Katherine Jenkins marks Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip's 70th wedding anniversary, and is joined by Prince Michael, who was a pageboy at the wedding.
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I'm here in Windsor for a very special programme, in which I'll be
joined by Prince Michael of Kent to mark a wonderful milestone,
the 70th wedding anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip.
Welcome to Songs Of Praise.
On today's programme, I visit Kensington Palace to meet
Prince Michael, who 70 years ago was a pageboy at the Royal Wedding.
There was a tremendous feeling of occasion and of happiness
and fun and awe.
The Reverend Kate Bottley finds out from another 70th wedding
anniversary couple exactly what it takes to stay
married for seven decades.
You make him believe that he's the boss,
but you're the boss all the time.
And we talk to the sculptor who designed the commemorative coin
to mark this platinum anniversary.
This is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world
and British monarchs have lived here for almost 1,000 years.
70 years on from their wedding day,
Windsor is the main home of the Queen and Prince Philip.
And what better way to start than with one of the Queen's
favourite hymns, which was actually sung at her wedding.
Now, for today's show,
I've received a royal invitation to come here to Kensington Palace
to meet a member of the royal family who was
right at the heart of the ceremony, in which Princess Elizabeth,
as she was then, married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.
Prince Michael of Kent, the Queen's cousin,
seen here on the right, played an active
part in the ceremony at Westminster Abbey on the 20th of November 1947.
Your Royal Highness, you were a pageboy
at Princess Elizabeth's wedding
and part of your role was carrying her
train down the aisle as she made her way into the church,
but you were only five, which is
quite a big responsibility for such a little boy.
It was very exciting.
I was one of two pages.
The other was Prince William of Gloucester,
who sadly is not with us any more.
So I'm the only survivor.
It was quite daunting because first of all the train was very heavy
and it was quite a long way to go all the way down the Abbey.
So, one had to behave properly and so it was quite a drama.
There were rehearsals, I imagine, but I don't remember any of them.
And, so, with you and the other pageboy,
do you think that there was ever any nerves on behalf of the grown-ups
that you might panic or misbehave even?
-I'm afraid to tell you, I think that we behaved perfectly well.
-I'm glad to hear it.
-I behaved particularly well.
Going round corners was complicated.
And not treading on it was complicated, I seem to remember.
And then one had shoes with buckles on.
It was a very exciting moment because it was in November, it was
just after the War, when everything was very grim,
and there wasn't very much to light people's lives up.
So, suddenly, to have this tremendous, exciting service
and ceremony was something which was radiated in people's lives.
With this being, obviously looking back at all the photographs
and some of the footage, a huge national occasion,
did you really understand that as a five-year-old boy?
I think not, really. I'm sure people tried to tell me all about it.
The problem was that the coronation came only a short time later,
so my memory is a bit muddled as to what happened when.
But, really, the actual wedding was a very splendid occasion
and a very dramatic and, as I say, daunting one.
And all these grown-ups pushing and shoving and making sure one
did the right thing, but I played a very small part, but it was magic.
But there was a tremendous feeling of occasion and of happiness
and fun and awe.
The singing was terrific. The volume of it was so amazing.
And The Lord Is My Shepherd I know was one of the hymns.
One used to sing it in church.
I've always had a taste for hymns because they are rather fun
and some of the words are marvellous.
So, let's hear the beautiful words to The Lord's My Shepherd,
which are based on Psalm 23.
70 years of marriage is a real achievement
and I'm here to talk to a close
observer of the royal family to find out what has made
the bond between the Queen and Prince Philip so strong.
-Hugo, lovely to meet you.
'Biographer Hugo Vickers is the author of many
'books about the royal family.'
Could you tell me how you think the Queen
and Prince Philip have been able to create such an enduring marriage?
Well, it certainly is an enduring marriage.
-I mean, 70 years is absolutely remarkable.
And I think that's what's interesting was that perhaps
the one thing that the Queen did was in a way to sort of act
out of character by suddenly deciding to marry Prince Philip.
I mean, her mother wanted her to marry a Grenadier Guard,
somebody like that,
and she found this of course incredibly dashing naval man
who had a wonderful war, a very good career in the Navy,
who comes from the Greek royal family,
so he knows what it is to be a prince consort, as he later became.
