15 Rare Facts About Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's Relationship
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have been married over 70 years, yet there are people who don't know anything about their relationship. Nowadays, the "royal wedding" is only associated with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle or Prince William and Kate Middleton. Yet, several years ago, all eyes were only on Queen Elizabeth II. Here are some facts about their romance.
THE QUEEN MET HER HUSBAND AT AGE EIGHT
Queen Elizabeth met her spouse at the 1934 wedding or Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent, when she was only eight years old. The bride was Philip's cousin, while the groom was the Queen's uncle.
However, it wasn't until ten years later that the couple got together. Much like the usual tradition of courtship back in the day. The British royal couple began their courtship through written correspondence in 1939. For you young people out there, that means they sent each other love letters. Which is what would be considered the modern day's texting.
A SECRET ENGAGEMENT
Although the Queen and Philip barely connected during World War II, as he was a Royal Navy officer, the two remained to be in love. When Philip came back in 1946, he would frequent Buckingham Palace and later spent a month at Balmoral Castle, where he proposed to the then-Princess, who immediately gave her sweet yes.
Although it seemed romantic, royal marriages have a process which is to be followed, including consulting the King before proposing. When knowing of his daughter's plans, Queen Elizabeth's father agreed, but only if the two kept the engagement a secret until after the bride-to-be's 21st birthday. Although the King agreed, he was not keen on it because of Philip's background.
THE KING DID NOT FULLY ACCEPT PHILIP
A 1957 TIME Magazine article said: "Despite Philip's British background and his fine war record, George VI was deeply worried about how British opinion, particularly its left-wing, would take to a Greek Prince as the husband of the heiress presumptive."
THE TWO HAD A SIMPLE WEDDING
The wedding took place after the second world war. Like most of the world, England too was suffering from an economic deficit brought about by the effects of the great war. The King was advised to keep his daughter's wedding simple as the country was recovering from World War II.
David Kynaston's "Austerity Britain, 1945-1951" revealed that the King was told: "Any banqueting and display at your daughter's wedding will be an insult to the British people at present time, and we would consider that you would be well advised to order a very quiet wedding in keeping with the times."
WEDDING AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY
On November 20, 1947, the wedding ceremony took place at Westminster Abbey, the same place King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were married on April 26, 1923. The 1947 wedding was the tenth union at the Abbey, with the first being of King Henry I and Princess Matilda of Scotland in 1100.
THE QUEEN'S BOTTICELLI-INSPIRED DRESS
Sir Norman Hartnell designed the then-princess' gown and got inspiration from Sandro Botticelli's "Primavera" painting. After the design was approved, Hartnell had the immense challenge of having less than three months to make the gown from ivory silk, crystals, and seed pearls.
Queen Elizabeth paid for her wedding dress with coupons — here's why. https://t.co/j8TOtP2Wa3— InStyle (@InStyle) December 21, 2019
RATION CARDS WERE USED TO PAY FOR THE DRESS' FABRIC
Coming from World War II, rationing measures were implemented to purchase clothing. Hence, the Queen had to save up ration cards to buy fabric. As soon as the news broke, hundreds of people sent their own ration cards to the royal to pitch in for her dress, but using them would have been illegal, so they were all returned.
THE RING WAS DESIGNED WITH PHILIP'S MOTHER'S DIAMONDS
Prince Philip had Philip Antrobus make the 3-carat engagement ring with ten smaller diamonds around it, using diamonds from his mother's tiara. Princess Alice of Battenberg was gifted the tiara by Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. The leftover diamonds were used to create a matching bracelet, which the prince gave to his bride as a wedding gift.
THERE WAS MYRTLE IN THE QUEEN'S BOUQUET
As part of British tradition, the Queen carried a spring of myrtle from the garden at Osborne House in her white orchid bouquet. The tradition began with Queen Victoria and was carried for years up until today. Another tradition that was followed was sending the bouquet back to Westminster Abbey to be laid atop the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
TODAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 1947, Princess Elizabeth, heir to the British throne, married Prince Philip Mountbatten at London's Westminster Abbey.— ABC News (@ABC) November 20, 2019
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary this year. https://t.co/hHsJQZ0dwh pic.twitter.com/DQmyAprvKD
2000 GUESTS ATTENDED
Although they tried to keep the wedding simple, the guest list summed up to 2000 guests. A royal and high profile wedding such as theirs had some of the world's then-popular and powerful monarchs in attendance, including the King and Queen of Denmark, the King of Iran, the Shah of Iran, and Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.
