Russia celebrates 1st royal wedding in over a century, grand duke weds Italian fiancee

The ceremony happened months after the 40-year-old Grand Duke George Romanov proposed to his Italian girlfriend Rebecca Bettarini on Christmas

                            Russia celebrates 1st royal wedding in over a century, grand duke weds Italian fiancee
George Romanov and Rebecca Bettarini tied the knot on October 1 in Saint Petersburg (Instagram/ @rebecca_bettarini)

Russia witnessed its first-ever royal wedding in decades on October 1, when Grand Duke George Romanov and Rebecca Bettarini exchanged vows. The ceremony was the first of its kind after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution that toppled the Romanov monarchy. The wedding, which was attended by dozens of royals, happened at Saint Isaac's cathedral in the former imperial capital Saint Petersburg months after the 40-year-old Duke proposed to Bettarini on Christmas.

Saint Petersburg was selected for the couple’s special day because it was the place where the Duke’s family returned in the early 1990s. Romanov said, “It is very, very close to our family,” before adding, the Russian port city on the Baltic Sea is “the history of Russia,” “the history of the House of Romanov.”


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In January, the 39-year-old Bettarini of Italy took to her Instagram to share their engagement. Posting her picture with Romanov, she wrote, “We are thrilled to finally share the news of our engagement with you! ❤️ thank you for your loving words @revenkodmitriy."


For the big day, Bettarini wore a gorgeous white satin high neck gown that featured long sleeves and a swirling skirt. The stunning bride accentuated her beauty by donning a glittering diamond tiara, designed by Chaumet, who was the official jeweler to Empress Joséphine and Napoléon. While the bridesmaids chose velvet green dresses with medieval-style puff sleeves.

The high-profile list of guests included people, like Prince Rudolph and Princess Tilsim of Liechtenstein, Queen Sofia of Spain, and the former king and queen of Bulgaria. In attendance was also the groom’s mother, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, who looked elegant in a blue fur-trimmed ensemble, and the bride’s father — Roberto Bettarini.


After tying the knot with the royal, Bettarini changed into another stunning dress for an evening reception, organized at the Russian Museum of Ethnography. Her second outfit was decorated with crystals and a satin puffed sleeves shrug. The gala was attended by Russia Federation Council member Lyudmila Narusova, Joachim Murat, Prince of Pontecorvo, a member of the Bonaparte-Murat family, and his wife Yasmine Lorraine Briki, and Democrat Youth Community of Europe (DEMYC) Chairman Javier Hurtado Mira and his date.


Bettarini’s Instagram page was filled with wedding pictures. A post shared on the social media account showed them posing for a selfie while the caption read, “Our first selfie as husband and wife.” The comment section was filled with congratulatory messages and compliments. A fan wrote, “I congratulate you on the day of the Wedding, God's help, joy, mercy on the whole path of life! Omnipresent sincere love and support for each other.” Another one said, “Congratulations. I wish you happiness and good, strength and health. You are now responsible before the Lord God and the Russian people for our country. God bless you and your family.” The third one added: “Congratulations!! Beautiful bride and I love your wedding gown!! But I wish you have this fringe to support your tiara in your wedding ceremony.”