Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated 72 years of marriage on Nov. 20. Allow that to sink in for a moment. They've been husband and wife for more than seven decades. Of course, a lot has happened since they tied the knot, and looking through royal family wedding photos over the years provides a pretty fascinating look at the long history of marriage in the monarchy, not to mention how times have changed.
Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark and Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom exchanged "I dos" on Nov. 20, 1947. At the time, Princess Elizabeth's father, King George IV, was still alive and the reigning monarch, and his daughter's wedding was an appropriately lavish affair. Well, sort of, at any rate. The couple got married at Westminster Abbey, but the bride's wedding dress, created by British designer Norman Hartnell, was actually purchased with war rations as World War II had only ended two years before.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have gone on to be married for 72 years and welcomed four children together. But on Nov. 20, 1947, they were just a young couple looking forward to a bright future together. And little did they know how their own special day might affect royal weddings to come after them.
From Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, here's a look at some royal weddings over the years that have grasped the world's attention.
Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip: 1947
Queen Elizabeth really ruffled some feathers for several reasons when she married Prince Philip in 1947. First of all, Philip was considered a "British commoner," according to an article published in The Guardian at the time, and theirs was a marriage of choice. Queen Elizabeth also raised eyebrows by including a promise to obey in her vows, which was worrisome for people as she was pegged as the future monarch. Clearly, after 72 years, the couple has figured things out for themselves.
Lady Diana Spencer & Prince Charles: 1981
When 21-year-old Lady Diana Spencer married heir to the throne Prince Charles in July 1981, the nuptials were watched by 750 million people around the world in 74 countries, according to the BBC. It seemed like a fairy tale wedding at the time, sadly the couple's divorce in 1996 marked a dark era for the royal family.
Camilla Parker-Bowles & Prince Charles: 2005
Nearly a decade later, Prince Charles married his longtime love Camilla Parker Bowles in a subdued civil ceremony at Windsor Castle in April 2005. Queen Elizabeth, who reportedly privately approved of the wedding, was not in attendance, according to The Telegraph.
Kate Middleton & Prince William: 2011
When Prince William and Kate Middleton married in 2011 after nearly a decade of dating, royal fans were happy to tune in to watch the nuptials. Especially since Middleton's wedding dress, designed by Alexander McQueen, became such a fashion statement brides decided to emulate.
Meghan Markle & Prince Harry: 2018
Prince Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle was a real moment for the royal family. As the second son of Prince Charles, Prince Harry enjoyed a little more freedom in the planning of the ceremony than his older brother. He and Markle added some nods to her own American heritage, such as choosing a gospel choir to sing at the ceremony, and the entire event at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle had a much more intimate vibe than some royal weddings from the past.
The royal family, like everyone else, is evolving, and the world has changed enormously since Queen Elizabeth's wedding to Prince Philip in 1947. But the history and stories behind these wedding photos will always remain fascinating.