200 MILLION PEOPLE LISTENED TO THE CEREMONY
Unlike the royal weddings of today, this event was not covered by live television. Technology wasn't as it is today. That, however, did not stop over 200 million people from around the globe from tuning into BBC Radio to listen to the nuptials on that day.
THE DUKE OF WINDSOR WAS NOT INVITED
Because the wedding took place after World War II, it was not right for Philip's German relatives to step foot on the ceremony. Hence, his three sisters, who were wed to German princes, were not invited. The King's brother, King Edward VIII, who became the Duke of Windsor, was also not part of the guest list after marrying Wallis Simpson.
A NINE-FOOT TALL WEDDING CAKE
The couple's nine-foot-tall fruitcake wedding cake was given the moniker "The 10,000-Mile Wedding Cake". This title for cake was given for its ingredients sourced from around the world. The four-tiered cake weighed 500 lbs and stood at nine feet tall.
A cake baked for a queen. Pictured here is a man standing by the nine-foot high wedding cake made for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) to Phillip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh in 1947. #RoyalWedding pic.twitter.com/DIzkH2m9i4— HISTORY (@HISTORY) May 9, 2018
THOUSANDS OF GIFTS AND GREETINGS
The newlyweds received 10,000 telegrams of well-wishes and over 2,500 gifts from around the globe, including cotton lace that Mahatma Gandhi spun himself. Among the weddings loot were 131 nylon stockings, 24 handbags, 12 bottles of sloe gin, 500 tins of pineapple, and a box of apples.
THE GIFTS WERE PUT ON DISPLAY
The gifts given to the royal couple were used to benefit charity through a wonderful display of royal wedding gifts. For a year, over 200,000 people swarmed St. James's Palace to have a glimpse at the presents, which were again put on display in 2007 as part of their Diamond Wedding anniversary.
THE QUEEN'S DRESS WENT ON TOUR
The Queen's dress was among the display at St. James's Place and later went on a tour across the UK with stops in Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, and Liverpool. The iconic fashion wear featured a 15-foot silk tulle full court train and embroidered embellishments imported from different places.
THE TIARA MALFUNCTION
The tiara the Queen wore during her wedding belonged to her mother and was known as Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara. It is largely considered the world's most famous tiara. It was designed in 1919 by E. Wolff & Co. for Garrard & Co. using the diamonds from a fringe necklace Mary had received as a wedding gift from Queen Victoria.
The jewelry piece is a versatile piece of work as well. The fringe can be removed and the piece can also be worn as a necklace. Which makes it a delicate and tricky piece to wear. The Queen found out the hard way, as the tiara snapped as she was putting it on during her wedding day.
PHILIP'S TWO-PART STAG PARTY
The night before the wedding, Philip had a stag party at London's Dorchester Club, the media was in attendance. The prying eyes of the media, however, had to abide by the protocols of the day and respect the privacy of the royals.
The party must have been a banger since a few of the press' camera bulbs got broken. Eventually, that party made it's way to the Belfry Club, away from all the media attention. The doors were finally closed to the public and we are all left to imagine what kind of night the then groom-to-be had.
SO MANY TITLES
The Act of Settlement of 1701, requires a lot of steps to be taken before someone is to be married into the royal family. Because of this act, Philip had to renounce his Greek and Danish titles. He was also forced to take his mother's British last name.
In addition to that, Philip also had to convert religion. Prior to being wed, he was Greek Orthodox and later converted to Anglicanism. All this effort was not for any waste however, as on the day before the wedding, the King bestowed the "His Royal Highness" address styling onto Philip.
Trading in his Greek and Danish titles to be wed to the heir apparent of England was also very beneficial to Philip in the "titles" department as well. On the day of their wedding, Philip was also bestowed with multiple titles. These were the titles of Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich.