The Fairy Tale Brides of Britain

HM Elizabeth, The Queen Mother

HM George VI, (Albert Frederick Arthur George Windsor), King Of The United Kingdom of Great Britain And Ireland And The British Dominions

Born: 14 December 1895
Ascent: 11 December 1936
Crowned: 12 May 1937
Died: 6 February 1952

 Marriage: 26 April 1923 in Westminster Abbey, London, England, Great Britain 

To HM Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon Windsor, Queen Of The United Kingdom of Great Britain And Ireland And The British Dominions, Consort to HM George VI, Lady of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Dowager Duchess of York

Born: 4 August 1900
Died: 30 March 2002

Prince Albert, Duke of York ? "Bertie" to the family ? was the second son of George V. He initially proposed to Elizabeth in 1921, but she turned him down, being "afraid never, never again to be free to think, speak and act as I feel I really ought to." 

When he declared he would marry no other, his mother, Queen Mary visited Glamis Castle to see for herself the girl who had stolen her son's heart. She became convinced that Elizabeth was "the one girl who could make Bertie happy", but nevertheless refused to interfere. At the same time, Elizabeth was courted by James Stuart, Albert's equerry until he left the prince's service for a better paid job in the American oil business. It is now believed he was sent overseas to get him out of the way. For he told Elizabeth that he could not marry her, and went to America. 

In February 1922, Elizabeth was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Albert's sister, Princess Mary, to Viscount Lascelles. The following month, Albert proposed again, but she refused him once more. She hesitated for nearly two years, eventually, in January 1923, Elizabeth agreed to marry Albert, despite her misgivings about royal life.

In a time when royals were expected to marry fellow royals, it was unusual that Albert had a great deal of freedom in choosing a prospective wife. Although Lady Elizabeth was a descendant of King Robert I of Scotland and King Henry VII of England she was, according to British law, a commoner. In the words of Lady Elizabeth's mother, Albert would be "made or marred" by his choice of wife.

They were married on 26 April 1923 in Westminster Abbey The newly-formed BBC wished to record and broadcast the event on radio, but the Anglican Church vetoed the idea although the Dean of Westminster was in favor of it. Lady Elizabeth was styled Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York after their marriage. Albert's marriage to a British commoner was considered a modernizing gesture.

The marriage of the Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the youngest daughter of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, was solemnized in Westminster Abbey on 26 April 1923. The day dawned dull and rainy but there were thousands of spectators and the sun came out as the bride entered the Abbey.

While the bridegroom waited at the altar in the uniform of a Group Captain of the Royal Air Force, with his brothers The Prince of Wales and Prince Henry of Gloucester, Lady Elizabeth paused to place her bouquet of white roses and heather on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, as her brother had died in the war. Her ivory colored bridal gown was in simple medieval style and she was attended by two young train-bearers and six bridesmaids.

The marriage was the first occasion rising from an English king's consent to the marriage of a royal prince, in direct succession to the throne, to one of his own subjects.

As the Duke and Duchess of York left Buckingham Palace for their honeymoon they were showered with confetti and rose petals. They could not have known that thirteen years later the Duke, second son of George V, would become King George VI, and that a consort's crown would be placed upon the head of the 'little Duchess'.