17 May #ThrowbackThursday: Queen Elizabeth II’s Wedding
On November 20, 1947, 2,000 people gathered at Westminster Abbey to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. With the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday, we wanted to dedicate this week’s Throwback Thursday to Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding. We’ve rounded up 20 fun facts to share about the special day over 70 years ago.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Wedding to Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
The Royal Engagement
1. Queen Elizabeth (then just Princess Elizabeth) and Prince Philip announced their engagement on July 9, 1947.
The Royal Wedding
2. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were married just 4 months later on November 20th. The Queen was the 10th member of the Royal Family to be married at Westminster Abbey.
The Wedding Party
3. Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding party had eight bridesmaids. They were HRH The Princess Margaret, HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, The Hon. Pamela Mountbatten, The Hon. Margaret Elpinstone and Diana Bowes-Lyon.
4. In royal tradition, Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent served as page boys.
5. The Duke of Edinburgh’s best man was David Mountbatten, the Marquess of Milford Haven.
6. The wedding was officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, and the Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett.
7. The ceremony was recorded and broadcast to 200 million people worldwide courtesy of BBC Radio.
The Wedding Outfits
8. Queen Elizabeth’s engagement ring was crafted by the jewelers Philip Antrobus, and contained diamonds from a tiara that once belonged to Princess Alice of Battenberg, Prince Philip’s mother.
9. The wedding dress the Queen wore was designed by Sir Normal Hartnell. The designs was approved in mid-August and was still completed before the wedding. That’s less than 3 months!
10. The dress has a simple cut with a fitted bodice, heart-shaped neckline with a low v-pointed waist, and a floor-length panelled skirt. Additionally, it also features a 15-foot silk tulle full court train, which had to be attached at the shoulders, and was embroidered in pearl, crystal, and transparent applique tulle embroidery.
11. Due to World War II, rationing measures caused Queen Elizabeth to use clothing ration coupons to pay for her dress. Therefore, hundreds of people sent their coupons to help, but they all had to be returned as it would be illegal to use them.
12. Prince Philip stayed true to royal traditions and donned his military dress uniform for the wedding.
The Wedding Flowers
13. The Worshipful Company of Gardeners supplied the flowers for the Queen’s bouquet, which was arranged by florist MH Longman.
14. The bridal bouquet contained white orchids and a sprig of myrtle. This was a tradition started by Queen Victoria when she was given some myrtle by Prince Albert’s grandmother. The day after the wedding, the bouquet was sent back to Westminster Abbey to be placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior (another royal tradition).
The Wedding Reception
15. After the ceremony, a wedding breakfast was served in the Ball-Supper Room at Buckingham Palace, where the menu contained Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau en Casserole, and Bombe Glacee Princess Elizabeth.
16. In true royal tradition, the newlywed couple went onto the balcony at Buckingham Palace to wave to the huge crowds awaiting them.
The Wedding Gifts
17. Over 2,500 gifts were received from all over the world, as well as around 10,000 telegrams congratulating the couple. Some of the gifts received were a bookcase from Queen Mary, a picnic case from Princess Margaret, and a piece of cotton lace that was hand-spun by Mahatma Gandhi that read “Jai Hind” (Victory for India).
The Wedding Cake
18. Although there were eleven wedding cakes received, the official cake for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip was a four-tier cake that measured 9 feet high!
19. The cake was baked by McVitie and Price using ingredients from around the world, and they sourced sugar from the Girl Guides in Australia, which earned the cake the name “The 10,000 Mile Cake”. It was decorated with the arms of both families, including the monograms of the bride and groom, sugar-iced figured of their favourite activities, and regimental and naval badges.
20. The cake was cut using the Duke’s Mountbatten sword, a wedding gift from the king.