Over the years, I have appraised more than my fair share of collectibles, art and antiques that have a close relationship to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
In 2015, she surpassed Queen Victoria to become the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
And, recently, the death of her husband, Prince Philip, and his funeral made me consider the collectibles that relate to their long union.
It’s a union that started in the 1930s and has continued through several decades.
As the queen celebrated her 95th birthday in April, some interesting facts about her and the prince seemed quite timely for this year’s June wedding season.
While Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip first met in 1934 at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent, the couple announced their engagement on July 9, 1947, and were married at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey in London.
The ceremony had 2,000 invited guests. Princess Elizabeth arrived at Westminster Abbey in the Irish State Coach alongside her father, King George VI, and she was attended by eight bridesmaids.
When it comes to any wedding, people like to know the facts about the bridal gown, the flowers and the symbolism of the jewelry, so here’s how it was on Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding day.
The wedding rings
The platinum and diamond engagement ring was made by the Philip Antrobus jewelers and the jewelry design employed diamonds from a tiara that belonged to Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.
The wedding ring was made from Welsh gold.
The gold nugget came from the Clogau St. David’s mine, near the town of Dolgellau in the county of Gwynedd, northwest Wales. Dolgellau lies on the River Wnion.
The wedding dress
Princess Elizabeth II’s wedding dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, who won a design competition.
At the time, Hartnell cited Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting “The Primavera,” from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, as his inspiration for the dress design. The painting is filled with mythical characters that symbolize the coming of spring.
The dressmakers, using duchesse satin from Scotland, had only three months to construct the dress before the November nuptials.
The wedding dress had a fitted bodice, heart-shaped neckline and a low v-point waist. The gown featured a skirt of floor-length panels.
The dress had a 15-foot silk tulle train, which trailed behind Elizabeth with enough fabric to keep her eight bridesmaids busy. The dress featured satin applique produced at Lullingstone Castle in Kent, 10,000 seed pearls imported from the United States and hand-sewn crystals.
Her shoes were high-heeled sandals of ivory duchesse satin, trimmed with silver and seed pearl buckles made by Edward Rayne.
After the wedding, as tradition dictates, the royal couple waved to adoring crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
After that glorious day in November of 1947, the royal couple enjoyed 73 years of marriage and the adoration of many the world over.