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16 things you didn't know about the wedding of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Written by Katie Byrne, published 6th feb 2017

As the Queen celebrates an astonishing 65 years on the throne, we take a look back at her 1947 wedding to Prince Philip...

#1 The then-Princess Elizabeth and Philip were introduced at a family wedding in 1934.

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#2 Philip proposed 12 years later in 1946, during a romantic walk around the gardens of royal estate, Balmoral. He presented the queen-to-be with a breathtaking platinum and diamond engagement ring. The unique rock was designed by jewellers Philip Antrobus, and featured gems taken from a tiara belonging to Philip's mother.

#3 The reason for the secrecy? When Philip asked for the proposal permission of his father-in-law, King George VI, the monarch agreed on the condition that the couple keep the news quiet until Elizabeth's 21st birthday, the following April.

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#4 Ahead of his marriage, Prince Philip renounced both his Greek and Danish titles, converted to Anglicanism and adopted the surname of his mother's family, Mountbatten.

#5 The couple's wedding date was set for 20 November 1947; Westminster Abbey was booked as the venue for the ceremony (the same location where the Princess's parents had tied the knot in 1923), whilst the reception took place at Buckingham Palace.

#6 The groom-to-be had not one but two stag dos the night before the wedding; the first, to which the Press were invited, took place at The Dorchester, whilst the second, at The Belfry Club, was attended by Philip's closest friends. 

#7 Post-war rationing meant that the Princess had to fund her wedding gown using ration coupons. Her dress - which boasted a 15-ft train - was created by British fashion designer Norman Hartnell, who also created her going-away outfit, too. The wedding dress was crafted from ivory duchess satin and was dotted with over 10,000 white pearls, held in place with silver thread, and tulle embroidery. 

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#8 The glowing Princess completed her bridal look with a silk veil, held in place by a tiara lent to her by her mother - which snapped in half on the morning of the wedding! Disaster was narrowly avoided when the court jeweller (who was on stand-by in case of emergency) swept the jewelled headband off to his nearby workroom to fix it before the ceremony. Phew!

#9 The bride's wedding bouquet featured snowy-white orchids, as well as a sprig of myrtle, plucked from the bush that was grown from the myrtle in Queen Victoria's wedding bouquet (over a century earlier!). The following day, it was placed on the grave of the unknown soldier in Westminster Abbey. The bouquet was provided by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners and created by florist M.H. Longman.

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#10 Princess Elizabeth was attended by eight bridesmaids, including her sister, Princess Margaret. The 'maids held pretty posies designed by Moyses Stevens, as well as wearing floral wreaths in their hair.

#11 The couple's wedding cake stood at over nine-feet tall, and featured four intricately decorated tiers of traditional wedding sponge, with a kick of alcohol. The stunning bake featured hand-painted sections which showed the monograms and family crests of the bride and groom and was cut using a sword, gifted to the Prince by King George.

#12 The newlyweds received more than 2,500 wedding gifts, and around 10,000 congratulatory telegrams. Over 200,000 people visited an exhibition of the royal couple's wedding presents, which opened shortly after the nuptials.

#13 The wedding ceremony was broadcast by BBC radio to over 200million people across the globe.

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#14 Guests were gifted dainty posies of myrtle and white Balmoral heather as wedding favours.

#15 The newlyweds spent the first part of their honeymoon at the Broadlands estate in Hampshire, and the second at Birkhall, a property on the Balmoral Estate.

#16 The couple marked their 65th wedding anniversary in 2012 - a landmark never before reached by a royal couple.


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