Wedding Commemorative Medal
Hochzeitserinnerungsmedaille was instituted on April 19, 1894 by Ernst Ludwig Karl Albrecht Wilhelm von Hessen und bei Rhein (25.11.1868-09.10.1937), the last Grand Duke of Hesse to commemorate his nuptials with Victoria Melita von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (25.11.1876-02.03.1936), granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Russian Emperor Alexander II. Solemn ceremony was held the same day at Ehrenburg Palace in Coburg. That wedding was an event that brought together Queen Victoria and her descendants from across Europe, including the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), Tsesarevich Nicholas (soon-to-be Emperor Nicholas II) and German Emperor Wilhelm II. The wedding also attended by royalty from Portugal, Belgium, Greece and other countries was actually the last visit by the aging queen to Germany.
However, the marriage turned a failure and lasted only seven years. Grand Duchess consort of Hesse and by Rhein Victoria scandalized European royal families when she officially divorced her husband on December 21, 1901 on grounds of “invincible mutual antipathy” by a special verdict of the Supreme Court of Hesse. Three years later, on February 02, 1905 Ernst Ludwig remarried to Eleonore Ernestine Marie Prinzessin zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich (17.09.1871-16.11.1937).
Totally 562 medals were issued on April 19, 1894. It was conferred on Court officials, officers and guests who attended the wedding ceremony in Coburg.
Design of Hochzeitserinnerungsmedaille was elaborated by the famous private Berlin-based company of Otto Oertel that was founded in 1887.
An obverse with raised border showed conjoined busts of the Ernst Ludwig and Victoria Melita facing left (or right in heraldic perspective) circumscribed with an inscription in capital letters “Ersnt Ludwig Grossherzog Victoria Melita Grossherzogin v. Hessen”. The legend was separated with a small five-point star at the bottom. At its base the obverse was signed in capital letters: “Oertel Berlin-Tauer Dir”. German medalist Arthur Tauer was the owner of the Oertel company in 1908-1912.
A reverse with raised border showed entwined angulate ciphers of the royal couple, “EL” and “VM” topped with the crown of the Grand Duchy. Surface of each letter was covered with numerous horizontal incisions. An inscription in capital letters “Joined in Holy Wedlock on April 19, 1894” (“Vermæhlt am 19.April 1894”) was running in semi-circle at the bottom of a reverse. At its base the reverse was signed in capital letters: “Starck Sc.[ulpsit] E.Deitenbeck Fec.[it]”, meaning “engraved by Starck, executed by E.Deitenbeck”. Both Constantin Starck (02.03.1866-22.08.1939) and Ernst Deitenbeck (23.12.1868-?) worked with the Oertel company as engravers and medalists. The later filled that post in 1889-1897.
Circular medal measuring 33 mm in diameter and weighing 17,5 g was made of silver.
Hochzeitserinnerungsmedaille was worn on the left side of the chest suspended from a white silk ribbon with two wide red stripes at edges.