A descendant of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II got married on Friday in a lavish ceremony, marking the country’s first royal wedding since the Bolshevik Revolution toppled the monarchy a century ago.
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov married his Italian fiancee Rebecca Virginia Bettarini at St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg in front of dozens of royal guests, local news site Fontanka.ru reported.
Romanov said the couple chose the former imperial capital for their nuptials because it was the first place in Russia the family returned to after the Soviet collapse.
“It is very, very close to our family,” he told Fontanka.ru, adding that St. Petersburg is “the history of Russia” and “the history of the House of Romanov”.
The lavish Russian Orthodox ceremony featured Faberge wedding rings, Sicilian wine and food provided by restaurant mogul Yevgeny Prigozhin, better known by his nickname “Putin’s chef,” Fontanka.ru reported.
Bettarini, 39, walked the aisle in a white satin dress from designer Reem Acra, who has dressed celebrities like Beyoncé, Madonna, Angelina Jolie and Melania Trump, and a tiara designed by Chaumet, the official jeweler of the Empress Josephine and Napoleon, according to Fontanka.ru.
Among the 1,500 guests were some 50 royals from European countries, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain and Naples, Fontanka.ru reported.
The guest list would also include Sarah Fabergé and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
The wedding ceremony lasted around two hours, with only a third of the guests invited to the reception at the Russian Ethnographic Museum, symbolically founded by Nicholas II.
George Romanov, 40, is a descendant of Nicholas II, who was executed by the Bolsheviks with his family in July 1918 in the city of Yekaterinburg.
He was born in Madrid to the Grand Duchess Maria Romanova and the Prussian Prince Franz Wilhelm of Hohenzollern. He spent most of his life in Spain and France before visiting Russia for the first time in 1992 with his grandfather Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, a trip he said was “filled with emotion” .
Her mother is the granddaughter of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, a first cousin of Nicholas II who fled Russia during the revolution and declared himself Emperor of Exile.
He worked in the European Parliament and the European Commission and was an advisor to the director of Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel. Today he works on charity projects from the couple’s residence in central Moscow.
He met Bettarini in Brussels during his time in the European Parliament. Daughter of the Italian Ambassador to Belgium, Bettarini has worked as a writer and lobbyist and now works as director of the Imperial Russian Foundation. In Russian imperial tradition, Bettarini converted to the Russian Orthodox faith last year and took the name Victoria Romanovna.
“A new chapter in our book of living together begins. As a writer, I hope the journey ahead will be full of love, suspense and adventure as was the first part of our Book of Life, ”Bettarini wrote on Instagram after going public with their stories. engagement.
Romanov told The Insider earlier this year that he hoped the wedding would show “the good side of Russia, beauty, culture and history.”
“And also to help tourism return to its levels if we are allowed to travel,” he said.