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Wedding Ideas & Inspiration
The royal weddings that shaped European history

The royal weddings that shaped European history

The last British royal wedding — between
Prince William and Kate Middleton, brought together 1,900 guests, many of whom were pretty
high profile people. Footballer David Beckham was there with
his wife and fashion designer Victoria Beckham. Elton John was there too. But this photo might be the most impressive
of all, because This is the Queen of Spain
And the Prince of Spain Next to the Princess of Sweden, the former King of Greece is behind them, And way back there is the former King of Romania. They were invited because they’re all related
to Prince William’s great-great-great Grandmother, Queen Victoria. Over the course of her 63-year reign, she
strategically planned marriages to place her descendants in royal families all over Europe. And in doing so, created one of the most remarkable
royal families in history. By the early 19th century, Europe had been
at war for decades. After the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic
wars killed millions, European leaders came together to restore peace by reshaping major
states for a new balance of power. Great Britain went on to become one of the
strongest states. And years later, Queen Victoria and her husband
Albert came up with a plan to maintain that political power: They married their children
to monarchs across Europe. And at that time, you know, all royal marriages
were fundamentally about dynastic unions, about cementing political allegiances, about building
new political alliances. It started with their daughter Vicky, the
eldest of nine children. She married the heir to the Prussian throne,
the largest and most powerful of the German states. Albert’s vision had always been, and Victoria shared it, that Prussia of all the German states was the one that would end up leading
the way towards a great unified Germany. They wanted to build strong connections with
Germany and see them as being a force for good and constitutional benign
monarchy across Europe. Their children Alice, Beatrice, Helena, Leopold,
and Arthur also married German royalty. Their eldest son, Prince Albert Edward married
a Danish princess whose brother was King of Greece; two more important European states. But when their son Alfred wanted to marry
the daughter of the Russian Tsar, things became a bit more complicated: There was a long history about
Queen Victoria’s deep, deep apprehensions about Russia, for any of her children marrying into
Russia. Well, the Russian monarchy was an autocracy, whereas the British monarchy as such was
a constitutional monarchy. There was a whole long period of Russophobia
in Britain. The two states were also extremely competitive
over territory in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, where they fought a bloody war in the
1850s. But the marriage was allowed and by the 1880s
Queen Victoria’s children were in several important branches of Europe’s monarchies. But did that bring peace to Europe? Not quite. See, Germany did unify in 1871, but it wasn’t peaceful. Prussia fought a series of bloody wars and
consolidated the other German states. In Russia, the royal Romanov family was losing
its grip on power. Members of the monarchy were being hunted
and the Tsar was assassinated in 1881. The royal unions didn’t play out as Queen
Victoria planned, but she continued to make more matches anyway. She had 42 grandchildren in total, and these 7 ended
up on royal thrones. The eldest, Wilhelm II, who was already in
line to be the next Emperor of Germany, married a German princess in 1881. The hope was that he would steer a unified
and powerful Germany into an alliance with Great Britain. George was in line to be the King of Great
Britain and married a minor British royal family member. Alexandra married Nicholas, who was related
to George and Wilhelm, and both became the Tsar and Tsarina of Russia. And four more granddaughters married European
royalty, fulfilling Victoria’s vision. I mean, when you look at Queen Victoria by
the end of her life she really was the grandmother of Europe. Take for example this family photo, where
Queen Victoria is with her daughter and grandson, the rulers of Germany. Her son, Britain’s next king, and her granddaughters, the future Tsarina of Russia and future Queen of Romania. Here’s the soon-to-be King of England and
his look-alike cousin the soon-to-be Tsar of Russia. And here’s some of the children and grandchildren
together. Finally, this is King Edward of Great
Britain and his nephew Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany at Queen Victoria’s funeral in 1901. After her death, the family ties that Queen
Victoria had strung around Europe, would not bring peace, but the most destructive war
Europe had ever seen. The Kaiser, the king of Gothenberg, make ready to sweep the field. The Tsar of Russia mobilizes. England joins the battle royale. World War One broke out in 1914 and split
this family apart. Wilhelm’s Germany along with Austria-Hungary
and the Ottoman Empire, fought an alliance led by Britain, Russia and France. These countries were neutral. Say Victoria had lived ’til we were on the
brink of war. I think it would have broken her, totally broken
her heart, to know that her grandchildren ended up at war with each other. The war killed over 10 million people and
ended the era of monarchy in Europe. Wilhelm, Sophia, and Marie were all forced
to abandon their thrones. Revolution swept through Russia and Alexandria
and Nicholas were executed by Communists. The British monarchy survived, but the war
forced them to rethink their political strategy. George, King George V, and his wife
Queen Mary were very very astute. They saw that the monarchy had to be more
people friendly, had to be more accessible, not just sitting there in great robes in glory. You know, with their crowns on. Had to be much more out on the street, hands-on, meet the people,
win their confidence. The kind of monarchy we now have with Queen Elizabeth. That approach not only helped modernize British
monarchy over the last century, but it also changed the face of royal weddings, forever.

