10 months ago

This England

This England is the quarterly magazine for all who love our green and pleasant land and are unashamedly proud of their English roots. Published since 1968 the magazine has now become one of England’s best loved magazines and has a readership of over 115,000 people from around the world. As well as being popular in England it outsells all other British heritage magazines in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and is sent to readers in every country of the world. Published in Cheltenham, in the heart of picturesque Gloucestershire, the magazine is edited, printed and despatched direct from England. Subscribe today and celebrate all that is best about England and the English way of life.

Left: Princess Elizabeth

Left: Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on their wedding day. Above: The ceremony in Westminster Abbey and the couple in the Glass Coach on their return to Buckingham Palace. The reign of Her Majesty the Queen has been characterised by her dedication to duty, fulfilling a pledge that she made on her 21st birthday in 1947. Throughout those years, Her Majesty has been accompanied by her loyal consort Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the man she famously referred to as her “strength and stay”. In August, The Duke carried out his final official engagement, at the age of 96, after 70 years of unstinting service; however, as you would expect, he won’t be retiring altogether. An overwhelming sense of devotion — to the nation, the Commonwealth, their family and to each other — has been at the heart of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh’s life together. This is something that they will celebrate on 20th November this year when they reach a particularly special and personal milestone, their 70th wedding anniversary. Theirs was a marriage that brought some much-needed joy and happiness to a country that was emerging from the dark shadows of war. The splendour, pomp and pageantry of a British royal wedding was the perfect tonic, providing warmth and brightness to a chilly November day in London. Who could resist getting swept along in the romance of the beautiful young princess and her dashing prince? Here was an occasion blessed with the magic of majesty, which also represented hope for the future. For the 2,600 guests who witnessed the ceremony in Westminster Abbey; the thousands of people who lined the procession route, all eager to catch a glimpse of the fairytale princess and her prince; and 200 million radio listeners worldwide, it was an event they wanted to be part of — to share and to celebrate this historic and personal moment and a new chapter in the life of the royal family. As the wedding united the future queen with the handsome naval lieutenant it united the entire nation with its sense of renewal and optimism. The couple’s engagement was officially announced on 9th July and an estimated 10,000 messages of congratulations, followed by some 2,500 presents, flooded in from across the world — from heads of state, officials and ordinary wellwishers. Wedding preparations were soon underway, although Buckingham Palace was ever-mindful of the restrictions as wartime rationing was still in place. Princess Elizabeth, like all brides of the time, was allowed an extra 200 clothes coupons towards her wedding dress, but such was the public’s affection for the young princess and their enthusiasm for the wedding, that many people sent her their own coupons. Kind-hearted 22 THIS ENGLAND, Winter, 2017

Above: Later years brought dedication to duty and family life. Left: The royal couple with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren after Trooping the Colour in 2016. GRAHAM WILTSHIRE though these gestures were, all coupons were carefully returned as passing them on was prohibited. Amid much secrecy and security, royal dressmaker Norman Hartnell designed the princess’s ivory satin dress, which was exquisitely decorated with seed pearls and crystals. After the drabness of the war years one can imagine the enchanting, almost effervescent appearance of the princess as she was first seen travelling from Buckingham Palace, with her beloved father, in the Irish State Coach. As they approached the Abbey, the BBC’s Peter Scott summed up the emotions of the crowd when he commented: “This is our princess, and this great affectionate crowd is watching her going to marry the man she loves.” Prince Philip was waiting for the princess with his best man, the Marquess of Milford Haven. The Daily Mirror perceptively described the groom as: “Self-possessed and calm,” and noted: “This calm young man is worth your observation. This is no shadow of a consort.” How right that has proved to be. The princess’s eight bridesmaids included her sister Princess Margaret and her cousin Princess Alexandra. She was also attended by two young page boys, Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent, who carefully carried the 15-foot train of her dress. The ceremony was officiated by Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury and, following royal tradition, the wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold. Among the music were the hymns “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” and “The Lord’s My Shepherd.” As husband and wife, the couple left the Abbey to the accompaniment of Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” and were met by the tumultuous sound of the pealing bells and the cheering crowds. Those who followed the returning royal procession to Buckingham Palace gathered amid a feeling of elation and excitement, before the doors opened and the newlyweds and members of the royal family appeared on the balcony. Smiling and waving, the young couple acknowledged the exuberant crowds that lined The Mall. After the official photographs, 150 guests enjoyed a wedding breakfast created by the Palace chef which featured a starter of Filet de Sole Mountbatten, a main course of partridge (a meat which was not on ration) and a Bombe Glacée Princess Elizabeth. The official wedding cake was made by McVitie and Price, with ingredients supplied by the Australian Girl Guides. Even though the official ceremony was over, the ardent wellwishers outside weren’t going to miss the opportunity to give the newlyweds a splendid send off on their new life together. They waited patiently throughout the afternoon to cheer their departure from the Palace to Waterloo Station. From there, Princess Elizabeth and the new Duke of Edinburgh travelled to Broadlands, in Hampshire, the home of the Duke’s uncle Lord Mountbatten, for the first part of their honeymoon, followed by time spent at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate. King George wrote to his daughter on the night of her wedding: “I was so proud and thrilled at having you so close to me on our long walk in Westminster Abbey. But when I handed your hand to the Archbishop, I felt I had lost something very precious. You were so calm and composed during the service and said your words with such conviction, that I knew everything was all right.” Echoing his words, it certainly has been “all right” and, since that magical day in 1947 the couple have, in addition to undertaking numerous royal duties, tours and engagements, become loving parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Just as they have guided their own family they have served the nation and the Commonwealth through good times and bad. We have much to thank them for. The radiance of this remarkable royal couple, who captivated the world all those years ago, continues to shine brighter than ever and, as they celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary, we send them our warmest and most heartfelt congratulations. ANGELINE WILCOX THIS ENGLAND, Winter, 2017 23

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