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Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 00:57 GMT
Sharing their diamond anniversary
By Daniela Relph
BBC royal correspondent

Margaret and Horace Bunn
Horace and Margaret moved their wedding forward two days

You would think it would be every bride and groom's worst nightmare.

You plan the big day months in advance, fine-tune every detail only to find your wedding day clashes with an event most of your guests would rather be watching.

For Margaret and Horace Bunn not the FA Cup Final, not the Grand National but just the small matter of a royal wedding.

Most couples would have been horrified. But Margaret and Horace took it in the stride - even moving the date of their ceremony so they could be married on the same day as the young Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Greece.

"Everybody was excited, it made it extra special being on the same day and we've always told people we were married the same day as the Queen. They all think that was nice," said Horace.

Talking point

Compared to the spectacle of the royal wedding in London, things were rather more low-key for Margaret and Horace in Ashington in Northumberland.

The wedding dress was on loan from Margaret's sister-in law. The veil was borrowed from a friend. It was a case of trying not to spend all the clothing coupons in a country still dealing with post-war rationing.

The couple always believed their choice of wedding day would be a talking point.

Sixty years on they would be proved right.

People were very conscious that this was the first state occasion after the end of the Second World War
Chorister David Wheat

On Monday they will be one of 10 couples also married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey for the Thanksgiving Service.

Many of the 2,000 people invited are there because of the special role they played 60 years ago.

Five of the choristers will be back reflecting on their contribution to the day as young boys.

Now in their seventies, in 1947 they sat 20 feet above the Abbey floor in the organ loft with a unique view of the ceremony.

David Wheat recalled how they were allowed to smuggle in barley sugars in their cassock pockets as a treat to keep themselves going during the rigours of the service.

Three months

"People were very conscious that this was the first state occasion after the end of the Second World War. And this was something young, this was if you like starting all over again and you picked up that sort of atmosphere even as a youngster."

David Weat
David Weat was a chorister at the royal wedding

But despite the pomp and grandeur of the entire day's events all eyes were on one thing, the bride's dress.

The Norman Hartnell creation took three months to make and its design was something of a state secret. In a London studio, the Hartnell team worked behind whitewashed windows covered in white muslin to keep out prying eyes.

The dress was made from ivory silk satin and decorated with 10,000 pearls. And just like all post-war brides Princess Elizabeth was given 200 extra clothing coupons from the government to put towards the cost of her wedding dress.

Many more were sent to her from around the country. They all had to be returned. Giving away the coupons was illegal.

For the seamstresses who worked on the dress there was no room for error. Betty Foster, now 79, was one of them.

No one was allowed to talk to her as she concentrated on her job - sewing on the buttons that ran up the back of the dress, making the buttonholes and putting buttons on the sleeves.

Princess Elizabeth wore satin shoes trimmed with silver and seed pearl
Princess Elizabeth had to give back clothing coupons sent to her

Betty also unexpectedly found herself standing in for the royal bride when the chief seamstress needed to take some measurements.

"She just called me over and she just fitted the train on my shoulders. I think she had to because I was more or less the same height as the Queen, and she had to gauge the length to the floor and then the length of the train."

Monday's service is one of thanksgiving - not just for a successful and enduring royal partnership. It will also be a chance for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to thank those who made their day so memorable.

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