Queen Elizabeths Engagement Ring: A Royal Engagement And Wedding

Queen Elizabeths Engagement Ring and Wedding: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip (Philippos Mountbatten of Greece) have been married for over 61 years now. Elizabeth first met Philip when he was just in his late teens and she was only 13. It was love at first sight for Elizabeth and after she returned home from where she met him--the wedding of his cousin, Princess Marina of Greece (actually, Elizabeth and Philip are distant cousins to each other, as both claim descent from Queen Victoria), she started writing him letters. This was 1934, and they were "together" by 1939.

The pair got engaged in 1946 when Elizabeth was barely 20 years old and Philip barely 25. They had to do this in secret because Elizabeth's family didn't like the fact that she was going to get married so young. But once they saw the love that the two had for each other they gave their consent--very important in royal marriages. On July 9, 1947, Philip gave Elizabeth a platinum engagement ring; the large square centerpiece diamond and the four smaller diamonds around its sides came from the tiara of Philip's mother, Princess Alice. They were married on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey in London, England.

The practice of giving wedding rings seems to have taken hold in Rome by the second century BCE. There is some evidence that the practice has roots farther back in ancient Egypt; however, there is no definite recording of the giving of "wedding rings" from that time and place. The newly risen Christian Church in Rome adopted the exchanging of wedding rings in the 4th century CE. There was also, it seems, an engagement ring giving practice, too; this signified that the object of a man's love had moved in with him and was sharing in his wealth and possessions, and although they were not yet pledged to each other in fidelity she should be left alone by other potential suitors.

While the Romans would have exchanged bands of copper or brass, by the early 15th century CE in Europe the wealthy were presenting each other with magnificently adorned, bejeweled wedding rings. But the customary diamond engagement ring that we know of came into being in 1477 when the Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian I gave such a ring his fiancée, Mary of Burgundy (whose father, Charles the Bold, who died that same year, had been passionate about fine jewels and jewelry). This made the passion for diamonds burn all across Europe, and that passion has hardly abated, while it also took hold in the New World when the Europeans arrived.

In 1839, Queen Victoria got a diamond ring from Prince Albert as a memento of their first meeting. This is often thought to be the true start of the modern version of giving diamond engagement rings.

The wedding ceremony of Philip and Elizabeth was a grand affair to go along with the grand ring that Philip had given Elizabeth. Kilted page boys, 2000 guests (many of whom were royalty), individual posies of myrtle and white Balmoral heather given out to the guests as favors, a nine-foot-tall wedding cake cut with Philip's sword, and Elizabeth's magnificent wedding dress made from silkworm-woven satin and decorated with 10,000 American-imported white seed pearls were all part of the scene.

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