[ARCHIVED CONTENT] 60 diamond wedding anniversary facts
This snapshot, taken on
24/08/2010
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
 
 
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.
60 Diamond Wedding anniversary facts
Latest News and Diary

A list of 60 facts about The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, published on 18 November 2007

1. The Queen is the first British monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

2. Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip first met when they attended the wedding of Prince Philip's cousin, Princess Marina of Greece to The Duke of Kent, who was an uncle of Princess Elizabeth, in 1934.

3. The engagement between Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten R.N was announced on the 9th July, 1947. Prince Philip was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. He joined the Royal Navy in 1939 and after the war, in February 1947, became a naturalised British subject. Prince Philip was required to choose a surname in order to continue his career in the Royal Navy, and adopted Mountbatten, the name of his mother's British relatives. He was created "Duke of Edinburgh" by King George VI on marriage.

4. The platinum and diamond engagement ring was made by the jewellers, Philip Antrobus Ltd, using diamonds from a tiara belonging to Prince Philip's mother.

5. Prince Philip had two stag parties the night before the wedding - the first at the Dorchester to which the press were invited and the second with his closest friends at the Belfry Club.

6. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were married in Westminister Abbey on the 20th November, 1947 at 11.30am with 2000 invited guests.

7. This was the first, and so far only time in British history, that the heir presumptive to the throne had been married.

8. The Queen was the 10th member of the Royal Family to be married in the Abbey. The first Royal wedding to take place in the Abbey was when King Henry I married Princess Matilda of Scotland on 11th November, 1100. On April 26th, 1923 The Queen's parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (then The Duke and Duchess of York) were married there.

9. The eight bridesmaids were: HRH The Princess Margaret, HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, The Hon. Pamela Mountbatten, The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone, The Hon. Diana Bowes-Lyon.

10. There were two pages: HRH Prince William of Gloucester (aged 5) and HRH Prince Michael of Kent (aged 5).

11. Guests attending the wedding included the The King and Queen of Denmark, the King and Queen of Yugoslavia, the Kings of Norway, Romania and the Shah of Iran.

12. The Queen's wedding dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell. Norman Hartnell submitted designs for the dress in August 1947.

13. The fabric for the dress was woven at Winterthur Silks Limited, Dunfermline, in the Canmore factory, using silk that had come from Chinese silkworms at Lullingstone Castle.

14. The Queen's Bridal Veil was made of tulle and held by a tiara of diamonds.This tiara (which can also be worn as a necklace) was made for Queen Mary in 1919. It is made from re-used diamonds taken from a necklace/tiara purchased by Queen Victoria from Collingwood and Co and a wedding present for Queen Mary in 1893. In August, 1936, Queen Mary gave the tiara to Queen Elizabeth from whom it was borrowed by Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in 1947.

15. After the wedding, the dress was exhibited at St James's Palace and was then shown in the capital towns of the British Isles and in Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol, Preston, Leicester, Nottingham, Manchester, Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield.

16. The bride's wedding bouquet was supplied by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners and made by the Florist Mr MH Longman. It was of white orchids with a sprig of myrtle from the bush grown from the original myrtle in Queen Victoria's wedding bouquet. An identical copy of the bouquet was made and presented to The Queen on her Golden Wedding in 1997.

17. The grave of the Unknown Warrior was the only stone that was not covered by the special carpet in the Abbey. The day after the wedding, Princess Elizabeth followed a Royal tradition started by her mother, of sending her wedding bouquet back to the Abbey to be laid on this grave.

18. The bridesmaids wore wreaths in their hair of minitaure white sheaves, Lilies and London Pride, modelled in white satin and silver lame. They were made by Jac Ltd of London. The pages wore Royal Stewart tartan kilts.

19. The bridesmaids' bouquets, prepared by Moyses Stevens, were of white orchids, Lilies of the Valley, Gardinias, White Bouvardia, White Roses and White Nerine.

20. The bells of St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey, hailed the arrival of the carriage procession. The Queen arrived at the Abbey with her father, George VI, in the Irish State Coach.

