EX­PLORE ENG­LAND

G ar­dens, cas­tles and stately homes, his­toric towns and cities, pic­turesque vil­lages and stun­ning coun­try­side, work­ing museums, her­itage rail­ways, an­cient set­tle­ments and lit­er­ary land­marks…eng­land has some­thing for ev­ery­one, and in this lat­est edi­tion of

This England - - News - AN­GE­LINE WIL­COX

though th­ese ges­tures were, all coupons were care­fully re­turned as pass­ing them on was pro­hib­ited.

Amid much se­crecy and se­cu­rity, royal dress­maker Nor­man Hart­nell de­signed the princess’s ivory satin dress, which was exquisitely dec­o­rated with seed pearls and crys­tals. After the drab­ness of the war years one can imag­ine the en­chant­ing, al­most ef­fer­ves­cent ap­pear­ance of the princess as she was first seen trav­el­ling from Buck­ing­ham Palace, with her beloved fa­ther, in the Ir­ish State Coach. As they ap­proached the Abbey, the BBC’S Pe­ter Scott summed up the emo­tions of the crowd when he com­mented: “This is our princess, and this great af­fec­tion­ate crowd is watch­ing her go­ing to marry the man she loves.”

Prince Philip was wait­ing for the princess with his best man, the Mar­quess of Mil­ford Haven. The Daily Mir­ror per­cep­tively de­scribed the groom as: “Self-pos­sessed and calm,” and noted: “This calm young man is worth your ob­ser­va­tion. This is no shadow of a con­sort.” How right that has proved to be.

The princess’s eight brides­maids in­cluded her sis­ter Princess Mar­garet and her cousin Princess Alexan­dra. She was also at­tended by two young page boys, Prince Wil­liam of Glouces­ter and Prince Michael of Kent, who care­fully car­ried the 15-foot train of her dress. The cer­e­mony was of­fi­ci­ated by Ge­of­frey Fisher, Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury and, fol­low­ing royal tra­di­tion, the wed­ding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold. Among the mu­sic were the hymns “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” and “The Lord’s My Shep­herd.”

As hus­band and wife, the cou­ple left the Abbey to the ac­com­pa­ni­ment of Men­delssohn’s “Wed­ding March” and were met by the tu­mul­tuous sound of the peal­ing bells and the cheer­ing crowds. Those who fol­lowed the re­turn­ing royal pro­ces­sion to Buck­ing­ham Palace gath­ered amid a feel­ing of ela­tion and ex­cite­ment, be­fore the doors opened and the new­ly­weds and mem­bers of the royal fam­ily ap­peared on the bal­cony. Smil­ing and wav­ing, the young cou­ple ac­knowl­edged the ex­u­ber­ant crowds that lined The Mall. After the of­fi­cial pho­to­graphs, 150 guests en­joyed a wed­ding break­fast cre­ated by the Palace chef which fea­tured a starter of Filet de Sole Mount­bat­ten, a main course of par­tridge (a meat which was not on ra­tion) and a Bombe Glacée Princess El­iz­a­beth. The of­fi­cial wed­ding cake was made by Mcvi­tie and Price, with in­gre­di­ents sup­plied by the Aus­tralian Girl Guides.

Even though the of­fi­cial cer­e­mony was over, the ar­dent well­wish­ers out­side weren’t go­ing to miss the op­por­tu­nity to give the new­ly­weds a splen­did send off on their new life to­gether. They waited pa­tiently through­out the af­ter­noon to cheer their de­par­ture from the Palace to Water­loo Sta­tion. From there, Princess El­iz­a­beth and the new Duke of Ed­in­burgh trav­elled to Broad­lands, in Hamp­shire, the home of the Duke’s un­cle Lord Mount­bat­ten, for the first part of their hon­ey­moon, fol­lowed by time spent at Birkhall on the Bal­moral es­tate.

King Ge­orge wrote to his daugh­ter on the night of her wed­ding: “I was so proud and thrilled at hav­ing you so close to me on our long walk in West­min­ster Abbey. But when I handed your hand to the Arch­bishop, I felt I had lost some­thing very pre­cious. You were so calm and com­posed dur­ing the ser­vice and said your words with such con­vic­tion, that I knew ev­ery­thing was all right.”

Echo­ing his words, it cer­tainly has been “all right” and, since that mag­i­cal day in 1947 the cou­ple have, in ad­di­tion to un­der­tak­ing nu­mer­ous royal du­ties, tours and en­gage­ments, be­come lov­ing par­ents, grand­par­ents and great-grand­par­ents. Just as they have guided their own fam­ily they have served the na­tion and the Com­mon­wealth through good times and bad. We have much to thank them for.

The ra­di­ance of this re­mark­able royal cou­ple, who cap­ti­vated the world all those years ago, con­tin­ues to shine brighter than ever and, as they cel­e­brate their plat­inum wed­ding an­niver­sary, we send them our warm­est and most heart­felt con­grat­u­la­tions.

Above: Later years brought ded­i­ca­tion to duty and fam­ily life. Left: The royal cou­ple with chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and great-grand­chil­dren after Troop­ing the Colour in 2016. GRA­HAM WILT­SHIRE

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