Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Princess Margaret weds photographer

all photos: Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection

May 6, 1960

Princess Margaret, a member of an "ancient house," and Antony-Armstrong-Jones, a "middle class photographer," were married today at Westminster Abbey, reports the New York Times.

The "majestic splendor of Westminster Abbey" and the "brilliant medieval panoply of royalty" were forgotten, when the bride and bridegroom, knelt before the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said "pronounce that they be man and wife together."

This was the first major "affectionate celebration" in London since Queen Elizabeth II's coronation seven years ago.

More than 2000 guests were in the Abbey, royal and political guests, including Prime Minister Macmillan, and film stars.

More than 250,000 people lined the streets from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey.  They "watched, listened and cheered" as the couple were married.

The Princess arrived at the Abbey to the "shrill and silver" of twelve trumpeters.  The choir sang "Christ is Made the Sure Foundation."

The bride was escorted down the aisle by her brother-in-law, the Duke of Edinburgh.  Her gown was made of "white silk organza,"  A diamond tiara "surrounded her high-swept hair.  She looked "like a princess and a bride."

Margaret was followed by her bridesmaids, "eight little girls all silks and bows and darting eyes and best behavior."

At the Sanctuary steps, the procession was halted as Mr. Armstrong-Jones and his best man, Dr. Roger Gilliatt, stepped forward.   Princess Margaret handed her bouquet of "pinkish-white orchids and lilies of the valley" to her niece, Princess Anne.

The Archbishop of Canterbury officiated at the service and was assisted by the Bishop of London and the Dean of Westminster.  The bride and groom chose to use the  wedding service from the 1662 prayer book.   Princess Margaret "hesitated slightly at the phrase 'for better or worse," and then repeated it after the Archbishop had repeated it.

She also promised "to love, cherish and obey, till death do us part."

At the request of the bride, the Dean of Westminster read the Beatitudes from the Sermon on Mount.  Queen Elizabeth II "stood like a statue" through most of the service, was seen singing "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise," with the rest of the congregation.
Thee Queen gave the impression that "she felt responsible for all that was happening, from the behavior of the tiny bridesmaids to the singing of the choir."

As Margaret moved "across the sacarium she dropped a deep curtsy to her sister," while her new husband offered a deep bow.

The couple emerged from the abbey to Purcell's Trumpet and Tune."  They went out "into the sunshine" as the cheering began "spreading over Parliament Square and up Whitehall."

Princess Margaret came out of the abbey with a great smile, and was "grasping her husband's hand."

The bride's gown was designed by Hartnell, but probably reflected " the taste of Anthony-Armstrong-Jones more than that of Hartnell."  

Her "tall tiara and the long train of her wedding gown" gave a few "anxious moments" as he was unable to "settle into the glass coach" without crushing her dress. 

"I can't sit down," she was heard saying to members of her household, as she bowed her head to avoiding hitting the ceiling of the coach.  Prince Philip, already seated in the carriage, was able to straighten out Margaret's train, and they "were driven off through cheering crowds."

The Princess will not lose her "royal prerogatives" by marrying a commoner.  She remains a Princess, fourth in line to the throne and will "precede her husband on all state occasion."   When they are together, she will be addressed first, as Your Royal Highness, then Ma'am."  She will not be addressed as Mrs. Armstrong-Jones.

The wedding was televised by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). A Video tape of the wedding, were flown to Canada, arriving in Montreal at 1:05 p.m., where "minutes later, the records were relayed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company to the National Broadcasting Company."  The recordings were said to be "vastly superior" to recording to Elizabeth's coronation.

The program was shown only six hours after the event had taken place in London.  The tape was "divided into two spools to expedite delivery." The plane carrying the first spool arrived "on schedule," only 5 hours and 58 minutes out of London,. The second plane, "beset by head winds," arrived about 15 minutes later.

The hour program was "nothing short of a stunning display of virtuosity in camera technique."

1 comment:

Marion Banks-Wilkinson said...

Princess Anne was often a bridesmaid in the 50s and 60s and remarked that she disliked yards of unruly children, choosing only 2 attendants for her 1st marriage and none for her second.