Queen Elizabeth died peacefully in her sleep at Balmoral Castle aged 96 on Thursday – just over a year after her beloved husband passed away on April 9, 2021.
Spanning more than seven decades, the romance between Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip was a love affair that has captivated followers for generations.
The legendary pairing – which was the longest marriage in the history of the British royal family – began in 1939, when a 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth of England officially met and was immediately charmed by the young Prince Philip of Greece.
Aged 18 at the time, Philip Mountbatten was preparing for a career in the Royal Navy, attending Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England, where Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, had also attended.
Although the couple have met before at royal events, the third cousins - both shared a great-grandmother in Queen Victoria – weren’t properly introduced until young Elizabeth don’t visit the Naval College.
According to relatives of the family, it was love at first sight.
Prince Philip has always been ‘the right man for the job’
Queen Elizabeth’s nanny Marion Crawford wrote in her book ‘Little Princesses’ that the teenager would ‘turn pink’ every time she saw Philip, adding that she ‘never took her eyes off him’.
Her interest in the young prince was also acknowledged by her cousin Margaret Rhodes, who wrote that the princess “was truly in love from the very beginning” in her autobiography, “The Final Curtsey: A Royal Memoir by the Queen’s Cousin”.
Elizabeth was not the only one to be seduced by the handsome prince. King George VI reportedly felt that Philip was the ‘right man for the job’ for the Queen’s future wife.
The young lovers spent years keeping in touch by exchanging letters during World War II. Their engagement was finally announced in July 1947, just after Elizabeth turned 21. Philip renounced his rights to the Greek and Danish thrones, and the couple married in November 1947.
The royal newlyweds spent the first two years of their marriage in Malta, where Prince Philip was stationed with the Royal Navy. However, the relocation proved short-lived, with King George unexpectedly passing away in 1952 after several years of illness.
He gave up everything for his queen
Just six years into their marriage, Elizabeth, then 27, became Queen of England in 1953. With her accession to the throne, Philip was forced to give up his naval career. According to several reports, the Duke of Edinburgh initially struggled with change, as well as other quirks of being married to the Queen. For example, their children (Prince Charles born in 1948 and Princess Anne born in 1950) were not given his surname due to their mother’s title.
Yet his allegiance never seemed to waver: At the coronation in 1953, Prince Philip knelt before his wife, the Queen, swearing: ‘I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, become your liege, man of life and member and earthly worship.
Improvements have been made over the years. In 1960, before the birth of their third child Andrew, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh decided that the Queen’s children, when in need of a surname, would be given the surname Mountbatten-Windsor to reflect Philip’s last name. The Queen gave birth to her fourth child, Edward, in 1964.
Although the monarch has never “gushed” publicly about her husband, she notably called him her “constant strength and guide” during her 2012 Jubilee address.
“He’s someone who doesn’t take compliments easily, but he’s just been my strength and my strength all these years,” the monarch said during a speech on her 50th birthday. wedding in 1997.
“And I, and all of his family, and this country and many others owe him a greater debt than he would ever claim, or we will ever know.”
Philip credited “tolerance” for their successful marriage.
“I think the main lesson we’ve learned is that tolerance is the key ingredient in any happy marriage,” he said at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 1997.
“It may not be so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when things are going badly. You can believe me that the queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.
Queen Elizabeth paid tribute to her husband in her 2021 Christmas speech
Following Philip’s death at 99 in 2021, Prince William’s grandson has spoken of his devotion to his wife and family.
“My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service,” he wrote on Kensington Royal’s Instagram page. “To his country and the Commonwealth, to his wife and the Queen, and to our family.”
in 2021, during the Queen’s annual Christmas speech, she opened up about her longtime husband, speaking of his “sense of service, intellectual curiosity and ability to make fun of any situation” .
“That mischievous, quizzical twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first saw it,” she said during her speech.
“But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first encounters; and even though my family and I miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas.
Like any couple in the public eye, the royal romance has suffered rumors of infidelity, particularly from Philip. However, none have been confirmed to be true.
Ultimately, the epic relationship between the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh was an enduring inspiration for the love of service.
New York Post