Westminster Abbey, Royal Connections

Westminster Abbey was founded in 960 and is the tallest medieval church in the country, reaching 102ft at the highest point of the nave; and its facade is the tallest of any English church, at 225ft. As the site of coronations since William the Conqueror in 1066, Westminster Abbey is closely associated with royalty throughout history.  According to the Abbey’s website, it has also been the venue for fifteen royal weddings, about to be sixteen.  And since we love nothing more than tickling our “Fun with Wills and Kate” itch, here are some spectacular pictures of royal weddings at the Abbey from the past.
On November 20, 1947, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) married Prince Philip of Greece, who was made Duke of Edinburgh. They were the tenth royal couple to marry at the Abbey. Their wedding was broadcast by radio to the world. Rationing was still in effect and wartime austerity continued, so the wedding was a time for great national celebration.

In 2007, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at a special ceremony in the Abbey.  She is the first ever English monarch to achieve a diamond wedding celebration. in 2012, the Queen will observe her Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

The Queen’s sister Princess Margaret Rose (1930-2002) wed Anthony Armstrong-Jones in the Abbey on May 6, 1960.  After two children, their marriage ended in divorce in 1978.

The Queen’s only daughter, Anne, Princess Royal, married  Captain Mark Phillips in Westminster Abbey on November 14, 1973.  They have two children.

After divorcing Phillips in 1992, Anne married Timothy Laurence, in Scotland on December 12, 1992.

Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson on July 1986, They became the duke and duchess of York. They have two daughters, but separated in 1992 and divorced four years later.

We are awaiting the big day on Friday, April 29, for the next royal wedding at Westminster Abbey.

This Friday, the Abbey’s 10 bells will ring out as William and Kate leave the royal wedding service. Westminster Abbey’s bells only give a full peal on important royal or national occasions. It was sounded on the day of the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday – August 4 2001 – and rung half muffled less than a year later after her funeral on April 9 2002. The 50th anniversary of the Second World War milestone V-E Day was commemorated by the bells in May 1995. Note: A full peal features a minimum of 5,000 different changes (or sequences) and lasts more than three hours.
Watch an interview with the royal florists, who will be creating an Avenue of Trees within the Abbey and using flowers from Windsor Great Park.
Read the latest story on how florists are currently transforming the Abbey into a Fairytale Forest.

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