Willem Lodewyck Van-Ess, in his work The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, vol. VIII, continues his description of Napoleon's marriage to Marie-Louise of Austria, this time taking a look at the civil marriage ceremony.
Programme relative to the Civil Marriage
“At one o'clock on the day fixed for the Civil Marriage, all those who are to compose the train of their Majesties will assemble in the Palace of St. Cloud, viz. those in the service of the Empress in the saloons of her apartment, on the side of the garden, and those in the service of the Emperor in the saloons of his apartment, next to that of the Empress, on the side of the Court.—At noon the Masters of the Ceremonies and their assistants will assemble in the gallery, which till that hour will be shut, and assign their proper stations to the persons invited. Behind the estrade will be stationed the Officers of the Emperor's Household, and of those of the Princes and Princesses not on duty.—The space to the right and left of the estrade will be divided into compartments, and appropriated to the Ladies in the services of the Princesses, the Ladies of the Ministers and grand Officers of the Empire, to the Ladies that have been invited, Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers, the Ministers, the Grand Officers of the Empire, the Grand Eagles of the Legion of Honour, the Senators, the Counsellors of State, and the Courtiers that have been invited.—Such of the persons invited as cannot find accommodation in the gallery, will remain in the Saloon of Mars and the grand apartments of the Emperor, to see the procession.
At the bottom of the gallery, will be placed on an estrade, two arm chairs surmounted with a canopy: that on the right being for the Emperor, and the other on the left for the Empress. At the foot of the estrade, and to one side of it, will be a table covered with rich tapestry, and with an ink-stand and the registers of the Civil State placed thereon,—At two o'clock, those who are to compose the procession being assembled as above stated, in their Majesties' apartments, the Grand Master of the Ceremonies, the Colonel-General of the Guard on duty, the Grand Officers of the Crown of France and Italy, will go in quest of their Majesties. The procession will move in the following order, on its way to the gallery, passing through the Emperor's Cabinet, the saloon of the Princes, the Presence Chamber, and the Saloon of Mars. The Vergers, Heralds, Pages, Assistant Master of the Ceremonies, Officers of the Household to the King of Italy, the Emperor's Equerries in Ordinary, the Chamberlains in Ordinary, the Emperor's Aides de-Camp, the two Equerries in attendance for the day, the Aide-de-Camp on duty, the Governor of the Palace, the Secretary of State for the Imperial Family, the Grand Officers of the Crown of Italy, the Grand Chamberlain of France, and that of Italy, the Princes Grand Dignitaries, the Princes of the Blood, the Emperor and Empress.—Behind their Majesties, the Colonel- General of the Guard on service, the Grand Marshal of the Palace, the Grand Master of the Household of Italy, the Grand Almoners of France and Italy; the Knight of Honour and Equerry to the Empress, carrying the train of her mantle; the maids of Honour of France and Italy, and the Robing Women; the Princesses of the Blood, the Ladies of the Palace, the Maids of Honour to the Princesses, the Officers of the Households of the Princes and Princesses in attendance.—All will be uncovered. The procession having reached the gallery, the heralds and pages will branch of, half to the right, and half to the left, in the Saloon of Mars, close to the entrance. —The Officers and Grand Officers of France and Italy, the Maids of Honour, and the Robing Women, will proceed to take their station according to their rank, behind their Majesties' chairs.—Their Imperial Majesties will take their seats on the throne; the Princes and Princesses to the right and left of the estrade, in the following order, and according to their relation of blood:—
To the right of the Emperor, Madame; Prince Louis Napoleon, King of Holland ; Prince Jerome Napoleon, King of Westphalia; Prince Borghese, Duke of Guastalla; Prince Joachim Napoleon, King of Naples ; Prince Eugene, viceroy of Italy, the Prince Arch-Chancellor; the Prince Vice-Grand Elector.—To the left of the Empress, the Princess Julia, Queen of Spain; the Princess Hortensia. Queen of Holland; the Princess Catherine, Queen of Westphalia; the Princess Elisa, Grand Duchess of Tuscany; the Princess Paulina; the Princess Caroline, Queen of Naples; the Grand Duke of Wurtzburgh; the Princess Augusta, Vice-Queen of Italy; the Princess Stephanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Baden; the Hereditary Grand Duke of Baden; the Prince Arch Treasurer; the Prime Vice-Constable.