Relationships

15 Photos That Capture Philip & Elizabeth's Love Story

The royals have been married for over 70 years.

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With the passing of Prince Philip at age 99, you can’t help but what wonder about Queen Elizabeth II and Philip’s relationship timeline. How did they meet? How long have they been together? Their love really is a story for the ages.

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The royals first met at a wedding way back in 1934. Princess Elizabeth was only 8 and Philip, who was known as Prince Philip of Greece at the time, was 13. The pair met again in 1939 when they were teenagers and began exchanging letters.

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Unlike other royal unions, which were typically arranged marriages, Philip and Elizabeth genuinely fell in love with each other. Their courtship lasted years and spanned WWII.

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In 1946, Philip asked Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, if they could be married. With his blessing, they went away to Balmoral castle in Scotland where Philip proposed with a diamond ring. A year later, when Elizabeth turned 21, they announced their engagement to the world.

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In November 1947, Philip and Elizabeth were married at Westminster Abbey in a “small” wedding — for royals, anyway — as King George felt that would be most appropriate following WWII. They said their vows in front of 150 guests, held a luncheon at Buckingham Palace, then honeymooned at Philip’s family estate.

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"It is clearly a marriage of choice, not of arrangement,” The Guardian noted. “There have been many royal engagements in the past, but it would be hard to find a precise parallel for that of an Heiress Presumptive and still more for her choice as partner of one who is, technically at least, a British commoner."

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After the wedding the couple moved to Malta, where Philip was stationed. Their son Prince Charles was born soon after in November 1948. And two years later they had their daughter, Princess Anne.

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Following her father’s passing, 27-year-old Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, with Philip by her side. Her new duties as Queen apparently put a strain on their marriage, but they made it through. And in 1957 Elizabeth made Philip a prince of the United Kingdom.

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In 1960, Elizabeth and Philip welcomed a second son, Prince Andrew, followed by another son, Prince Edward in 1964. For Edward’s birth, Philip made history as the first royal husband to be present during delivery.

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At their Silver Wedding — aka, their 25th wedding anniversary — Queen Elizabeth gave a speech about her happy marriage, saying "If I am asked what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage, I can answer with equal simplicity and conviction, I am for it.”

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For their 50th anniversary in 1997, the pair held another luncheon where Philip toasted Elizabeth saying, "I think the main lesson we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage. You can take it from me, the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance." How cute is that?

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Throughout their marriage, the couple attended events together and supported each other’s hobbies, like Prince Philip’s passion for horse carriage driving. In 1980, he won the World Championship.

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They were also present for other major events in the royal family, such as Prince Charles’s wedding to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s in 2018.

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In 2002, at her golden jubilee, the Queen said, "The Duke of Edinburgh has made an invaluable contribution to my life over these past fifty years, as he has to so many charities and organisations with which he has been involved." In 2011, she gave him the title of Lord High Admiral to celebrate his 90th birthday.

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In 2017, Philip retired from royal service after playing the role of Elizabeth’s consort for 65 years. In November of that same year, the couple celebrated their 70th (70th!) wedding anniversary. And just this past November they celebrated their 73rd. A long and happy marriage, indeed.