Elizabeth and Philip were distant cousins, and first met at a wedding! They were both in attendance at another royal wedding – Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina of Greece to The Duke of Kent, who was an uncle of the then Princess Elizabeth, in 1934.
She was 13 and he was 18. After meeting again in 1939, they began to exchange letters. The pair became secretly engaged in 1946, but the formal engagement was delayed until Elizabeth turned 21 in April 1947.
Elizabeth and Philip were married at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947, in front of 2,000 invited guests. The ceremony was broadcast on radio, to 200 million listeners worldwide.
Elizabeth famously saved up her ration cards to purchase the material needed for her wedding gown. The wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell – a duchesse satin bridal gown with motifs of star lilies and orange blossoms. More than 2,500 wedding presents arrived from around the world, and 10,000 telegrams of congratulations.
The couple went to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony where they waved from the balcony to large crowds. The “wedding breakfast” was held after the marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey in the Ball Supper-room at Buckingham Palace. The menu was Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau en Casserole (a braised partridge dish) and Bombe Glacée Princess Elizabeth. They spent their wedding night in Broadlands, Hampshire, the home of Philip’s uncle, Earl Mountbatten. The rest of their honeymoon was spent at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.
The Queen is the first British monarch to have celebrated a Diamond and Blue Sapphire wedding anniversary; a land mark which no other British monarch has achieved and one which may never be surpassed.