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In Honour Bound

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 Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh 

During World War II, Philip wrote to Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-    ) and she reciprocated with letters and small parcels of 'goodies' to get him through.  When on leave, Philip would travel to spend time with the Princess, who with her sister spent most of the War in the comparative safety of Windsor Castle.  King George VI (1895(1936-1952) initially was not keen on his eldest daughter's choice of romantic interest, but by the end of the War his views were beginning to change, saying - "I like Philip.  He is intelligent, has a good sense of humour and thinks about things the right way."  Soon news of the Royal romance hit the headlines in the newspapers even to the extent that a poll was held on whether the British public would accept the Heir to the Throne marrying a foreigner.

Whilst staying with the Royal Family at Balmoral in the Summer of 1946, Philip proposed to Princess Elizabeth. The engagement to the Heiress Presumptive was kept quiet due to the numerous issues and difficulties which needed to be overcome and The King asked for them to wait until after Princess Elizabeth's 21st birthday.  Distance was also put between Philip and Princess Elizabeth as on 1st February 1947, The King, The Queen and their two daughters left Portsmouth, England onboard HMS Vanguard and headed to South Africa for a Royal Tour. 

 

One of the complications of the engagement was the question of Philip's nationality - he was born a Prince of Greece & Denmark and a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and as a result was often viewed with suspicion both within Court circles and in the press.  His career in the Royal Navy was also in jeopardy due to his nationality as they did not allow peace-time commissions to non-British citizens, so further advancement was impossible.  Mountbatten had encouraged Philip (his nephew) to apply to become a naturalised British subject to ensure that nationality would not preclude him from either a romance with the Princess or a career in the Royal Navy. On 28th February 1947, Philip became a British subject, and after some discussion on a surname he chose the maternal name of Mountbatten.  The other main complication was Philip's faith - he had been baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church, but in October 1947 he was formally received into the Church of England.

On 10th July 1947, Buckingham Palace announced Philip's engagement to the Princess - 

 

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II)

making a speech in South Africa

on her 21st Birthday

Buckingham Palace 

July 10, 1947

It is with the greatest pleasure that The King and Queen announce the betrothal of their dearly beloved daughter, The Princess Elizabeth, to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, R.N., son of the late Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Andrew (Princess Alice of Battenberg), to which union The King has gladly given his consent.

 

An engagement photo of

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II)

& Philip

 

Philip (left) with Mountbatten

at his "stag night" dinner

at the Dorchester Hotel, London

 

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II)

& Philip on their wedding day

Philip wore the uniform of a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy with two orders - the star of The Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG) and the star of a Knight Grand Cross of The Order of the Redeemer (GCR) from Greece.

 

The insignia of a Knight Grand Cross

of the Order of the Redeemer (GCR)

Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell

(1901-1979) cost £1,200 and the material was obtained using ration coupons.  The dress was made of soft Damascus Prokar ivory silk, with a high neckline, tailored bodice, thousands of pearls arranged as white roses of York, entwined with ears of corn embroidered in crystal, with a short 13ft train.  The Princess also wore Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara, made in 1919, which Queen Elizabeth (1900-2002) loaned to her daughter as her 'something borrowed'.  The same tiara was worn by Princess Anne (b.1950) for her 1973 wedding to Captain Mark Phillips (b.1948).

 

After the reception at Buckingham Palace, the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh left for Waterloo Station and boarded a train for Romsey and headed to spend the first part of their honeymoon at Mountbatten's home - Broadlands.  After 5 days, the couple returned to London for lunch with King George VI (1895(1936-1952) and Queen Elizabeth (1900-2002) at Buckingham Palace en route to 2 further weeks at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate in Scotland. 

 

 

A short film (limited audio) by Pathé

about the engagement of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) & Philip

On 11th November 1947, King George VI (1895(1936-1952) conferred upon Princess Elizabeth, the highest Order in his gift - The Most Noble Order of The Garter appointing her a Royal Lady of the Order.  The King also conferred 'The Garter' onto Philip as a Royal Knight on 19th November 1947 (on the eve of Philip's marriage to Princess Elizabeth), some 8 days later to ensure that his daughter's appointment would be senior to Philip's.  In addition, Philip was also created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth & Baron Greenwich with the style of Royal Highness. The King wrote to his mother - Queen Mary (1867-1953) and said - "It is a great deal to give a man all at once, but I know Philip understands his new responsibilities on his marriage to Lilibet." Later that night, Philip had his traditional 'stag' night dinner at the Dorchester Hotel, London.  Lt-Cmdr Michael Parker (1920-2001), Philip's Private Secretary said of the dinner - "It was a great night. Everyone was in Naval evening dress. Mountbatten was the senior guest, alongside David Milford Haven... It was a very happy occasion.  It was an evening of comrades.  Philip was an orphan of sorts and we were family."  Now officially styled His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh (not Prince Philip!), Philip spent his last night of bachelorhood at Kensington Palace, the home of his maternal grandmother - The Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (1863-1950).  He returned from his 'stag night' with his best man (and cousin) - David Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven (1919-1970) to Kensington Palace, lit a cigarette, stubbed it out and told his cousin - "that's the last one".  He never smoked again!  

 

Philip married Princess Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey on 20th November 1947, in the first gathering of European Royals since World War II.  However, most of Philip's closest family members were excluded and not invited due to their connections to Nazi Germany as it was deemed too soon after the War to invite them to such an event.  The ceremony was conducted by The Archbishop of Canterbury - The Most Rev & Rt Hon. Geoffrey Fisher, later The Lord Fisher of Lambeth (1887-1972), who was assisted by The Archbishop of York - The Most Rev & Rt Hon. Cyril Garbett (1875-1955). 

 

The best man was - 

David Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven

(1919-1970)

Cousin of the groom - the eldest son of

the 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, 

formerly Prince George of Battenberg

The eight bridesmaids were -

HRH The Princess Margaret,

later Countess of Snowdon

(1930-2002)

Sister of the bride -

the daughter of King George VI (1895(1936-1952)

HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent,

later The Hon. Lady Ogilvy

(b.1936)

Cousin of the bride - the daughter of

Prince George, 1st Duke of Kent

The Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott

later Lady Gilmour of Craigmillar

(1927-2004)

The daughter of the 8th Duke of Buccleuch and

niece of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester

The Lady Mary Cambridge

(1924-1999)

Second Cousin of the bride - the daughter of

the 2nd Marquess of Cambridge,

formerly Prince George of Teck

The Lady Elizabeth Lambart

(1924-2016)

The daughter of

Field Marshal the 10th Earl of Cavan


The Hon. (later The Lady) Pamela Mountbatten

(b.1929)

First Cousin of the groom -

the daughter of Mountbatten

The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone

later Mrs Denys Rhodes

(1925-2016)

First Cousin of the bride - the daughter of

the 16th Lord Elphinstone

Miss Diana Bowes Lyon

(1923-1986)

First Cousin of the bride - the daughter of

The Hon. John 'Jock' Bowes Lyon

The pages were -

HRH Prince William of Gloucester

(1941-1972)

First Cousin of the bride - the son of

HRH Prince Henry, 1st Duke of Gloucester

Prince Michael of Kent

(b.1942)

First Cousin of the bride - the son of

Prince George, 1st Duke of Kent

 

Broadlands - 

Mountbatten & Edwina's home 

at the time of the honeymoon of

Philip & Princess Elizabeth

(now Queen Elizabeth II)

 

A short film from British Movietone about the wedding of

Philip & Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II)

 

Philip & Princess Elizabeth on their honeymoon at Mountbatten's home - Broadlands