As we count down the days to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we can’t help but think about all the drama, disasters, and over the top fanfare of British royal weddings of the past. Here’s a rundown of the 30 craziest facts about the marriages dating back to the Queen Mother’s era through the present day. For more royal marriage fun facts, check out these 20 Commoners Who Married Royals.
Princess Elizabeth was a thrifty bride
Because Britain was still feeling the economic effects of World War II at the time, Elizabeth bought the fabric for her wedding dress with ration stamps. While it is not known how much the dress actually cost the Queen, it’s been reported that designers from Netflix’s The Crown spent approximately $37,000 recreating the dress, which took seven weeks to make.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
At all Royal Weddings, the menu is always in French and there is never any translation on it. This tradition began years ago, when British monarchs worked only with French chefs in their kitchens. And for more on royal traditions, check out these 20 Traditions Royal Brides Must Follow.
Brides and grooms must give up this food
How’s this for random: When marrying into the royal family, one must give up shellfish. In the past, the royal family is said to have been averse to shellfish. They have been advised to abstain from eating it to avoid food poisoning and allergic reactions. For more royal secrets, check out the 10 Secrets the Palace Doesn’t Want Meghan Markle to Know.
This takes the cake
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s wedding cake stood a towering 9ft and weighed 500 pounds. It was made with dried fruit from Australia and later preserved with rum and brandy from South Africa. It was nicknamed as “the 10,000-mile wedding cake.”
But how did it taste?
Sixty-three years after their wedding, a slice of Elizabeth and Philip’s cake sold for £1,750. It was wrapped in its original baking parchment and was still edible due to its high alcohol content. The piece was said to have been given to one of the couple’s guards of honor at their wedding ceremony. And for more amazing knowledge, check out these 20 Crazy Facts That Will Blow Your Mind.
Princess Elizabeth had a fashion emergency on the day of her wedding
On the morning of Elizabeth’s wedding, as the hairdresser was working with her tiara, its antique metal frame snapped. Though there were other tiaras in her collection, the future Queen was intent on wearing that particular piece. A court jeweler took the tiara via police escort to the Garrard workshop to be repaired.
They’re kissing cousins
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth are related. They have the same great-great-grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who were first cousins. It was a common practice for the Royals back then to be cousins since marriages were done to ally with foreign powers.
Elizabeth had a childhood crush on Philip
The Queen was just 13 when she met her future husband. She was on a visit to a Naval college in Dartmouth with her father King George VI, when a cadet named Philip Mountbatten—her third cousin and a Greek prince—was given the task of showing the future queen and her sister, Princess Margaret around.
Philip was not a welcome choice at Buckingham Palace
When Philip and Elizabeth’s engagement was announced in July 1947, the British public largely dismissed him as “a German.” Many of the king’s advisors “did not think him good enough” for Elizabeth.
Anti-German sentiments kept Philip’s family away
Because Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II married just two years after World War II ended, it was not acceptable for Philip’s German family members (including his sisters) to be invited to the wedding.
Elizabeth got a new title after her wedding
On the morning of their wedding, Philip was made the Duke of Edinburgh. Upon tying the knot, Elizabeth took Philip’s title and became Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh.
This was the first royal wedding to be televised
Prince Margaret’s wedding to photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones was the first royal ceremony to be broadcast on TV and attracted 30 million international viewers. If you’re looking to tune into Harry and Meghan’s wedding, Here’s How You Can Stream the Royal Wedding for Free.
She was the first royal divorcee to remarry
Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter, Princess Anne, divorced her first husband, Mark Phillips, and married Sir Timothy Laurence, the Queen’s equerry, in 1992. They tied the knot in a Church of Scotland ceremony at Crathie Parish Church near Balmoral, because the Church of England did not permit the remarriages of divorced people. Anne became the first modern royal divorcée to remarry.
They are the happiest divorced couple in the royal family
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson announced they were divorcing in May 1996. Despite Sarah’s many scandals and their messy split, the couple remains good friends to this day and still live in the same house.
