Fame of Thrones

Two beautiful Carnival celebrations turned back the pages of time for their historical themes. Buda Castle on the west bank of the Danube was the site chosen by the Mystic Club for estival gallivanting in 1820 with Hapsburg Emperor Francis and his Empress Caroline Augusta of the Austrian Empire. They also reigned as king and queen of Buda, the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary.

Russia’s victory in the War of 1812 (the Patriotic War of 1812) was recalled by Alexis at its 46th Imperial Reception. With a “scorched earth policy,” Napoleon’s Grand Army was defeated and Alexander I (Aleksandr Pavlovich Romanov, whose reign was 1801-1825), Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, celebrated after the retreat, awarding the Order of Saint George First Class to Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov, the field marshal of the Russian Empire. A re-creation of the presentation of the order occurred at the Alexis reception.

Mystic Magnificence

Held at the Hilton Hotel, the grand ball of the Mystic Club hailed Mrs. Christian Trousdale Brown, Kia, as queen. She succeeded Mrs. Robert James Whann, Leah, of 2017. His majesty’s identity was not revealed, but he delighted in his role and praised his queen. Ladies-in-waiting to Her Majesty Empress Caroline Augusta (Mrs. Brown) and the figures whom they portrayed were Mmes. Mark Walton Brown, Princess Esterhazy of Galanthe; Stephen McCloskey Farnsworth, Duchess Marie-Caroline de Berry; Ludovico Feoli, Archduchess Henrietta of Teschen; Bryan Wallace Westfeldt Fitzpatrick, Countess Borbala Kendeffy of Malomviz; Jason Todd Spence, Duchess Maria Dorothea of Wurttemberg; and John Giffen Weinmann Jr., Countess Julia Zichy de Vasonkeo. Mrs. Spence, the former Jane Rapier, is the daughter of a former Mystic queen, Mrs. Michael Joseph Rapier (Kay), and Mrs. Weinmann Jr. is the daughter-in-law of a former queen, Mrs. Weinmann. Both past majesties, Kay Rapier and Virginia Weinmann, attended.

Young ladies presented — debutantes of the season — were Misses Madeleine Anne Bienvenu, Margaret Ann Bryan, Virginia Currin Bryan, Mary Elizabreth Conwill, Virginia DeRussy Dodenhoff, Ellen Ashley Feringa, Megan Lane Feringa, Sarah Jane Holbrook Freeman, Elizabeth Macon Hamrick, Jane Talley Hodges, Elle Colton McLeod, Layne Watkins Nalty, Mary Fleming England Redd, Michelle Elise Riviere and Shelby Ottley White. Nine crowns have graced their heads over the years.

“Emperor Waltz,” by Johann Strauss II was played by the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra as the overture. Appropriate music accompanied the arrival of the captain, who was dressed in a Hungarian Hussar-style military uniform; the king, in the guise of the King of Hungary; the cast to the rollicking “Radetzky March” by Johann Strauss I; and the queen. She was universally admired in her Mary Williams-designed gown of off-white sheer silk marquisette over a pale blush pink silk satin.

Then came the ladies-in-waiting: Winnie Brown, in pine green silk faille; Amy Farnsworth, in blue-green iridescent silk taffeta; Stephanie Feoli, in cobalt blue; Lauren Fitzpatrick, in pale silvery blue silk satin; Jane Spence, in a lilac-impression silk taffeta dress; and CiCi Weinmann, in a gown of deep robin-egg blue silk taffeta. Empire was the style for each.

After the debutantes’ entrance to lush Borodin music, the grand march ("Marche Noble") took place. Post tableau, dancing ensued before guests sat to sup. A winter greens salad, prime bone-in filet and an opera torte, with appropriate white and red wines, composed the dinner menu. More dancing followed, as did compliments to her majesty’s husband, who was dressed as a clergyman in a black cassock and a gold miter; the court and their spouses; the debutantes; and the radiant queen Kia.

Alexis Hails Victory

To “The Russian March,” as played by Deacon John and the Ivories, the Alexis captain entered the ballroom at the New Orleans Country Club. The next to appear was the tsar, Alexander I, Pavlovich Romanov, whose Alexis identity was secret, and then the grand dukes Konstantin Pavlovich and Michael Pavlovich and grand duchesses Maria Pavlovna and Catherine Pavlovna, with Mmes. John T. Lambert, Cynthia Jean Lambert, and Bruce A. Gordon, Melissa Mason Gordon, in the roles.

Her majesty Mrs. Jason Matthew Marek, Heather Godbold Marek, arrived to due applause as Elixabeth Alexeievna, Louise of Baden. More applause was sounded for the costumes of the court, which were conceived and provided by Southern Costume Co. Last year the tsarina was Mrs. Alan Edward Sheen, Joan, and the grand duchesses Mmes. Shannon R. Walgamote and Tim G. Peterson, Joan and Charlene.

Among the other features of the Imperial reception, which was preceded by the Court Reception, were the double eagle crest above the dais, the red roses on the dais and the honorees’ tables, and entertainment by the Komenka Dancers (officially, The Komenka Ensemble). They continue to provide an outstanding, authentic Russian presentation to the court.

Among the many applauding all the proceedings were Mrs. Leonard K. Nicholson, Joan; Dr. Robert and Mary Lou Carter; retired Judge H. Charles and Myra Gaudin; William R. and Melissa Legier; Dr. Frederic C. Querens and Miss Sarah Ann Lowman; and Dr. Alan and Joan Sheen. Also, Dr. Charles R. and Carol Smith, Dieter Michael and Anna Hugel, Michael T. and Linda Gray, Richard and Amie Seba, Eric S. and Carrie Berger, Dr. Kenneth and Dr. Naomi Mann, Alfred Edwin and Sonda Stacey, and Robert Craig and LouAnne Sanders. Quite a few of the above ladies were past tsarinas.

Years ago, Mrs. Thomas Norton Bernard, Pat, reigned as the first tsarina. That was in 1973. In I974, the royal honor befell Mrs. Harold Henry Stream, Matilda, and the following year, Mrs. Nolan Charles Kammer, Katherine.

After the elegance of the tableau and the Imperial March to the “Radetsky March,” guests formed lines at the buffet for a full-course dinner. Conversation was especially animated. Quite a few couples then took to the dance floor.

All the while, Tsarina Heather and Grand Duchesses Cynthia and Melissa savored the excitement of the evening when “Victory” blended with vibrancy.