Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh
Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh on their wedding day.
|Date||20 November 1947, 11:30 GMT|
|Location||Westminster Abbey, London, England|
|Participants||Princess Elizabeth and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh|
Elizabeth and Philip are second cousins once removed (by descent from Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse-Kassel) and third cousins (by descent from Victoria of the United Kingdom and Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha). Elizabeth met Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1934, at the wedding of Philip's cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark with Prince George, Duke of Kent and uncle of Elizabeth, and again in 1937. After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth—though only 13 years old—fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters. An entry in Chips Channon's diary made reference to the future marriage of Elizabeth and Philip as early as 1941, "He is to be our Prince Consort, and that is why he is serving in our Navy." The couple became secretly engaged in 1946, when Philip asked King George VI for his daughter's hand in marriage. The King granted his request providing any formal engagement was delayed until Elizabeth's twenty-first birthday the following April. Their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947.
The marriage was formally consented to by the King in his British Privy Council, as per the Royal Marriages Act 1772. The same was done in Canada at a meeting of the King's Canadian Privy Council, with the Chief Justice, Thibaudeau Rinfret, standing in as deputy to the King's representative, the Governor General of Canada.[n 1]
Before the marriage, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism and adopted the style Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, taking the surname of his mother's British family. The day preceding his wedding, King George VI bestowed the style His Royal Highness and, on the morning of the wedding, 20 November 1947, he was made the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London.
Princess Elizabeth was attended by eight bridesmaids: HRH The Princess Margaret (her younger sister), HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent (her first cousin), Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott (daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch), Lady Mary Cambridge (her second cousin), Lady Elizabeth Lambart (daughter of the Earl of Cavan), The Hun. Pamela Mountbatten (Philip's first cousin), The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone (her first cousin) and The Hon. Diana Bowes-Lyon (her first cousin). Her cousins Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent served as page boys.
The royal parties were brought in large carriage processions, the first with The Queen and Princess Margaret and later a procession with Queen Mary. At Kensington Palace, Philip departed with his best man, the Marquess of Milford Haven. Princess Elizabeth arrived at the Abbey with her father, King George, in the Irish State Coach.
The wedding ceremony was officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher and the Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett. The ceremony was recorded and broadcast by BBC radio to 200 million people around the world. Elizabeth and Philip then proceeded to Buckingham Palace, where a breakfast was held at the Ball Supper-room. The couple received over 2,500 wedding presents from around the world and around 10,000 telegrams of congratulations.
Upon their marriage, Elizabeth took the title of her husband and became Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh. They departed for their honeymoon in Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Philip's uncle, Earl Mountbatten.
On the morning of her wedding, as Princess Elizabeth was getting dressed at Buckingham Palace before leaving for Westminster Abbey, her tiara snapped. Luckily the court jeweller was standing by in case of emergency. The jeweller was rushed to his work room by a police escort. Queen Elizabeth reassured her daughter that it would be fixed in time, and it was. For her wedding dress she still required ration coupons to buy the material for her gown, designed by Norman Hartnell. Elizabeth did her own makeup for the wedding.
The director of music for the wedding was the Australian organist and master of the choristers at the abbey, Dr William Neil McKie, a role he was later to repeat at the Coronation in 1953. McKie also wrote a motet for the occasion, ""We wait for thy loving kindness, O God". Psalm 67, "God be merciful unto us and bless us" was sung to a setting by Sir Edward Cuthbert Bairstow. The anthem was "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" by Samuel Sebastian Wesley; the hymns were "Praise, my soul, the king of heaven", and "The Lord's my Shepherd" to the Scottish tune "Crimond" attributed to Jessie Seymour Irvine, which was largely unknown in the Church of England at the time. A descant to "Crimond" had been taught to Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret by a lady-in-waiting, Lady Margaret Egerton; the music for the descant could not be found, so the princesses and Lady Margaret sang it to William McKie, who wrote it down in shorthand. The service started with a specially composed fanfare by Arnold Bax and finished with Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March". The abbey choir was joined by the choirs of Chapel Royal, and Saint George's Chapel, Windsor.
