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Queen Elizabeth II carries a posy of flowers as she leaves Manchester Town Hall after a visit as part of her Diamond Jubilee Tour of the UK on March 23, 2012 in Manchester, England. © Max Mumby/Indigo

Royal wedding! Late Queen surprises speechless bride and groom in unearthed footage

The late Queen Elizabeth II surprised the couple during their wedding at Manchester Town Hall

Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
May 20, 2024
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It's not unheard of for couples to invite their favourite celebrities to their weddings. While an accepted invite is extremely rare, the Internet is peppered with examples of surprise keepsakes and personalised letters that stars have sent in response. 

Frances and John Canning's luck changed in 2012, however, when their invitation to the late Queen Elizabeth II for their wedding was accepted. 

The couple, from Prestwich, had booked Manchester Town Hall for their civil wedding, and were informed four weeks before their nuptials that they would be "sharing the building with a VIP" who was due to visit the premises on the same day.

WATCH: Queen Elizabeth II gatecrashes Manchester wedding

Upon learning the 'VIP' was actually the Queen, the Cannings sent a lighthearted letter to Buckingham Palace extending an invite to their special day, in the hopes the monarch would accept.

On 24 March 2012, the royal did just that, taking a detour from her packed schedule of engagements to surprise the happy couple.

The Queen attended a lunch at Manchester Town Hall in 2012© Getty
The Queen attended a lunch at Manchester Town Hall in 2012

"When we had our ceremony, the staff asked us to wait for a moment in the corridor and just a few minutes later the Queen arrived. She knew both our names and apparently we had been especially added to her rota," the bride Frances told Manchester Evening News at the time. 

John, the groom, added: "I’m a big fan of the royal family. When we found out who the VIP was we wrote to her, a bit light-heartedly, and got a nice letter back from a lady in waiting. We didn’t expect anything further to come from it."

Speaking of the moment she met the Queen in her wedding dress, Frances added: "It was a bit scary but lovely. She was so nice and gracious. She was beautiful, a really nice woman, and wished us all the best."

Queen Elizabeth II peers out of a window of Manchester Town Hall to view a Jubilee Garden where the wedding took place© Max Mumby/Indigo
Queen Elizabeth II peers out of a window of Manchester Town Hall to view a Jubilee Garden where the wedding took place

The Queen looked radiant in a pastel pink coat and matching hat as she surprised the newlyweds. She carried one of her beloved Launer handbags, and wore white gloves to complete her impromptu wedding-guest attire. 

The occurrence is the only known record of a member of the royal family accepting an invitation to a wedding from a member of the public, and is even more surprising considering the royals often don't always accept invitations to their own family's nuptials.

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