Photos & copyright: Jelland Sprang
On 27 December 2021 the surprise engagement of Princess Maria Laura of Belgium and William Isvy was announced. Laura’s uncle King Philippe of the Belgians on 31 January 2022 gave his permission for the wedding. They managed to keep their wedding date a secret for quite a while. The date of 9 September 2022 circulated for a while, as there was a wedding list with that date. The bride’s mother, Princess Astrid, in June only spoke about September 2022. One month before the wedding it was announced that the wedding was to take place at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels on 10 September 2022.
As was announced a few weeks earlier during a press conference the civil wedding took place at the town hall of Brussels in the morning of Saturday 10 September. Laura chose her sisters Luisa and Laetitia as witnesses, William opted for his brother and sister. Mayor Philippe Close married the couple. The vows were in four languages: French, Flemish, German and English. Only 35 guests attended. Although this part of the wedding was to take place in private, bride and groom were pictured afterwards and kissed in front of the cameras. The bride wore a short dress by Gucci. The flowers from the wedding in the town hall were sent to the CHU St Peter hospital in Brussels at the request of the couple and were given to patients.
The religious wedding took place in the afternoon of the same day. The ceremony was a Catholic one, but with Jewish influences. The service started with “Amazing Grace”, and because of the death of the British Queen Elizabeth II two days earlier, a moment of prayer and reflection was dedicated to her. The bride wore a wedding gown by Vivienne Westwood with a four metres long train and the family veil that originally belonged to the mother of Queen Paola, and the Savoy-Aosta tiara. As witnesses the bridal couple had chosen Princess Elisabetta Maria of Belgium (Archduchess of Austria-Este), Ferdinand Brunet, Princess Astrid and Prince Joseph of Liechtenstein and Princess Olympia Napoléon Bonaparte. The bridal children were Archduchess Anna Astrid and Archduke Maximilian of Austria-Este, Countess Maria-Thereza Droste zu Vischering von Nesselrode-Reichenstein, Josephine McKenzie, Álvaro de Orleáns-Borbón, Aurora Peters and Eulalia Peters. The bride’s sister Princess Luisa was the maid of honour. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great, it was very windy and when bride and groom left the cathedral umbrellas had to be used. Bride and groom left church in a Porsche 356B Roadster from 1961, escorted by two Harley-Davidson motor cycles.
About 500 guests had been invited for the church wedding. Of course the parents and siblings of bride and groom attended, as well as the bride’s niece and nephew. Among them the bride’s grandparents paternally King Albert II and Queen Paola, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians with their four children Elisabeth, Gabriel, Emmanuel and Eléonore, Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium with their children Louise, Aymeric and Nicolas, Princess Delphine and Jim O’Hare with their children Joséphine and Oscar, Princess Léa of Belgium, Princess Esmeralda of Belgium, Countess Maria Béatrice von und zu Arco-Zinneberg with her six daughters with partners, Archduke Gerhard of Austria-Este, Archduke Martin of Austria-Este, Isabelle and Andrea Czarnocki-Lucheschi, Prince Félix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg, Prince Louis of Luxembourg, Prince Sébastien of Luxembourg, Prince Jean of Luxembourg and his wife Countess Diane, Princess Marie-Gabrielle de Nassau and husband, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg, Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein with their three children with partners. Furthermore members of the imperial family of Austria, the royal families of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Brazil and the families de Ligne, Orléans-Borbón, d’Arenberg, Croÿ, Toerring-Jettenbach, Galitzine, Merode, d’Ursel.
William Mark Isvy was born in Paris, France, on 9 March 1991 as son of Philippe Isvy (* 1963) and Lisa Wilson (* 1964). His father is of French-Moroccan descend, his mother is British. He has two younger siblings: Camille and Jordan Isvy. The Ben Isvy family was part of the Moroccan Jewish community in Casablanca, Morocco.
Princess Maria Laura of Belgium was born in Brussels, Belgium, on 26 August 1988 as second child and eldest daughter of Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este and Princess Astrid of Belgium. Laura was given the title of Princess of Belgium in December 1991. She met William Isvy in 2015 through common friends, but it took a while before they became a couple.