The Duke of Edinburgh | Consort, conservationist and champion of the young

'Radio Times': The Royal Wedding

Commemorative 'Radio Times' cover to mark the royal wedding.


[The Cover: Page 1]

Radio Times (Incorporating World-Radio) November 14, 1947. Vol.97 No. 1257. Registered at the G.P.O. as a Newspaper



[Photograph of the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth]


The thoughts and loyal good wishes of the whole British people will go with H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth when she drives to Westminster Abbey with her father in the Irish Coach on Thursday morning for her wedding with her sailor bridegroom. The day will be one of those great occasions when millions of men and women have a tense of shared emotion - when the pulse of the nation seems to beat faster. Through fifty-five microphones, installed along the route of the Royal procession and in the Abbey itself, listeners will be able to hear the clatter of the horses' hooves, the cheering of the crowds, the flaring of the silver trumpets, the singing, and the responses of the Bride and Bridegroom. Those who have television receivers will also be able to watch the pageant, with the exception of wedding ceremonial within the Abbey. The broadcast in the Home Services begins at 11 o'clock; television at 10.50.

During the afternoon it is hoped to interrupt programmes for a description of the scene as the Bride and Bridegroom leave for their honeymoon. Between 3.00 and 3.30 p.m. the Band of the Grenadier Guards - the regiment of which Princess Elizabeth is Colonel - will play a programme of military music. In the evening the Light Programme will broadcast a 'Royal Salute' - music played by the Massed Bands of the Royal Marines, the Guards, and the R.A.F.; after which listeners will hear extracts from recordings made during the ceremony in the Abbey.

The Third Programme will celebrate the royal wedding with a broadcast of poems entitled Epithalamion and chosen by Lord David Cecil. As a prelude to the wedding -day broadcast the Light Programme will present on Wednesday a feature called Eve of the Royal Wedding, which will include interviews with some of the workers who have helped in the preparations.

For articles describing the arrangements for the wedding broadcast and the Abbey ceremonial please turn to pages 16, 17, 18, and 19.

The twenty-fifth anniversary of British broadcasting will be commemorated on Sunday morning by a broadcast Service which will take the form of an Act of Worship and Dedication. The Service will be conducted by the Rev. Francis H. House, Director of Religious Broadcasting, and the sermon will be preached by the Right Rev. C. S. Woodward, D.D., Bishop of Gloucester, and Chairman of the BBC Central Religious Advisory Committee.

In celebration of the Silver Jubilee the Light Programme will present Jubilee Variety Gala, a two-hour entertainment, which will bring together in one bill some of the greatest names in radio Variety. the show will be produced by Harry Pepper and Ronald Waldman and broadcast from His Majesty's Theatre, London.

[Page 2]

[Section is in a box at the corner of the listings on page 15 of the magazine.]

'Eve of the Royal Wedding'

The wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Mountbatten will make a wonderful day not only in their lives, but in the life of the British Commonwealth as a whole. The preparations for that one day have kept many people busy for some months now and it is the intention of this programme to give listeners an idea of what they have been doing. Designers and sempstresses who made the trousseau, the manager of a West End Hotel accommodating overseas visitors for the wedding, the Mayor of Capetown who was host to the Princess in South Africa, and the Dean of Westminster will all speak of what the wedding signifies in their lives and professions. The presents will be described, world press reactions analysed,and some onf the wedding music will be played.

Written by Warwick Charlton

Produced by W. Farquharson Small

Tonight at 9.30

[Page 3]

In The Abbey


When Princess Elizabeth steps out of the Irish State Coach at Westminster Abbey on her wedding day, she will walk with the King between a Guard of Honour composed of members of the A.T.S. and Petty Officers of the Royal Navy to the Great West Door. There, the Dean of Westminster Dr. Alan Don, wearing a cope of cloth of gold, will be waiting to receive them. Once inside the Abbey, H.R.H. the Bride will be able to see, in the distance beyond the choir, the high altar with the ancient gold plate glimmering from the rays of all the lighted candelabra in the Sanctuary. Down either side of the Nave will be assembled the entire collegiate body of Westminster Abbey, the clergy in their rich copes, the choristers in white and scarlet, the children of the Chapels Royal in gold and scarlet livery and the Kings Scholars of Westminster School.

As the King, with Princess Elizabeth leaning on his arm, reaches the Nave the whole Foundation, according to ancient custom, will bow to His Majesty as the bearer of the title of 'Visitor of the Royal Foundation of the Abbey'. Immediately a fanfare of silver trumpets will be sounded from the Henry V Chantry above the shrine of Edward the Confessor. The whole procession then moves towards the High Altar, the trumpets sounding the introduction of the opening hymn 'Praise, my soul, the King of heaven.'

