Google has the answer to everything. Well actually not quite everything, it seems…
That’s because when I sat down to write this blog about the Queen and Prince Philip’s Platinum Wedding Anniversary in November this year, I thought it would be interesting to see how many couples actually celebrate 70 years of marriage.
The answer is Google doesn’t know.
And the more I dug around, the more I realised the reason why. It’s incredibly rare.
So if Google can’t tell us, let’s see if we can come up with an answer.
Fundamental to the problem is that there is simply no central record of how long marriages last until one of the couple passes away. But perhaps we can make some assumptions based on some of the statistics that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) do publish.
How likely are two people to both make it past their 90th Birthday?
In 1947 the median age for marriage was 23.7 for men and 20.5 for women[i], making Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten pretty typical of their generation, marrying aged 21 and 26. It also means it’s fair to work on the basis that for nearly any couple celebrating their Platinum Wedding Anniversary, they are both going to be in their nineties.
So the chances for making it past the age of 90 in England and Wales is 0.8%[ii]. That means that the chances of two people BOTH making it is:
0.008 x 0.008 = 0.000064
0.0064% chance of two people both making it past their 90th birthday.
How many people were married in 1947?
Fortunately, it is much easier to uncover how many people married in 1947. In fact 1947 is the very first year that the ONS not only holds data for the total number of marriages in England and Wales but also in which month they took place.[iii]
Certainly by choosing November, they were not following the trend. In fact with fewer than 30,000 marriages that month, it was the third least popular month for weddings that year.
Overall, the young princess and her naval officer beau were one of 401,210 couples to tie the knot that year. Statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland appear more difficult to track down but it would be reasonable to extrapolate the numbers based on the overall UK population split, which suggests a figure for the whole of the UK.
466,000 UK marriages in 1947.
But what about divorces?
Data is not easily available for 1947 but it can be found for English and Welsh marriages in 1950[iv]. According to the ONS, 8.6% of marriages at that time ended in divorce, so we should discount them out from our 466,000 UK marriages.
466,000 x 91.4% = 426,000 non-divorce marriages in 1947.
How many Platinum Wedding Anniversaries might we expect this year?
So we have now have two critical pieces of data. The chances of two people making it past the age of 90 – the realistic milestone age to celebrate a Platinum Wedding Anniversary – and the number of marriages in 1947 that did not end in divorce.
Based on that we can multiply the two numbers together to give us a pretty reasonable estimate of the number of couples who will celebrate 70 years of marriage this year.
426,000 x 0.0064% = 27 Platinum Wedding Anniversaries
So, although there are no official statistics to back it up, it seems likely that only around 30 couples will join the Queen and Prince Philip in celebrating their Platinum Wedding Anniversary this year. Or to put it another way – just 60 people in the UK will mark 70 years of marriage in 2017 – that’s 1 in a million.
That’s why for me, forget the Jubilees; forget the birthdays. For the Queen and Prince Philip their Platinum Wedding Anniversary is the pinnacle of their long list of incredible milestones. And we, the British people, must join them in marking this historic moment.
The Royal Mint has just announced a new Prince Philip Coin that will pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh and his record-breaking 70 years of service to Her Majesty the Queen and the United Kingdom.
The Prince of Wales will be striking the very first of these coins on Tuesday 11th July. The reverse of the coin will bear an image of his Father, Prince Philip and the obverse is to feature his mother, The Queen.
The coins will be available in Gold Proof, Silver and Brilliant Uncirculated Base Metal. They will be available to order from 7th August.
If you’re interested you can sign up below for more information as soon as it becomes available.
Last UK Prince Philip Coin is one the UK’s scarcest £5 Coins
Prince Philip was last celebrated on a UK coin six years ago for his 90th birthday. With a mintage of just 4,599 it was, at the time, the most limited Silver Proof £5 ever issued.
It is now highly sought-after by collectors and, arguably, one of the most collectable £5 coins ever released by The Royal Mint.
