In light of the death of Queen Elizabeth II yesterday, it’s always interesting to look back and see how things were different over the 96 years during which she was alive. While there are plenty of opinions to be found, we’ll stick to what has been recorded as fact, such as the Queen’s purchase of her wedding dress using WWII ration coupons.
Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress ration coupons
First of all, at the time of her marriage, Elizabeth was a princess – and one who had volunteered with the British Armed Forces during WWII.
Two years after the war, on Nov 20, 1947, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor married Philip Mountbatten. While the war was over, austerity measures were still in place. And while you certainly can’t tell by looking at the royal wedding, the glamorous gown was made with the help of war ration coupons.
She was given 200 extra ration coupons, which she put towards the dress that she got married in at Westminster Abbey.
According to British Heritage (cited below), “she was also given hundreds of clothing coupons by brides-to-be from all parts of the country to help her acquire the dress. She had to return these coupons as it was illegal for them to have been given away in the first instance.”
Creating Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding dress
Just because it was a dress purchased in light of austerity measures doesn’t mean it was austere. In fact, the purchase was more of a gesture to the people.
“The dress was designed by Norman Hartnell. His signature was always said to be embroidery. The designer enjoyed working with soft, floating fabrics, particularly tulle and chiffon, and with plain, lustrous silks…The dress was made of Chinese silk, with a high neckline, tailored bodice, and a short train…The ivory silk gown had a 13-foot-long train with a pattern inspired by a Botticelli painting and was bedecked in crystals and 10,000 seed pearls imported from America.”
It is said that the coupons went towards some of the extra flair involved.
She would become queen less than a decade after her wedding. — WTF fun facts
Source: “Queen Elizabeth II bought her wedding dress with WWII ration coupons” — British Heritage