26 April 1923: The Marriage of the Duke of York and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

The future King George VI and his Queen consort, Elizabeth, were married at Westminster Abbey, London, on 26 April 1923.

The second son of King George V and Queen Mary was born Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, on 14 December 1895. He was created Duke of York in 1920. He proposed to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore, three times before she accepted. They married in front of 1800 guests which included many European royals.

On reaching the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth, surprised everyone when she placed her bridal bouquet down in memory of her brother, Fergus, who had died during the Great War. That began the tradition of royal bridal bouquets being laid at the tomb, albeit after the ceremony. 

The future Duchess of York wore a dress by Madame Handley-Seymour, inspired by a medieval Italian gown. It had an ultra-fashionable drop waist and was adorned with pearls and silver thread. She declined to wear a tiara and instead wore a veil low on her forehead, similar to the one she had worn as a bridesmaid the year before for the Duke’s sister, Princess Mary. 

The Duke and Duchess of York had two daughters, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, born in 1926 and Margaret Rose, born in 1930.

The Duke of York, known as Bertie by his family, unexpectedly became King in 1936 on the abdication of his elder brother King Edward VIII. His wife, a relative commoner, became his Queen consort. On his death in February 1952 his eldest daughter became Queen Elizabeth II. 

See my Thoughts on George V post here.

See my Thoughts on George VI post here.

See my Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: Consort of King George VI post here.

See my British Monarchs and Their Spouses: from the Windsors to the Tudors post here.

6 thoughts on “26 April 1923: The Marriage of the Duke of York and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

    1. Thank you! I’m well thanks, are you? Work keeps me busy so less time for history pursuits. And I’ve just become a granny to a baby boy. I’ve plans for more blog content soon, though.
      I’m sort of a fan of the dress, but only as it’s of its time. I can’t see it being worn these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Congratulations, Grandma! That’s exciting. I am doing well, enjoying spring in Colorado. Working hard on writing – someday might be competent.


  1. I really like it because of how unique it is; you can see some of her personality shine through which I think is really nice as the wedding dresses of those before her i.e Alexandra of Denmark were more of a political statement than a meaningful dress although I adore Alexandra’s dress.

    Liked by 1 person

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