Her wedding mix-up was a bad omen
Lady Diana Spencer mixed up her wedding vows and called her husband-to-be “Philip Charles” as opposed to the correct name—“Charles Philip Arthur George.”
The engagement ring could have been anyone’s
Royal engagement rings are custom made, but Diana chose her own ring sapphire and diamond ring from the Garrard jewelry catalog because it was the biggest one in the book. It is now worn by Kate Middleton.
She changed her vows
Princess Diana was the first royal bride to omit the part of the vows where she’s was to promise to “obey” Prince Charles. Thirty years later when William and Kate got married, she also decided to leave out the word “obey” from her vows.
A huge sweet tooth
Diana and Charles had 27 wedding cakes in one huge creation. A piece of the wedding cake was sold at an auction in 2008 for £1,000.
Her dress made history
Diana’s dress had the longest-ever train in British Royal history extending to 25 ft. Her veil was anchored by the Spencer family tiara and used 153 yards of tulle. She also had a matching umbrella that was hand-embroidered with pearls and sequins and trimmed with the same lace–in case of rain.
This was a bad sign of things to come
Prince Charles reportedly cried the night before the wedding because he felt pressured into his marriage and was still in love with then-mistress Camilla Parker Bowles. Camilla was at the wedding, causing a “disturbing distraction” for Diana as she stood at the altar.
He was taken for a ride
Camilla Parker Bowles then-husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, escorted Charles and Diana’s horse-drawn carriage back to Buckingham Palace.
He won’t put a ring on it
Prince William does not wear a wedding ring because of “personal preference.” To avoid any controversy, the Palace issued a statement before their wedding explaining that.
The Queen told them to call it quits
In 1992, Charles and Diana decided to get a separation after they both admitted they had been unfaithful to each other over the years. They had stayed together so not to disappoint the public, but after Diana’s infamous interview with Martin Bashir, the Queen told Diana and Charles to get a divorce.
This was the first royal civil ceremony
Prince Charles wed his second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, on April 9, 2005. Charles became the first member of the royal family to marry in a civil ceremony rather than a religious wedding. It took place at Windsor Castle and was followed by a religious blessing at St. George’s Chapel.
There can only be one Princess of Wales
After her wedding to Charles, Camilla legally became Princess of Wales, but because she knew the public would never accept her as Diana’s official replacement. She opted to use the title Duchess of Cornwall.
The Queen did not attend the ceremony
Charles and Camilla were blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury during the Service of Prayer and Dedication at Windsor Castle. The queen and Prince Philip did not attend the civil ceremony. According to an insider it was because the queen “does take her role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England very seriously,” she felt it would “be inappropriate to attend that particular part of the wedding.”
The request to broadcast Prince Albert’s wedding was denied
When Prince Albert wed Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on April 26, 1923, at Westminster Abbey, the BBC requested to broadcast the ceremony over the radio, but they were rejected.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
He gave up the Crown for love
King Edward VIII gave up his throne for Mrs. Wallis Simpson, an American who was a married woman and already once divorced. Edward was faced with three choices: marry her and she becomes Queen but his government resigns; second, they marry each other, but Mrs. Simpson doesn’t become Queen and third, he abdicates and is no longer king and free to marry Mrs. Simpson without having to think of the opinion of the people or the government. He chose to abdicate and left England.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Her wedding is truly historic
Meghan Markle will make history as the first American to marry into the royal family in 81 years. The last American to wed a British royal was Wallis Simpson which set in motion the events that led to Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne. This time, the Royals have welcome the divorced American bride with open arms.
She converted for love
Meghan Markle was baptized and confirmed in a secret ceremony at St James’s Palace in London in March and is now Anglican and a member of the Church of England. The former actress attended a private Catholic girls’ school as a child but was raised Protestant. And for more on this love story, check out The 10 Princely Ways That Harry Won Meghan.
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