Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip: How did they meet?

Queen Elizabeth II was married to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh for over 70 years. Here's everything you need to know about how they met and married.

Elizabeth II and Prince Philip: how did they meet?
© Tim Graham / Getty Images
Elizabeth II and Prince Philip: how did they meet?

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history, has died, handing over the crown to her son, Charles.

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As the people of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and the Commonwealth territories pay tribute to the woman who graced her royal duty for more than 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II has join her husband Prince Philip, who died in April 2021, in the crypt of St George's Chapel in Windsor. Here is a look back at how they met and how their marriage lasted for over 70 years.

How did Elizabeth II and Prince Philip meet?

Related through their great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, and King Christian IX of Denmark, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh are actually 7th and 8th cousins.

Both members of European royal families, it was not uncommon for them to meet on official business, especially as Prince Philip was a member of the Royal Navy, was naturalised as an Englishman and fought for England in the Second World War. Elizabeth met Philip in 1934 and again in 1937, but it wasn't until 1939 that their feelings were born.

After his family of Greek origin was forced into exile, Prince Philip spent his childhood in France and the United Kingdom before being placed under the protection of his maternal uncle, Lord Mountbatten.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1947 Central Press / Getty Images

Lord Mountbatten, who was close to the British Royal Family, asked Philip, with the complicity of the Queen Mother, to accompany the two royal princesses on a trip to the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, according to the Royal Family's official website.

On 22 July 1939, King George VI, Elizabeth II's father, travelled with the entire Royal Family, namely his wife Elizabeth and his two daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

The young princess, who was only 13 years old at the time, fell in love with Philip, who was 18. The two future spouses corresponded, met regularly and made appearances together, until Buckingham Palace announced their engagement on 10 July 1947.

In reality, the couple had been secretly engaged since 1946, but King George VI wanted to wait until the 21st birthday of the Princess, heir to the throne, before giving his consent to the marriage.

The wedding of the future Queen of the United Kingdom and Philip

In November 1947, the young Elizabeth, who was only a royal princess and future heir to the throne, married Philip of Greece and Denmark in front of 2,500 guests and the cameras of the whole world.

On the morning of 20 November, at 11.30 am, the future Queen took the man she had met a few years earlier as her husband and a vow of obedience in Westminster Abbey before the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on their wedding day 1947 Hulton Deutsch / Getty Images

This was the first time that the BBC was allowed to film the event and broadcast it live, paving the way for all future recordings of royal events, such as the Queen's coronation a few years later.

In this particular context, at the end of the Second World War, the event was seen as a celebration for the two million Britons who took to the streets of London to see the royal couple.

After a dinner at Buckingham Palace in honour of the newlyweds, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, now Duchess and Duke of Edinburgh, left for Broadlands Manor where they spent their honeymoon, as reported by the Royal Family's official website, before returning to London.

How long were Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip married?

The couple were united at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947 and remained married throughout Queen Elizabeth's reign until Prince Philip's death. He died in Windsor on 9 April 2021, a few weeks before celebrating his 100th birthday.

The couple remained together for more than 73 years and went through all the trials and tribulations together, both personal and political.

In seven decades, the royal couple welcomed four children (Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward), eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. After the death of Prince Philip, Meghan Markle gave birth to little Lilibet and Princess Beatrice gave birth to Sienna, the eleventh and twelfth great-granddaughter of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip respectively.

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and their children in 2007 Tim Graham / Getty Images

Although this marriage lasted for more than 70 years (they were the first royal couple to celebrate their Platinum wedding anniversary), it was far from being unanimous at the outset. Prince Philip was part of a European royal family, but one that was driven out of its own kingdom, all penniless.

He was royal only in terms of his family tree. He was not wealthy, he did not rule and he also had sisters of questionable character. Some of his sisters married princes close to the German Nazi party, which in wartime caused a scandal.

The latter were not invited to the royal wedding by order of King George VI, according to Hello Magazine. Nor was the Duke of Windsor, the Queen's uncle, who had abdicated a few years earlier in order to marry Wallis Simpson, an American commoner and twice-divorced.

It is now reunited that the couple will be buried in St. George's Chapel, alongside previous British monarchs, the Queen's parents and Princess Margaret among others.

This article was translated from Oh!MyMag FR.

Source used:

-Royal.uk: 'Family life'

- Hello Magazine: 'Why the Queen's father banned Prince Philip's family from the royal wedding'

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