Royals still in love 60 years on

VIDEO Today The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, a remarkable achievement for any couple. JAMES MARSTON looks back at a royal marriage that has stood the test of time.

Today The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, a remarkable achievement for any couple. JAMES MARSTON looks back at a royal marriage that has stood the test of time.

JUST after her wedding day in 1947, King George VI wrote to his daughter a touching letter, which serves as a reminder that beneath the pomp and ceremony, the royal wedding was a human event.

He said: “I was so proud of you 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 that 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. I have watched you grow up all these years with pride under the skilful direction of Mummy, who, as you know is the most marvellous person in the World in my eyes, and I can, I know, always count on you, and now Philip, to help us in our work.

“Your leaving us has left a great blank in our lives but do remember that your old home is still yours and do come back to it as much and as often as possible.

I can see that you are sublimely happy with Philip which is right but don't forget us is the wish of

Most Read

Your ever loving and devoted, Papa.”

Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, was just 21, her groom Philip Mountbatten, 26.

Today the couple, in their 80s, are the first royal couple to have celebrated a diamond wedding anniversary. On Friday they were entertained at a black tie dinner at Clarence House by their eldest son the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, with cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren making up the party.

Yesterday the couple gave thanks for their marriage at Westminster Abbey, the scene of their own wedding, in front of the nation. The royal couple retraced their footsteps down the aisle joined by a 2,000-strong congregation.

Theirs has been a partnership that has undoubtedly worked. It would be foolish to suggest there haven't been bad times as well as good. Every marriage and every family has its ups and downs.

Back in 1947 the ceremony provided the nation with a splash of colour in the tough post-war days - a morale boost in the wake of Britain's conflict with Germany, amid the widespread rationing facing the nation. The bride wore an ivory silk Norman Hartnell gown, decorated with 10,000 seed pearls, glittering crystals and featuring an intricate 13ft star-patterned train.

But the event wasn't without its controversy. Due to anti-German feeling the Duke's sisters were not invited to the ceremony. Until 1952 the couple enjoyed life without the burden of the crown but when the King died that changed overnight. Ever since duty has come first.

For most of their married life Prince Philip has walked a step behind Her Majesty. He has never upstaged her, never stolen the limelight. Unlike most men of his generation he has supported his wife in her work and, though he has a reputation of being a little gruff and occasionally saying the wrong things to the wrong people, he has, overall, behaved superbly.

Although he is The Queen's husband, The Duke of Edinburgh was not crowned or anointed at the Coronation ceremony in 1953. He was the first subject to pay Homage to Her Majesty, and kiss the newly crowned Queen by stating “I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks. So help me God.”

The first of their engagement was the Coronation tour of the Commonwealth from November 1953 to May 1954, when the couple visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden, Uganda, Libya, Malta and Gibraltar, travelling a distance of 43,618 miles.

The Queen's record in 55 years as monarch is unblemished.

Many say she is at the height of her popularity and, as she advances into old age, a national treasure to be cherished. Britain has had no revolution, the republican movement has no widespread support and the Royal Family have not been superseded by a presidential system.

Today the couple have flown to Malta, scene of happy memories and where they spent time as a young couple, to mark the occasion. They spent some of their happiest days on the Mediterranean island when Philip was on naval service in the early part of their marriage.

It offered them their only real taste of life as a relatively ordinary couple.

Are you a fan of the royal couple? What do you think of them? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The royal couple received over 2,500 wedding presents from well-wishers around the world in advance of their wedding.

As many as possible were put on display in an exhibition at St James's Palace, attracting crowds from across the UK, with proceeds from the entry fees going to charity.

As well as gifts from around the world, many areas of the UK sent their own regional presents. The Lord Mayor and citizens of Norwich gave a silver casket engraved with the arms of Norwich; residents of Guernsey and Alderney sent a set of silver gilt milk cans, and the people of the Borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed sent a framed watercolour drawing of the local area.

Overseas gifts included a casket-shaped glass vase and cover of Steuben crystal from President and Mrs Truman of the USA, silverware bearing the arms of the Commonwealth from the Government of Australia and a textile from Mahatma Gandhi with a central motif reading 'Jai Hind' (Victory for India). Keen to contribute a present, but with no material possessions of his own, Gandhi spun the yarn for the piece himself.

The couple departed Waterloo station with the Princess's corgi, Susan, for their honeymoon, with their wedding night spent at Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Prince Philip's uncle Earl Mountbatten and the second part of the honeymoon was spent at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.

The platinum and diamond engagement ring was made by the jewellers, Philip Antrobus Ltd, using diamonds from a tiara belonging to Prince Philip's mother.

Prince Philip 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.

The Queen was the 10th member of the Royal Family to be married in the Abbey. The first Royal wedding to take place in the Abbey was when King Henry I married Princess Matilda of Scotland on November 11, 1100.

The eight bridesmaids were: HRH The Princess Margaret, HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, The Hon. Pamela Mountbatten, The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone, The Hon. Diana Bowes-Lyon.

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

The couple departed Waterloo station with the Princess's corgi, Susan, for their honeymoon. 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.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter