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 Anne, Prince 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.
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.