Celebrations kicked off yesterday to mark the diamond wedding
anniversary of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who
married 60 years ago this week.
Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh walk at
Broadlands in Romsey, southern England in this undated photograph
taken in 2007. The Queen and Prince Philip will mark their diamond
wedding anniversary with a special service of thanksgiving on
November 19, 2007.
Queen Elizabeth - the first British monarch to celebrate a
diamond wedding anniversary - was a 21-year-old princess when she
married 26-year-old naval officer Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at
Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947.
She ascended to the throne in 1952 upon the death of her father,
King George VI.
Yesterday, Buckingham Palace released official anniversary
photographs showing the queen and Philip, arms linked. The photos
were taken earlier this year at Broadlands, the stately home in
southern England where they spent their wedding night in 1947.
Later yesterday, Prince Charles hosted a banquet in his parents'
honor. Today, more than 2,000 people - including senior royals and
Prime Minister Gordon Brown - are due to fill Westminster Abbey for
a service celebrating the anniversary.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will lead prayers,
second in line to the throne Prince William will give a reading and
actress Judi Dench will read verses written for the occasion by
poet laureate Andrew Motion.
The guest list includes 20 ordinary Britons who married on the
same day as the queen and prince.
Philip was born into the Greek royal family and is related to
many of Europe's royal clans. Relatives from the German side of his
family also are scheduled to attend today's service. They were not
invited to the wedding in 1947 because of British hostility to its
recently defeated World War II enemy.
A Royal Collection
handout photograph shows Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of
Edinburgh walking in the grounds of Broadlands in southern England,
the home of the Duke's uncle, Earl Mountbatten on their honeymoon,
On the couple's golden anniversary in 1997, Elizabeth praised
her husband as "my strength and stay."
Philip - renowned for his blunt and occasionally politically
incorrect comments over the years - praised his wife's character.
"I think the main lesson that we have learned is that tolerance is
the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage," he said.
"You can take it from me that the queen has the quality of
tolerance in abundance."
The Royal Mail issued a series of postage stamps to mark the
diamond anniversary, and the Royal Mint has produced 21
jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs adorned with the couple's names. The
mint said all 21 of the eggs - made from red enamel set with
18-carat gold and diamonds and priced at 29,950 pounds (US$61,000)
apiece - have been reserved by buyers.
The royal couple will spend tomorrow on a private visit to
Malta, where Philip was based with the navy in the early years of
Princess Elizabeth, now
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, now
Prince Philip, at London's Buckingham Palace after their wedding
ceremony on November 20, 1947.
(China Daily November 19, 2007)