But, in a way, she was rather acting out of character.
Of course, they were the most remarkable couple.
He was incredibly good looking, so was she.
He was sort of fashionably good looking,
in the way that people were at the end of the War.
And it was terribly exciting when they got married in 1947.
I mean, I've heard things about them
being very honest with each other and straight talking to each other.
Do you think that's important for a monarch and a consort?
I think probably Prince Philip is well-recognised as the only
person who can actually just say to the Queen exactly what
he thinks, in the way that he wishes to say it.
I mean, he is a very robust person.
He likes to wrestle with problems, he likes to argue points
and he's not a quiet person to have around the house
and I think that's very refreshing.
She really took on somebody her own size, if that makes sense, you know.
They're a very good, strong partnership,
which is fantastic.
And, of course, the Queen is the head of the Church of England.
How much time sort of practically does that take up for her?
Well, it's one of her many duties is to be head of the Church of England,
so, senior to the Archbishop of Canterbury and, of course,
obviously, she goes to church every Sunday.
She, I think, very much likes matins.
She, I think, doesn't like sermons to go on too long,
but she does of course have time to listen to the sermon.
The Queen really concentrates when she does that
and she does take a great interest in the Church
and Prince Philip takes a slightly different interest, I think.
He likes to wrestle with all the issues of religion
and, you know, likes to sort of, you know, argue them through
and see all the different points.
And it's an interesting thing that in his library,
he has more books on ornithology and religion than on any other subject.
And do you think that faith has been important in their marriage?
Extremely important, yes.
I think their faith is very, very important indeed.
A very, very big part.
The Queen is unique among British monarchs in having reached
her platinum anniversary.
But, in recent times,
over 1,000 couples reach that milestone most years.
One husband and wife celebrating seven decades together live
in Desborough, where the Reverend Kate Bottley has been to meet them.
-KNOCKS ON DOOR
-I'm Kate. You must be Josie.
-I'm Josie, yes.
-And you must be Ted.
-'Josie and Ted Greener are both 93.
'They first met when they were 18, during the War.'
-Was it love at first sight?
Tell me about when you met her.
The first time was during the war.
I was in the Navy, she was in the Land Army.
It was at a friend's birthday party
and we just started playing games, as you do at a birthday party,
and she was the number that I kept picking.
And then we didn't see each other from then until the end of the war.
And we met again at my cousin's wedding.
From there, it was the natural course of events, you know.
We fell in love and that was it.
So, what made him special, then?
I don't know. It was just... I think it must have been love, really.
And we went out together for six months.
We got engaged at the Christmas.
The following year, we got married, in the August.
The wedding was...
The church was absolutely packed.
And tell me about your wedding dress.
It was white satin, covered buttons all the way down the back
and up the sleeve, to the elbow.
It's not the only picture you've got, is it?
Because up on your wall is a picture of the church where you got married.
That's St Mary's and Joseph's, Brooms.
Commonly just called Brooms
because there was all this broom growing all around it.
I noticed that on your table, you've got your rosary.
Yes, on his table. We say the rosary every day.
We pray together twice a day.
That is the one thing that is left for us that we're able to do,
is pray for others. It's the economy of grace.
Tell me about that, Ted. Tell me about the economy of grace.
You're doing things not for yourself,
but so that other people can get help.
I would love to see your church. Would you show it to me?
-Yes, we would.
-I would really like that.
-Is it important that you were married in church?
-It is important.
When you look at marriage, marriage is a sacrament.
And I think I wouldn't feel as if I was married
if I'd been at a registry office or somewhere else.
And, you see, women get their own way.
-I told you that before.
-Is that the secret to 70 years?
That's the secret to 70 years.
Just do as you're told.
The secret is, make believe, make him believe that he's the boss,
but you're the boss all the time.
So, tell me, if we could play a hymn for you, what would you like?
BOTH: Love Divine.
Is that because you're still in love with each other after all these years?
-Of course. Always will be.
Each year, we hold a Young Choir of the Year competition.
Previously, it's been just for schools,
but now it's open to all choirs
whose members are aged 18 and younger.
We've extended the closing date to December 14th,
so, to find out more, go to the website:
There you'll find all the details and terms and conditions.
Our next hymn is from last year's winners, Lindley Junior School.
