Saturday, 28 August 2010

Royal wedding in Greece

Finally, there is good news coming from Greece. On 25th August the seventh in line to the Greek throne, King Constantine II of the Hellenes second son, HRH Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark married Tatiana Blatnik at the church of Aghios Nikolaos, on the island of Spetses. The last Greek royal wedding took place in September 1964, when the ruling King Constantine married 18 year-old Danish Princess Anne-Marie in a lavish ceremony in the nations' capital Athens.

His Majesty's website describes the Spetses wedding as following:

We are delighted to announce that the wedding of HRH Prince Nikolaos to Tatiana Blatnik took place at the church of Aghios Nikolaos, Spetses.

The ceremony was officiated by His Eminence the Bishop of Hydra, Spetses, Aigina, Ermionida and Trizinia, Efraim.

During the dinner that followed, His Majesty King Constantine delivered the following speech:

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Eminence, Your Excellencies and dear friends….as the King of Siam put it in the musical The King and I….etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

Nikolaos… last! As Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet..”Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast”…and Tatiana….“One fairer than my love? The all-seeing sun ne’er saw her match since first the world begun”…..

A little morality tale for my son on the occasion of his wedding:
A married couple in their early 60s was celebrating their 40th Wedding Anniversary in a quiet, romantic, little restaurant. Suddenly, a tiny and beautiful fairy appeared on their table. She said, 'For being such an exemplary married couple and for being loving to each other for all this time, I will grant you each a wish.

The wife answered, 'Oh, I want to travel around the world with my darling husband.' The fairy waved her magic wand and - suddenly! – two tickets for the Queen Mary II appeared in her hands

The husband thought for a moment: 'Well, this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again. I'm sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me.'

The wife, and the fairy, were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish. So the fairy waved her magic wand and suddenly!...the husband became 92 years old.

The moral of this story? Always remember this, my son: however magical they may be, fairies are always female!

So…. Pavlo brought into the family a shining diamond, Alexia brought a bright star, and you a beautiful pearl. I remember when you were born, I was in the delivery room and the doctor said in a loud voice “2” meaning the medical team should be alert as the umbilical cord had gone twice round your neck! In my ignorance, I thought my lovely wife was about to produce twins! Thinking back, I am not convinced that the world is quite ready to cope with two Nikolaos’!

Your negotiating skills were apparent to me from the moment you went to Brown University. Whenever the occasion presented itself, and you had to submit your work or an essay which, more often than not, wasn’t ready, you always managed to persuade The Dean to give you an extension.

You impressed me a great deal that you wanted to follow your elder brother, Pavlo, into the Army. Having left the regiment, Pavlo volunteered to re-join at the beginning of the Gulf War and you approached the Brigadier commanding 7th Brigade requesting to join the front line alongside your fellow officers. It was quite a difficult period for your mother and me when it became apparent that you might have to go to war.

I know I don't need to remind you of our country's history, but from the day your great great grandfather, George I, was elected by the Greek national assembly unanimously to become King of the Hellenes until today, when our lives have changed and Greece has become a republic. Service to our country and the Greek people has always been our tradition, and always will be.

As you know, Nikolae, our country and all of us Greeks are going through and will continue to endure difficult times. I have great confidence in the resilience of the Greek People. I can only wish that there is a sign of hope soon so that the crisis is terminated and that Greece finds its way to redevelopment.

This is the first wedding of our family in Greece since we left and we are delighted that it is taking place on this beautiful island, Spetses, with it’s wonderful people. It is a place we have come to love and, don’t forget, very close to here is where your mother and I spent our honeymoon and just across the sea on the mainland, we have started to make our home.

With deep gratitude to the people of Spetses and to the people from different parts of Greece who have come here today – our love and sincere thanks. We would also like to thank the Municipality of Spetses for welcoming this wedding on their island and for their understanding, the Police Authorities represented, the Port Authority and the Fire Brigade for the long hours they have all put in and for their discretion.

Anne-Marie has asked me to mention, as happy as we are to have you here today, we would be really thrilled if you would return and spend some time getting to know this beautiful island.

The advice I gave to your brother in law, Carlos, when he married Alexia, I give to you now….

“To keep your marriage brimming
with love in the loving cup,
whenever you are wrong, admit it,
whenever you are right, shut up”.

There is a song written by Rogers and Hammerstein which you will all be happy to know I am not going to sing… which goes…

"It's a lovely day for a wedding
Every heart is bursting with pride
It's a lovely day for a wedding
But not for the parents of the bride."

Why? Because today they lose their daughter to my son Nikolaos. To my brand new daughter in law… I say from my heart - welcome to our family.

Tatiana, I heard you ask your mother in the midst of all the planning for this great day, how far have you got…..what have you accomplished….the answer, without doubt…..her greatest accomplishment is you….

My friends, it is a lovely day for a wedding and my heart is indeed bursting with pride.

Tatiana, look after your husband. He's not a bad fellow.

And Nikolaos, look after your wife. She's a treasure.

God bless you both.

By the way, the state controlled TV-station ERT reported nothing on the wedding. And there is no hint on the website on what happened on Spetses. That's called freedom of information. Well done, you republicans!

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