The Royal Wedding That Started the Hype

On November 20, 1947, then Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten. The two were married in Westminster Abbey in front of 2,000 guests. This was the first royal wedding to be broadcast via radio to listeners around the world. It was the first time average people around the world could participate in an extravagant affair such as a royal wedding.

This was the beginning of a tradition of accessibility surrounding royal weddings. Since Princess Elizabeth’s wedding, royal weddings have become a worldwide obsession with people throwing parties, buying branded wedding merchandise, and following every step of the planning and ceremony from their own homes.

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, third cousins through Queen Victoria, met at a very young age. Years later when Philip left to serve in the Royal Navy during WWII, he and Princess Elizabeth wrote letters to each other. Upon his return home, Princess Elizabeth and Philip began a serious relationship. The princess’ family was not thrilled by the match, but Elizabeth would not change her mind about Philip. They became engaged on July 8, 1947.

Post-war, almost everything was rationed and times were hard for most British subjects; however, a lavish wedding was planned by Prime Minister Winston Churchill who said the royal wedding should be “a flash of colour on the hard road we have to travel.” The wedding cost £30,000, a sum worth approximately £1.5 million today. Churchill was right. The wedding was of great interest to people around the world and approximately 200 million of them tuned in to listen to the BBC broadcast. Since then, the interest in royal weddings has only grown. About 2 billion people worldwide watched the televised wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

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