Honoring the Anniversary of Elizabeth and Richard’s First Wedding with Details from the Event
The Sunday ceremony was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal, where they were married by a Unitarian minister. Elizabeth was 32 years old at the time, he was 38. It was her fifth wedding, his second.
The event was somewhat of an elopement. The couple had been staying in Toronto, where Richard was starring in a production of Hamlet. Their illicit affair had already been relentlessly covered in publications around the world, therefore legalizing their togetherness couldn’t hold even the most exquisite candle to the tantalizing headlines they’d already made, the Italian vacations they’d already enjoyed, and the Shakespeare they had already professed to one another. “He was like Prince Charming kissing the sleeping princess,” Elizabeth had said.
Nevertheless, the wedding was still an occasion for Elizabeth to dress up. She wore a canary yellow chiffon babydoll dress designed by the Cleopatra Costume Designer Irene Sharaff, and adorned it with an 18 carat Bulgari emerald brooch that Richard had gifted her while filming Cleopatra. Her hairdresser Ronald DeMann crowned a braided updo with an angelical hairpiece entwined with white hyacinths and lilies of the valley that trailed down her back.
The only other guests in addition to DeMann were her parents, Francis and Sara, and Richard’s dresser, Bob Wilson. After a ten minute service, Richard announced, “Elizabeth Burton and I are very, very happy.” Elizabeth followed with her own declaration of love, announcing, “Oh, God yes. I’m so happy you can’t believe it. This marriage will last forever.”
Before the newlyweds jetted back to Toronto, Richard presented his wife with diamond and emerald earrings to match the brooch (which was detachable from a diamond and emerald necklace), and a diamond and emerald bracelet he had given her for her birthday.
Of course, history has revealed that Elizabeth and Richard’s romance was not a happily-ever-after-forever marriage. They divorced in 1974, only to remarry in October of 1975. The ceremony took place along the Chobe River in Botswana, where Elizabeth wore a tie-dyed gown by Gina Fratini. The second attempt at marriage lasted less than a year, but for the rest of Elizabeth’s life, she continued to proclaim Richard as one of her two greatest loves. The other being Mike Todd.