A four-day trip to Denmark as well as a three-day stay in Germany had been long planned. All of the sudden these turned out to be among the busiest royal weeks of the year, because of the death on 8 September of the British Queen Elizabeth II. Had the funeral been a little bit earlier, I would have had to cancel my weekend in Germany. Luckily I didn’t have to, and on Friday 16 September 2022 (the bride’s birthday) I took the train from Groningen to Rostock in Germany. Considering the length of the train ride (7 hours), it was probably a bit much, but I was eager to experience my 35th royal wedding over a period of nearly 25 years the next day.
As Duke (Hereditary Prince) Georg Alexander Michael zu Mecklenburg(-Strelitz) and Hande Macit are living in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, I had already planned to go to their civil wedding in Rotterdam in June. But for reasons important to them the couple decided last minute to marry on 17 June 2022 at Mirow Castle, Germany, instead. Although for me that would have been less far, I decided to head for Neustrelitz for their religious wedding. I had been in Neustrelitz once before more than 10 years ago and remembered a nice town. And it was also a very special wedding. The last time a member of the family had married in Neustrelitz was in 1914, when Duchess Marie, the daughter of Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich V, married Prince Julius Ernst zur Lippe. The last Ducal wedding in Mecklenburg had been in 1943 when Duchess Anastasia zu Mecklenburg-Schwerin married Prince Friedrich Ferdinand zu Schleswig-Holstein at Willigrad, which is situated near Schwerin.
The wedding day
In the early morning of Saturday 17 September 2022 I took the train from Rostock to Neustrelitz, wearing my brand new red Zara lady’s suit. Probably I was a bit too early. On my way through the town I got myself something to eat at the supermarket. When I arrived at the Evangelische Stadtkirche (evangelical city church) in Neustrelitz there was however absolutely nothing going on, although there were several more people clearly hanging around for the wedding. Because it was cold and rainy I went into the bakery/café Kowalewski at the market square, and ordered tea and yet another German delicacy, to be certain I wouldn’t get hungry until after the wedding. I joined two royalists from Germany who clearly had the same idea. It took quite a while before anything happened at all at the church, but around 10am the door finally opened. Before 10.45am the back of the church had been occupied by around 370 people from Neustrelitz and elsewhere, that wanted to join the congregation. The couple had expressed their wish that people interested could attend their wedding ceremony.
To my surprise the guestlist was rather small. Only around 130 members of the family of both bride and groom and friends had gathered. Most of them arrived by bus, and although I could spot a few people I recognised, several others were unknown to me. Just before 11am the bride and her father Mr Suphi Macit arrived, just when it started raining again, luckily not too heavily. Her father had to help her to attach the train to her dress again, as it started to loosen just before entering the church. After the bride had entered the church at “Lobet den Herrn” (Praise the Lord) I climbed the stairs to the balcony to at least watch a part of the ceremony. Bride and groom had asked their guests to stow away cell phones and cameras, and not to take photos or videos during the Holy Mass and the ceremony, and while they departed church. Only the official photographer Ines Jung, whose ancestors had already been court photographers in Neustrelitz, and a few accredited photographers were allowed to take photos at certain moments.
The German Pastor Bernhard Szymanski from Neustrelitz welcomed the congregation, followed by the penitential rite by Father Sjaak de Boer from Rotterdam. After the hymn “Gloria” Pastor Szymanski led the opening prayer, followed by baron Ennio di Sisto reading Colossians 3:12-17. The hymn “Wer unterm Schutz des Höchsten steht” (Whoever stands under the protection of the Most High) was sung, followed by the “Halleluia” and the second reading by Pastor Szymanski: Gospel John 15:9-12. The homily was read by Pastor Sjaak de Boer, after which the consent and the wedding and vows followed, all in German, which also the bride did perfectly. Some laughter as the bride’s mother and aunt, totally concentrating on the ceremony, hadn’t immediately remembered that they had the wedding rings, at least it looked like that from the balcony. Bride and groom had chosen Laura van Lankaren and Zwentibald van Blokland as their witnesses. Afterwards the hymn “Dass du mich einstimmen lässt” (That you let me tune in) followed, as well as the prayers of the faithful. Before the Holy Eucharist started Contessa Maria Tedeschi sang “Ave Maria”, afterwards Conte Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Tedeschi sang “Panis Angelicus”. The final prayer was held by Pastor Szymanski, while Pastor de Boer took care of the blessing. With the hymn “Großer Gott, wir loben Dich” the wedding ceremony ended. During the service by the way also a minute’s silence was observed for the british Queen Elizabeth II who had died on 8 September.
I had sneaked out of the church a bit earlier to be sure that I could also take pictures there. Unfortunately it was still not fully dry. Finally around noon the doors of the church opened. First the members of the Schützenzunft Fürstenberg (Brandenburg), who in their uniforms had already stood at the door when the bridal couple and their guests entered the church, came out, followed by the bridal couple and their guests. While on the way in the back door had been used, the front entrance of the church with its stairs was used now. I expect in case of good weather there might have been more onlookers, but unfortunately now there wasn’t much of a crowd. Bride and groom took their time to pose before driving away in the lovely oldtimer, that had already taken the bride and her father to the church. One last wave and they were gone. After one tour around the market square they drove off to have their official wedding pictures taken.
