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Nostalgia: Princess Elizabeth marries Philip Mountbatten

PUBLISHED: 12:03 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:27 16 May 2018

Princess Elizabeth and her bridegroom photographed at Buckingham Palace, with the King and Queen, Queen Mary, the groomsmen, bridesmaids and Royal guests, after their wedding at Westminster Abbey in 1947. Photo: Archant Library

Princess Elizabeth and her bridegroom photographed at Buckingham Palace, with the King and Queen, Queen Mary, the groomsmen, bridesmaids and Royal guests, after their wedding at Westminster Abbey in 1947. Photo: Archant Library

Archant Library

Two years after the end of the Second World War, the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip lifted the mood of the nation.

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh with their eight bridesmaids in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. Photo: PA/Archant LibraryPrincess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh with their eight bridesmaids in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. Photo: PA/Archant Library

As the tide turned and the war entered its final stages, romance was quietly blossoming between our future Queen and a dashing young naval officer.

They had first met in 1934 at the wedding of Prince George, the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina of Greece.

Philip began corresponding with the then 13-year-old Princess who was a distant cousin in 1939 after he joined the Navy.

During the Second World War, he served on board destroyers, took part in the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and was present when the Japanese surrender was signed in September 1945.

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (now The Duke of Edinburgh) on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding at Westminster Abbey in 1947. Photo: Central Press Photos/Archant LibraryPrincess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (now The Duke of Edinburgh) on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding at Westminster Abbey in 1947. Photo: Central Press Photos/Archant Library

Romance blossomed and after the war Philip asked King George VI for permission to marry his eldest daughter.

The King agreed on condition they wait until her 21st birthday before announcing their engagement.

The couple announced their engagement on July 9, 1947. They were married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. Philip was given the title Duke of Edinburgh on that day.

Elizabeth arrived in a horse-drawn coach. Some 2,000 guests, including foreign royalty, attended the ceremony. Millions more listened to the service, which was broadcast around the world by the BBC.

The royal wedding party appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) was married to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (now the Duke of Edinburgh) in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey. L-R: King George VI, Princess Margaret, unidentified, the bride Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II), the groom Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (now Duke of Edinburgh), the Queen Mother and Queen Mary, widow of George V. Photo: PA/Archant LibraryThe royal wedding party appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) was married to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (now the Duke of Edinburgh) in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey. L-R: King George VI, Princess Margaret, unidentified, the bride Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II), the groom Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (now Duke of Edinburgh), the Queen Mother and Queen Mary, widow of George V. Photo: PA/Archant Library

The wedding ring was made from Welsh gold. Elizabeth’s wedding dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, who drew his inspiration from the Botticelli painting Primavera (Spring).

As rationing was still in force, the Princess had to use clothing coupons to pay for the ivory silk dress, which had a fitted bodice, heart-shaped neckline and a floor-length panelled skirt decorated with 10,000 pearls. Her bridal bouquet was of white orchids and myrtle.

After the service, a wedding breakfast was held at Buckingham Palace. The Prince and Princess went onto the balcony to wave at the crowds outside.

The couple received 2,500 presents and 10,000 telegrams of congratulation. Gifts included a bookcase from Queen Mary, a picnic case from Princess Margaret, a sewing machine and refrigerator.

Their 9ft high cake was made from ingredients from around the globe. It was cut with a sword given to Philip by the King.

The Princess’s corgi Susan accompanied the couple on the train to Broadlands, in Hampshire, where they spent their wedding night. They spent the remainder of their honeymoon at Birkhall, in the Cairngorms, on the Balmoral estate.

Less than five years later Elizabeth would become Queen after the death of her father, who passed away in his sleep at Sandringham.

In September 2015, she became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch having exceeded the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

In November, the Queen and Duke will celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary.


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