Wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Wedding photo with the Duke of York wearing RAF full dress in the rank of group captain.
|Date||26 April 1923, 11:30 GMT|
|Location||Westminster Abbey, London, England|
|Participants||Prince Albert, Duke of York|
Courtship and proposals
Prince Albert, Duke of York—"Bertie" to the family—was the second son of King George V. He was second in line to succeed his father, behind his elder brother the Prince of Wales. He initially proposed to Elizabeth in 1921, but she turned him down, being "afraid never, never again to be free to think, speak and act as I feel I really ought to". When he declared he would marry no one else, his mother, Queen Mary, visited Glamis to see for herself the girl her son wanted to marry. She became convinced that Elizabeth was "the one girl who could make Bertie happy", but nevertheless refused to interfere. At the same time, Elizabeth was courted by James Stuart, Albert's equerry, until he left the prince's service for a better-paid job in the American oil business.
In February 1922, Elizabeth was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Albert's sister, Princess Mary, to Viscount Lascelles. The following month, Albert proposed again, but she refused him once more. Eventually, in January 1923, Elizabeth agreed to marry Albert, despite her misgivings about royal life. Albert's freedom in choosing Elizabeth, not a member of a royal family, though the daughter of a peer, was considered a gesture in favour of political modernisation; previously, princes were expected to marry princesses.
Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were married on 26 April 1923 in Westminster Abbey. In an unexpected and unprecedented gesture, Elizabeth laid her bouquet at the Tomb of The Unknown Warrior on her way into the Abbey, in memory of her brother Fergus. Ever since, the bouquets of subsequent royal brides have traditionally been laid at the tomb, though after the wedding ceremony rather than before.
Lady Elizabeth was attended by eight bridesmaids:
- The Lady Mary Cambridge (26), daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Cambridge, niece of Queen Mary and thus a cousin of the groom
- The Lady May Cambridge (17), daughter of Princess Alice and the Earl of Athlone, niece of Queen Mary and thus first cousin of the groom
- The Lady Mary Thynn (20), daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Bath
- The Lady Katharine Hamilton (23), daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn
- The Hon Diamond Hardinge (22), daughter of Lord and Lady Hardinge
- The Hon Cecilia Bowes-Lyon (11), daughter of Lord and Lady Glamis, niece of the bride
- The Hon Mary Elizabeth Elphinstone (11), daughter of Lord and Lady Elphinstone, niece of the bride
- Miss Betty Cator (later sister-in-law to the bride, as Hon Mrs Michael Bowes-Lyon)
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2013)|
The groom's family
- The King and Queen, the groom's parents
- Queen Alexandra, the groom's paternal grandmother
- The Princess Royal, the groom's paternal aunt
- The Princess Victoria, the groom's paternal aunt
- The Queen and King of Norway, the groom's paternal aunt and uncle
- The Crown Prince of Norway, the groom's cousin
- The Marquess and Marchioness of Cambridge, the groom's maternal uncle and aunt
- The Earl of Athlone and Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, the groom's maternal uncle and aunt (The Countess, as well, being a paternal first cousin once removed of the groom.)
The bride's family
- The Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the bride's parents
- The Lady and Lord Elphinstone, the bride's sister and her husband
- The Master of Elphinstone, the bride's nephew
- Miss Jean Constance Elphinstone, the bride's niece
- Mr Andrew Elphinstone, the bride's nephew
- The Lord and Lady Glamis, the bride's brother and his wife
- The Master of Glamis, the bride's nephew
- Miss Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, the bride's niece
- Mr Timothy Bowes-Lyon, the bride's nephew
- Miss Nancy Bowes-Lyon, the bride's niece
- Mr and Mrs John Bowes-Lyon, the bride's brother and his wife
- Miss Anne Bowes-Lyon, the bride's niece
- Miss Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, the bride's niece
- Lady Rose Leveson-Gower and William Leveson-Gower Esq, the bride's sister and her husband
- Miss Mary Cecilia Leveson-Gower, the bride's niece
- Mr Granville James Leveson-Gower, the bride's nephew
- Mr Michael Bowes-Lyon, the bride's brother
- Mr David Bowes-Lyon, the bride's brother
- The Lady and Lord Elphinstone, the bride's sister and her husband
- Mr and Mrs Francis Bowes-Lyon, 'the bride's paternal uncle and aunt
- Mr Muriel Bowes-Lyon, the bride's cousin
- Mr Charles Bowes-Lyon, the bride's cousin
- Mr Francis Bowes-Lyon, the bride's partenal uncle
- Mr and Mrs Patrick Bowes-Lyon, the bride's paternal uncle and aunt
- Lady Constance Bowes-Lyon, the bride's paternal aunt
- Mr and Mrs Malcolm Bowes-Lyon, the bride's paternal uncle and aunt
- Miss Ann Violet Cavendish-Bentinck, the bride's maternal aunt
- The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, the groom's granduncle
- The Crown Prince of Sweden, widower of the groom's late first cousin once removed
- Princess Patricia, Lady Ramsay and Capt Sir Alexander Ramsay, the groom's first cousin, once removed and her husband
- Alexander Ramsay of Mar, the groom's second cousin
- Princess Christian, the groom's grandaunt
- Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, the groom's grandaunt
- Princess Henry of Battenberg, the groom's grandaunt
- The Empress Frederick's family:
- Princess Heinrich XXX Reuss, the groom's second cousin
- Princess Heinrich of Prussia, the groom's cousin, once removed
- The Queen Mother of Greece, the groom's cousin, once removed
- The Hereditary Princess of Hesse-Kassel, the groom's first cousin, once removed
- Prince Wolfgang of Hesse-Kassel, the groom's second cousin
- The Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine's family:
- The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, the groom's first cousin once removed
- The Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, the groom's first cousin, once removed (The Marchioness' grandson, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, later marries the groom's future daughter, Elizabeth.)
