A look back on Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s relationship timeline, which spanned decades of public and private moments.
This afternoon [9 April], the sad news that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has died aged 99 broke. While the Royal family are yet to make a public statement on his passing, fans are taking the opportunity to remind themselves of the Queen and Philip‘s long and happy marriage, which started over 70 years ago.
1934 – The pair meet for the first time
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Greece (as he was then known) meet at the wedding of his cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark and Elizabeth’s uncle Prince George, Duke of Kent. Elizabeth is 8 at the time, while Philip is 13.
1939 – Elizabeth and Philip meet again
During a visit to the Royal Naval College with her family, Elizabeth (aged 13) and Philip (age 18) meet again. He is a cadet in training. Philip later told royal biographer Basil Boothroyd, “Well, we’d met at Dartmouth, and as far as I was concerned it was a very amusing experience, going on board the yacht and meeting them, and that sort of thing, and that was that.”
They begin exchanging letters.
1946 – Philip asks for Elizabeth’s father King George VI’s blessing and proposes
After many years of courtship, Philip asks 20-year-old Elizabeth’s father for his blessing for the pair to be married.
After a month-long holiday at Balmoral with her family, Philip proposes with a ring made by London jeweller Philip Antrobus, using diamonds from her mother’s tiara.
July 1946 – The pair announce their engagement
King George VI asks that the pair wait until Elizabeth’s 21st birthday to reveal the engagement. On July 9, 1947 the couple shared a portrait to announce the happy news.
The Guardian‘s Royal reporter writes at the time, “It is clearly a marriage of choice, not of arrangement[…]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.”
November 1947 – Elizabeth II and Philip get married
Aged 26 and 21 respectively, the pair tied the knot at Westminster Abbey. The king insisted on a smaller wedding while the country recovered from World War II, so only 150 guests attended the ceremony, followed by lunch at Buckingham Palace.
They had a honeymoon at Broadlands, his family’s estate in Hampshire.
November 14, 1948 – Elizabeth gives birth to their first son, Charles
A year on from their nuptials, Prince Charles is born.
August 15, 1950 – Elizabeth gives birth to their first daughter, Anne
Just under two years later, the couple welcome their second child and first daughter, Princess Anne.
1949 – 1951 – The pair live abroad
The pair enjoy a lowkey marriage and life for a few years, spending much of that time in a royal residence in Malta where Philip is stationed in the navy. Biographer Ben Pimlott called this the “most normal [time] of her entire life.”
June 2, 1953 – Elizabeth is coronated and becomes Queen
Elizabeth’s father King George VI’s dies in 1952 and she inherits the throne aged 25. She is 27 at the time of the coronation, when she is crowned Queen Elizabeth II. This allegedly puts strain on her relationship with Philip – not least because it means the children won’t take his surname.
February 19, 1960 – Andrew is born
Elizabeth and Philip welcome their third child 12 years after their first, and their second son Andrew is born.
March 10, 1964 – They become a family of six as Edward is born
Four years later their youngest, Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, is born. Philip made history during their fourth child’s birth by being the first royal husband to be present during the delivery of their child.
November 1972 – The pair celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary
During the silver wedding anniversary celebration at the guildhall, the Queen said, “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.”
Prince Phillip gives a speech to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, addressing how they have maintained a healthy, happy marriage all these years. “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,” he famously said.
To mark 50 years of being Queen, Elizabeth gave a speech in which she shouted out her husband. “I take this opportunity to mention the strength I draw from my own family,” she 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.”
2017 – Philip retires from Royal service
Aged 86, Philip steps down from Royal duties. The New York Times report he has taken part in 22,219 solo engagements and 5,496 speeches, and played the role of Elizabeth’s consort for 65 years.
The Queen and Prince Philip took to Twitter to mark their platinum wedding anniversary, with a post that read, “To mark The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh’s 70th Wedding Anniversary, new photographic portraits have been released worldwide.”
“The portraits of Her Majesty and The Duke were taken by British photographer Matt Holyoak of Camera Press, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle earlier this month. (2/3)”
To mark The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh's 70th Wedding Anniversary, new photographic portraits have been released worldwide. pic.twitter.com/Jl6elndhFe
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 18, 2017
In this first release, The Queen and His Royal Highness are framed by Thomas Gainsborough's 1781 portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte, who were married for 57 years.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 18, 2017
November 2020 – Their 73rd wedding anniversary
“Thank you to everyone for your kind wishes for The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on their 73rd Wedding Anniversary ❤️” their official Instagram account wrote with a throwback photo of the couple. “The Queen and The Duke are pictured here in 1947 on their honeymoon at Broadlands in Hampshire.”
A long and happy marriage.
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