A ROYAL WEDDING
Princess Elizabeth married Lt Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey on Thursday, 20 November 1947.
A ROYAL ENGAGEMENT
The engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Lt Philip Mountbatten was formally announced on 9 July 1947, although they had actually become engaged the previous year.
The engagement ring was made up of a centre stone bordered by 10 smaller pavé diamonds. The diamonds were repurposed from a tiara that had belonged to Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, and other stones from the same piece would be used to create a bracelet as a wedding gift for the princess which would come to be known as the Edinburgh Wedding Bracelet.
The wedding took place at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947 and was recorded so it could be seen by a global audience. Despite the reservations about Philip’s suitability, the general public were excited about the marriage and it helped lift the spirits of a nation still grappling with the trauma of the Second World War.
On the eve of the wedding, Philip was bestowed with the style of His Royal Highness and created The Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich.
The wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell and was made from ivory duchesse silk satin, and featured star flowers, roses, jasmine blossoms and ears of wheat, embellished with 10,000 crystals and seed pearls which were imported from the United States.
The dress had a heart-shaped neckline, long tight sleeves and a full skirt. The 13ft train also featured embroidered motifs of wheat sheafs and flowers embellished with crystals and seed pearls. The whole design was inspired by Botticelli’s painting Primavera and took Hartnell’s embroiderers weeks to finish in utmost secrecy.
Princess Elizabeth was loaned Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara but disaster struck when the tiara broke on the day. A hasty repair was carried out but you can still see the slight gap. The tiara was made by Garrard in 1919 and features diamonds set in gold and silver.
The princess also wore two pearl necklaces who were said to have belonged to Queen Anne and Queen Caroline. The smaller strand, the Queen Anne, has 46 pearls, while the longer one, the Queen Caroline, has 50 pearls. They were given to the princess by her father as a wedding gift and had to be hastily retrieved from St James’s Palace on the wedding day.
The bridal bouquet consisted of white orchids and also included the traditional sprig of myrtle from Queen Victoria’s bush at Osborne. A sprig from Elizabeth’s bouquet was also planted and modern royal brides usually include both sprigs in their bouquet.
The Worshipful Company of Gardeners supplied the flowers for the bouquet, and it was arranged by the florist MH Longman.
The wedding breakfast was held in the Ball Supper Room at Buckingham Palace, however the menu was scaled down as the country was still in rationing. The menu consisted of Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau en Casserole, Haricot Verts, Pommes Noisette and Salade Royale. The dessert was Bombe Glacee Princess Elizabeth.
The official wedding cake was baked by McVitie and Price with ingredients from all around the world which earned the cake the nickname ‘The 10,000 Mile Cake’.
The cake was nine feet high with four tiers and was decorated with the arms of both families, including the monograms of the bride and groom, sugar-iced figures of their favourite activities, and regimental and naval badges.
The princess had eight bridesmaids and two page boys:
A LONG MARRIAGE
By the time of Prince Philip’s death in 2021, the couple had been married for almost 74 years and were the only royal couple in the history of the British monarchy to have celebrated a Platinum Wedding Anniversary.
After the births of four children and eight grandchildren, the couple welcomed their first great-grandchild in December 2010.