70 facts about the Queen's seventy years of marriage

Princess Elizabeth did her own make-up on the morning of her wedding

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrate 70 years of marriage next week.

They were married on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey.

Here are 70 facts to mark the 70 years of their marriage.

1. The Queen is the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary.

2. Princess Elizabeth first met Prince Philip of Greece when they attended the wedding of Philip's cousin Princess Marina of Greece to the Duke of Kent, who was an uncle of Princess Elizabeth, in 1934.

3. They had their first publicised meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon, in July 1939 when teenage "Lilibet" joined her parents on an engagement. Dashing, blond-haired, 18-year-old naval cadet Philip caught her eye as he entertained her by jumping over tennis nets.

4. While Philip was away at sea, the princess kept a picture of him in her room. She later replaced the photograph of a clean-shaven Philip with one of him sporting a large beard to prevent him being recognised and stop any gossip about their relationship.

5. Elizabeth could have married Philip when she was 17 - the age of his first formal request to be considered as a suitor - but her parents thought she was too young.

6. Their engagement was announced on July 9 1947, and they posed together arm in arm at the Palace to mark the occasion the next day.

7. Philip designed Princess Elizabeth's platinum and diamond engagement ring himself. It was made by the jewellers Philip Antrobus Ltd using diamonds from a tiara belonging to his mother Princess Alice of Greece.

8. The Duke had two stag parties the night before the wedding - the first at the Dorchester to which the press were invited and the second with his closest friends at the Belfry Club.

9. Philip gave up smoking on the morning of his wedding in a bid to please his new bride.

10. He still fits into the Royal Navy uniform he wore on his wedding day 70 years ago.

11. Princess Elizabeth began her wedding day with a cup of tea, while the Duke is said to have supped on a gin and tonic before heading off to the ceremony.

12. Elizabeth and Philip were married in front of 2,000 guests at Westminster Abbey on November 20 1947 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, with the ceremony beginning at 11.30am.

13. Since the 12th century, there have been 16 royal weddings at the Abbey including the Queen's in 1947, her parents in 1923, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 1986 and Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in 2011.

14. Princess Elizabeth's eight bridesmaids were: her sister Princess Margaret, her cousin Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, the Hon Pamela Mountbatten, her cousin the Hon Margaret Elphinstone (who became Margaret Rhodes), and the Hon Diana Bowes-Lyon.

15. The bridesmaids wore wreaths in their hair of miniature white sheaves of lilies and London Pride, modelled in white satin and silver lame.

16. There were two pages - the Princess's five-year-old cousins Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent, who were dressed in Royal Stewart tartan kilts and frilled white shirts.

17. Guests attending the wedding included the King and Queen of Denmark, the King and Queen of Yugoslavia, and the Kings of Norway, Romania and the Shah of Iran.

18. None of the Royal Family's German relations, nor Philip's sisters, who married Germans, were invited to the historic occasion, in keeping with the public's strong anti-German feeling in the wake of war.

19. The Duke of Windsor, who abdicated as King Edward VIII, and his wife, formerly Mrs Wallis Simpson, were also left off the guest list.

20. Princess Elizabeth did her own make-up on the morning of her wedding.

21. Her wedding dress was designed by couturier Sir Norman Hartnell and featured a fitted bodice, a heart-shaped neckline with scalloped edge and an intricate 13ft star-patterned train.

22. The gown featured the rose of York and was hand-embroidered with more than 10,000 seed pearls and crystals.

23. The Princess was given 200 extra clothing coupons from the Government towards her wedding trousseau as was the custom for all brides during the time of rationing after the Second World War.

24. Women across the UK, keen to ensure Princess Elizabeth would have the dress of her dreams, sent their own coupons to the young royal to help out. But it was illegal to give coupons away and the gifts had to be returned.

25. Sir Norman Hartnell once recalled how rumours circulated that the silkworms used for the gown were of Italian or Japanese origin and therefore provided by "enemy" territories. But they were provided by the Scottish firm of Winterthur in Dunfermline and came from Chinese silkworms at Lullingstone Castle.

26. The bridal veil was made of tulle and held in place by the Queen Mary Fringe tiara - made for Elizabeth's grandmother Queen Mary in 1919 using diamonds from jewellery belonging to Queen Victoria.

27. The tiara snapped just before the Princess was due to leave for the ceremony and had to be repaired by the court jeweller.

28. The bride left Buckingham Palace for the Abbey at 11.16am and rode with her father, George VI, in the Irish State Coach, drawn by a pair of Greys.

29. After the wedding, the gown was exhibited at St James's Palace and was then shown across the country including in Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol, Preston, Leicester, Nottingham, Manchester, Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield.

30. The bridal bouquet of white orchids contained a sprig of myrtle from the bush grown from the original myrtle in Queen Victoria's wedding bouquet.

31. The grave of the Unknown Warrior was the only stone that was not covered by the special carpet in Westminster Abbey.

32. The day after the wedding, Princess Elizabeth followed a royal tradition started by her mother, of sending her wedding bouquet back to the Abbey to be laid on this grave. The Duchess of Cambridge did the same in 2011.

33. The bells of St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey, hailed the arrival of the carriage procession.

34. Music at the wedding included the hymn The Lord's My Shepherd (sung to the then relatively unknown Scottish tune Crimond) and Mendelssohn's Wedding March.

