The love story of the Queen and Prince Philip traces all the way back to the 1930s. Now, after nearly 70 years of marriage, we look back at the royal romance in pictures…
They first met properly in July 1939, when the King and Queen took their family to the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. Elizabeth was 13 at the time and Philip was an 18-year-old cadet in training at the school.
They were separated during the war with Philip at sea, and reunited again in 1946 in London when the Prince became a frequent visitor to Buckingham Palace. Later that year Philip proposed to Elizabeth after a month-long stay at Balmoral, and the young princess eagerly and quickly accepted.
Although Elizabeth’s father agreed to the match, he asked the pair to keep their engagement a secret until after the princess’s 21st birthday the following year. Despite the secrecy, Philip confessed he had fallen, “completely and unreservedly” in love with Elizabeth.
Prince Philip called his love ‘darling’ or more affectionately ‘Lilibet’, but the smitten couple had to keep their love a secret before the engagement was announced, so Elizabeth was seen out with friends and chaperones at dances and other social occasions during this time – although Philip was never far away!
The engagement of Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten – as he was then known – and Princess Elizabeth was announced in July 1947 and the marriage took place in Westminster Abbey on 20th November of the same year.
The couple have travelled all over the world together – from Canada and America, to Australia and New Zealand and back again. Often leaving their children home with The Queen’s parents, they experienced their adventures alone, just the two of them and this no doubt helped to seal their eternal bond.
Something that Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth have always had in common is a shared commitment to duty and service, and this has been evident throughout their long marriage. Despite giving their lives to their duties, the Prince and Queen Elizabeth have also had a happy union, supporting one another and helping to lighten the burdens of public life with laughter.
After 68 years married, four children, and 60 years of public service as the heads of the monarchy, there are few storms that Philip and Elizabeth have not weathered together.
In May 2017, Buckingham Palace announced that at the grand age of 96, Prince Philip will be retiring. The Duke turns 96 in June, and from August 2017 will no longer carry out public engagements. The decision was said to have been made by the Duke himself, with the full support of the Queen. As always! It won’t be the last we’ll see of the Duke though. He will still attend events with the rest of the royal family from “time to time”.
In public, the man the Queen has described as her “strength and stay” during her long reign will be taking a step back. However, behind closed doors, we are such he will continue to be as supportive and caring as ever. From infatuated young lovers to a marriage of longevity, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip really are the epitome of royal romance!