Inside Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip’s Wedding That Began The World’s Longest Royal Marriage Of 73 Years
Nov 20, 2023 by apost team
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, 2022, and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip on April 9, 2021, left members of the royal family, as well as ardent supporters of the British monarchy, in grief. Philip’s passing meant the end of his reign as the longest-serving royal spouse, having served alongside Elizabeth for 65 years and having been married to the monarch for 73 years.
Throughout their more than seven decades of marriage and longer as friends, Elizabeth and Philip shared many milestones together. As royals and public figures, many of these special moments have been captured in photographs and on film so generations after could enjoy and learn more about them. These include personal moments such as their wedding, the birth of their children and family life, as well as their appearances at events in which they undertook their royal duties, many of which they did together.
The enduring love between Elizabeth and Philip will always be one for the ages. Their love blossomed when they were very young, and unlike other royal marriages that were often arranged, Elizabeth and Philip married for love. After doing so, they remained each other’s steadfast companions and supported one another through devastating times.
While Elizabeth had the responsibility of becoming a queen thrust upon her early on, Philip had to make compromises and sacrifices to support the new queen. Through his actions and devotion to his wife, Philip became the perfect example of a royal consort and will remain an inspiration for decades to come. Read on to relive some of their most memorable moments together as royals of the British monarchy.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip first met at the wedding of Philip’s cousin in 1934, when she was 8 and Philip was 13. They met again when she was 13 and Philip was 18. During World War II, Philip was deployed overseas, but he and Elizabeth regularly exchanged letters. After he returned to England in 1946, he proposed to Elizabeth, and she accepted. However, due to royal family rules, they had to hide their engagement for several months until Elizabeth turned 21.
Elizabeth and Philip announced their engagement on July 9, 1947, and married on Nov. 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey.
Philip, who was born in Greece and is descended from Greek and Danish royalty, had to give up all of his previous titles and become a British citizen. His sisters were not allowed to attend the wedding. As a wedding gift, Philip stopped smoking cold turkey because he knew how much Elizabeth despised the habit; her father was a notorious chain smoker and eventually died of lung cancer.
The wedding was a grand and significant event, especially considering the post-World War II era. The ceremony was attended by various dignitaries and royals from around the world. However, given the economic constraints of the time, the wedding was a relatively modest affair compared to some royal weddings.
Elizabeth wore a beautiful ivory silk wedding gown designed by Sir Norman Hartnell. The dress was adorned with intricate embroidery, crystals, and 10,000 seed pearls. Due to the rationing that was still in place in post-war Britain, Elizabeth had to use clothing ration coupons to pay for her wedding dress.
The wedding was broadcast on the radio, allowing people across the nation to share in the joyous occasion. The couple received numerous wedding gifts from around the world, reflecting the global significance of their union.
The couple jetted off to their honeymoon at Broadlands in Hampshire. A year later, they welcomed their first child, Prince Charles, on Nov. 14, 1948. They would go on to have three more children – Princess Royal Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. As the children grew into their own within the royal family, photographers were privy to official portraits released by the palace as well as select relaxed shots of the household.
On Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, died while she was in Kenya. Philip reportedly heard the news first and was the one to tell Elizabeth the tragic development. At only 25 years old, Elizabeth was coronated in Westminster Abbey on Jun. 2, 1953, starting her long reign as queen with Philip by her side.
Elizabeth and Philip were married for 73 years, making theirs the longest royal marriage in history. Through it all, both remained steadfast and committed to their union while balancing their dedication to public service. Throughout her reign, the couple shared many moments in the spotlight together, notably on royal tours of Commonwealth countries, such as New Zealand in 1977, India in 1961 and the South Pacific in 1982. As well as making state visits, they also hosted public figures, most prominently then-president of the United States John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie Kennedy, at Buckingham Palace in 1961.
They also made numerous appearances for the annual Trooping the Color ceremonies and Jubilee celebrations. They were also pictured at the many royal weddings that have taken place since the queen’s accession, including Charles’ wedding to Princess Diana in 1981, Prince Andrew’s wedding to Sarah Ferguson in 1986, Prince Charles’ wedding to Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005, and their grandsons Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011 and Prince Harry’s to Meghan Markle in 2018.Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip (2015), (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)
While their public and private lives were nothing short of eventful, Elizabeth and Philip always remembered to honor the vows they exchanged to one another all those years ago in 1947. In a toast to the queen on their 50th wedding anniversary, Philip said:
“The main lesson that we have learned is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage. It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when the going gets difficult.”
Like any other marriage, Elizabeth and Philip had their fair share of challenges and hardships to tackle and overcome. Elizabeth alluded to them in her own remarks on their 50th anniversary in 1997 but added his support and love had been indispensable.
“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years,” she said.
The pair celebrated their last anniversary together in 2020. Philip’s passing in 2021 marked the end of one of the most storied royal romances in history and was “a period of great sadness” the Queen shared with her subjects and many more worldwide. Elizabeth would spend what would have been their 74th anniversary alone before she, too, passed in 2022.
The stalwart partnership of Elizabeth and Philip was picture-perfect of an enduring and strong royal family. Together, they witnessed the silver, golden and diamond jubilees of the Queen’s reign. In their private lives, they endured the breakdown of three of their four children’s marriages. Despite the hardships, they nurtured a family that included eight grandchildren – all of whom stood vigil beside her coffin in Westminster Hall – and 13 great-grandchildren.
While Elizabeth and Philip’s passing was a loss felt across the globe, their love story surely lives on in the legacy they left behind and the memory of their loved ones.Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II (2007), (Tim Graham via Getty Images)
What do you think of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s marriage? Do you feel like they were made for each other? Let us know and do remember to pass this on to family, friends and fans of the royal family.