Five royal weddings at Westminster Abbey

    William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Image: Shaun Jeffers / Shutterstock.com
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    Prince William and Kate Middleton married at Westminster Abbey on 29 April in one of the biggest events of 2011. We look back at the weddings of some of the other members of the Royal Family to have married there 

    Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, 23 July 1986

    After arriving at the Abbey a couple of minutes late, Sarah made her way up the aisle with a 17-foot long train sweeping behind her. The couple were surrounded by 2,000 guests and around 30,000 flowers that lined the church. The wedding guests included Margaret Thatcher and 17 members of foreign royalty while around 100,000 people gathered to witness the couple’s first public kiss on the palace balcony. 

     

    Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, 14 November 1973

     

    Around 500 million people watched the celebrations on TV with many well-wishers sleeping in the Mall the night before to guarantee a good view. The hymns included Glorious things of thee are spoken and Immortal invisible, God only wise. After the wedding meal, the couple retreated to White House Lodge in Richmond Park before flying to Barbados for their honeymoon the following day.

     

    Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, 6 May 1960

     

    The marriage of the Queen’s sister was the first ever televised royal wedding service and a loudspeaker was used to allow the crowds outside to listen in on the proceedings. A CCTV system was also set up to allow guests to view the ceremony in the Abbey. The gathering crowds slowed down the couple’s car, delaying them after the ceremony en route to the Royal Yacht Britannia, where they planned to depart for their honeymoon in the Caribbean.

     
    The Queen and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten RN, 20 November 1947

     

    The couple received 1,347 weddings gifts totalling just over £2 million. Gifts included diamond jewellery, china, glass, silver, and a set of books from Winston Churchill. Many of the gifts were exhibited at St James’s Palace, with the proceeds going to charity. Rationing was still in place so the wedding menu was modest. Meat and vegetables were sourced from the royal estates and ingredients for the wedding cakes were ordered from overseas.

     
    King George VI and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, 26 April 1923

     

    The tradition of using Welsh gold for royal wedding rings started with this wedding in 1923. Gold from the same nugget used for the Queen Mother’s ring has been used for the rings at subsequent royal weddings ever since. A huge wedding cake was made for the couple by Mcvitie and Price. It weighed around 365kg and stood about three metres high, covered with intricate icing and topped off with porcelain figures.

     

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    Inside Westminster Abbey

     

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