21. Other music at the wedding included: Psalm 67 (God be merciful unto us and bless us) sung to a setting by E.C.Bairstow; the motet "We wait for thy loving kindness, O God" by Dr William McKie, Organist and Master of the Choristers of the Abbey; the hymn "The Lord's my shepherd" (to the then relatively unknown Scottish tune Crimond); the anthem "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" by S.S.Wesley was sung by the Abbey choir and members of the choirs of the Chapel Royal and St George's Chapel Windsor; and after signing the register in St Edward's Chapel, the procession made its way out of the Abbey to Mendelssohn's Wedding March.

22. There were 91 singers at the wedding, made up from the Abbey Choir, the Choir of HM Chapels Royal and additional tenors and basses. They sat in the organ loft as the choir stalls were occupied by various dignitaries.

23. William McKie, the Abbey organist, had been summoned to the Palace four days before the wedding so that Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret could sing the descant to "Crimond" to him so that he could note it down as no other copy was available.

24. The two Royal kneelers, used during the service, were covered in rose pink silk. They were made from orange boxes, due to war time austerity, and date stamped 1946.

25. The Altar was hung with the white dorsal given in 1911 by King George V and Queen Mary for their coronation and the 1937 coronation frontal given by the Princess' parents. The Abbey plate was displayed on the altar.

26. The bride's wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David's mine near Dolgellau.

27. As not all the people to sign the register could fit into St Edward's Chapel, only the bride and groom, the King and Queen, Queen Mary and Princess Andrew of Greece (the groom's mother), the Archbishop, and the Dean of Westminster signed it at this point. The rest of the signatures (over two pages) were added later at Buckingham Palace. They included: Princess Margaret, Prince George of Greece (the groom's uncle), Henry (Duke of Gloucester), Alice (Duchess of Gloucester), Princess Marina (Duchess of Kent), Lady Patricia Ramsay, Alexander Ramsay, Alice Mary (Countess of Athlone, Earl of Athlone, Victoria Milford Haven, Nada Milford Haven, Edwina Mountbatten of Burma, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, King Haakon (of Norway), King Michael (of Romania), Queen Ingrid (of Denmark), King Frederick (of Denmark).

28. Trumpet fanfares were introduced for the first time at a Royal wedding in the Abbey. A white flag was waved in the organ loft to signal the fanfare once the register had been signed.

29. The position of the BBC microphones had to be carefully checked as at the 1934 Royal wedding, the Abbey cross had hit the microphone suspended above the altar steps. Radio commentators shared the organ loft with the choir.

30. Thousands of people lined the processional route and were able to file through the Abbey after the service. Millions listened to the live radio broadcast.

31. The film of the wedding was watched by many thousands of people at cinemas across the country.

32. Around 10,000 telegrams of congratulations were received at Buckingham Palace.

33. The Royal couple received over 2,500 wedding presents from well-wishers around the world. Most were put on display for a few days in a charity exhibition at St James's Palace. From India, there was a piece of crocheted, cotton lace made from yarn personally spun by Mahatma Ghandhi. The central motif reads "Jai Hind" (Victory for India).

34. Other gifts from abroad included a gold and jade necklace given by King Farouk of Egypt, a writing desk from the Government of New Zealand and pieces from a Chinese porcelain dinner service printed with characters denoting "double joy" given by President Chiang Kai Shek of the Chinese Republic.

35. As well as jewellery from their close relatives, including the King and Queen, the couple received many useful items for the kitchen and home, including salt cellars from the Queen, a bookcase from Queen Mary, and a picnic case from Princess Margaret.

36. Other gifts, kindly made and given by members of the public, included a hand-knitted cardigan, two pairs of bed socks, and a hand-knitted tea cosy.

37. Over 200,000 people visited the special exhibition of wedding presents at St James's Palace.

38. The "wedding breakfast" (lunch) was held after the marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey in the Ball Supper-room at Buckingham Palace. The menu was Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau en Casserole, Bombe Glacee Princess Elizabeth.

39. The bride and groom sat at the main table with the bride's parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the bride's grandmother, Queen Mary, her sister Princess Margaret, the groom's mother, Princess Andrew of Greece, the groom's uncle, Prince George of Greece and the Kings of Norway, Denmark and Romania.