35. William McKie, the Abbey organist, was summoned to the Palace four days before the wedding so that Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret could sing the descant to Crimond to him so that he could note it down as no other copy was available.

36. There were 91 singers at the wedding, made up from the Abbey Choir, the Choir of HM Chapels Royal and additional tenors and basses. They sat in the organ loft as the choir stalls were occupied by various dignitaries.

37. The two royal kneelers, used during the service, were made from orange boxes due to wartime austerity, and covered in rose pink silk.

38. The Altar was hung with the white dorsal given in 1911 by King George V and Queen Mary for their coronation and the 1937 coronation frontal given by the Princess' parents.

39. The bride's wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David's mine near Dolgellau - as is the tradition for royal brides. It was from the same nugget which was used to make the wedding rings of the Queen Mother, and later Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal and Diana, Princess of Wales.

40. Trumpet fanfares were introduced for the first time at a royal wedding in the Abbey. A white flag was waved in the organ loft to signal the fanfare once the register had been signed.

41. The position of the BBC microphones had to be carefully checked after the Abbey cross hit the microphone suspended above the altar steps during the 1934 royal wedding.

42. Thousands of people lined the processional route on the cold November day and were able to file through the Abbey after the service. Millions listened to the live radio broadcast.

43. Newsreel footage of the wedding was watched by many thousands of people at cinemas across the country.

44. Around 10,000 telegrams of congratulations were received at Buckingham Palace.

45. The royal couple were sent more than 2,500 wedding presents from well-wishers around the world.

46. Gifts from the public included 500 tins of pineapple, 131 pairs of nylons, 17 pairs of silk stockings, 16 night gowns, 30 scarves, 38 handbags, 24 pairs of gloves, a refrigerator, two pairs of bed socks, and a hand-knitted tea cosy.

47. From India, there was a piece of crocheted, cotton lace made from yarn personally spun by Mahatma Gandhi, and other presents included a gold and jade necklace from King Farouk of Egypt and a writing desk from the Government of New Zealand.

48. The couple were given jewellery from their close relatives - as well as useful items for the kitchen and home - salt cellars from the Princess's mother Queen Elizabeth, a bookcase from Queen Mary, and a picnic case from Princess Margaret.

49. Queen Mary also gave her granddaughter a Diamond Stomacher - three linked brooches intended to be worn on the front of a bodice.

50. Philip's own wedding gift to his new wife was a platinum and diamond bracelet crafted from a tiara that belonged to his mother.

51. Over 200,000 people visited the special exhibition of wedding presents at St James's Palace.

52. The wedding breakfast was held after the marriage ceremony in the Ball Supper-room at Buckingham Palace. The menu was Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau (partridge) en Casserole, Bombe Glacee Princesse Elizabeth - an ice cream dish made with luxuriously out-of-season strawberries.

53. The bride and groom sat at the main table with the bride's parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, Princess Margaret, Princess Alice of Greece, the groom's uncle Prince George of Greece, and the Kings of Norway, Denmark and Romania.

File photo dated 25/11/49 of Princess Elizabeth, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, looking over Valetta from the roof of the Villa Guardamangia, Malta.File photo dated 25/11/49 of Princess Elizabeth, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, looking over Valetta from the roof of the Villa Guardamangia, Malta.

54. Tables were decorated with pink and white carnations, donated by the British Carnation Society.

55. Individual posies of myrtle and white Balmoral heather were placed at each place setting as favours.

56. A string band - formed of Grenadier Guards - and the King's Pipe Major provided the live musical soundtrack during the wedding breakfast.

57. The official wedding cake was nine feet high in four tiers and made by McVities and Price. It was painted with panels of the armorial bearings of both families, and included the monograms of bride and groom, sugar-iced figures to depict their favourite activities, and regimental and naval badges.

58. The cake was made using ingredients given as a wedding gift by Australian Girl Guides, as post-war food rationing was still in place.

59. Elizabeth and Philip were also given 11 other cakes as presents. Pieces of cake and food parcels were later distributed to schoolchildren and institutions.

60. The cake was cut using the Duke's Mountbatten sword - a wedding present from King George VI.

61. The bride and bridegroom were showered with rose petals as they left the Palace.

62. The princess's going-away outfit, designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, was a mist blue dress and matching coat with mushroom-coloured accessories.

63. The Princess's beloved corgi, Susan, went with them on their honeymoon.

64. The newlyweds spent their wedding night at Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Prince Philip's uncle Earl Mountbatten. The second part of the honeymoon was spent at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.

65. Early in 1948, the couple leased their first marital home, Windlesham Moor, in Surrey, near Windsor Castle, where they stayed until they moved to Clarence House in the summer of 1949.

66. After marrying Princess Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh continued his naval career, reaching the rank of lieutenant-commander in command of the frigate HMS Magpie. They lived for several months in Malta. 

67. The Princess and the Duke had been married for four years, two months, 18 days - or 1,540 days - when George VI died and Elizabeth became Queen.

68. The Queen and the Duke have four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren - with their sixth great-grandchild due in April.

69. When they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, the Queen paid tribute to Philip for being her "strength and stay all these years". He, in turn, praised his wife for having "the quality of tolerance in abundance".

70. The couple also celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in Malta.


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