This Is What Queen Elizabeth And Prince Philip’s Wedding Looked Like

Long before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, there was another royal wedding the world eagerly anticipated: the nuptials of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in November 1947.

The pair, who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last year, were married on Nov. 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey. It was a bright spot for many British people after the years of austerity and darkness during World War II.

“For months, the public was treated to tantalizing hints about the details of the bridesmaids’ dresses and the cake and so on,” Sarika Bose, a royalty expert and a lecturer in Victorian literature at the University of British Columbia, told HuffPost. “Here you had this young couple that represented hope for a new, happier age after the war.”

Not unlike Harry and Meghan and Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Elizabeth and her suitor were seen as a breath of fresh air. The dashing Philip Mountbatten, who was 26 at the time of the wedding, had served in World War II and possessed a slightly rebellious attitude ― at least by royal standards. Elizabeth, then 21, fell hard for him. 

According to their mutual cousin Patricia Mountbatten, the future queen saw that behind his slightly steely exterior, “Philip had a capacity for love which was waiting to be unlocked, and Elizabeth unlocked it.” 

Below, as we get ready for the next royal wedding ― it’s May 19, get your fascinators ready!― we take a look back at Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding. 

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    Elizabeth and Philip were distant cousins through her great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Philip was originally a prince of Greece and Denmark, though he would abandon those titles to marry the heir to the British throne.

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    Crowds gathered around London’s Trafalgar Square to see Elizabeth and her father, King George VI, arrive at the service by royal coach.

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    Two thousand guests attended the ceremony, which was broadcast to millions worldwide by BBC Radio.

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    A woman holds up a toddler to watch the royal procession in London for the wedding.

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    Police hold back crowds outside Buckingham Palace in London during the wedding. 

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    Confectioners stand next to the impressive official cake, which stood nine feet tall.

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    The cover of a special royal wedding edition of Picture Post magazine, showing Elizabeth arriving at Westminster Abbey.

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    Tens of thousands of people gathered in freezing temperatures to try to catch a peek at the royal couple.

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    With postwar austerity measures still in effect, Elizabeth had to save up ration coupons to purchase the material for her wedding gown. Here, she arrives at Westminster Abbey with her father King George VI.

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    Two members of the British royal family — Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (back), and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester — arrive at Westminster Abbey.

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    Elizabeth and Philip make their way down the aisle of Westminster Abbey. 

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    The future queen wore a gown decorated with crystals and 10,000 seed pearls, designed by Sir Norman Hartnell.

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    That 15-foot train was held by two 5-year-old pages, Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent, who wore Royal Stewart tartan kilts and silk shirts.

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    The scene at the altar steps during the royal wedding ceremony. 

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    The title page of a Bible presented to Elizabeth to commemorate her marriage to Philip.

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    Philip’s endearments for his bride? “Lilibet” (her childhood nickname) and “darling.”

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    The couple with Elizabeth’s eight bridesmaids in the throne room at Buckingham Palace, including her sister, Princess Margaret, to the right of Philip.

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    A honeymoon-bound Elizabeth and Philip travel in a carriage procession to Waterloo Station. After the wedding, the pair caught a train to Winchester and then stayed at Broadlands, the home of Philip’s uncle, the Earl Mountbatten. Elizabeth’s Corgi, Susan, joined them.

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    Six years after the wedding, Elizabeth returned to Westminster Abbey for her coronation following the death of King George VI. In their 70 years of marriage, the couple has had four children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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