With just three days before the royal wedding of Prince William of Wales, let's take a look back on the weddings of Princes and Princesses of the House of Windsor. With the exemption of the Prince Henry, Prince Charles and Prince Edward, all weddings of the blood royals were held at the historical Westminster Abbey.
PRINCE BERTIE AND LADY ELIZABETH BOWES-LYON
Born Albert Frederick Arthur George on December 14, 1895, he was known in the family as Prince Bertie, the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. Upon his marriage in 1923 to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, youngest daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in Scotland (a direct descendant of King Robert I of Scotland), he was created the Duke of York. Prince Bertie and Lady Elizabeth were married on April 1923 at Westminster Abbey and she laid her wedding bouquet on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior on the Church's floor which set a royal tradition. The couple had two children: Princess Elizabeth (born April 21, 1926) and Princess Margaret (born August 1930, died February 2002).
Prince Bertie was left-handed and naturally shy, his stammering habit irritated his father, but George V admired his second son's happy and solid marriage that he had wished Bertie would inherit the throne to keep the monarchy from free from scandal. During that time, King George V was exasperated with his heir-apparent's inconceivable lifestyle. Prince David, the Prince of Wales, was enamoured with married women that the King feared his Kingdom won't survive in the hands of David, but the monarchy's law of primogeniture succession guarantee's eldest son only. After the King's death, David ascended as King Edward VIII, but eleven months later he voluntarily abdicated to marry the twice divorced woman, Wallis Simpson, Bertie was forced to pick up the crown left by his brother. He took the regnal name George VI to honor his father, he reigned for 16 years, from December 1936 to February 1952.
PRINCE HENRY AND LADY ALICE MONTAGI-DOUGLAS SCOTT
Born Henry William Frederick Albert on March 31, 1900, he was the third son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was in the presence of his brother, King Edward VIII, when he abdicated the throne in 1936. Upon his older brother's (King George VI) accesion, he was considered a potential regent to his niece, Princess Elizabeth, who was still a minor when her father ascended the throne and was not allowed to go out the country during the minority of Princess Elizabeth.
Unlike his brother who joined the royal navy, Prince Henry served the Kingdom as an army officer, he was also the last member of the British royal family to serve as Governor-General of Australia (1945-1947). During World War II, he was the British Armed Forces' Chief Liaison Officer and was second-in-command of the 20th armoured brigade, he became Marshal of the Royal Air force in 1958.
He married Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas Scott, daughter of the 7th Duke of Beauccleagh, on November 6, 1935 at the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace. Originally, the wedding was scheduled at Westminster Abbey but due to the untimely death of the bride's father, the Duke of Beauccleagh, the couple decided to make their wedding a low key, private affair. The couple had two sons: Prince William and Prince Richard, but Prince William predeceased his father in 1972 due to flying incident, thus the Duke of Gloucester title was inherited by Prince Richard upon Henry's death in 1974.
PRINCE GEORGE AND PRINCESS MARINA OF GREECE AND DENMARK
He was born George Edward Alexander Edmund on December 20, 1902 as the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary. He followed the footsteps of his two older brothers, Edward VIII and George VI, in the royal navy, attending naval training at Osborne and Dartmouth. After leaving the navy he worked in the foreign office becoming the first royal member to work as a civil servant.
Several controversies were attached to Prince George, including news on drug addiction and homosexuality, the royal family wanted to bury these issues, thus, worked behind to strengthen the Prince. In Early 1930's arranged marriages are still existed, so the royal family moved forward to marry him to a Princess of a blood royal to settle his life. A gorgeous Princess was selected. Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark was known with her unique charm and stunning beauty that the Prince was initially attracted. Marina was one of the three pretty daughters of Prince Nicholas of Greece (son of King George I of Greece). Nicholas, whose younger brother Prince Andrew had married Princess Alice of Battenberg of the British royal family (parents of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh), was a first cousin to King George V through King Christian IX of Denmark.
The marriage took place on November 29, 1934 at Westminster Abbey attended by most royal family members of Europe. Prince George was created the Duke of Kent. Princess Marina was the last true-blooded Princess to marry into the British royal family. The couple settled in Buckinghamshire and had three children: Prince Edward, Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael. During World War II, the Prince was created a group captain of the Royal Air Force and was promoted a Vice-Marshal, he was actively working as welfare officer at the height of war, but in August 25, 1942, the Duke of Kent was killed when a fixed-winged sea plane, en route from Scotland to Iceland, where he was a passenger, crashed on the Scottish hillside due to a bad weather. He was only 41 years old at the time of his death.
