All brides are beautiful but some linger in the memory forever. The Queen is in that category. OK, it helps that she's the Queen and millions watched her wedding while billions have no doubt seen the photos since. And we're all getting wedding excitement again as the Platinum anniversary of her marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh arrives this November 20th. So to celebrate that very special moment, here's a look back at the Queen as a bride.....
For simplicity's sake, let's start at the top and work our way down. The Queen's wedding veil was tulle and worn back from her face. It gave way to a fifteen foot court train, attached at the bride's shoulders, made from silk tulle and with embroidery including pearls and crystals.
There was plenty of family and lots of drama about the tiara that the Queen wore to her wedding. The diamond fringe diadem was made for her granny, Queen Mary, and had started as a wedding present itself. When Mary married the future George V in 1893 she received a diamond necklace from her new hubby's granny - who just happened to be Queen Victoria. She later had Garrards turn that into the tiara. She passed the piece on to her own daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, when she became queen consort in 1936. The then Princess Elizabeth chose it for her wedding but may have had second thoughts after it famously broke on the morning of her marriage and had to be hastily repaired.
Created by Norman Hartnell, this is about as famous a royal wedding gown as you will find. It was made of ivory silk, spun by worms at Lullingstone Castle in Kent and woven by Winterthur in Dunfermline. Hartnell said he was inspired by the painting Primavera by Botticelli - the return of spring, rather apt for a gown worn by a future monarch marrying in front of a nation still recovering from the harsh times of war. The gown has full length sleeves, fitted bodice and heart shaped neckline. After the wedding it was displayed in cities across the UK.
When you're a royal bride, you don't just stop at a tiara. Oh no. There are all kinds of expectations and family heirlooms to contend with and the Queen managed it all marvellously. We know she loves pearls and for her wedding she wore a double strand necklace with enough historical punch for three royal nuptials. One strand of the pearls is believed to have belonged to Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch of Britain, while the other belonged to Caroline of Ansbach, consort to King George II. The pearls were passed down from Queen Victoria and given to Princess Elizabeth by her father on her wedding day. The earrings are made of pearls and diamonds and once belonged to George III's daughter, Mary, who ended up as Duchess of Edinburgh - the title waiting for the new royal bride after her marriage. Of course, Princess Elizabeth wore her diamond engagement ring, made by Antrobus using a stone from a tiara belonging to Prince Philip's mother, Alice. And she left the Abbey with perhaps her most precious piece of jewellery - a wedding ring fashioned from Welsh gold, continuing a tradition of the House of Windsor.
The Queen carried a bouquet of white orchids, three varieties in total, all grown in the UK. Amongst those exotic blooms was a sprig of myrtle, continuing a tradition started by Queen Victoria who carried some in her own wedding bouquet who had received a cutting from Prince Albert's grandmother and planted it at Osborne House where it flourished. The bouquet, created by Martin Longman, went missing before the official photos were taken hence the bloomless bride in some of the snaps.
How forties are these? The satin crossover sandals were made by Edward Rayne and if the rest of the outfit is all about a future queen getting married, these are all about a young bride enjoying the biggest day of her life. The company originally made theatre shoes and went on to be a royal favourite with Margaret and Diana also using them.