In­side their fairy-tale wed­ding

WHO - - Hot Topics - By Si­mon Perry

“This wed­ding, on a dark day of a trou­bled, dis­tracted and most un­cer­tain time, car­ried over six con­ti­nents and seven seas a bright­ness so sim­ple it was hard to un­der­stand,” Time wrote of the union of Princess El­iz­a­beth, 21, and the newly ti­tled Duke of Ed­in­burgh, 26, whom one of the brides­maids called, “God’s gift to girls.” . . . The ju­bi­lant roar of the crowd as Princess El­iz­a­beth and her fa­ther, King Ge­orge VI, rode down the Mall could be heard in­side West­min­ster Abbey, where her bride­groom (buoyed by an early gin and tonic after his stag par­ties the night be­fore — “I have a lit­tle date to­mor­row morn­ing,” he re­port­edly quipped as he slipped away just be­fore mid­night) awaited with more than 2,000 guests ... Philip broke into a smile when the king handed over his daugh­ter’s hand, with “in­fi­nite gen­tle­ness,” Time re­ported, and as the cou­ple re­cited their vows, 200 mil­lion peo­ple around the world lis­tened, the first time the wed­ding of an heir to the throne was broad­cast on ra­dio. “Although she sounded like a young girl,” Life said of El­iz­a­beth, “she al­ready looked like a queen.” . . . “I was so proud of you & thrilled at hav­ing you so close to me on our long walk in West­min­ster Abbey,” King Ge­orge later wrote to his daugh­ter, “but when I handed your hand to the Arch­bishop I felt that I had lost some­thing very pre­cious ... I can see that you are sub­limely happy with Philip.” By Eileen Fi­nan

Ex­cerpted from ‘El­iz­a­beth and Philip: A Royal Ro­mance,’ the book by WHO’S sis­ter US pub­li­ca­tion PEO­PLE.

Queen wears the crown, it is Philip who rules the roost. “Within the mar­riage, he was in charge of vir­tu­ally ev­ery­thing to do with the chil­dren, the house­hold, how the royal es­tates are run,” says Lacey. “He stamped his author­ity on the whole fam­ily.”

The cou­ple have pulled to­gether dur­ing the dark­est days of their mar­riage, from see­ing three of their chil­dren’s mar­riages end in divorce to the 1992 Wind­sor Cas­tle fire to Princess Diana’s death in 1997. The Queen’s grand­son, Prince Wil­liam, re­cently spoke about her role in pro­tect­ing him and his brother, Prince Harry, in the wake of Diana’s death. “At the time, you know, my grand­mother wanted to pro­tect her two grand­sons, and my fa­ther as well,” Wil­liam told the BBC in Au­gust, not­ing that he was thank­ful to her for “the pri­vacy to mourn, to col­lect our thoughts, and to just have that space away from ev­ery­body.” To­day, both the Queen and Philip de­light in the con­tin­ued growth of their fam­ily tree—in­clud­ing baby No. 3 on the way for Wil­liam and Kate and the pos­si­bil­ity of a new grand­daugh­ter-in-law in Harry’s se­ri­ous girl­friend, Suits star Meghan Markle, whom the Queen has met. (As fifth in line to the throne, Harry needs the monarch’s per­mis­sion to marry.) Cru­cially, the as­cent of the younger roy­als also al­lows El­iz­a­beth and Philip to hand off their pub­lic du­ties. For the first time in 18 years, the Queen will not lay the wreath for Bri­tain’s fallen sol­diers on Nov. 11 for Re­mem­brance Day, in­stead join­ing Philip in the bal­cony while her heir Prince Charles as­sumes the role. “It is a sign of their part­ner­ship,” says Lacey. “She could have vowed to keep on do­ing it, and he is prob­a­bly fit enough to do it, too, but the two of them are work­ing to­gether to al­low Charles for­ward.”

Hav­ing out­lived most of their friends, the cou­ple are keenly aware of the ad­vanc­ing years. “They have had a lot of time to think about this,” the for­mer staffer says of their in­evitable part­ing. “They will be stiff up­per lip in pub­lic and keep their own emo­tions be­hind it. They are both deeply re­li­gious peo­ple and it won’t take them by sur­prise.”

For now, how­ever, they are by each other’s side, spend­ing most of their days at Wind­sor Cas­tle and San­dring­ham es­tate. Says royal biog­ra­pher In­grid Se­ward: “They know they’ve only got to stretch out and the other will be there.”

“As a team, they are fault­less” —For­mer mem­ber of the house­hold staff

“I’m full of ad­mi­ra­tion for her—it’s amaz­ing she’s still do­ing so much,” Lady Pamela Hicks says of the Queen (with Philip at the Lon­don Zoo in April). The royal fam­ily gath­ered on the Buck­ing­ham Palace bal­cony in June for the an­nual Troop­ing the Colour pa

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