On April 26, 1923, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon became the centre of attention for the million of people who crammed the capital, eager to view the first Westminster Abbey wedding in over 500 years. Elizabeth was cheered by some 6,000 onlookers as she left her parent's London home in Bruton Street, just as a watery sun emerged from behind the clouds.

Elizabeth wore a medieval-inspired gown that had a Nottingham lace train, but she wore Flanders lace veil. This was lent by Queen Mary, starting a tradition of borrowing material or jewels from other royal ladies. The bride's ensemble was completed by a two-string pearl necklace, a coming-of-age present from her parents which is continued to be a favourite piece. She also carried a white "handkerchief bag" which had to be brought to her after she left it in the coach.

This was the first wedding of a King's son at Westminster Abbey since Richard II married Anne of Bohemia in 1382 and anticipation mounted that the service would be broadcast live on the wireless to the eager nation. However the horrified Abbey Chapter refused the BBC's request saying: "disrespectful people might hear it whilst sitting in public houses with their hats on."

After the wedding, the Duke of York and his new Duchess went by carriage to Waterloo station, and boarded a train for Bookham in Surrey. Their honeymoon was spent at Polesden Lacey, a regency villa belonging to friends.
gifgif 6 of 18gif