On the 10th July 1947, the Buckingham palace announced the betrothal of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. 1947 was the worst of all years of post-war austerity. A group of labor MPs questioned the whip of extravagance of royal celebrations. Atlee writes to the palace inquiring about the unpatriotic origins of the “Lyons silk” that had been used for the bride’s wedding dress so that he could reassure his critics in Parliament.
“The wedding dress contains silk from chinese silk worms, but woven in Scotland and Kent. The Wedding train contains silk produced by Kentish silk worms and woven in London. The going away dress contains 4-5 yards of Lyons silk which was part of the stock of the dressmaker Norman Hartnell (He clarifies that while some of the silk worms were chinese, they were “nationalist” silkworms, not communist )
20th November 1947 was the day of the ceremony. Few months later, the Board of Trade asked if the royal wedding dress might go on a tour to advertise British materials and workmanship – the much debated dress was now considered a national triumph! It was on a display at St James Palace alongwith all the wedding presents, but the Queen felt otherwise. She did not wish to part with her wedding dress.
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