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Friday, June 11, 1999 Published at 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK


Weddings of the past



BBC News Online invites you to take a look back on some of the most memorable royal weddings of this century.


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Queen Elizabeth met Prince Philip in 1939, when she was just 13 years old. They saw each other frequently at social occasions and in 1944, Prince Philip asked his cousin King George of Hellenes about marriage.

In 1946, the prince proposed to the future Queen at Balmoral. The wedding was set for 20 November 1947.

Royal Wedding
It was first thought inappropriate to hold an elaborate and luxurious wedding while the ordinary citizens of Britain struggled in the aftermath of war in Europe. But in the end it was decided to turn the wedding into a national celebration.

The ceremony was the first time television cameras entered Westminster Abbey. Guests were treated to an opulent supper. There were 12 wedding cakes, and the main one was nine feet tall.

The bride wore a Hartnell creation of ivory silk with an interwoven flower design crusted with pearls and crystal. The honeymoon was spent in Kent.

In 1997, the Queen and Prince Philip marked their golden jubilee wedding anniversary with a grand celebration, to which politicians and dignitaries from all over the world were invited.


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The Queen's younger sister, Margaret, married photographer, Antony Armstrong-Jones, on 6 May 1960.

It seemed a true life romance, sealed in a picturesque ceremony at Westminster Abbey. The honeymoon was an exotic one, in the West Indies. For the years after, the couple led a glamorous life among all the beautiful people of the swinging sixties.

The couple had two children, David and Sarah, but in 1966, rumours emerged of a partial separation. In May 1978, the couple were officially divorced.


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The Queen's only daughter, Princess Anne, was busy trying to build a show-jumping career, when the press began to turn their attention to her personal life.

At the time many suspected she was involved with another show-jumper and army officer, Mark Phillips, but Buckingham Palace firmly denied this.

Weeks later, their engagement was announced. It was later commented that their relationship paved the way for members of the Royal Family to marry commoners.

The couple married on 14 November 1973. It took place at the Abbey and there was a grand procession along the streets of central London. Thousands of spectators lined the roads to watch the troops on parade.

But in April 1992, they too divorced. Six months later, the Princess Royal married Commander Timothy Laurence in a quiet ceremony in Scotland.


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Prince Charles and Diana's wedding was the most talked about of the century. The ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July 1981, was billed as a fairytale ending to a romantic courtship.

The prince, one of the world's most eligible bachelors, appeared to have fallen for the bashful 20-year-old children's nanny. He wed her in true grandeur at the Abbey.

As Diana stepped out of the royal carriage up the steps of St Paul's Cathedral, it was the moment millions had been waiting for: the first glimpse of the royal bridal dress.

An endless silk embroidered white train meandered behind her as she, escorted by her ailing father, walked up the aisle to meet her groom, the heir to the throne.

The couple separated in 1992, following the births of their sons, William and Harry. In 1996, they were officially divorced.


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All eyes were on Prince Andrew next to find his future bride. After several much-publicised affairs, his engagement to Sarah Ferguson was announced.

In the wake of the Wales's marriage, the country was only too happy to welcome another grand royal occasion.

On 23 July 1986, the prince and "Fergie", as she came to be affectionately known by the public, wed at Westminster Abbey in an elaborately organised national event.

The Queen gave them the titles, Duke and Duchess of York. The couple had two daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie. They separated in 1992, but continue to live under the same roof, sharing joint custody of their children.



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In this section

Honeymoon over for Edward and Sophie

Balmoral honeymoon - then back to work

Royal couple join waxworks

Edward and Sophie begin married life

Radiant Sophie marries her prince

Sophie stunning in ivory silk

Traditional service for royal couple

Stars and royalty at wedding of the year

Something old, something new

Hats off to wedding fashion

Wessex titles for Edward and Sophie

Shoes hitch for Sophie

Marriage and monarchy move with the times

Fan fare: Monarchist memorabilia worldwide

Shattering the royal marriage myth