This day in 1947, Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten of Greece and Denmark. Sixty-one years later the couple has survived half a century of Cold War, a radically changing London in the swinging sixties, and a few very testy years concerning the state of the monarchy. Still, they are solid and have had one of the longest marriages in history. Last year on the Queen and Duke’s 60th wedding anniversary, an exhibition ran from November 2007 to September 2008 at Buckingham Palace commemorating that day when post-war England rejoiced in a very royal wedding celebration —just the shot of magic dust the country needed.

Making their first appearances since 1947 are the royal bridal ensembles. Elizabeth’s gown (above) and the portrait-collared bridesmaid’ gown in the below photo were designed by Norman Hartnell. Hartnell, a brilliant designer had been Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth since 1938. Part of his claim to fame was taking commissions on wedding gowns for European society in the 1930s-40s era. Known for his intricate bead work adorning miles of tulle and satin, with the commission of Elizabeth’s gown, he used an ivory duchesse satin ornamented with thousands of crystals and 10,000 tiny pearls imported from America. He said the elaborately embroidered star designs on the 13-foot train were the inspiration of Botticelli’s Primavera, signifying revival and hope after so many years of war. The tiara pictured below is ‘something borrowed’; Elizabeth wore this priceless jewelled diadem which was especially made for her grandmother Queen Mary.

Bead work and applique on Elizabeth's gown and train. An army of seamstresses worked almost round the clock for eight weeks to complete these gowns.

sourceOne of the eight bridesmaid gowns. The detailed embroidery on the tulle reminds me of something you'd find in Claire Pettibone's collection.

Queen Mary's Tiara

It is interesting that in an age when closed-toe pumps were standard for formal weddings, Elizabeth went with these little fashionista satin platform sandals with silver buckles and peekaboo toes.
A last note about Elizabeth’s gown: If it weren’t for a savvy restoration team (Keeper of the Robes), her magnificent silk dress would have deteriorated years back. The weight of the bead work over time has weakened the fabric to such a point, in order for it to hang properly, a cotton underskirt had to be constructed to keep the skirt and bodice in one piece.


Here are The Octogenarians last year at their Diamond. How do they do it? Can you believe these two just wrapped up a trip to Slovakia last month?