Just like Will and Kate, a young Princess Elizabeth and a handsome Prince Philip brought smiles and celebrations to the nation on their wedding day

By Simon Perry
Updated November 20, 2020 02:01 PM
Advertisement
Married Couple
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their wedding day
| Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty

Prince Philip has shared a decades-long romance with longtime love, Queen Elizabeth. The royal couple, who celebrated 73 years of marriage this year, 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.

“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.”

British Royalty. pic: 20th November 1947. Buckingham Palace, London. The wedding of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh showing the couple at the Palace after their wedding at Westminster Abbey.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their wedding day
| Credit: 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.

Royal Wedding
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their wedding day
| Credit: 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.

British Royalty. London, England. 20th November 1947. Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh wave to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their marriage.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their wedding day

“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 94, no doubt thought back back to that momentous day when she kicked off her shoes – with her beloved pet corgis close by.

Can’t get enough of PEOPLE‘s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

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.