroclawska led by Bassem Akiki.
- Reading by Fürst Ludwig zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg.
- Marriage vows, exchanging the rings, blessing of the bridal couple.
- Michel Legrand: “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?” by Soprano Felicitas Breest and Pianist George Kochbeck.
- Intercessions, Our Father.
- Hymn: “Großer Gott, wir loben dich” (Holy God, We Praise Thy Name).
- Postludium, departure: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro, K. 492. Atto I: Sinfonia. Orchestra of the Opera Wroclawska led by Bassem Akiki.
When leaving the church a beaming bride and groom posed for quite a while on top of the stairs of the church, and even kissed (although I couldnt photograph that as a colleague held her mobile in front of my camera). There was a hilarious moment when the groom picked some petals from the cleavage of the bride. While going down the stairs, the Fürst had to hold the veil, that had loosened, and was later quickly repaired. It took quite a while to get into the carriage again, and before they could drive off, as many people wanted to catch a glimpse of the couple, that shared another kiss. When they had left, I took the opportunity to have a look inside the church, instead of following the wedding party back into the palace.
The reception was held at the Bückeburg Palace after the wedding. Most guests went there on foot. The last guests left the reception around 4.30pm, and went to their hotels to prepare for the evening party.
After the reception I had dinner at a nearby terrace, when a couple passed me, the woman carrying the bridal bouquet. It turned out she had managed to catch it. Unfortunately, as her husband confessed to me, they were already happily married …
Bride and groom
Seine Durchlaucht Ernst August Alexander Christian Viktor Hubert Fürst zu Schaumburg-Lippe, Edler Herr zur Lippe, was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, on 25 December 1958 as son of Fürst Philipp-Ernst zu Schaumburg-Lippe (1928-2003) and Benita Freiin von Tiele-Winckler (1927-2013). He was married 1993-2002 to Princess Marie-Louise “Lilly” zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1972) and had issue: Heinrich Donatus (1994). He married secondly 2007-2018 to Nadja Anna Zsöks (1975) and had issue: Felipa (2008) and Philomena (2011).
Mahkameh Navabi was born in Teheran, Iran, on 18 March 1981 as daughter of .. Navabi and Shahrzad Akhavan. She was married 2011-2018 (?) to (Jens) Fabian Herdieckerhoff. She has lived in Germany for about 10 years it seems.
Fürst Alexander and Fürstin Mahkameh had already met in 2013, but fell in love in 2016. In an interview with the German magazine “Gala” last month his first ex-wife Lilly says she had known Mahkameh already for quite a while, and when she saw them together, she just knew they fit together and that Mahkameh would be the right wife for the Fürst. She says Mahkameh fell in love with him, not with the title or the palace he lives in.
Like me quite a few people – both guests and media – had attended one or even two of his previous marriages. I remember asking him during a visit to Bückeburg November 2016, whether he could imagine getting married again. And he said: “Yes”. It was quite an honour seeing this beaming couple getting married. I do wish the couple all the best and a long and happy life together.
The community gift was a donation for the multi-generation house in Bückeburg, of which Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe is the patron.
For another request of the bridal couple see here.
The guestlist was a mixture of family, royals, nobles, locals, politicians, business men and artists. I compiled a list based on identifications by me and some friends. I would be grateful for any other identification.
