NEARLY fifteen thousand Spanish carnations; rich, red velvet tapestries woven in Brussels more than 200 years ago, and the massed flags of the nine Belgian Provinces formed the magnificent setting for the wedding ceremony and Pontifical High Mass in St. Gudule's Collegiate Church, yesterday, Thursday, of King Baudouin of the Belgians and his Spanish bride, Fabiola.
Despite King Baudouin's request that the wedding be kept as simple as possible, the Belgian people had shown their intention of making this a memorable day.
Tall flagpoles flying Belgian and Spanish flags lined the streets to the church where Cardinal van Roey, Archbishop of Malines and Primate of Belgium, and other prelates, would receive the King — in the uniform of the Commander-in-Chief of the Belgian Army — escorting his future Queen already regal in her lovely white dress of Catalonian satin.
The Papal Legate, Cardinal Siri, Archbishop of Genoa, had a special message from Pope John XXIII which he was to read immediately after the marriage service presided over by the Cardinal-Primate, who was also to give a short address.
At the solemn nuptial Mass which was to follow and for which the celebrant was Bishop Suenens, auxiliary of Malines, the couple were to receive Holy Communion.
At the Consecration, military, trumpeters played a salute. Two choirs and the Belgian National String Orchestra took part.
Princess Margaret and Mr. Anton y Armstrong Jones, representing the Q u e e n, together with the other royal guests were to have special seats and prie-dieus within the sanctuary for the one-and-ahalf-hour ceremony.
Though not directly of royal blood, the new Queen of the Belgians is remotely related to Kings of the Middle Ages, as for instance, Philip the Fair, said to have had " the face of an angel, the eye of an eagle, and the heart of a devil ". Likewise to King Louis IX of France, and to Ferdinand, the 15th century monarch who reconquered Seville from the Moors.
It was thus a delicate gesture of General Franco of Spain to offer as a wedding gift to Fabiola a valuable coronet of gold, platinum and jewels.