Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's Love Story: Inside the Royal Couple's One-of-a-Kind Marriage

Following Queen Elizabeth II's passing, revisit her and Prince Philip's decades-long romance, from writing love letters to secretly getting engaged, their relationship was unlike any other.

By Alyssa Morin Sep 19, 2022 1:59 PMTags
Watch: Queen Elizabeth II Honors Prince Philip With A Special Accessory

A love story fit for royalty.

On Sept. 8, the British royal family announced the heartbreaking news that Queen Elizabeth ll died at the age of 96. More than a week later, on Sept. 19, the world said goodbye to Britain's longest reigning monarch in a funeral attended by her family, including King Charles III, Princess AnnePrince Andrew and Prince Edward as well as Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The queen's death comes a little more than a year after her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, passed away in April 2021. And there's no deyning that the couple's decades-long relationship has stood the test of time. The longtime pair, who were parents to Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, had an undeniable bond from the very beginning.

Because long before the couple ruled the British monarchy, the two met at the Britannia Royal Naval College in 1939 when Philip, an 18-year-old cadet, was introduced to Princess Elizabeth, 13, while she was touring the place.

Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Funeral

You could call their encounter love at first sight, and it's said the pair exchanged letters throughout World War II.

"To have been spared in the war and seen victory," Philip wrote in one of his letters in 1946, according to Vogue, "to have been given the chance to rest and to readjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly makes all one's personal and even the world's troubles seem small and petty."


That same year, their romance blossomed, so much so that they secretly got engaged. The duo would tie the knot on Nov. 20, 1947, in front of 2,000 guests at Westminster Abbey.

Although Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had their fair share of ups and downs throughout their marriage, their connection was one-of-a-kind. To mark their 50th anniversary in 1997, the queen praised her husband with a heartwarming tribute.

"He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments, but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years," she shared, per Vogue. "I, and his whole family and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know."

Take a look at the couple's decades-long love story below.

1947: The Engagement

Princess Elizabeth met Philip Mountbatten at age 13 on a tour of the Royal Naval College in 1939. As the story goes, the two fell in love and began a written correspondence that led to Philip asking the King for Elizabeth's hand in marriage in 1946. Shortly after announcing their engagement, the royal couple posed for this precious photo at Buckingham Palace. 

1947: The Royal Wedding

The pair married Nov. 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey. Just look at her gown! The marriage was a major national celebration, but came at a hard time for the country, which was still recovering from World War II.  

1947: The Honeymoon

After their honeymoon, the happy couple took a stroll in the gardens at Broadlands in Hampshire. 

1948: A Prince is Born

Philip stood behind Elizabeth, who cradled Prince Charles after his christening at Buckingham Palace. 

1949: Horsing Around

The cute couple attended a Royal Horse Show at Windsor. They may have been there for the horses, but they only got eyes for each other. 

1951: Stepping out

Philip and Elizabeth showed off their moves at a square dance held in their honor in Ottawa, Canada. 

1951: A Growing Family

Elizabeth and Philip watched over 3-year-old Prince Charles and baby Princess Anne at Clarence House in Westminster. 

1952: A Family Vacation

The royal family posed for a photo during a getaway at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. 

1953: Becoming the Queen

Following the death of her father, King George VI, Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II at only 25 years old. On her coronation day, she became the ruling monarch of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon. All the while, Prince Philip was right by her side. 

1955: The Royal Family Relaxes

The royal family enjoyed summer vacation in August 1955 at Balmoral Castle. Prince Philip swung Prince Charles and Princess Anne while Queen Elizabeth looked on, holding her pet corgi.

1965: Prince Edward is born

The royal family played with baby Prince Edward in Windsor. 

1972: Stealing Time for Themselves

The royal couple spent some time alone at the Balmoral Estate in Scotland. 

1974: Supporting the Troops

The Queen and Prince Philip turned out for the annual Trooping the Color ceremony at Buckingham Palace. 

1977: Smiling in the Sun

The royal couple soaked up some sun on a tour of Fiji in 1977.

1982: The Perfect Couple

The pair looked regal as ever in this fun photo from a tour of Tuvalu in the 1980s. 

1986: Foreign Figures

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip explored the Great Wall of China on a royal tour of the country. 

2002: Royal Duties

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip smiled after the Queen's annual speech at the ceremonial State Opening of Parliament in London. 

2003: A Loving Laugh

The Queen laughed after she realized the man dressed up as part of the Queen's Guard was her husband, Prince Philip.

2006: Celebrating the Queen's 80th Birthday

Elizabeth and Philip were all smiles for the Queen's 80th birthday dinner, which was held at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. 

2007: The Diamond Anniversary

The pair returned to Broadlands for their 60th wedding anniversary. This image was a recreation of a photo taken just after their wedding in 1947. It looked like the Queen was wearing the very same necklace and brooch!

2011: The Royal Family Today

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip took to the sidelines to celebrate Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton's marriage in 2011. 

2015: Making Memories

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip held hands as they left a ceremony marking the end of combat operations in Afghanistan at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

2015: A Timeless Romance

The royal couple has been through everything together and still looked at each other with loving eyes 68 years later. They truly have a timeless romance. 

2017: Platinum Anniversary

The couple marked their historic 70th wedding anniversary in 2017, making them the longest marriage in British royal history.

2020: Prince Philip's 99th Birthday

The pair sweetly posed for a photo ahead of Prince Philip's 99th birthday at Windsor Castle.

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