Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip’s Marriage Spanned Seven Whole Decades, From World War II To COVID-19
On Friday, April 9, the Royal Family shared a statement revealing that patriarch Prince Philip has died, just a few months shy of his 100th birthday. With almost 74 years of marriage to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, the late Duke of Edinburgh broke records as the longest serving consort in British history. Their historic relationship spanned over seven decades, marked by major highs (the births of their four children) and lows (the death of Princess Diana), but the couple stuck together until the very end.
Ahead, a glimpse at the timeline of their enduring relationship.
1939: A royal meet-cute
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are actually distant cousins — both royals directly descended from British monarch Queen Victoria — but they met at for the first time while attending the wedding of wedding of his cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark (his cousin) and Prince George, Duke of Kent (her uncle). Even though they were just kids at the time, a connection was formed, so when they met again in 1939 during a visit to the Royal Naval College, sparks flew. From there, the teenagers decided to keep in touch through letters.
1947: Elizabeth and Philip marry
After writing to each other for years while Philip was on active duty in the navy, the couple officially got engaged in July 1947. They were only able to proceed with the wedding when Philip abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalized British subject.
In November 1947, a smaller-than-expected wedding (due to post-war restrictions) was held in Westminster Abbey before the newlyweds jetted off to Philip's family estate in Hampshire.
1948: Prince Charles is born
Queen Elizabeth gave birth to Charles in November 1948, and more children would follow the crown prince in the coming years; the royal family later welcomed Anne (1950), Andrew (1960), and Edward (1964).
1953: Elizabeth becomes queen
1972: The couple's 25th wedding anniversary
The Mountbatten-Windsors celebrated a major milestone in 1972, posing for an official portrait to mark the occasion of 25 years as a married couple.
"If I am asked what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage, I can answer with equal simplicity and conviction: I am for it," remarked Her Majesty at the special event.
1997: Elizabeth and Philip's 50th anniversary
The Queen and the duke tucked another 25 years of marriage under their belts in November 1997, the celebration of their golden anniversary occurring just months after the death of Princess Diana in Paris' Pont de l'Alma tunnel.
"It's been a challenge for us, but by trial and experience, I believe that we have achieved a sensible division of labor and a good balance between our individual and joint interests," Philip said of his marriage in a 1997 speech. "I think the main lesson we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage...you can take it from me —the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance."
2017: Philip retires from his royal duties
After decades of serving as the Queen's righthand man and senior member of the royal family, Philip officially retired from his royal responsibilities in May 2017. Following his retirement, the duke would make very few public appearances save for special family occasions like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 2018 wedding.
2020: 73 years married
Last year marked the Mountbatten-Windsors' 73rd year of marriage, which made Philip the longest-serving consort in British history.
2021: The Duke's death
In February 2021, Philip was admitted into a local hospital to undergo surgery as well as treatment for an infection. He stayed in the facility for a month before being released, but weeks later, he died in Buckingham Palace.
"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," read the announcement posted on the gates of Buckingham Palace. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."