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British RoyalsFeatures

The day a royal stag night made headlines round the world


Michael Garnett/CC/Flickr

On this day, 72 years ago, newspaper readers woke up to the story of a young prince and his friends partying ahead of one of the biggest royal weddings of them all. For on the night before he said ‘I do’ to the future queen, Prince Philip enjoyed a stag night and it was caught on camera.

OK, there are no drinking games for you to pore over here. But as he prepared to wed a monarch in waiting, Philip and his friends posed for photos as they got down to the serious business of toasting the end of his bachelor days.

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The royal groom, unlike modern counterparts who prefer to do the boozing several weeks ahead of their big day, headed out on the town on November 19th 1947 with less than 24 hours to go until his wedding to Princess Elizabeth. While crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace, where the bride was spending her last night as a single woman, Philip and his stags headed to the Dorchester in London for a right royal knees up.

And he had plenty to celebrate. Having given up his title of Prince and Greece and Denmark earlier that year, Philip had been made ‘His Royal Highness’ by his future father in law, King George VI, on the same day as his stag celebrations. As he took central place in the group posing for photos before the serious business of partying began, Philip was well on his way to a royal life that would go into the record books.

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It’s also interesting to note, more than seven decades on, the openness surrounding this bachelor party. While modern stag dos are held privately and any hint of drunken antics can lead to days of bad headlines for a 21st century royal, this royal groom was happy to share every part of his big day with the media.

Today, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh (a title he received on the wedding day itself), mark their 72nd anniversary as husband and wife. Any tipples to mark the big day will be taken behind palace doors. But on this day, all those years ago, the longest serving consort in British history was ready to smile for his close up as a royal stag party made the papers for all the right reasons.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.