# Dear Lord and Father of mankind
# Forgive our foolish ways
# Reclothe us in our rightful mind
# In purer lives Thy service find
# In deeper reverence praise
# In deeper reverence praise
# In simple trust like theirs who heard
# Beside the Syrian sea
# The gracious calling of the Lord
# Let us, like them, without a word
# Rise up and follow Thee
# Rise up and follow Thee
# Breathe through the heats of our desire
# Thy coolness and thy balm
# Let sense be dumb Let flesh retire
# Speak through the earthquake wind and fire
# O still, small voice of calm
# O still, small voice of calm. #
The royal couple's platinum wedding anniversary is, of course,
the perfect opportunity for a celebratory commemorative coin.
We've been to the Royal Mint, where the coins are struck,
and to meet the sculptor who has designed a rare double portrait
of the Queen and Prince Philip.
Here in south Wales, silver and, of course,
platinum £5 pieces are being minted for the 70th anniversary.
With, for the very first time in this country, two double portraits.
The Queen and Prince Philip on horseback
and with their two heads together.
For that image, the Mint came to this sculptor's studio in London.
Etienne Millner had already created statues of the Queen.
Last year, he had a private sitting with her to sculpt a bust.
The brief for this commission was to show the Queen in the centre of
the composition with Prince Philip beside her and slightly behind.
Therefore representing the Queen as monarch.
One of the main challenges in this portrait was to give
great strength to Prince Philip's head, which is behind,
but it was greatly helped by his clear features.
Very distinctive nose and firm mouth and eyes and eyebrows.
I'm a portrait sculptor
and one of the things I had to come to grips with was that
I was only allowed two millimetres to model in.
And so the depths and the high points are very close
when you look across the coin.
Etienne also designed the lettering around the edge, with the Latin
abbreviation showing the Queen is head of the Church of England.
The DG stands for Dei Gratia Regina - By the Grace of God, Queen.
And the FD, Fidei Defensor - Defender of the Faith.
The sculpture had to work as a coin.
At the Mint, Gordon Summers is senior designer.
So this is the plaster model from Etienne, as it came in
and after we've scanned it.
So our purpose now is to take this original plaster model
in all its detail and reproduce that on the final coins.
We'll use a combination of state-of-the-art technology
and traditional hand skills that go back thousands of years.
So here's a couple of the sample coins.
This is a proof coin, this is our very highest-quality standard coin.
This is originally produced by a laser,
working very accurately to less than a 240th of the thickness
of a human hair to create all this very fine detail.
But we also work on this by hand.
All the dies are individually polished.
We only make a few coins off each individual die.
And each coin that's struck will be inspected.
And if it's not up to our very high standard, it would be rejected.
And on the floor of the Mint,
the royal couple's image is stamped into the most precious of metals.
It's been wonderful for me
to have been part of such a special occasion.
To mark such an important occasion in their lives
and the lives of the nation.
Well, that's nearly it for our celebration of the Queen
and Prince Philip's 70th wedding anniversary.
Next week, David Grant hosts a highlight
in the Songs Of Praise calendar -
the Gospel Choir Of The Year competition.
Prepare to be inspired
as five of the best amateur choirs in the country take to the stage
here at the Central Hall, Westminster,
to compete for the title, Gospel Choir Of The Year 2017.
Don't miss it!
Our final hymn comes from Windsor Castle's very own
St George's Chapel.
Until next time, thanks for watching.
Katherine Jenkins is in Windsor to mark Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip's seventieth wedding anniversary. She is joined by Prince Michael who, as a five-year-old pageboy, was at the heart of the ceremony. Kate Bottley talks to another couple celebrating their seventieth anniversary this year. And we meet the sculptor who designed the commemorative £5 coin and travel to the Royal Mint to see it being struck. Plus glorious hymns from around the UK, including the Queen's favourites sung at her wedding. Music: Praise My Soul the King of Heaven - St John the Baptist, Tideswell The Lord's My Shepherd - St John the Baptist, Tideswell Great is Thy Faithfulness - St Macartin's Cathedral, Enniskillen Love Divine - St Asaph Cathedral Dear Lord and Father of Mankind - Sheffield City Hall How Great Thou Art - Hereford Cathedral.