100 comments found

  1. This is the second of three videos we're doing in collaboration with BBC Three, all about royal weddings! Watch the first one, that breaks down all the basics, here:

  2. I can’t imagine getting on in the bedroom with my cousins/childhood friend no matter if his my 1 cousin or 2 cousin removed or 3 cousin removed there still part of my family I just can’t it’s a turn off for me

  3. Are you guys that dumb….. Vojvodina vas a part of Austria-Hungary until 1919 and on the map its a part of Serbia.

  4. I like it when Axis is friend of Allies…for a few years yet… but then Millennial, they are friends…again!

  5. I watched this video more than 2 time. How can I know that video already watched? Anyone here could help me to avoid watched video

  6. Queen Victoria to a Habsburg monarch:"So I can arrage a marriage between my beatiful niece and you strenghtening ties between england and austria,Will you wed her?"

    *Habsburg monarch glances at his cousin
    "No,I don't think I will."

  7. Also George V didn’t let Tsar Nickolas seek asylum in Britain so it was partly George’s fault the Tsar died.

  8. Christian IX, King of Denmark, was commonly referred to as the 'Grandfather of Europe' or the 'Father-in-law of Europe' because his descendants sat on the thrones of Denmark, Greece, United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, and Norway.

    Even more notable was the Prince of Orange, John William Friso (1687 – 1711) for every European throne is currently occupied by one of his descendants. Including principalities and kingdoms that no longer exist, his descendants ruled in 34 places, including one in South America.

  9. Everyone knows that it's common knowledge which siblings don't get along.
    Horrible idea putting them all on equal footing.

  10. Let me tell u this thirst for power can even drive a wedge between father and son cousins are a story far apart
    Humans see glory and power as the ultimate goal.

  11. Note, the image of Edward at his mother's funeral should be labelled King Edward VII, since he'd been king from the moment Queen Victoria died. It's the concept of 'The King is dead – God Save The King'. I for one hope the next time the phrase is used, )as with Victoria substituting the first 'King' with 'Queen') is a long way off.

  12. These borders make me throw up. You didn’t color islands, and why is Memel the half the size of Albania.

  13. Parts About Weddings (40 seconds), Parts about political/strategic marriages and the Victorian family tree (6 minutes)

  14. when i heard words like royal wedding and european history, I think first in wedding betwen Isabel from Castilla & Fernando from Aragon. They not only make the state of Spain as we knows, But paying the discovery and Conquer of America they put the basis for the Dutch people to start the modern capitalism that rules until today. To not mention, that this royal wedding in the middle ages, resulting in 600 million people in LATAM who speak spanish as native language, and are related to Catholic Church.

  15. There is a mistake at 5:37. Marie was not forced to leave the throne of Romania. After WW1, Transilvania, previously a province in the Austria-Hungary Empire, joined the Kingdom of Romania. Actually, Marie became the first queen of the Greater Romania, in the aftermath of WW1.

  16. 4:20 In middle school (13 years old) I confusing the names of the king of Great Britain and the Tzar of Russia. I got 2 points out of then in the exam. Now I know why I made that mistake…

  17. Queen Victoria also carried the gene for haemophilia and spread it around european monarchies with her marriages. Her granddaughter bringing it into the Romanov dynasty was the reason Rasputin got so notorious

  18. Maybe, the one wedding that definitely defined the world was the one that united the Spain and Austria to form the huge Habsburg Empire

  19. The Muslims did that too by conquering Spain and then getting the daughter of that Sheikh or Emir getting married to a Spanish royal and then British Royal means all that bounces back to Muslim Heritage aswell as Christian Heritage.

  20. I used to want to marry Prince Harry so badly. But then after their baby was born he and Megan Markle came out to the press almost as if they HAD to. She looked so tired. I’m sure she would’ve stayed in with here husband and baby if she could’ve . I’d rather have my privacy.

  21. Interesting how this video starts by saying David Beckham was there with his wife and Elton John was there too. No mention of his husband.

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