Not a Royalist but ….

20 November 2013

…. today in 1947, the 21-year-old Princess Elizabeth married her distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey. Created Duke of Edinburgh on the eve of the wedding by King George VI, Philip was the son of Prince Andrew of Greece. This union has proved to be the most durable royal marriage of the twentieth century.

Their 45th anniversary was marred by a devastating fire at Windsor Castle, in 1992. This damaged 100 rooms and raged for thirteen hours. The cost of restoring the castle was believed to be between £35 and £40 million with some of the funds raised by opening Buckingham Palace to the public in 1993.

Searching The National Archives Discovery Catalogue for ‘Windsor Castle’ returns 3,220 hits, including 300 wills/probate records for individuals including Thomas Zachariah Parsons, Poor Knight (1816), William Sexton, Organist at St Georges Chapel (1824), John Pelling, Doctor in Divinity (1750) and many characters who were ‘of their Majesty’s Ship Windsor Castle’.

In a speech given on 24 November 1992 to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession, the Queen referred to 1992 as her ‘annus horribilis’ (horrible year). Her sons Prince Charles and Andrew, the Duke of York separated from their wives, her daughter Princess Anne divorced, and then the fire at Windsor Castle. During that speech, Elizabeth said, “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. … I sometimes wonder how future generations will judge the events of this tumultuous year. I dare say that history will take a slightly more moderate view than that of some contemporary commentators.”

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