A Royal Wed­ding An­niver­sary: 70 Glo­ri­ous Years

This England - - News - An­ge­line Wil­cox

The reign of Her Majesty the Queen has been char­ac­terised by her ded­i­ca­tion to duty, ful­fill­ing a pledge that she made on her 21st birth­day in 1947. Through­out those years, Her Majesty has been ac­com­pa­nied by her loyal con­sort Prince Philip, the Duke of Ed­in­burgh, the man she fa­mously re­ferred to as her “strength and stay”. In Au­gust, The Duke car­ried out his fi­nal of­fi­cial en­gage­ment, at the age of 96, after 70 years of un­stint­ing ser­vice; how­ever, as you would ex­pect, he won’t be re­tir­ing al­to­gether.

An over­whelm­ing sense of de­vo­tion — to the na­tion, the Com­mon­wealth, their fam­ily and to each other — has been at the heart of The Queen and The Duke of Ed­in­burgh’s life to­gether. This is some­thing that they will cel­e­brate on 20th Novem­ber this year when they reach a par­tic­u­larly spe­cial and per­sonal mile­stone, their 70th wed­ding an­niver­sary.

Theirs was a mar­riage that brought some much-needed joy and hap­pi­ness to a coun­try that was emerg­ing from the dark shad­ows of war. The splen­dour, pomp and pageantry of a Bri­tish royal wed­ding was the per­fect tonic, pro­vid­ing warmth and bright­ness to a chilly Novem­ber day in Lon­don. Who could re­sist get­ting swept along in the ro­mance of the beau­ti­ful young princess and her dash­ing prince? Here was an oc­ca­sion blessed with the magic of majesty, which also rep­re­sented hope for the fu­ture. For the 2,600 guests who wit­nessed the cer­e­mony in West­min­ster Abbey; the thou­sands of peo­ple who lined the pro­ces­sion route, all ea­ger to catch a glimpse of the fairy­tale princess and her prince; and 200 mil­lion ra­dio lis­ten­ers world­wide, it was an event they wanted to be part of — to share and to cel­e­brate this his­toric and per­sonal mo­ment and a new chap­ter in the life of the royal fam­ily. As the wed­ding united the fu­ture queen with the hand­some naval lieu­tenant it united the en­tire na­tion with its sense of re­newal and op­ti­mism.

The cou­ple’s en­gage­ment was of­fi­cially an­nounced on 9th July and an es­ti­mated 10,000 mes­sages of con­grat­u­la­tions, fol­lowed by some 2,500 presents, flooded in from across the world — from heads of state, of­fi­cials and or­di­nary well­wish­ers. Wed­ding prepa­ra­tions were soon un­der­way, although Buck­ing­ham Palace was ever-mind­ful of the re­stric­tions as wartime ra­tioning was still in place. Princess El­iz­a­beth, like all brides of the time, was al­lowed an ex­tra 200 clothes coupons to­wards her wed­ding dress, but such was the pub­lic’s af­fec­tion for the young princess and their en­thu­si­asm for the wed­ding, that many peo­ple sent her their own coupons. Kind-hearted

Left: Princess El­iz­a­beth and the Duke of Ed­in­burgh on their wed­ding day. Above: The cer­e­mony in West­min­ster Abbey and the cou­ple in the Glass Coach on their re­turn to Buck­ing­ham Palace.

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