- The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's family:
- The Dowager Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, widow of the groom's cousin, once removed
- The Duke and Duchess of Cumberland and Teviotdale, the groom's third cousin and his wife
- The Queen Dowager of Denmark, the groom's paternal grandaunt
- The Queen Dowager of Greece, the groom's grandaunt
- The Empress Dowager of All the Russias, the groom's grandaunt
- Prince Valdemar of Denmark, the groom's granduncle
Elizabeth's wedding dress was made from deep ivory chiffon moire, embroidered with pearls and a silver thread. It was intended to match the traditional Flanders lace provided for the train by Queen Mary. Elizabeth's dress, which was in the fashion of the early 1920s, was designed by Madame Handley-Seymour, dressmaker to Queen Mary.
The silver leaf girdle had a trail of spring green tulle, trailing to the ground; silver and rose thistle fastened it. According to an era news article: "In the trimming the bride has defied all old superstitions about the unluckiness of green."
Unlike more recent dresses, details of this one were publicly revealed in advance of the wedding day. However, the dress was worked on until the last possible opportunity: the day before the wedding, Elizabeth divided her time between the wedding rehearsal and her dressmakers.
The newly formed British Broadcasting Company had wanted to record and broadcast the event on radio, but the Chapter vetoed the idea (although the Dean, Herbert Edward Ryle, was in favour). Albert's marriage to a British commoner was considered a modernising gesture.
Upon their marriage, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was styled Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York. Following a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace prepared by chef Gabriel Tschumi, they honeymooned at Polesden Lacey, a manor house in Surrey, and then went to Scotland, where she caught "unromantic" whooping cough.
- Ezard, John (1 April 2002), "A life of legend, duty and devotion", The Guardian: 18
- Airlie, Mabell (1962), Thatched with Gold, London: Hutchinson, p. 167
- Shawcross, pp. 133–135
- Shawcross, pp. 135–136
- Shawcross, p. 136
- Longford, Elizabeth (1981), The Queen Mother, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, p. 23
- Roberts, pp. 57–58; Shawcross, p. 113
- Shawcross, p. 177
- Vickers, Hugo (2006), Elizabeth: The Queen Mother, Arrow Books/Random House, p. 64, ISBN 978-0-09-947662-7
- Rayment, Sean (1 May 2011). "Royal wedding: Kate Middleton's bridal bouquet placed at Grave of Unknown Warrior". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Daily Telegraph: royal wedding photograph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/royalty/9176069/The-Queen-Mother-in-pictures.html?frame=2181538
- Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Garry (26 September 2002). Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, 1900-2002: The Queen Mother and Her Century. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-55002-391-6. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- "The Duchess of York's Wedding Dress". Fashion Era. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- Bronner, Milton (24 April 1923). "Medieval gown for Lady Betty". The Toledo News-Bee. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- "Dull grey skies and raw winds for Royal wedding". The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg FL). Associated Press. 25 April 1923. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- Reith, John (1949), Into the Wind, London: Hodder and Staughton, p. 94
- Roberts, pp. 57-58.
- Shawcross, p. 168
- Letter from Albert to Queen Mary, 25 May 1923, quoted in Shawcross, p. 185
- Shawcross, William (2009), Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, Macmillan, ISBN 978-1-4050-4859-0
- Roberts, Andrew; Edited by Antonia Fraser (2000), The House of Windsor, London: Cassell & Co., ISBN 0-304-35406-6