Engagement of Queen Elizabeth
The 9th of July 1947 AD
On July 9 1947 the engagement of heir-presumptive Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth II , to Prince Philip, was announced to the world. In fact the couple had been secretly engaged since Philip proposed during a stay at Balmoral the previous summer. They had first met in 1934, when the Queen was not yet 10, and met again in 1937, but it was during a royal visit to Dartmouth Naval College in 1939 that the then 13-year-old princess fell for the 18-year-old Philip, who escorted her and Princess Margaret that day. They corresponded afterwards, and love grew.
The match was not without difficulties: although Philip served with the British Navy, with some distinction, during WWII , he was still a Greek national in 1946 and member of the Greek Orthodox Church; he also had ties to the Danish royal family; and he had wider family in Germany – his four sisters all married German aristocrats - something that was naturally rather a tricky subject with the British public then. At first George VI and Queen Elizabeth were not happy with the idea, but eventually relented. Philip joined the Church of England and renounced his Greek and Danish titles. In April 1947 King George gave permission for the marriage, the princess having passed her 21st birthday. After arrangements were put in place the formal announcement was made by Buckingham Palace on July 9 that year – though news had been leaked to the press some time previously.
For those who need to know such things, the engagement ring was of platinum, made by the jeweller Philip Antrobus, and had a setting with a large square diamond surrounded by smaller ones, all the diamonds taken from a tiara belonging to Prince Philip’s mother.
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