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How Prince Philip and the Queen met: The story of a royal relationship

The couple got engaged 13 years after their first meeting, writes Olivia Petter

Saturday 20 November 2021 10:41
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<p>Posing during their honeymoon in 1947 on Broadlands estate, Hampshire</p>

Posing during their honeymoon in 1947 on Broadlands estate, Hampshire

The Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II were married for 73 years up until Prince Philip’s death on Friday 9 April.

The couple, who first met as children in 1934, would have celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary on Saturday, 20 November.

The Queen and the duke were introduced at the wedding of Prince Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina, to Prince George, Duke of Kent.

At the time, the Corfu-born Philip was the Prince of Greece and Denmark. He was 13 years old, while the then Princess Elizabeth was aged eight.

The couple met again five years later in 1939 at Dartmouth Royal Naval College.

According to Elizabeth’s governess, Marion Crawford, the princess was drawn to Philip’s “Viking” good looks. Crawford recalls in her memoir, The Little Princesses, that Philip caused the teenage Elizabeth to turn “pink-faced” when she saw him.

Another person close to Elizabeth who clocked her fondness of Philip early on was Margaret Rhodes, her cousin, who wrote in her autobiography, The Final Curtsey: A Royal Memoir by the Queen’s Cousin, that she “was truly in love from the very beginning”.

Apparently, Elizabeth’s attraction towards Philip was noted by his uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who described their first meeting as “a great success” in his diary.

After their initial meeting, Elizabeth and Philip began corresponding via letter while he served in the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets during the Second World War.

When Philip returned, he asked Elizabeth's father, King George VI, for his permission to propose to her.

The couple announced their engagement on 9 July 1947. The ring was made by the jewellers Philip Antrobus using diamonds from a tiara belonging to Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.

The wedding took place just four months after their engagement had been announced, with a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 20 November.

Princess Elizabeth was the 10th member of the royal family to get married at Westminster Abbey, which was also the venue of choice for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011.

Prior to the wedding, Prince Philip was appointed the Duke of Edinburgh in addition to being conferred with two other titles, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London.

The couple invited 2,000 guests to their wedding ceremony, which was officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, and the Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett.

Elizabeth’s dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell. The floor-length gown featured floral and star patterns and was inspired by Boticelli's Primavera painting.

Made from duchess satin and decorated with 10,000 seed pearls that had been imported from the US, it also featured a 15ft-long train.

The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, which marked their platinum anniversary, in 2017.

The bells of Westminster Abbey were rung on the day to mark the occasion.

They celebrated with a private dinner with family and friends at Windsor Castle.

Click through the gallery above for the timeline of their royal relationship.

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