Queen and Prince Phillip’s 73-year marriage through the years in pictures

Comp of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh were married for nearly 74 years (Picture: Getty/PA)

When it comes to love stories, the one of a young princess becoming smitten with a dashing naval officer will be remembered in history.

Before her dad’s sudden death, the then-Princess Elizabeth was supposed to lead a relatively normal for a royal life with her husband Prince Philip.

Becoming the Queen at the young age of 25 is believed to have put some strain on their relationship but it remained one of love, respect, and admiration.

On their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, the monarch described her partner as someone who has been her ‘strength and stay all these years’.

The Queen and Prince Philip were married for almost 74 years until his death at the age of 99 on April 9, 2021.

First crossing paths at Britannia Royal Naval College in 1939, an 18-year-old cadet Philip was introduced to a 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth.

At the time, the royal confessed she was smitten with Philip, and the two began to exchange letters.

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and her fiance, Philip Mountbatten at Buckingham Palace

Princess Elizabeth and her fiancé, Philip Mountbatten, at Buckingham Palace, after their engagement was announced on July 10, 1947 (Picture: Hulton Royals Collection)

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip at their wedding

They married on November 20,1947, at Westminster Abbey, when Elizabeth was 21 (Picture: AFP)

Elizabeth and Philip pose during their honeymoon on November 25, 1947, in Broadlands estate, Hampshire

Elizabeth and Philip pose during their honeymoon on November 25, 1947, in Broadlands estate, Hampshire (Picture: AFP)

The couple dancing samba during a ball

The couple dancing samba during a ball organized by the Royal Navy on December 18, 1950 (Picture: AFP)

But their courtship was surrounded by controversy, and some of King George’s advisors did not think him good enough for her.

In a heartfelt letter to the Queen Mother before the wedding, Philip described how he had ‘fallen in love completely and unreservedly’ with her eldest daughter, according to the biography Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch.

He wrote: ‘The only thing in this world which is absolutely real to me, and my ambition, is to weld the two of us into a new combined existence that will not only be able to withstand the shocks directed at us but will also have a positive existence for the good.’

After keeping their engagement a secret for a year, the couple wed in a grandeur ceremony on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey.

In a letter to her parents sent shortly after, Elizabeth said: ‘We behave as though we had belonged to each other for years. Philip is an angel.’

Little did the newlyweds know that in a matter of five years, the princess would be crowned as Queen.

Princess Elizabeth stands with her husband and their children, Charles and Anne

Princess Elizabeth stands with her husband and their children, Charles and Anne, at Clarence House, the royal couple’s London residence in August 1951 (Picture: AP)

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on the day of the coronation at Buckingham Palace in 1953

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on the day of the coronation at Buckingham Palace in 1953 (Picture: Hulton Archive)

Baby Andrew perches on Prince Philip's lap during a picnic on the grounds of Balmoral Castle

Baby Andrew perches on Prince Philip’s lap during a picnic on the grounds of Balmoral Castle (Picture: Bettmann Archive)

It took time for Philip to adapt to his royal duties and accept his lifelong role as a supporter of the Queen.

He had already become the Duke of Edinburgh on the eve of the wedding but he resented not taking the title of King.

His uncle Dickie Mountbatten declared ‘The House of Mountbatten now reigns’ not long after the coronation.

But he was swiftly put in his place by Queen Mary and Winston Churchill, who was the prime minister at the time.

They spoke to the new monarch who decreed that she and her children will keep the name Windsor.

Heartbroken, Philip told friends: ‘I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his children.

‘I’m nothing but a bloody amoeba.’

There is no proof he was ever unfaithful over the course of their marriage, like The Crown suggests.

He was linked to a number of women, perhaps most notably actress Pat Kirkwood.

The couple travel by open carriage around the track prior to the race program at Ascot

The couple travel by open carriage around the track prior the race program at Ascot in June 1962 (Picture: AP)

A portrait of Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew with their parents in the garden of the Frogmore Estate, Berkshire in April 1968

A portrait of Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew with their parents in the garden of the Frogmore Estate, Berkshire in April 1968 (Picture: PA)

The Queen and Prince Philip visit a farm on the Balmoral estate during their Silver Wedding anniversary year in 1972

The Queen and Prince Philip visit a farm on the Balmoral estate during their Silver Wedding anniversary year in 1972 (Picture: Getty)

The Queen was once said to never be happier than when she was at Balmoral

The Queen was once said to never be happier than when she was at Balmoral (Picture: PA)

The Netflix show depicts Philip as away from the Palace, attending infamous sex parties, which sparked the Profumo Affair, a sex scandal that rocked 1960s Britain.

Inside Buckingham Palace, a Channel 5 documentary that came out in 2016, also referenced panic in the family over the public suggestion of his infidelity.

It said: ‘Royal aids panicked as rumors grew about Philip having affairs. The affairs were denied and there was no evidence. But rumors persisted.’

His private secretary Mike Parker asserted the Duke ‘was 100% faithful to the Queen’ and no infidelity has ever bee caught on camera.

But royal author Sarah Bradford wrote in her biography of the Queen: ‘Since the alleged “party girl” affair in the mid-1950s, Philip has learned to carry on his flirtations and relationships in circles rich and grand enough to provide protection from the paparazzi and the tabloids.’

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh dazzled during the State Opening of Parliament in Bridgetown in Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh dazzled during the State Opening of Parliament in Bridgetown in Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean (Picture: PA)

The pair photographed during the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 16, 1982

The pair photographed during the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 16, 1982 (Picture: Getty)

A personal photograph of the couple at the top of the Coyles of Muick, taken by the Countess of Wessex in 2003

A personal photograph of the couple at the top of the Coyles of Muick, taken by the Countess of Wessex in 2003 (Picture: PA)

While the rumour-mill did not stop, through his dedication to the Queen in her duties, Philip gained the respect and affection of government and the nation.

In 1957, the monarch made him a Prince of the United Kingdom.

In formal speeches, she continuously acknowledged his pivotal role in supporting her throughout her long reign.

Although he was often pictured standing or walking a pace behind his wife, he was very much her partner both in their home life and in the monarchy.

In a now famous speech in 1997, the prince addressed how they maintained a healthy, happy marriage all these years.

The two pictured at the start of a state visit by  the president of Singapore

The two pictured at the start of a state visit by the president of Singapore (Picture: Getty)

The Queen and the duke riding on the back of a car during 'The Patron's Lunch

The Queen and the duke riding on the back of a car during ‘The Patron’s Lunch” celebrations for her 90th birthday (Picture Getty Images)

The couple attending a garden party in Paris

The couple attending a garden party in Paris (Picture: PA)

‘The main lesson we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage,’ he said.

‘You can take it from me, the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.’

The couple celebrated their 73rd and last wedding anniversary in November 2020.

In an Instagram post with a throwback photo of them, they said: ‘Thank you to everyone for your kind wishes for The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on their 73rd Wedding Anniversary.

‘The Queen and The Duke are pictured here in 1947 on their honeymoon at Broadlands in Hampshire.’

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