Births, deaths, weddings, christenings, jubilees, anniversaries and birthdays – The Royal Family have had commemorative coins issued to mark them all.
But which Royal coins are really worth adding to your collection? With so many out there it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why I’ve put together this guide to nine of my favourite coins, each representing a member of the modern Royal family. Without further ado, in no particular order…
1. Princess Diana
No royal collection would be complete without a Princess Diana coin.
The most poignant issue was struck by The Royal Mint in 1999 following the tragic death of ‘the people’s princess’. Diana touched the hearts and lives of thousands across the globe and this coin commemorates her life – with a beautifully engraved portrait by David Cornell. Such an important member of the Royal family should forever be remembered and this is the perfect way in which to pay tribute to her life.
2. Prince Charles
The Prince Charles 50th Birthday coin holds the distinction of being the rarest UK Gold £5 coin to be issued. Just 773 were struck and it also features the most words of any British coin within its design.
Prince Charles founded the Princes Trust in 1976 – a charity which was created in order to help the lives of disadvantaged young people. The coin was issued to celebrate his 50th birthday and honour his charity. As the longest serving heir in British history, Prince Charles is certainly a Royal figure that is certainly deserving of a commemorative coin.
3. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was viewed by an estimated 2 billion people around the world.
The most iconic photograph of the whole ceremony was undoubtedly The Balcony Kiss – and this was captured perfectly on this Cook Islands $1 coin. Plated in 24 carat gold the Royal Wedding Photographic coin had an edition limit of just 24,500 – which isn’t many considering the number of people who tuned in to watch the ceremony. In years to come when William is King, those who have this coin will own a lasting memory of the day he married his Queen.
4. Prince George
Born 22nd July, 2013, the arrival of the young Prince George stirred global interest – especially from the USA. As the first son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George became third in line to the throne and is our future King.
The Perth Mint issued a Royal commemorative coin which really stood out. Depicting William and Kate with the new-born Prince this was the first official coin from a major nation to feature an engraving of Prince George.
5. Princess Charlotte
On 2nd May this year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their second child into the world – Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. The Royal christening took place on 5th July at St Mary Magdalene church on the Sandringham estate.
With a design inspired by the stunning Lily Font which is used for Royal christenings, the Silver Proof £5 Coin issued by Guernsey captured the moment perfectly. The elaborate one-off design makes this one of the premier commemoratives celebrating the young Princess.
6. Queen Elizabeth II
In 2012 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. It was a multinational celebration that marked the 60th anniversary of the her accession in 1952.
To celebrate, an exceptional ‘double obverse’ coin was issued. The coin is the first ever UK crown to feature the Queen’s full profile on both sides. With such a rare design, the Diamond Jubilee coin is certainly one which adds another dimension to any Royal collection.
7. Prince Philip
Prince Philip’s life of Royal service began at Queen Elizabeth II’s accession in 1952 when he was promoted to Commander after a distinguished career in the Royal Navy.
To mark his 90th birthday in 2011, a specially commissioned portrait was struck on a £5 coin issued by the Royal Mint. This was the first coin in British history to feature both a Monarch and a Consort on opposite sides.
8. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
The 1980 UK 25p Coin was issued in celebration of the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday. The design features the effigy of the Queen Mother surrounded by bows and lions – which is a pun on her family name ‘Bowes-Lyon’
This was the penultimate 25p crown issued in the UK and was the first ever British coin to feature a living person other than the reigning monarch.
A special mention goes to the Canada 2014 $20 ‘Royal Generations’ Silver Proof Coin. This coin was issued to commemorate the birth of Prince George and pictures three generations of heirs.
I think it’s particularly special as Prince George’s birth marks only the second time in history that Britain has had three living male heirs to the throne from separate generations – and this coin captures them all.
So if you’re looking to put together a Royal collection, these coins are my personal recommendations, each with a story to tell. If you own some already, let me know in the comments…