Royal Wedding Crasher: Queen Elizabeth Drops in on Commoners’ Ceremony

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Jon Super / Pool / AP

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles during her visit to the Manchester Central convention center, Manchester, England, Friday, March 23, 2012.

John and Frances Canning were hoping for a low-key wedding at Manchester Town Hall. But all hopes were tossed aside when Queen Elizabeth showed up to fête the newlyweds.

During an official tour of Manchester on Friday to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee — sixty years as Britain’s monarch — Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were attending a luncheon at the Manchester Town Hall. In an adjacent room, the Cannings were standing in front of a minister, exchanging vows. Minutes after the two were pronounced husband and wife, they received a uniquely royal blessing when the Queen and the Prince entered the room.

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Bride Frances was hardly upset to be removed from the center of her guests’ attention. “The Queen spoke to us by our first names. She said I looked lovely and she wanted to wish us all the best for the future,” she told The Sun. The Cannings and their 40 guests were able to share in wedded bliss with the British monarch and a number of royal dignitaries.

While they were stunned to see the royals crash their wedding, it was hardly an event of chance. John Canning was aware of the Queen’s imminent visit upon booking their nuptial ceremony, and he capitalized on the shared venue space by writing a “lighthearted letter” to Buckingham Palace to invite her along, according to the Manchester Evening News. They received a polite reply declining the invitation, so it came as a shock to the Cannings when a rose-clad Queen appeared at their ceremony. A royal source told The Sun, “The Queen didn’t want to spoil their day, but did ask if she could meet the bride and groom.” Spoil away, Your Majesty.

The Queen and Prince Philip even stuck around to take a number of photographs with the couple. You can bet those photos will be the cover of their wedding album.

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