The King and the Princess, followed by the bridal retinue, will halt at the steps of the Sacrarium, where the Queen, Queen Mary, and other members of the Royal Family will be waiting. It is here that Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten will take his place beside the Bride.

The officiating clergy move to their positions. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Fisher, in a cope and mitre of white and gold brocade will stand in the centre, his Chaplain bearing the jewelled cross of Canterbury behind him, the Dean at the Archbishop’s right hand, the Precentor of the Abbey, Rev. Cyril M. Armitage, in a cope of cloth of gold, on the left. As the music dies away, the Dean will be heard reciting the introduction to the service and then the Archbishop will step forward to perform the marriage ceremony, using the words of the Book of Common Prayer.

When the Archbishop has pronounced them man and wife, the Bride and Bridegroom attended only by Princess Margaret and the pages, Prince Michael of Kent and Prince William of Gloucester, move to the High Altar, the King taking his seat by the side of the Queen. From then it may be said that music becomes the motif of the ceremony. After the psalm 'God be merciful unto us', the Lesser Litany, the Lord's Prayer, responses and Collect will be sung. At the conclusion of prayers there is a charming motet 'We wait for thy loving kindness, O God' composed by Dr. McKie, the Abbey Organist and Choirmaster, the words selected by the Precentor. Much interest will be aroused by the inclusion at Princess Elizabeth's request of the old Scottish metrical psalm No. 23. It is to the tune 'Crimond' by David Grant. The opening lines will be familiar to many Scottish churchmen:

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I'll not want he makes me down to lie in pastures green: he leadeth me the quiet waters by.

This will come after the address by the Archbishop of York, Dr. Garbett.

The actual service ends with the final blessing by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the choir will sing Amen in a lovely threefold setting by Orlando Gibbons. Then the vast congregation rises, as the fanfare precedes the singing of the National Anthem.

The Bride and Bridegroom and members of the Royal Family will then go to the Chapel of Edward the Confessor. Here the Register will be signed with a golden pen presented by the Chartered Institute of Secretaries. A brisk fanfare will herald the return to the Sanctuary and the bridal procession led by the choir and clerics will move down the aisle to Mendelssohn's 'Wedding March'. The Bride and Bridegroom will wreath the Great West Door as the bells of the Abbey ring out, echoed by the peals from St. Margaret's nearby.

[Illustration of a rose.]

[Page 4 of 4]

The Royal Wedding


in Westminster Abbey

11.3 Procession of Her Majesty the Queen leaves Buckingham Palace.
11.16 Procession of His Majesty the King and Her Royal Highness the Bride leaves Buckingham Palace.
12.30 Departure of the Bride and Bridegroom from Westminster Abbey, and the return processions to Buckingham Palace.

Wynford Vaughan Thomas (inside the Abbey)
Richard Dimbleby (outside the West Door of the Abbey)
Peter Scott (on the roof of St. Margaret's, Westminster)
Audrey Russell (near Admiralty Arch)
Frank Gillard (outside Buckingham Palace)

It is hoped to interrupt programmes during the afternoon for a description of the departure of the Bride and Bridegroom for their honeymoon


Fanfare (Bax)
During the Procession of the Bride:
Hymn: Praise, my soul, the King of heaven (Goss)
Introduction read by the Dean
Solemnisation of the Marriage by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Psalm 67 (Bairstow)
Lesser Litany, the Lord's Prayer, and Responses taken by the Precentor
Prayers and Blessing by the Dean
Motet: We wait for thy loving kindness, 0 God (McKie)
Address by the Archbishop of York
Hymn: The Lord's my Shepherd (Crimond)
Final Prayer and Benediction by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Amen (Orlando Gibbons)
Fanfare (Bax)
The National Anthem
During the signing of the Register:
Anthem: Blessed by the God and Father (S. S. Wesley)
Fanfare (Bax)
Wedding March (Mendelssohn)

FIFTY-FIVE BBC microphones will combine to let listeners throughout the world share in the ceremonial of the Royal Wedding. During the two-hour broadcast those listeners will be aware of the pageantry of a Royal occasion. There will be fine singing and fanfares in the noble setting of the Abbey: heads of States and Prime Ministers will beamong the guests. But through it all will show the simple pattern of a family wedding.

For the first quarter-hour of the broadcast observers along the route and outside the Abbey will tell of the arrival there of distinguished guests, of the Bridegroom, of Queen Mary, and of the Queen. Then at sixteen minutes past eleven the King and
Princess Elizabeth will leave Buckingham Palace. As Frank Gillard, from a position on the Victoria Memorial, sees the Bride leaving her home on this momentous day in her life his mind may go back to another momentous day - the occasion of her twenty-first
birthday, when she broadcast a message of self-dedication to the service of the British Commonwealth and Empire.