For the complete photo album click on the photo above or press https://www.flickr.com/photos/nettyroyal/albums/72177720302437406/with/52388506864/
In the meantime the bridal staff helped to tidy up the church. I managed to get the order of service, with the text “God is Love” printed on the back page, before leaving for the two-hour reception. To my surprise the media had been invited for the reception too. For a while it seemed I had been the only one accepting the invitation, but several photographers had apparently been waiting outside for the bridal couple to arrive at the Insel Helgoland in the harbour of Neustrelitz. The location was a bit too small for the amount of guests, also because the outside area was hardly used because of the weather, and all seats were taken within notime. There was however more than enough to drink, and there were also a few healthy snacks, and cakes. I intended not to stay too long, but the time flew, and I had some nice conversations with guests, who also helped identifying some people on photos. A cousin of the bride helped me having my picture with the bridal couple taken, as several other guests had also done. An earlier attempt had been prevented by the groom’s father who was just about to make a speech, tapping loudly against his glass to call for attention. And of course I really needed some food and something to drink too, although when I finally got back to the table the Prinzregententorte, which I really would have loved to taste, had gone. I stayed long enough to see that the train was removed from the dress of the bride, before they left again as far as I could see. Thank you all for the hospitality!
After leaving the reception, the weather suddenly changed, and for a while it was rather sunny. I made a stroll through the Schlossgarten (castle garden), visited the Schlosskirche (castle church) and shortly went back to the market square to get a much sunnier picture of the church. Then it was time to walk back to the railway station and take the train to Rostock. After a long day all I could manage was buying some bread in the nearby supermarket as dinner and admire my pictures on my laptop. On Sunday it took me exactly seven hours to get back home. The bridal couple and their guests continued their wedding party at Hotel Schloss & Gut Ulrichshusen in Schwinkendorf, owned by the noble Maltzahn family, where all the guests were also staying.
The bridal look
The groom had opted for a dark grey suit, combined with a light grey waistcoat and tie. The bride had bought both her dress and her tiara in Turkey, the groom’s mother told me. The dress with a heart-shaped neckline and embroidery and a long train. was custom made. Her hair was pinned into an elegant, low chignon, topped by the tiara – as Tiara Mania on Twitter found out by Tiffany & Co – and a veil. As bridal bouquet she had chosen an orange Strelitzia, of course a nod to the name of the family of the groom.
Somewhat unusual the catholic wedding ceremony was held in an evangelical church. Pastor Szymanski however said that the building had always been “the church of the ducal house of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, where the great events of the family took place”. The family was originally protestant, but the groom’s great-grandfather Duke Georg in 1920 converted to the Roman Catholic faith. The organ in the church, that during the wedding ceremony was played by Lukas Storch, dates back to the golden wedding anniversary of Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm and his wife Augusta, a born Princess of Cambridge, in 1893. The organ carries the coat of arms of the Mecklenburg-Strelitz family and the Dukes of Cambridge. The altarpiece in the church was painted by Grand Duchess Marie, the groom’s four times great-grandmother.
The bridal couple
Duke (Hereditary Prince) Alexander was born on 17 July 1991 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, as the second child and eldest son of Duke Borwin zu Mecklenburg and Alice Wagner. Upon his christening he received the name of Georg as his first Christian name, however in daily life he is called by his second Christian name Alexander. His godmother Fürstin Christine von Isenburg was present at the wedding. He grew up in the Black Forest region, Baden-Württemberg. He visisted Wilson’s Hospital School in Ireland and afterwards studied environmental management at the Limerick Institute of Technology Tipperary, from which he graduated in 2018. After his studies Alexander worked for the forestry company Coillte for a while, 2019 at the Forestry Office of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Since 2020 he works freelance for Tarsean B.V. in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and since late 2021 also as asset management consultant at the UMS Group in Amersfoort, The Netherlands.
Hande Macit was born in Tarsus, Turkey, on 16 September 1992 as the only daughter of Suphi Macit and Cemile Uçar. After finishing her studies at the Tarsus Americain College, she in 2010 moved to The Netherlands to study International Business Administration at the Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University. Four years later she earned her degree and also got the Dutch nationality. Together with her brother Kerem Macit she in 2018 founded the company Luwia Yogurt. In Rotterdam they produce homemade yogurt and labneh cheese. In 2019 she was a finalist at the Rotterdam Businesswoman of the year awards in the category emerging talent. Since early 2022 she also works as a business development & relationship manager at Projob Company Onboarding in Amsterdam. The bride converted before the wedding.
He and Hande Macit met during the Tulpenbal (Tulips Ball) at the Kurhaus in Scheveningen, The Netherlands, on 25 May 2019. The couple got engaged in December 2020 and lives in Rotterdam.
A few other reports
The Ostsee-Zeitung broadcasted the wedding live online, but I haven’t been able to find a link.