The bride's family
- The King and Queen, the bride's parents
- The Princess Margaret, the bride's sister
- Queen Mary, the bride's paternal grandmother
- The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the bride's uncle and aunt
- Prince William of Gloucester, the bride's cousin
- Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, the bride's paternal aunt and the groom's paternal first cousin
- The Princess Royal, the bride's aunt, did not attend due to illness, but her sons did:
- The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the bride's uncle and aunt
The groom's family
- Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, the groom's mother
- The Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, the groom's maternal grandmother and the bride's first cousin twice removed
- The Marchioness of Milford Haven, the groom's aunt
- The Marquess of Milford Haven, the groom's cousin
- Lady Tatiana Mountbatten, the groom's cousin
- The Marquess of Carisbrooke, the groom's uncle
- The Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma, the groom's uncle and aunt
- The Marchioness of Milford Haven, the groom's aunt
- Prince and Princess George of Greece and Denmark, the groom's paternal uncle and aunt
- Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, the groom's paternal aunt
- Princess Christopher of Greece and Denmark, the groom's paternal aunt
- Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark, the groom's cousin
- Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone and The Earl of Athlone, the bride's great-uncle and his wife (The Countess of Athlone was also George V's first cousin, making the Countess a first cousin twice removed of the bride through the British royal family, but became the bride's great-aunt because of her marriage to Alexander Cambridge, the brother of the bride's grandmother Queen Mary.)
- The Earl of Southesk, the husband of Princess Maud of Fife, who was the bride's first cousin once removed
- Princess Patricia, Lady Ramsay and Sir Alexander Ramsay, the bride's first cousin twiced removed and her husband
- Princess Helena Victoria, the bride's first cousin twice removed
- Princess Marie Louise, the bride's first cousin twiced removed
- The Marquess and Marchioness of Cambridge, the bride's first cousin once removed and his wife
- The Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, the bride's first cousin once removed and her husband
- Lady Helena Gibbs, the bride's first cousin once removed
- Lady May Abel Smith and Sir Henry Abel Smith, the bride's first cousin once removed and her husband
- Miss Anne Abel Smith
- Miss Elizabeth Abel Smith
- The King of Norway, the bride's first cousin once removed (The King's mother Maud of Wales was the bride's great-aunt, as Maud of Wales and the bride's grandfather George V were siblings.)
- The Queen of the Hellenes, the bride's third cousin through Queen Victoria and the groom's second cousin through King Christian IX
- The Duchess of Aosta, the groom's first cousin
- Princess Katherine, Lady Brandram and Major Sir Richard Brandram, the groom's first cousin and her husband
- The King and Queen of Denmark, the bride's second cousin once removed and her husband
- Princess Axel of Denmark
- Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, the bride's first cousin twiced removed
- The Former King and Queen of Yugoslavia, the groom's first cousin once removed and her husband
- Prince Tomislav of Yugoslavia
- Prince Andrew of Yugoslavia
- The Queen Mother of Romania, the bride's first cousin twice removed and the groom's paternal first cousin
- The King of the Romanians, a third cousin to both the bride and groom
- The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden, the groom's maternal aunt and her husband (The Crown Prince's first wife was Princess Margaret of Connaught, a first cousin twice removed of the bride and groom through Queen Victoria.)
- Prince and Princess René of Bourbon-Parma (Princess Margaret is a first cousin once removed of the groom and the bride's first cousin twice removed, in which the princess, the bride, and the groom are all descended from Christian IX.)
- Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma
- Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma
In post-war Britain, it was not acceptable for the Duke of Edinburgh's German relations to be invited to the wedding, including Philip's three surviving sisters. Other notable absentees were the Duke of Windsor, the former king, who was not invited, and his sister, Mary, Princess Royal, who said she was ill. (Her husband, Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood, had died 6 months previous). Ronald Storrs claimed that the Countess of Harewood did not attend in protest at her brother's exclusion.
- Brandreth, pp. 133–139; Lacey, pp. 124–125; Pimlott, p. 86
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- Hoey, pp. 55–56; Pimlott, pp. 101, 137
- The London Gazette: . 21 November 1947.
- 60 Diamond Wedding anniversary facts, Official website of the British Monarchy, 18 November 2007, retrieved 20 June 2010
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- Heald, Tim (2007). Princess Margaret: A Life Unravelled. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-84820-2
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