Wedding of Jonathan I and Princess Hannah
|5, 7 November 2022
|Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Beddington; Church of Ss. Constantine and Helen, Upper Norwood
|Beddington; Crystal Palace
| Emperor Jonathan I
The wedding of Jonathan I, Emperor of Austenasia and Hannah, Princess of Wildflower Meadows, often referred to as the Imperial Wedding, took place over two ceremonies in November 2022: an Anglican wedding service at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Beddington on Saturday 5 November, which served as their legal wedding under English law, followed by an Orthodox Christian wedding service at the Church of Ss. Constantine and Helen, Upper Norwood on Monday 7 November, which served as a "sacramental blessing of their union". The couple had been in a relationship since 2015, and had decided on two ceremonies in order to emphasise equal respect for both of their respective religious traditions.
Father Andrew presided at the Anglican service. Jonathan's best man was his cousin, Lord Timothy, whilst Hannah's friend Lady Emily was the maid of honour. The ceremonies were attended by friends and family of the bride and groom, as well as a small number of micronational dignitaries.
The wedding occasion saw congratulatory messages pour in from micronations around the world, and the Orthodox service was livestreamed on Facebook by Emperor Father Terry. The marriage meant that Austenasia had an Empress consort for the first time since the abdication of Terry I in February 2010.
On 11 November 2011, Hannah met the then Crown Prince Jonathan at a charity shop while lost in Carshalton. The two did not maintain contact, but met again on 10 September 2015; by this time, Jonathan had become Emperor of Austenasia, having acceded to the throne on 20 January 2013. After several weeks of close friendship they announced the start of a romantic relationship on 5 November, and Hannah was officially declared Princess Consort on 21 November. While on a holiday in Seville, Princess Hannah and Emperor Jonathan announced on 5 September 2016 that they had become engaged to be married, a day that was commemorated in Austenasia as Imperial Engagement Day.
On 12 May 2016, Jonathan and Hannah founded the Principality of Wildflower Meadows in Chester, where the latter was studying at university, establishing Hannah as its sovereign Princess, and Jonathan as her consort in that nation.
The couple's engagement lasted several years due to the couple wishing to complete their university degrees and save up enough money for the wedding and a new home. On 5 September 2021, the fifth anniversary of their engagement, the couple confirmed that they would be wed in the Church of England on 5 November 2022, with a service blessing their marriage in the Orthodox Church to then be held on 7 November.
On 9 October 2022, the Parliament of Austenasia passed the Imperial Marriage Act 2022. This clarified the status and titles of Princess Hannah and her relatives within Austenasia following the wedding.
Anglican (5 November)
The Church of England service, which served as the legal wedding, took place at St. Mary the Virgin's church in Beddington, which was the parish attended by Princess Hannah and her family during her childhood. Located at the east end of Beddington Park, it is approximately 1.55 miles from Wrythe and 0.72 miles from Wandleside.
The best man, Lord Timothy, and groomsman Emperor Adam I of Adammia arrived at the Imperial Residence in Wrythe at approximately 9am to help Emperor Jonathan prepare; the three, driven by Lord Timothy, then departed Wrythe for the wedding venue approximately an hour later. The bridal party arrived at 11am, entering to Richard Wagner's Bridal Chorus, at which point the service began. The first hymn was Be Still for the Presence of the Lord by David J. Evans. The first reading, from Ruth 1:16-17, was given by Emperor Mother Margaret; the second, from 1 John 4:7-16, by Lady Patsy, Baroness of the Elephant (an Austenasian-Wildflowerian dual national); and the third, from Les Misérables, by the maid of honour Lady Emily. The second hymn was One More Step Along The World I Go by Sydney Carter. After this, the traditional Anglican wedding vows and rings were exchanged, and the marriage was blessed. The Lord's Prayer then followed. With the marriage officially declared, the bridal party and the groom's party retired to the chapel, whilst Canon in D Major by Pachelbel played. The marriage register was signed by the bride and groom, by the vicar Father Andrew, and by the official witnesses, the groom's father Emperor Father Terry, and the bride's sister Lady Stephanie Buchanan. Finally, the official wedding party processed out of the church behind the bride and groom to Felix Mendelssohn's Wedding March. Official photographs were then taken on the grounds of the church.
The official wedding reception was held at the Oaks Golf Centre on the outskirts of Carshalton. Guests began to arrive at around 1pm, with the majority being ferried from the church by a hired coach. A three-course meal was served, further official photographs were taken, and speeches were given, including by the groom and the best man. A guestbook was passed around throughout the reception to allow guests to leave messages for the bride and groom. A dance floor was opened up later in the evening, and the couple officially cut their wedding cake.
Orthodox (7 November)
The Orthodox service took place at the Emperor's own regularly attended church, the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen in Crystal Palace, Upper Norwood, which the then Crown Prince Jonathan first attended in February 2011. The service began shortly after 11am, and was taken jointly by Father George - the parish priest - and by Father Pancratios, the priest of the Orthodox church in Chester that Jonathan and Hannah attended while at university there.
Per Orthodox tradition, the bride and groom arrived at the service together, with the bridesmaids and groomspeople processing behind them up to a table in the church on which items for the ceremony had been arranged. After the couple confirmed their desire to be wed, the ceremony began with the couple's rings being blessed and their koumbara (sponsor) placing the rings on the couple's fingers and exchanging them three times. The couple's hands were then joined by the priest, and they were crowned with stefana, simple crowns linked with a ribbon to signify both the "martyrdom" of marriage (i.e., each spouse accepting the sacrifice of putting the other first, with crowns being an ancient symbol of martyrdom, cf. Rev 2:10) as well as the couple's "crowning" as king and queen of their own miniature kingdom, the home. Next came the Bible readings, from Ephesians 5:20-33 and John 2:1-12 (the former given by Lord Timothy), followed by the bride and groom drinking from a common cup of wine. Still wearing their stefana, the couple were led around the table by the priest in what is known as the Dance of Isaiah, a short procession to symbolise the couple's following after Christ. The service then concluded with an address to the couple and the congregation by the priests.