- Shahrzad Akhavan (mother of the bride)
- Prince Henri and Princess Dainé d’Arenberg
- Archduke Karl of Austria and Christian Reid
- George Azzi
- Wolfgang and Barbara Bahro
- Prince Manuel and Princess Anna of Bavaria
- Fürst Maximilian and Fürstin Marissa zu Bentheim-Teckleburg
- Countess Stefanie Berghe von Trips
- Countess Pauline Berghe von Trips
- Mauro Bergonzoli and Countess Franziska Fugger von Babenhausen
- Wendelin von Boch-Galhau
- Oliver and Dina von Boch-Galhau
- Nikolaus Broschek and Princess Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein
- Egbert Freiherr von Cramm and Helena Freifrau von Cramm
- Countess Stephanie Bruges-von Pfuel
- The Duke of Croÿ
- Prince Heinrich and Princess Joana von Croÿ
- Patrick Döring
- Viktor and Sandra Erdmann
- Count Charles and Countess Melissa von Faber-Castell
- Count Leonhard von Faber-Castell
- Countess Carla von Faber-Castell
- Countess Sarah von Faber-Castell
- Countess Victoria von Faber-Castell
- Friedrich Christian “Mick” Flick and Anja Silling
- Roger Fritz and Margit Friedrich
- Freiherr Karl-Theodor and Freifrau Stephanie von und zu Guttenberg
- Pieter Haitsma Mulier (witness) and Princess Vanessa zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
- Selina Haitsma Mulier
- Felicia Haitsma Mulier (flower girl)
- Louis Haitsma Mulier (page boy)
- Hereditary Prince Ernst August and Hereditary Princess Ekaterina of Hannover
- Count Christian von Hardenberg
- Michael von Hassel and Alexandra Kamp
- Hereditary Prince Kraft and Hereditary Princess Carolin zu Hohenlohe-Oehringen
- Fürst Alexander and Fürstin Sarah von Isenburg
- Prince Viktor and Princess Jungeun Anès von Isenburg
- Freiherr Hubertus and Freifrau Beatrice Knigge
- Count Jacques and Countess Lavinia de Lalaing
- Florian Langenscheidt and Andrea Bury
- Vicky Leandros
- Fürst Andreas and Fürstin Alexandra zu Leiningen
- Hereditary Prince Ferdinand zu Leiningen
- Heiko and Ursula von der Leyen
- Prince Stephan and Princess Maria zur Lippe
- Peter Loewe and Countess von Finckenstein
- Fürst Ludwig and Fürstin Elisabeth zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg
- Princess Amelie zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg and Benedikt Schmid von Schmidfelden
- Markus and Dunja Lüpertz
- Prince Jean of Luxembourg and Countess Diane de Nassau
- Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg
- Melory Midtbø
- Sholeh Midtbø
- Trixi Millies
- Lambros Milona
- Lana Milona
- Bahareh Navabi (sister of the bride)
- Nader Navabi (brother of the bride)
- Count Marcus von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff
- Assaad Osta
- Jossilyn Pen
- Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia
- Alexander von Reden
- Joachim and Elisabeth von Reden
- Philipp and Wiebke Rösler
- Thaddaeus Ropac
- Enno Freiherr von Ruffin
- José Antonio Ruiz-Berdejo Sigurta and Alessandra Gorla
- Duke Konrad von Sachsen-Meiningen
- Prince Michael and Princess Dagmar von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach
- Hereditary Prince Emanuel and Hereditary Princess Anne zu Salm-Salm
- Countess Caroline von Saurma
- Prince Otto-Ludwig and Princess Annette zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
- Princess Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (witness)
- Prince Carl-Albrecht and Princess Camilla zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
- Prince Maximilian and Princess Franziska zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
- Prince August zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
- Prince Bernhart zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein and Katharina von Alvensleben
- Hereditary Prince Heinrich Donatus zu Schaumburg-Lippe (witness)
- Princess Felipa zu Schaumburg-Lippe (flower girl)
- Princess Philomena zu Schaumburg-Lippe (flower girl)
- Prince York zu Schaumburg-Lippe
- Prince Wilhelm and Princess Ilona zu Schaumburg-Lippe
- Prince Christian zu Schaumburg-Lippe with girlfriend
- Nicolaus and Tania von Schöning
- Marie-Christine Schenck Countess von Stauffenberg
- Christoph Schoeller and Mary-Ann Grimmenstein
- Fürst Friedrich zu Solms-Baruth
- Countess Viktoria-Luise von Stackelberg née Princess zu Schaumburg-Lippe
- Count Arved and Countess Cristina von Stackelberg
- Count Stephan von Stackelberg
- Florian Freiherr von Stackelberg
- The Earl and The Countess of St Andrews
- Daniel Terberger and Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria
- Count Eric and Countess Louise Wachtmeister
- Freiherr Detlev and Freifrau Leslie von Wangenheim
- Count Hieronyms and Countess Marynich Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht
- Count Simeon and Countess Helena Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht
- Fürst Wolfgang-Ernst and Fürstin Leonille zu Ysenburg und Büdingen
- Prince Maximilian and Princess Sophie zu Ysenburg und Büdingen
I expect the best wedding reports will be in Bunte and Point de Vue. The Sunday after the wedding I bought the newspaper “Bild am Sonntag” at the railway station of Minden.
- Photos by Mardam
- Photos from the Schaumburger Zeitung
- The most beautiful pictures in Gala
- Gala: A royal wedding with many guests
- A report in the Neue Presse
- Hola about Spanish wedding guests
- Point de Vue: The religious wedding in Bückeburg
- Royal Watcher Blog about the wedding
- Tatler about the princely wedding
- A report in the Daily Mail