40. Individual posies of myrtle and white Balmoral heather were placed at each place setting as "favours" (gifts to the guests).

41. The flowers decorating the tables were pink and white carnations, donated by the British Carnation Society.

42. The string band of the Grenadier Guards played music during the "wedding breakfast" under the direction of Captain F. J. Harris. The King's Pipe Major also played at the lunch.

43. The official wedding cake was made by "McVities and Price". Eleven other cakes were given as presents. With post-war food rationing still in place ingredients were sent as wedding presents from overseas, for example the official cake was made using ingredients given as a wedding gift by Australian Girl Guides. Pieces of cake and food parcels were later distributed to schoolchildren and institutions.

44. The cake was nine feet high in four tiers, with painted panels of the armorial bearings of both families, and included the monograms of bride and groom, sugar-iced figures to depict their favourite activities, and regimental and naval badges. The cake was cut using The Duke's Mountbatten sword, which was a wedding present from the King.

45. United Biscuits, which now owns the former "McVities and Price" brand, will be making two cakes to mark the Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2007. The first of the cakes will be on display at the lunch for members of various Royal Families at Buckingham Palace after the Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on the 19th November. The second cake will be distributed to members of staff.

46. The bride and bridegroom left the Palace showered with rose petals. For the Princess's going-away outfit, Hartell designed an ensemble of a dress and matching coat in mist-blue with mushroom-coloured assessories.

47. The couple departed Waterloo station with the Princess's corgi, Susan, for their honeymoon.

48. The newlyweds spent their wedding night at Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Prince Philip's uncle Earl Mountbatten. The second part of the honeymoon was spent at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.

49. Early in 1948 the couple leased their first marital home, Windlesham Moor, in Surrey, near Windsor Castle, where they stayed until they moved to Clarence House on 4th July 1949.

50. After marrying Princess Elizabeth, The Duke of Edinburgh continued his naval career, reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Commander in command of the frigate HMS MAGPIE.

51. Although he was The Queen's husband, The Duke of Edinburgh was not crowned or anointed at the Coronation ceremony in 1953. He was the first subject to pay Homage to Her Majesty, and kiss the newly crowned Queen by stating "I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks. So help me God."

52. Prince Philip has accompanied The Queen on all her Commonwealth tours and State visits, as well as on public engagements in all parts of the UK. The first of these was the Coronation tour of the Commonwealth from November 1953 to May 1954, when the couple visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden, Uganda, Libya, Malta and Gibraltar, travelling a distance of 43,618 miles.

53. The Duke of Edinburgh is only one of a few consorts to reigning female Queens in British history. William III was co-Sovereign with Mary II, although she, as daughter of James II, was nearer the throne than him. The husband of Queen Anne was not given the title of King, but remained Prince George of Denmark. Prince Albert was created Prince Consort by Queen Victoria in 1857.

54. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have four children: Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b. 1948), Princess Anne, The Princess Royal (b. 1950), Prince Andrew, The Duke of York (b. 1960), and Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex (b. 1964).

55. With the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960, The Queen became the first reigning Sovereign to give birth to a child since Queen Victoria, whose youngest child, Princess Beatrice, was born in 1857.

56. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have seven grandchildren - Peter Phillips (b. 1977), Zara Phillips (b. 1981) Prince William (b. 1982), Prince Harry (b. 1984), Princess Beatrice (b. 1988), Princess Eugenie (b. 1990), and Lady Louise Windsor (b. 2003). The Earl and Countess of Wessex are expecting their second child in December.

57. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 6th wedding anniversary in the year of the coronation, with a dance at Clarence House given by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. They left on their Commonwealth tour three days later.

58. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have sat together for five painted portraits during their marriage, in 1949, 1956, 1962, 1966, and 1997.

59. A Service of Thanksgiving was held in Westminster Abbey for both the Silver and Golden wedding anniversaries.

60. There will be a Service of Thanksgiving in Westminster Abbey on the 19th November, 2007 to celebrate the Diamond Wedding Anniversary. On the 20th of November, the day of their wedding anniversary, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will travel to Malta where they lived as a young married couple from 1949-51 while The Duke was stationed there as a serving Royal Naval officer.

Bookmark and Share

Related Images

enlarge
Title goes here