The story is set in London in 1947 at the time of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten. Astaire and Powell play siblings in a song and dance duo, echoing the real-life theatrical relationship of Fred and Adele Astaire.
Royal Wedding is one of several MGM musicals that entered public domain because the studio failed to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after its publication.
The story sees brother and sister Tom and Ellen Bowen as stars of a show Every Night at Seven, a Broadway success. They are persuaded to take the show to London, capitalizing on the imminent royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten.
On the ship, Ellen meets and quickly falls in love with the impoverished but well-connected Lord John Brindale. Whilst casting the show in London, Tom falls in love with a newly engaged dancer, Anne Ashmond. Tom assists Anne to reconcile her estranged parents and also asks his agent to locate Anne’s supposed fiancé in Chicago – only to discover that he’s married and therefore Anne is free to do what she likes.
Carried away by the emotion of the wedding, the two couples decide that they will also be married that day. Thanks to the resourcefulness of Tom’s London agent, Edgar Klinger, who knows someone in the Archbishop’s office who can cut through the official red tape and also has a cooperative minister in his pocket Anne and Tom, and Ellen and John, are in fact married on the royal wedding day.
Stanley Donen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons