It’s extremely rare for us to see the kinds of dynastic marriages that were more common a century ago so when one happens, as it did at Les Invalides in Paris on Saturday between a couple with combined roots in the houses of Habsburg, Napoléon, Savoy, Aosta, Bourbon Two-Scillies, Arco-Zinneberg, and Orleans, it garners much attention.
The groom, Prince Jean Christophe Napoléon, is great-great-great nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte and current head of the Imperial House of Napoléon. The bride, Countess Olympia von Arco-Zinneberg is the great-great-great niece of the French Emperor’s second wife, Marie Louise of Austria and, through her mother, a great-granddaughter of Charles I and Zita, the last Emperor and Empress of Austria-Hungary. Thus, these nuptials echoed the 1810 wedding of Napoleon Bonaparte I and the Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, bringing the Imperial House of France and the Austrian House of Habsburg together again, albeit in a love match without the strategic political motivations! (Through her father, Olympia is great-great-granddaughter of the last King and Queen of Bavaria and through her mother, the 3x great-granddaughter of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. Through Prince Jean’s great-great-grandfather, King Leopold II of Belgium, he is related to the Belgium, Luxembourg, and the British royal familes).
Countess Olympia chose a graphic gown from Oscar de la Renta’s Fall 2019 bridal collection. Made of a large scale leaf motif silk applique lace, the sleeveless gown follows a simple A-line silhouette with v-neck bodice held by spaghetti straps. The skirt’s full circle shape is raised in front and extends to what looks to be a cathedral-length train at the back, the lace providing a scallop around the edge.
The gown was topped with a matching capelet, which Countess Olympia removed for the evening reception held at the historic Palace of Fontainebleau. A long silk tulle veil edged in the same leaf pattern lace topped the look, anchored with a diamond bandeau tiara that once belonged to the bride’s maternal grandmother Princess Margherita of Savoy-Aosta.
Attendants wore ivory silk frocks with Peter Pan collars, puffed sleeves and full skirts accented with mint green ruched sashes tied in bows at the back. Their sweet look was topped with head wreaths of ivory roses and fresh green hydrangeas.
The bride’s mother, Maria Beatrice of Arco-Zinneberg (née Archduchess Maria Beatrice of Austria-Este), wore a in a deep navy straw vertical Philip Treacy saucer rimmed with a narrow cuff of midnight blue velvet. The hat is beautifully trimmed with purple butterflies and handmade silk orchids that link with its velvet brim edge. Countess Olympia’s sister, Countess Maximiliana, helped the bride manage her dress in a black veiled caolot hat with pleated silk abaca forward leaning ruffle. If any readers have come across photos of Olympia’s other four sisters, Countess Anna Theresa, Countess Margherita, Countess Giorgiana, and Countess Marie Gabrielle, please share links in the comments.
The groom’s mother, Princess Beatrice of Bourbon-Two Sicilies , topped her graphic cape with a cream felt fedora trimmed with a russet brown ribbon hatband. I’ve not located a photo of his sister Caroline but Jean’s paternal grandmother, the Dowager Princess Napoléon, who has considerable French and Italian aristocratic heritage of her own, wore a black veiled pillbox hat. The sheen on the hat’s straw pairs so well with her printed suit.
The hats are off to a good start- we’ll look at those worn by extended family and royal guests next.
Photos from Getty as indicated