The Bal Polonais during the Wedding Ball of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia in the St George’s Hall of the Winter Palace in St Petersburg on this day in 1874, following the Wedding in the Great Cathedral Church. The formal polonaise dance was led by the Tsar, with as his partner, the bride, the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna. The Empress was led by the groom, the Duke of Edinburgh, and behind them, the Prince of Wales led his sister, the German Crown Princess, while the German Crown Prince, led the Princess of Wales. Lord Augustus Loftus, British ambassador, wrote to Lord Granville, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in London:
Nothing can exceed the splendour of this Banquet. The display of magnificent jewels, the brilliancy of the uniforms, the mass of ornamental gold and silver plate the beauty of the varied Sevres china added to the vocal talents of the Patti, the Albani, Nicolini who executed the most lovely airs during dinner gave a charm and perfection to a scene which for its unrivalled beauty is almost indescribable. After the dinner a Bal Polonaise was given at the Palace at which I am told three thousand persons were present. No one but the Imperial Family and the foreign ambassadors danced the Polonaise and the only exception was that of Viscount Sydney [the Lord Chamberlain] who with myself was specially invited to dance the Polonaise with the Imperial Bride.