Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth – a royal wedding

Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth wedded at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947 aged 21 and 26 respectively, and the marriage lasted over 70 years, the longest of any British sovereign.

Four months earlier, Philip proposed with a three-carat round diamond engagement ring, which he designed himself from the stones of his mother’s tiara.

At the wedding breakfast, King George VI declared: “Our daughter is marrying the man she loves.”

Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the event a ‘flash of colour on the hard road we have to travel’, referring to the climate of post-war Britain.

However, the wedding encountered some incidents, as Elizabeth’s tiara snapped on the morning of the wedding, and Philip was stopped for speeding through central London on the day of the rehearsal dinner.

He reportedly said at the time: “I’m sorry officer, but I’ve got an appointment with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Money was also an obstacle as the country was still rationing following World War II.

Elizabeth was granted an extra 200 clothing coupons for her wedding dress by the Government, and hundreds of people from across the UK sent her their coupons to help, yet they were returned as it was illegal to use them.

The princess wore an ivory silk gown, decorated with 10,000 seed pearls and a 13-feet long bridal train, while Philip wore his naval uniform and a star emblem as a Knight of Most Noble Order of the Garter.

The royal couple received eleven wedding cakes, yet the official cake, baked by McVitie and Price, was nine feet high with four tiers and Philip used his ceremonial sword to cut it.

It included ingredients from around the world giving it the name ‘The 10,000 Mile Cake’.

The wedding ceremony was officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher and the Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett, and over 2,000 guests were invited, including six kings and seven queens.

Philip’s best man was David Mountbatten, the Marquess of Milford Haven.

The ceremony was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio to 200 million people around the world as people celebrated from their homes.

Afterwards, the wedded couple held the wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace, where they waved to the crowds from the balcony.

They then spent their wedding night in Broadlands, Hampshire, the home of Philip’s uncle, Earl Mountbatten.

Their marriage endured Elizabeth’s reign as Queen of England, the birth of their four children and many grandchildren.

You can check out all of SWL’s Prince Philip coverage here.

Featured image credit: Archives New Zealand on Flickr

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