PRINCESS ELIZABETH AND PRINCE PHILIP OF GREECE AND DENMARK
Though modern historians claimed it as an arranged marriage, most royalists insisted it was a union out of genuine love. Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on April 21, 1926, Princess Elizabeth first met the dashing Prince of Greece at the wedding of her uncle, Prince George, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina, a first cousin of Prince Philip, in 1934. But it was not until 1939 that the Princess reportedly was literally attracted to her third cousin when she accompanied her parents visiting the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth where Prince Philip attended naval training.
Prince Philip is the youngest child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg. Prince Andrew was the 5th son of King George I of Greece making him second cousin of King George VI through King Christian IX of Denmark. Princess Alice was the eldest daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg (who took the name Mountbatten in 1917 due to bitter anti-German sentiments in England during World War I) and Princess Victoria of Hesse (granddaughter of Queen Victoria) making him third cousin of Princess Elizabeth through Queen Victoria.
Prince Philip was a sublieutenant in the British Royal Navy when the war broke out in 1939, and saw active service at the duration of the war, he was promoted a Lieutenant at the end of the war. He spent many shore leaves at Windsor Castle where he became close to Princess Elizabeth. He also lived in Kensington Palace with his grandmother, Princess Victoria. When his parents separated, he lived full time in England and he was taken care by his maternal uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Earl of Burma, who was one of the most powerful men in the British royal court. Philip grew around royalty, his maternal aunt, Princess Louise, married the King of Sweden, his favorite cousin Prince Michael became King Michael II of Romania, all his older sisters married German Princes, another favorite cousin, Princess Alexandra married the King of Yoguslavia, another cousin, King George II, was the King of Greece, he was also a direct descendant of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. Thus, Prince Philip, was more royal than his wife, Queen Elizabeth II.
In July 1947, upon the royal family's return from South Africa, the engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip was announced. He gave his future bride a diamond platinum ring taken from the Greek royal family's heirloom. In order to be more acceptable to the British subjects, Philip renounced his place in the line of succession to the Greek throne and took the name Mountbatten, he had also switched his religion from Orthodox to Anglican and became a British subject. On November 20, 1947, the wedding took place at Westminster Abbey. Philip was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Marioneth and Baron Greenwich. His wife ascended the British throne as Elizabeth II on February 19, 1952 upon the death of her father, King George VI. They were in Kenya when the accession took place. Elizabeth and Philip have four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
PRINCESS MARGARET AND ANTHONY ARMSTRONG-JONES
The Princess Margaret Rose was born on August 21, 1930 at Glamis Castle, the ancestral home of her mother Queen Elizabeth. She was the youngest daughter of King George VI and the only sibling of the reigning British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. She was only 21 years old when her father died in 1952. In 1953, the Princess formed a scandalous relationship with a divorced man, Group Captain, Peter Townsend, a former equerry of her father, the Church of England prohibited a marriage between a royal and a divorce person. The Princess was given a choice (similar to the fate of her uncle, King Edward VIII), if she would proceed on marriage with Townsend, she would voluntarily renounce her place in the line of succession and would strip her style and her inheritance, if she couldn't handle it, then cut her ties with Townsend. The Princess chose to remain in the royal family and Townsend was sent to Belgium as an Air Attache'.
The Princess led a wild life since then until she met royal court photographer, Anthony Armstrong-Jones. But he was a non-aristocrat who was viewed as unworthy of the love of a Princess. Some members of the royal family raised eyebrows on his suitability, nevertheless, Princess Margaret was determined to marry him and her sister reluctantly agreed. They get married on May 1960 at Westminster Abbey and the groom was created Earl of Snowdon by the Queen so that her sister would have a status of a Peer's wife. Margaret assumed the title Countess of Snowdon, but the marriage was not a happy one, in 1976 after having two children: Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah, the couple filed for divorce. The Earl of Snowdon remarried in 1978. Princess Margaret died in February 1952.