Further down the Mall Audrey Russell, on the roof of the Admiralty 'Citadel', will take over from Gillard just before the Sovereign's Escort of Household Cavalry goes clattering through Admiralty Arch. Then, while the Irish State Coach passes on
its way down the full length of Whitehall, there will be time enough to go inside the Abbey for Wynford Vaughan Thomas's impression of the scene that there awaits the Bride. As Vaughan Thomas finishes his description of Church dignitaries in their scarlet and gold vestments and of Princess Margaret and the other waiting bridesmaids, Peter Scott, from the roof of St. Margaret's Church, will announce the Bride's arrival in Parliament Square and a moment or two later Richard Dimbleby will see the State Coach draw up to the West Door of the Abbey.

The Service itself will follow the Book of Common Prayer. The Bride and Bridegroom will make their responses to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Precentor of the Abbey and the Dean of Westminster will take part in the Service and the Archbishop of York
will give the Address. There will be several microphones concealed wherever possible to pick up these voices and there will be other microphones too for the choir, for Dr. McKie at the organ, for the State trumpeters, and for the Abbey bells.

Out of sight of all the pageantry and movement in the Abbey the engineer in charge of the broadcast will sit at his control panel. On it will be marked some twenty-six microphone circuits. He will have to decide when to change one circuit for another and when to blend, say, the Abbey bells with the sound of crowds cheering as Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Mountbatten leave the Abbey.

The Royal Wedding broadcast for listeners in Great Britain and the Commonwealth will end with the return journey to Buckingham Palace in the Glass Coach. Other broadcasters will have been describing the procession and interpreting the ceremony to Europe in
Swedish, Dutch, French, Norwegian, Italian, and Danish. Special recordings will have been made in Spanish and Portuguese for South America; and in addition the four big United States networks will have had their own commentators describing the scenes
both inside the Abbey and along the processional route. Later in the day the main events of the morning will be rebroadcast by the Light Programme in recorded form. At the same time the BBC's short-wave services will be busy with special accounts of the wedding in Afrikaans for South Africa, in French for French Canada, in Persian, in Arabic, and in three Indian languages. Thus listeners all the world over will have had a chance of sharing by radio in the Commonwealth's day of national rejoicing.

[Map of the procession route depicting the Mall, Whitehall and Westminster.]

[Page 5]

The Marriage of H.R.H. PRINCESS ELIZABETH with Lieutenant PHILIP MOUNTBATTEN, R.N. in Westminster Abbey


10.50 Scenes outside Buckingham Palace

11.3 Departure of H.M. The Queen from Buckingham Palace

11.10 Arrival of H.M. Queen Mary and other Royal Guests at Westminster Abbey

11.16 Departure of H.M. The King and H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth from Buckingham Palace

11.20 Westminster Abbey: H.M. The King and H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth are expected to arrive at 11.28

11.30 The Wedding Service (Sound only) (See page 17 for Order of Service)

12.28 Departure of the Bride and Bridegroom, the Royal Family, and guests from the Abbey

12.40 Arrival of the Bride and Bridegroom and the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace

It is expected that the Bride and Bridegroom will leave Buckingham Palace for their honeymoon between 3.0 and 4.0 p.m. The television programme will be interrupted to show the scenes outside the Palace as they drive away


[Photograph of Buckingham Palace with crowds outside]

Television cameras will be placed outside Buckingham Palace. Leslie Mitchell and Geoffrey Sumner will be the commentators

[Photograph of Westminster Abbey]

A camera position in Broad Sanctuary will enable viewers to watch the scenes outside the Abbey. John Snagge will be the commentator

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Document Type | Magazine

01 November 1947

Document version




'Radio Times' commemorates the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten with a lavish 'Radio Times' cover. The magazine also describes the wedding inside Westminster Abbey, the route of the royal procession and an order of service for the day. Finally, the advertised schedule for the day offers viewers and listeners their best guess at what they might be able to experience via BBC TV and radio. A selection from the surviving radio broadcast is also available as part of this collection.

Article courtesy of 'The Radio Times' Magazine.

Did you know?

This was the first royal wedding to be extensively filmed and broadcast on television. It required all the ingenuity of the Outside Broadcasting Unit, but the technical problems were so great that it was considered best to advertise only half of what the BBC intended to film. Church authorities would not allow filming of the wedding ceremony inside Westminster Abbey, so viewers had to switch to radio for that part of the day. A more extensive film was compiled for the evening programme at 8.30pm.

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