Little Bits of History

Royal Wedding

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 20, 2015
Princess Elizabeth and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Princess Elizabeth and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

November 20, 1947: Princess Elizabeth and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh marry. The 26-year-old former Prince of Greece and Denmark met his bride when she was just a young teen. Elizabeth, born in 1926, met her future husband in 1934 at the wedding of Philip’s cousin who married Elizabeth’s uncle. The next time they met was in 1937 and when they met again in 1939, Elizabeth fell in love with her distant cousin and they began exchanging letters. She was only 13 at the time. Philip served in the Royal Navy during World War II and the couple became secretly engaged in 1946. When the foreign Prince asked the King for permission to marry the Princess, he was given tentative permission – if he would wait until she turned 21 the following April to announce it. They became officially and publicly engaged on July 9, 1947.

The marriage of British royalty requires permission from the Privy Council (as demanded in the Royal Marriages Act of 1772) and this was granted as was permission given from the King’s Canadian Privy Council. Philip had to renounce his Greek and Danish titles, convert from Greek Orthodox to Anglican, and adopt the style of Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten – the surname of his mother’s British family. On November 19, 1947 the King bestowed the title of His Royal Highness on the groom and after the wedding, he was made the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London.

The couple were wed in Westminster Abbey at 11.30 AM local time. She was attended by eight bridesmaids. Britain was not fully recovered from the devastation of World War II and Elizabeth required ration coupons in order to purchase the materials needed for her gown which was designed by Norman Harnell. Philip had several Germanic relations and in the climate of the times, none of them were invited to the wedding. It should also be noted, that Elizabeth’s errant brother, the former King and now Duke of Windsor was also not invited. Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Cyril Garbett, the Archbishop of York, officiated the ceremony. They received over 2,500 gifts from around the world and had about 10,000 congratulatory telegrams sent to them.

No wedding goes without a hitch, even for royalty. As she was dressing, Elizabeth’s tiara snapped. The royal jeweler was standing by and came to the rescue, repairing it before the ceremony began. The couple honeymooned in Broadlands in Hampshire, the home of Philip’s uncle – Earl Mountbatten. Upon their return, they moved into Windlesham Moor and stayed until summer 1949. They then went to Clarence House in London. Between 1949 and 1951, Philip was stationed in Malta and served in the Navy. The couple would stay together for months at a time overseas, but their children stayed at home. Charles had been born in 1948 and Anne in 1950. The younger brothers were born after Elizabeth became Queen. Elizabeth has been Queen of England longer than anyone else and her husband has been prince consort longer than anyone else – and he is the oldest ever male member of the British royal family at the age of 94.

I have to be seen to be believed.

Grief is the price we pay for love.

The British constitution has always been puzzling and always will be.

Like all best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements. – all from Queen Elizabeth II

Also on this day: What a Yo-Yo – In 1866, the yo-yo was patented.
God, Save the Queen – In 1992, Windsor Castle caught fire.
Sperm Whale’s Revenge – In 1820, the whaling ship Essex was attacked.
Whoops – In 1980, the Lake Peigneur disaster began.
War Crimes – In 1945, the Nuremberg Trials began.

* “Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh photo” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –,_Duke_of_Edinburgh_photo.PNG#/media/File:Wedding_of_Princess_Elizabeth_and_Philip_Mountbatten,_Duke_of_Edinburgh_photo.PNG


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