PRINCESS ANNE AND CAPTAIN MARK PHILLIPS
Princess Anne (Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise) was born on August 15, 1950. She is the only daughter of the Queen and Prince Philip. Princess Anne was given the title of The Princess Royal, traditionally given to the eldest daughter of a British sovereign since the reign of King James I. The Princess is a champion Equestrianne who represented Britain in several competitions including the 1976 World Olympics. She was known with a hostile character during her younger days especially against the media.
She is especially close to her father, Prince Philip. In November 14, 1973, she married Captain Mark Phillips, a Lieutenant in the Queen's Dragoon Guards, at Westminster Abbey and the ceremony was televised recording an estimated 100 million viewers around the world. They were given an estate called Gatcombe Park by the Queen. They had two children, Peter and Zara. In 1989 the couple separated and divorced two years later. The Princess remarried to Navy Commander Timothy Lawrence on November 1992.
PRINCE CHARLES AND LADY DIANA SPENCER
The Spencer family members were once close to the British royal family. Both Diana's grandfathers were best friends of King George VI and King Edward VIII. Her paternal grandparents were direct descendants of King Charles II. Both her grandmothers served as Ladies-in-Waiting of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Lady Diana Spencer was a daughter of John Spencer, the 8th Earl of Althorp, and her mother was a daughter of a wealthy British Baron. They lived in Parkhouse at the Queen's estate at Sandringham before they moved to Althorp Estate in 1975.
Prince Charles, who had known Diana during her teenage years when he briefly dated her older sister, Lady Sarah Spencer, started dating the 19-year-old innocent kindergarten assistant on July 1980, six months later the announcement of their engagement was announced. Diana moved to live with the Queen Mother at Clarence House and was tutored how to live a life of a Princess. She was transferred to Buckingham Palace months before the wedding to familiarize with the royal routine. On July 29, 1980, the wedding of the 20th century was held at St. Paul's Cathedral and was viewed by nearly 700 million people around the world.
The settled in two residences, Kensington Palace in London and Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire. The couple had two children: Prince William and Prince Harry. But the marriage did not last long, on December 1992 their separation was announced, final divorce came later in 1996. Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris, a year later. In April 2005, Prince Charles married his long time mistress and the source of Diana's agony, Camilla Parker-Bowles who took the title Duchess of Cornwall.
PRINCE ANDREW AND SARAH FERGUSON
Prince Andrew (Andrew Albert Christian Edward) was born on February 1960 making him the first child to be born to a reigning British monarch since the birth of the children of Queen Victoria. The Prince had served the British royal navy actively before his divorce in 1996, he held the rank of a Rear Admiral. He was a war helicopter pilot during the Falkland War. He and his nephew, Prince Harry, are the only living members of the British royal family, who had served under direct enemy fire.
In 1985, her sister-in-law, Diana, the Princess of Wales, introduced him to her friend, Sarah Ferguson, a daughter of Major Ronald Ferguson, Prince Charles' polo manager and a direct descendant of the Duke of Beaccleaugh. The two hit it instantly and were married on July 23, 1986 at Westminster Abbey. Prince Andrew was created Duke of York, a title traditionally given to the second son of the British monarch. But six years later, they announced their separation and were divorced on March 1996. They had two daughters: Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. They remained close however and never remarried. Sarah still carrying the title Duchess of York.
PRINCE EDWARD AND SOPHIE-RHYS JONES
Prince Edward (Edward Anthony Richard Louis), born on March 10, 1964, was the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Like his older brother, Prince Charles, Edward obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree at the prestigious Cambridge University in 1986. He then joined the Royal Marines but discontinued even before he completed the training making his father, Prince Philip, a distinguished naval officer, irritated and disappointed. Edward took a job in which he enjoyed--Theater and worked with several famous people including Andrew Lloyd Webber.
In 1993, he met Sophie Rhys-Jones, an accomplished Public Relations Manager who owned RJH company. Six years later the engagement was announced. The wedding took place on June 19, 1999 at St. George's Chapel. They kept the ceremony solemn and simple away from the media and the public to avoid the circus surrounding the marriages of Edward's brothers, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew. He was created Earl of Wessex and would inherit the title of his father, Duke of Edinburgh, in due time. They have two children: Lady Louisse and Lord James, Viscount Severn. The couple announced in 2003 that it is their personal wishes not to call their children Princess and Prince.