A buffet was held for the gathered guests in a small function room behind the church; the hall that had been intended for use was out of service due to water damage. At this buffet, the bride gave a speech, and presented gifts to some of the key guests. Most guests began to depart by 2pm; around this time, the bride, groom, members of the bride's family and Adam I left for Crystal Palace Park for a final round of official photographs.
The bride and groom's respective parties adopted yellow and purple colour schemes. The bride wore a traditional white wedding dress with a bouquet of sunflowers and a flower crown, whilst the groom wore a grey suit with a purple waistcoat and a sunflower boutonniere. Of the bridal party, two wore yellow dresses and two wore purple. The best man wore a dark grey suit with a purple shirt and tie, whilst groomsman Emperor Adam I wore a light grey suit with a yellow tie (he also wore a black overcoat and top hat when outdoors, the latter of which is a popular symbol of the Adammic monarchy).
Titles upon marriage
Per the Imperial Marriage Act 2022, Hannah became Empress immediately upon the proclamation of the marriage. She did not take the style of Imperial Majesty, instead retaining the style of Imperial and Serene Highness. She immediately became an Austenasian subject and an official member of the Imperial Family. She and her siblings and their descendants were entered into the line of succession to the Austenasian throne; accordingly, her sisters were granted the title of Lady Imperial, and her nephew the title of Lord Imperial.
At the wedding reception, Emperor Adam I bestowed Adammic chivalric honours to the Imperial Family: the Emperor and Empress were made Knight and Dame Commander of the Order of Adammia, Emperor Father Terry a Knight of the Order of the Meerkat, Emperor Mother Margaret and Crown Princess Caroline both Dames of the Order of Adammia, and Lord Timothy a Member of the Order of the Meerkat.
Empress Hannah received the title of "Duchess Consort" in Vishwamitra with her husband being a duke. Rashtradhyaksh Varuna Sriraya also inducted the Emperor and Emperor Father to the Supreme Order of the Hibiscus in the rank of Collar and Grand Cordon respectively, the Empress to the Order of the Crown of Vishwamitra in the rank of Grand Cordon, and the Emperor Mother and Crown Princess as Commander with Star of the same order.
The services and celebrations were attended by a total of 98 people, some of whom were only able to attend on one day.
Maid of Honour and Best Man
- Lady Emily, Countess of Eastgate, the Maid of Honour
- Lord Timothy, KOM, KPP, the Best man
- HIll.H Lady Tania, Countess of Memphis
- Lady Charlotte, Countess of the Cross
- Lady Imani, Countess of Maybridge
(Lord John Gordon, former Prime Minister of Austenasia, had intended to attend as a groomsman but was unable to do so due to illness. He was unofficially replaced as such by Lady Stephanie, Princess Hannah's elder sister.)
Other relatives of the groom
The wedding ceremonies were attended by most of the extended Imperial Family. Those holding titles of particular note include:
- HIH Emperor Father Terry (witness)
- HIH Emperor Mother Margaret
- HIH Princess Christine
- Lady Jennifer, Archduchess of Sarmatia
- HIH Princess Louise
- HIH Princess Pauline
- HIH Prince Kelvin
- HIH Prince Andrew
- HIH Princess Julie
- HIH Prince Daniel
- HH Prince Kenneth
- HH Prince Peter
- Lord Michael, Duke of Merton
- Lord Nigel Trory
Other relatives of the bride
Likewise, many members of Empress Hannah's family also attended. Those with official titles were:
- Lady Stephanie, Marchioness of Wandleside (witness)
- Lord Damien, Earl of Richmond Green
Other micronational dignitaries
Other notable guests
- The Grand Unified Micronational, of which Emperor Jonathan I was serving as Chair at the time of the wedding, said on Twitter: "Grand Unified Micronational sends its congratulations to our Chair @AustenasiaEmp regarding his wedding today!".
- Queen Carolyn I of Ladonia said on Twitter: "Huzzah! Congratulations to the both of you :)" in response to Emperor Jonathan's tweet about the wedding.
- Varuna Sriraya, Rashtradhyaksh of Vishwamitra congratulated the imperial couple on their wedding and conferred the title of "Duchess Consort" to Empress Hannah. In addition, he also inducted the members of the imperial family and the government to various Vishwamitran federal honours.
The immediate Imperial Family of Austenasia.
The House of Austen immediately following the wedding.
Emperor of Adammia, Empress of Austenasia, Emperor of Austenasia and King of the Grove.
Groomspeople at the Orthodox service.
Emperor Adam I, Emperor Jonathan I, Empress Hannah and Lady Emily at Crystal Palace Park.
Emperor Adam I and Emperor Jonathan I, immediately prior to the former's departure from Crystal Palace.
"The Tetrarchy" - Two augusti, Jonathan I and Adam I, and two caesares, King Calum I and former emperor Esmond III.
- Augustus, Jonathan (8 November 2022) Jonathan I and Princess Hannah marry, Austenasian Times. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
- Augustus, Jonathan (10 September 2016) Emperor and Princess Consort announce engagement upon return from Seville, Austenasian Times. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
- Belcher, Adam (8 November 2022) Emperor Adam I attends Austenasian Imperial Wedding, Adammic Express. Retrieved 10 November 2022.