Sunday, November 20 is The Queen and Prince Philip's 69th wedding anniversary, marking only one year until the couple celebrate their platinum anniversary.
We celebrate the momentous occasion by taking a look at their royal romance over the decades.
An impressionable Princess Elizabeth was just 13 when she first fell for dashing 18-year-old naval cadet Prince Philip of Greece.
Philip had been asked to look after the two princesses when they visited the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England, as part of the entourage on the royal yacht with their parents.
“[Philip] played games with them [Elizabeth and Margaret], jumped over tennis nets, wolfed down platefuls of food and generally romped, ending by rowing his boat after the departing royal yacht until the King had to bellow at him to go back,” writes Andrew Marr in his excellent biography, The Diamond Queen.
“Censorious [governess] Crawfie thought Philip had showed rather too much, but Elizabeth was delighted and she never took her eyes off him. Friends say she never has since.”
Philip and Elizabeth had actually met previously at a royal wedding, but she was younger. Now the Princess was smitten and reportedly went so far as to put Philip’s photo up on her bedroom wall.
They continued corresponding, although their liaison remained secret.
Prince Philip was born on the island of Corfu, but following his family’s exile to France when he was 18 months old, he was educated largely in the UK. Like Elizabeth, he was a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria, making them third cousins.
Philip’s courtship of Elizabeth began in earnest following World War II, during which he fought for Britain. His sisters had all married German princes, so it must have been tough for the young naval officer being on the opposing side. Yet Philip had made his choice – he was a Brit.
The Prince proposed in September 1946, when Princess Elizabeth was 20. The King, concerned that his daughter was too young, insisted the pair hold off marrying until Elizabeth fulfilled her official duties with the royal family touring South Africa. Yet, four months later, nothing had changed and on July 10, 1947, Elizabeth and Philip became officially engaged.
They married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. Elizabeth was 21 and Philip, on whom King George VI bestowed the title of Duke of Edinburgh, was 26. The wedding thrilled post-war Britain and Elizabeth looked radiant in an embroidered Norman Hartnell-designed gown and a tiara of diamonds once owned by Queen Victoria.
In 2007, the couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey at which Dame Judi Dench read a bespoke poem written for the occasion by then poet laureate Andrew Motion.
“Love found a voice and spoke two names aloud.”
After 69 years of marriage, four children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren, Elizabeth and her dashing Prince are as young at heart and in love as ever.
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