—The Secretary of State to the Imperial Family will take his seat at the table. The first bench will be reserved for the Ladies of the Palace, the Grand Master of the Ceremonies, the Masters and Assistants of the Ceremonies, to the right and left front of the throne. On the arrival of their Majesties, all the Ladies will rise up, and continue standing until the end of the ceremony.—The Emperor being seated, the Grand Master of the Ceremonies will take his Majesty's orders, and proceed to request his Highness the Prince Arch-Chancellor of the Empire to go up to the Emperor's chair. One of the Masters of the Ceremonies will at the same time give notice to the Secretary of State for the Imperial Family, who will approach the Prince Arch- Chancellor, and make his obeisance to their Majesties. His Highness the prince Arch-Chancellor, having bowed to their Majesties, will say—”In the name of the Emperor (at these words their Majesties will stand up)-—Sire, does your Imperial and Royal Majesty declare that you take in marriage her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Louisa, Archduchess of Austria, here present?” The Emperor will answer—” I declare that I take in marriage her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Louisa, Archduchess of Austria, here present.”— He will then put the question to her Imperial and Royal Highness the Archduchess of Austria, in these terms;— ” Does her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Louisa. Archduchess of Austria, declare that she takes in marriage his Majesty the Emperor and King Napoleon, here present?” Her Imperial and Royal Highness will answer—” I declare that I take in marriage his Majesty the Emperor and King- Napoleon here present.” The Prince Arch-Chancellor will then pronounce the marriage in these terms:—”In the name of the Emperor and the Law, I declare that his imperial and Royal Majesty Napoleon, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, and her Imperial and Royal Highness the Archduchess Maria Louisa, are united in marriage.”—Then the Masters and Assistants of the Ceremonies will carry the table, on which are the registers of the civil state, up to the chairs of the Emperor and Empress, and return to their places; The signing of the Act of Marriage will take place in the following manner:— ” The Secretary of State to the Imperial Family will present the pen to the Emperor, and then to the Empress. Their Majesties will sign it sitting, and without quitting their places. – The Princes and Princesses will approach the table, receive the pen from the hands of the Secretary and subscribe their names, previously bowing to the Emperor and Empress, They will subscribe in the order settled by the ceremonial.—The Act being concluded with the signatures of the Prince Arch. Chancellor, and the Secretary, the Masters and Assistants of the Ceremonies, after making a profound reverence to the Emperor and Empress, will remove the table which had been placed before their Majesties. The Grand Master of the Ceremonies will make a bow to their Majesties, and inform them that the ceremony is completed.— Their Majesties will then return to the apartment of the Empress in the following order -:
—The Vergers, Heralds at arms, and Pages, will place themselves in rank in the Saloon of Mars to form the advance of the procession. The Officers and Grand Officers preceding their Majesties will advance from right and left to take their places in the procession. The Grand Dignitaries and the Princes and Princesses of the Blood will next advance.—Then the Emperor and Empress, followed by the Colonel-General of the Guard, the Grand Marshal of the Palace, and the Grand Almoner, the Knight of Honour, the first Equerry, the two Maids of Honour, and the Robing Woman.— The Princesses will follow, and the procession will close with the Ladies of the Palace, the Maids of Honour to the Princesses, and the officers in the service of the Princes and Princesses.—The procession will reconduct their majesties to the apartment of the Empress, and then retire. Upon this occasion the Empress will be in full court dress, and wear a crown set with diamonds. At two o'clock the ceremony of the civil marriage will be announced by discharges of artillery fired at St. Cloud, and repeated at Paris at the Hospital of the Invalids.—After dinner their Majesties will repair to the family drawing-room. The retinue to accompany them to the theatre will assemble in the adjoining chambers. Their Majesties, in going to the theatre, will pass through the grand apartments of the Orangery, and arrive at the Imperial Box. The Orangery will be illuminated.— The persons invited to the ceremony will also be invited to the theatre. At the conclusion of the performance, the Emperor will re-conduct the Empress to her apartment. When the Emperor retires, the empress will accompany him to her outer saloon. There will be a general illumination at St. Cloud, and the water-works will play.