The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: a look at royal marriages


1st June 2022

All over the country, people are putting up Union Jack bunting, baking delicious snacks for afternoon teas, and getting ready for the over 16,000 street parties taking place over the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend. While many of us tuck into lemon and amaretti trifle (the newly declared 'Jubilee Pudding') and toast the Queen's 70 year reign, we thought we would take this opportunity to take a look at, and celebrate, some of the Royal marriages throughout the Queen's lifetime.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met in 1939 when the Royal family visited the Royal Naval College, where the Prince Philip was a cadet in training. In what was deemed at the time to be a love match, rather than an arrangement, the couple announced their engagement in July 1947, and were married in Westminster Abbey just four months later on 20 November 1947. The couple went on to have four children together and were married for 73 years until the Duke’s death in April 2021. The Queen described Prince Philip as being her ‘strength and stay’ throughout their marriage, while the Duke famously quipped that ‘tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage’, noting that ‘the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance’.

King Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor and Mrs Wallis Simpson

Anyone who has watched the Academy Award winning film, The King’s Speech, will know of the circumstances of the Queen’s father’s ascension to the throne. After the death of the Queen’s grandfather, King George V, in January 1936, the Queen’s uncle, King Edward VIII, inherited the throne. However, Edward quickly cemented his position as the shortest-reigning British monarch, abdicating from the throne after just 326 days, due to his position as the Head of the Church meaning that he was unable to marry his partner at the time, the twice divorced Mrs Wallis Simpson.

Mrs Simpson’s second divorce is an interesting case study in support of the new no fault divorce law (for more information on this, please read our recently written articles on this subject: No fault divorce – no longer a blame game or Applying for a no fault divorce online: do I still need a solicitor?). In order to end her marriage to Ernest Simpson, Wallis had to provide reasoning as to the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage, and she chose to issue divorce proceedings on the basis of adultery. In 2019, the family of one of Mrs Simpson’s solicitors at the time, Robert Egerton, released his papers which exposed how he had helped to obtain evidence of Mr Simpson’s adultery at a hotel in the Thames Valley in order to satisfy the court’s requirements for an unopposed Decree Nisi. Given the intense press scrutiny at the time, Mr and Mrs Simpson would surely have benefitted from the current no fault divorce law as they would not have had to go to such extremes to get a divorce. Edward and Wallis eventually married on 3 June 1937, and they remained married until the Duke’s death in 1972.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Many of us will recall watching Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey – 26 million people across the world tuned in to watch the nuptials take place. Interestingly, it has been claimed that the couple did not enter into a pre or post nuptial agreement, however this may well be due to the fact that the majority of William’s wealth is in fact held by the Queen herself and is not directly owned by William. The couple have since had three children, George, Charlotte, and Louis, and celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last year. They have spoken about the influence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s marriage on their own marriage, with William being quoted as saying ‘I hope Catherine and I have the same sort of future ahead of us, where we can be as happily married as they are after [73] years’.

The Family team at Blake Morgan hope you enjoy your Jubilee celebrations. If you would like any advice or assistance regarding any Family law matters including nuptial agreements and no fault divorce, please do get in touch with the Family team at Blake Morgan, who would be happy to help.

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