How Queen Elizabeth met Prince Philip: Looking back at the 1947 royal wedding

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Friday, April 9, 2021
The royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten
BBC Radio recorded and broadcasted Princess Elizabeth and Philip's ceremony to 200 million people around the world.

LONDON -- After nearly 74 years of marriage, four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, Queen Elizabeth II said her final goodbyes to her husband Prince Philip, who died Friday at age 99.

How they met

Philip Mountbatten met then-Princess Elizabeth while visiting his royal cousins on leave from the British navy.

Philip's mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, a descendent of German princes. Like his future wife, Elizabeth, Philip was also a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria.

This file photo dated July 10, 1947 shows the official photograph of Britain's Princess Elizabeth and her fiance, Lieut. Philip Mountbatten in London.

AP Photo/File

It was clear by the end of his stay that he was courting Princess Elizabeth, eldest child and heir of King George VI. Their engagement was announced July 10, 1947.

After an initial flurry of disapproval that Elizabeth was marrying a foreigner, Philip's athletic skills, good looks and straight talk lent a distinct glamour to the royal family.

"Within the house, and whatever we did, it was together," Philip told biographer Basil Boothroyd.

The queen, a very private person not given to extravagant displays of affection, once called him "her rock" in public.

ABC News Special Report: Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died.

The wedding

The couple married on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey.

The future Queen Elizabeth II had eight bridesmaids: her sister Princess Margaret, her cousin Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Pamela Mountbatten, Margaret Elphinstone and Diana Bowes-Lyon. Philip's best man was David Mountbatten, the Marquess of Milford Haven.

Two thousand guests were invited to the ceremony that was officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, and the Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett.

BBC Radio recorded and broadcasted the ceremony to 200 million people around the world.

The princess wore a dress designed by Sir Norman Hartnell. He said the dress was inspired by Botticelli's painting Primavera.

After the ceremony, the couple held a wedding breakfast in the Ball-Supper Room at Buckingham Palace. They famously went onto the balcony at the palace to wave to the huge crowds on the mall.

The couple received more than 2,500 gifts and around 10,000 telegrams of congratulations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.