Westminster Abbey and it’s historic moments

Certainly, the most important event of 2011 is the wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday, April 29 at Westminster Abbey in central London.

The historical building has been the setting for many royal occasions over the years. Here it is a few:

20 November 1947: Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) married Prince Philip of Greece (later Duke of Edinburgh)

They were the tenth royal to marry at the Abbey. The hymns were Praise my soul, the King of Heaven and The Lord is my Shepherd and the couple left the Church to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Princess Elizabeth’s dress was designed by Norman Hartnell from silk spun at Lullingstone Castle in Kent, with a veil, a tiara of pearls and diamonds and a very long train appliqued with a design of stars, Tudor roses and wheat. For austerity reasons, after years of war, very little extra seating was provided and about 2,000 guests attended. The Queen and Prince Philip have attended thanksgiving services at the Abbey to commemorate their Silver wedding and Golden wedding anniversaries

2 June 1953: Coronation of Elizabeth II

This was the 38th coronation at the Abbey, the first being that of William the Conqueror in 1066. The ceremony was televised for the first time making it possible for the public to witness the event in its entirety. Half a million people gathered to watch the coronation procession from Buckingham palace. The music was performed by a 60-strong orchestra and a 400-strong choir. The Queen was watched by 8251 guests gathered inside the Abbey. She entered the Abbey at 11.20 and was crowned at 12.34

6 May 1960: Princess Margaret, second daughter of King George VI, was married to Antony Armstrong-Jones (later Earl of Snowdon)

The hymns were Christ is made the sure foundation and Immortal, invisible, God only wise and the couple left the Church to Henry Purcell’s Trumpet Tune and Airs. The couple were divorced in 1978

14 November 1973: The Princess Royal, only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, was married to Captain Mark Phillips

The hymns were Glorious things of thee are spoken and Immortal invisible, God only wise and the couple left to Widor’s Toccata in F major, Johann Strauss Radetzky March and the Finale from the Organ Symphony no. 1 by Vierne. The couple were later divorced. Princess Anne is now married to Timothy Laurence

23 July 1986: Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, was married to Sarah Ferguson

The Duke and Duchess of York had two children during their marriage: Princess Beatrice of York (born 1988) and Princess Eugenie of York (born 1990). After four years of official separation, the Duke and Duchess made the mutual decision to divorce in 1996

6 September 1997: Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales July 1, 1961 – 31 August 1997

Princes William and Harry walked behind the funeral cortege along with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh and Earl Spencer, the late princess’s brother. More than 2,000 people attended the ceremony and it was watched by 32.78 million Britons on television. It is one of the most watched events in history after being followed by 2.5 billion people worldwide. The outpouring of public grief following the death of Princess Diana in a car accident in Paris was described as a phenomenon. Elton John performed the song Candle in the Wind, initially dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, during the service and Diana’s brother Earl Spencer gave the address

Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church and is located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. The Abbey’s two western towers were built between 1722 and 1745 by Nicholas Hawksmoor and constructed from Portland stone

An interior view of Westminster Abbey in London

A mosaic pattern decorates the lantern roof of Westminster Abbey

A statue of Virgin Mary, holding the young Jesus, above the side entrance at Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey with a procession of Knights of the Bath, by Canaletto, 1749.

A statue gisant on a tomb in Westminster. It was filled with the tombs of various dukes and earls.

King Edward’s Chair

A view of from the nearby London Eye to the North East

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