Welcome to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Manchester streets, landmarks, buildings and events from bygone days with today.

Our main image this week shows Princess Elizabeth, our future Queen, reviewing troops in Albert Square. It is March 1949, just four years after the end of the Second World War.

Accompanying the Princess on her tour of inspection is her husband the Duke of Edinburgh and Colonel R.D. Martin Bird.

In February 1945, Princess Elizabeth was appointed as an honorary second subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service – the women’s branch of the army. Her service number was 230873.

She was later promoted to the rank of junior commander (the female equivalent of a captain) after training as a driver and mechanic.

Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy at the age of 18 in 1939 and served with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets during the war.

Princess Elizabeth
Albert Square
The Royal couple were married at Westminster Abbey on November 20th 1947. As rationing was still in force, Princess Elizabeth needed to use coupons to buy material for her dress.

Prince Charles was born in November 1948, three months before the Manchester visit. The couple’s second child, Princess Anne, was born in August 1950.

Albert Square has strong connections with royalty. Our second image shows its focal point, the Albert memorial, which was unveiled in 1867.

It was built in memory of Queen Victoria’s Consort Prince Albert who died in 1861. The cost was met by public donations.

The surrounding land was undeveloped at the time the memorial was constructed. The imposing Town Hall was not built until 1877.

*Many more images from Then and Now are featured in The Changing Face of Manchester published to mark the 150th anniversary of the M.E.N.

It’s on sale at £14.99 including postage and packing. Order your copy online at inostalgia.co.uk or ring the order hotline on 01928 503777.