The epic, enduring royal love affair of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth died peacefully in her sleep at Balmoral Castle on Thursday aged 96 – just over a year after her beloved husband passed away on April 9, 2021.

The romance between Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, spanning more than seven decades, was a love story that captivated fans for generations.

The legendary pairing – 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 the dashing young Prince Philip of Greece and was instantly charmed.

Philip Mountbatten was then just 18 and preparing for a career in the Royal Navy by attending the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England, where Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, also attended.

Although the couple had previously met at royal events, the third cousins ​​- both had a great-grandmother in Queen Victoria – were not properly introduced until young Elizabeth toured the Naval College.

According to family members, it was love at first sight.

Black and white photograph of Princess Elizabeth with Philip Mountbatten on their wedding day in 1947.
Princess Elizabeth with Philip Mountbatten on their wedding day in 1947.
Getty Images

Prince Philip was always ‘the right man for the job’

Queen Elizabeth’s nanny Marion Crawford wrote in her book The Little Princesses that the teenager would “blush pink” when she saw Philip, adding that she “never took her eyes off him”.

Her interest in the young prince was also recognized by her cousin, Margaret Rhodes, who wrote in her autobiography, The Final Curtsey: A Royal Memoir by the Queen’s Cousin, that the princess was “truly in love from the start.”

Queen Elizabeth in an official photo with Philip after her coronation
The life of the Queen and Philip changed dramatically after she became Queen in 1953.
Bettmann Archives/Getty Imaegs

Elizabeth wasn’t the only one who was taken with the handsome prince. According to reports, King George VI. Philip for the “right man for the job” of the future queen consort.

The young lovers spent years keeping in touch, exchanging letters during World War II. Their engagement was finally announced in July 1947, shortly after Elizabeth turned 21. Philip renounced his rights to the Greek and Danish thrones and the couple were married in November 1947.

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The royal newlyweds spent the early years of their marriage in Malta, where Prince Philip was stationed with the Royal Navy. The move proved to be short-lived, however, as King George died unexpectedly in 1952 after an illness of several years.

Photograph of Prince Philip holding a young Andrew and Princess Elizabeth holding Anne.
The couple had two children when King George VI died and Elizabeth became queen.
Bettmann Archives/Getty Imaegs

He gave up everything for his queen

Just six years after 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 the change, along with other quirks that came with marrying the Queen. For example, her children (Prince Charles, born 1948, and Princess Anne, born 1950) were not given a surname due to their mother’s title.

Yet his loyalty never seemed to waver: at the coronation in 1953, Prince Philip knelt before his wife, the Queen, and swore: “I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, become your liege man, man of life and limb and of earthly worship.”

Photo of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip sitting on a couch.
According to people close to the couple, it was “love at first sight.”
Bettmann Archives/Getty Imaegs

Adjustments have been made over the years. In 1960, before their third child Andrew was born, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh decided that if the Queen’s children needed a surname, they would be given the name Mountbatten-Windsor to reflect Philip’s surname. The Queen gave birth to their fourth child, Edward, in 1964.

Though the monarch never publicly “gushed” about her husband, she specifically called him her “continued strength and leader” during her 2012 anniversary speech.

“He’s someone who doesn’t give compliments easily, but he’s just been my strength and support all these years,” the monarch said during a speech marking their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.

The royal couple were photographed just before Philip’s 99th birthday in 2020.
PA Images via Getty Images

She continued, “And I and all his family and this and many other countries owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”

Philip credited “tolerance” for their successful marriage.

“I think the most important lesson we’ve learned is that tolerance is the only essential ingredient in any happy marriage,” he said while celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. “It might not matter all that much when things are going well, but it’s absolutely essential when things get difficult. Believe me, the Queen abounds with the quality of tolerance.”

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip sit on thrones at the State Opening of Parliament.
The couple supported each other throughout their marriage years.
Popper photo via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth paid tribute to her husband in her 2021 Christmas speech

Following Philip’s death at the age of 99 in 2021, grandson Prince William spoke of his devotion to his wife and family.

“My grandfather’s century of life was marked by service,” he wrote on the Kensington Royal Instagram page. “To his country and commonwealth, to his wife and queen, and to our family.”

Wearing black and a mask, Queen Elizabeth sits alone in a pew at Prince Philip's funeral.
Queen Elizabeth mourns the loss of her beloved husband in 2021.

In 2021, during the Queen’s annual Christmas address, she spoke of her longtime husband, speaking of his “sense of service, intellectual curiosity and ability to make fun of any situation”.

“That mischievous, questioning twinkle ended up being as bright as when I first saw him,” she said during her speech.

“But life, of course, consists of final goodbyes as well as first encounters; and as much as my family and I miss him, I know he wants us to enjoy Christmas.”

Like any couple in public, the royal romance suffered from rumors of infidelity, particularly from Philip. However, none have been confirmed as true.

Ultimately, the epic relationship between the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh was an enduring inspiration for a love of service.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/08/queen-elizabeth-and-prince-philips-epic-enduring-royal-love/ The epic, enduring royal love affair of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Emma Bowman

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