By Lucía Murphy
They’re one of the most famous couples in the world, and one of the longest lasting love stories of all time. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were dedicated partners in their marriage for more than 70 years.
The two fell in love at a young age, and went on to meet challenges throughout the queen’s reign. They were an enduring symbol of the British monarchy, and now, after Philip’s death, we’re taking a look back at their romantic timeline, through decades of marriage, and more.
Queen Elizabeth II, then Princess Elizabeth, first met Prince Philip, then Philip Mountbatten, in 1934. At the time, Elizabeth was just a child, roughly eight years old, and Philip was no more than a young teen. About five years later, the two met again and became friendly.
In the years that followed Philip and Elizabeth maintained their correspondence before Philip finally asked Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, for his eldest daughter’s hand in marriage. In July 1947, the young couple announced their engagement to the world.
On November 20, 1947, Elizabeth and Prince Philip exchanged their wedding vows at Westminster Abbey. It was a monumental occasion, for which nearly the entire country stopped to enjoy the couple’s union in the aftermath of World War II.
Then-Princess Elizabeth was joined by her father in the coach that took them to the Abbey, where she met her future husband, who had been given the title Duke of Edinburgh. The entire ceremony was also recorded on radio for subjects across the nation to hear. Dignitaries from around the world attended the wedding, as well.
Following the ceremony, Elizabeth and Philip made an appearance on the iconic balcony of Buckingham palace to wave to subjects. The moment has become a tradition in the royal family, with more famous couples, including the queen’s grandson Prince William and his wife Duchess Kate Middleton, appearing for the greeting and photo opportunity.
Not long after their wedding, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II, still then just the Duke and Princess, set-up house at the famed Clarence House, so that they could be near Buckingham Palace.
Almost exactly one year after their wedding, Philip and Elizabeth welcomed their first child together, the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles. Charles was born on November 14, 1948, and his sister, Princess Anne, was born on August 15, 1950.
ELIZABETH BECOMES THE QUEEN
In February 1952, Elizabeth suffered an incredible blow. Her father died at the age of 56, and it was Elizabeth’s turn to wear the crown. Elizabeth was roughly 25 years old at the time, with two young children. Years after her marriage, Queen Elizabeth II returned to Westminster Abbey for her coronation on June 2, 1953.
The event marked a major turning point in the couple’s marriage, as they were immediately thrust onto the international stage with far more scrutiny on them than in years prior. But through international events, domestic affairs, royal engagements, rumors and more, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II maintained their strong bond and union.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II & PRINCE PHILIP HAVE TWO MORE CHILDREN
Roughly seven years into her reign as sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II gave birth to her and Prince Philip’s third child, son Prince Andrew on February 19, 1960. Four years later, the couple welcomed their youngest child, son Prince Edward, on March 10, 1964.
THEIR MILESTONE WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
In November 1972, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip celebrated a major milestone in their relationship and marriage. The couple commemorated their 25th anniversary, a joyous occasion, for which they posed for a portrait with members of their family. It was a beautiful occasion, but the fabric of the royal family would become more strained in the decades to come due to family conflict and the nation’s scrutiny on the royal family.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II & PRINCE PHILIP’S DIFFICULT 1997
Although 1997 would mark a happy occasion for Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II as they commemorated their 50th wedding anniversary, it was also marred by tragedy. Princess Diana‘s tragic death in August 1997 marked a turning point for the royal family.
Public scrutiny became quite intense and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had to both adjust how they interacted with the citizens of the United Kingdom. Through it all, though, their union was made that much stronger, leading to one of the highlights of their life together.
PRINCE PHILIP RETIRES FROM ROYAL LIFE
After decades of service to the royal family, Prince Philip made the decision to retire from royal life. But this new phase meant that Prince Philip could support his wife and attend to other duties.
MORE THAN 70 YEARS BY ONE ANOTHER’S SIDE
The most significant occasion in their marriage thus far came in November 2020, when Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 73 years of marriage. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s union has stood the test of time. Through tragedy and triumph they’ve been by one another’s side, for more than 70 years dedicated to each other and the United Kingdom.
PRINCE PHILIP DIES AT 99
After a long battle with health problems, including an unspecified heart condition, Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on April 9, 2021. Philip’s death came a month after he was hospitalized for over two weeks while battling an infection and undergoing a procedure for his pre-existing heart problem.