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Royals

69 Years Ago! Celebrating Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s Incredible Love Story

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Happy 69th wedding anniversary, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip!

The royal couple, who celebrates the milestone on Sunday, wed in a stunning ceremony on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey – the same place where Prince William and the then Kate Middleton tied the knot in 2011.

And just like Will and Kate, a young, pretty Princess Elizabeth and a tall, handsome Prince Philip brought smiles and celebrations to the nation – something that was certainly needed in November 1947, just two years after the end of WWII.

At the time of their wedding, millions of Britons were living in the aftermath of the bomb-damaged cities and coping with food rations. The November 20 service was the first major event since the end of the war.

Prince William and Princess Kate on their wedding day
Chris Jackson/Getty

Elizabeth, who was brought to the famous Abbey by her father, King George VI, wore an elegant Norman Hartnell gown. And Philip was every bit an officer and a gentleman in his ceremonial naval uniform (he had served in WWII).

“With her bridal dress and tiara on her wedding day, she was a knockout,” one of her bridesmaids, Lady Pamela Hicks, has told PEOPLE. “And, of course, Philip was every girl’s dream Viking prince.”

Popperfoto/Getty

Lady Pamela, 88, who was one of eight attendants, which also included the Queen’s late sister Princess Margaret, recalled women who would send their “treasured gift” of clothing coupons to Buckingham Palace to help out with the nuptials – they were returned.

“It showed how people wanted to be involved, she said.

Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty

Hicks told PEOPLE how Hartnell made Elizabeth’s dress in satin with tulle and embroidered with diamante flowers and pearls, whereas the bridesmaids’ versions were the reverse, made mainly with “tulle with little satin flowers.”

She added, “Tulle could easily be acquired, whereas duchess satin was so difficult to get in those days.

“The princess had that marvelous complexion – that skin was so wonderful. She really was radiant, with her diamond tiara on top. And she was very much in love.”

The Queen, now 90, will no doubt be thinking back to that momentous day on Sunday when she kicks off her shoes – with her beloved pet corgis close by.

Dogs are never far away from the Queen – even on her wedding day. As she and Philip pulled away from their guests to start their honeymoon 68 years ago, they were showered with rose petals (with the Queen Mother running alongside their car to do so) – and spotted over their laps was a rug with Elizabeth’s little corgi, Susan, quivering underneath, recalled Hicks.