20-11-2016 Reina Elizabeth y Duque de Edimburgo Felipe celebran 69 años de matrimonio

9 Sep 2009
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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh celebrate 69 years of marriage

Charlie Proctor



Photo Credit: Cecil Beaton via Wikimedia Commons in the public domain

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are today celebrating 69 years of marriage, making it just one year to go until their historic Platinum wedding anniversary.

For the first time in many years, the 90-year-old monarch and her 95-year-old husband are having a rare day off from work to celebrate the occasion privately.

The Queen first met her future husband Prince Philip when she was just 13 years old at the wedding of his cousin, Princess Marina of Greece. It was love at first sight for the young princess. She kept in touch with the 18-year-old naval midshipman, corresponding with him during her teenage years.

In 1946, King George VI agreed to the marriage under the condition that the then Princess Elizabeth wait until after the Royal family’s State visit to Africa when she turned 21.

King George VI gave the couple permission to wed in April 1947. Philip (then known as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten) proposed to Elizabeth during a stroll around the gardens of Balmoral. He gave Elizabeth a platinum engagement ring with a large square diamond at its centre and smaller diamonds on each side.

Philip still a Greek citizen, renounced his Greek citizenship and titles he held (he was a Prince of Greece and Denmark by birth). He took on the surname Mountbatten. The news of the Royal engagement leaked to the press before the couple could make their official announcement on 9 July 1947.

Before the wedding, the bridegroom was made Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich with the style of His Royal Highness and chosen as a Knight of the Garter by the King – he would not become a Prince again until 1957 when Elizabeth, as Queen, granted him the title.

More than 2,000 guests attended the Royal Wedding on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. As the first Royal event since World War II ended, the wedding was a countrywide celebration.

As the war had just ended the country was still under rationing rules. As Elizabeth saved ration tokens for the dress material, many across the country sent rations tokens to help. The dress was designed by Norman Hartnell and made of ivory duchess satin and adorned with around 10,000 white pearls imported from the United States.

The bridal bouquet was white orchids and a sprig of myrtle. The sprig is tradition and originates from the bush grown from the myrtle in Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet. The following day, it was laid on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey.

The wedding party consisted of eight bridesmaids and two page boys and was officiated by both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York. Philip gave Elizabeth a wedding band of Welsh gold to wear together with her engagement ring.

After the wedding service, luncheon was held at Buckingham Palace. The wedding cake was impressive, standing at nine feet high, weighing 500 pounds and containing four tiers. Philip used a sword to ceremonially cut the first slice of cake. One layer was set aside until the christening of Prince Charles and an additional layer was given to Australia in honour of their donations.

The Royal couple’s honeymoon took place in Hampshire located at the Broadlands home which was owned by Lord Mountbatten, Philip’s uncle. They also spent time at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.

Almost a year to the day after their wedding, the couple welcomed the next heir to the throne Prince Charles, before Elizabeth became monarch a few years later after the death of her father.

upload_2016-11-20_21-18-53.pngA rare photo of the engaged couple, taken at Buckingham Palace shortly before their grand wedding ceremony in 1947.
upload_2016-11-20_21-19-18.pngThe Queen and Prince Philip are all smiles as they pose together shortly after announcing their engagement at Buckingham Palace.

upload_2016-11-20_21-19-39.pngThe happy newly-wed couple are pictured together at Buckingham Palace after their wedding at Westminster Abbey in 1947.
upload_2016-11-20_21-20-3.pngThe newly married royal couple smile at each other during a walk on their honeymoon at Broadlands, Romsey, Hampshire in 1947.
upload_2016-11-20_21-20-22.pngPrince Philip leans over the Queen's shoulder as they look at their wedding photos together while on their honeymoon.
upload_2016-11-20_21-20-46.pngQueen Elizabeth II waves with her husband on her Coronation day from the balcony of Buckingham Palace in 1952.
upload_2016-11-20_21-21-16.pngThe couple smile and play with their young children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, back in August 1951
upload_2016-11-20_21-21-35.pngThe royal couple look out of the window with a young Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
upload_2016-11-20_21-21-54.pngThe pair stroke a horse while visiting a farm on the Balmoral estate in 1972, their Silver Wedding anniversary year.
upload_2016-11-20_21-22-14.pngThe royal couple with their four children; Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Prince Charles in 1972.
upload_2016-11-20_21-22-39.pngThe couple laugh over a toddler's Union Jack hat during a visit market stalls in Kingston town centre during her Majesty's Golden Jubilee visit to West London
upload_2016-11-20_21-23-1.pngThe Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh watch the Trooping of the Colour with their grandson, Prince William.
upload_2016-11-20_21-23-25.pngThe royal pair show their Team GB spirit as they watch the England vs Wales women's hockey match for the 20th Commonwealth Games in 2014.
upload_2016-11-20_21-23-55.pngThe Queen and Prince Philip laugh together as they attend the Highland Games at Braemar with Prince Charles in 2012.
upload_2016-11-20_21-24-14.pngThe couple still look very much in love while celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2007 while taking a walk at Broadlands in Hampshire.
upload_2016-11-20_21-24-32.pngThe couple share a laugh as they said goodbye to the Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at Windsor Castle in 2014.
upload_2016-11-20_21-24-50.pngThe couple chat animatedly to each other during a visit to Durban, South Africa in the 1990s.
upload_2016-11-20_21-25-8.pngThe Queen and Prince Philip share a blanket in 2015 as they watch the Braemar Gathering in Scotland, an annual gathering in Cairngorms National Park.
upload_2016-11-20_21-25-29.pngThe Queen and Prince Philip pose for a portrait at Windsor castle to celebrate her Majesty's 90th birthday.
upload_2016-11-20_21-25-50.pngThe Queen and Prince Philip surrounded by family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace while celebrate her Majesty's 90th birthday in June, 2016.