Queen Elizabeth II’s death at age 96 comes just over one year after her husband, Prince Philip, died in April 2021 at the age of 99. The couple’s death marks the end of a 74-year-old love story between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, born long before the Queen took over the throne.
On their golden anniversary in 1997, the Queen paid tribute to her husband Philip, “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments, but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years,” She said. “And I, his whole family, and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” she added.
How the Queen and Prince Philip met
Prince Philip was born in Greek. He first met Princess Elizabeth at a wedding in Greece in 1934. Coincidentally, the two are distant cousins who shared a great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who married a German Prince.
According to the royal family website, Philip was a direct descendant of Princess Alice, the third child of Queen Victoria. The Queen, on the other hand, falls directly under King Edward VII’s lineage. The King was Queen Victoria’s oldest son.
After their first meeting, Elizabeth and Philip wrote to each other and even met a couple of times over the next decade. Princess Elizabeth became smitten with the dashing prince of Greece and Denmark, and her governess Marion Crawford quickly noted that Philip’s good looks made an impression on the young princess.
When World War II ended, Philip returned to London to ask for the princess’s hand in marriage. But King George VI and many at Buckingham Palace had several concerns, including:
- The age of Princess Elizabeth
- Philip’s German heritage, which the family was trying to distance itself from
- The influence Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, would have on him
- Philip’s lack of financial resources
In the end, nothing would stand in the way of these two love birds, and in 1946, King George VI granted Philip permission to wed his daughter on the condition that they waited until Elizabeth was 21. The young couple married on November 20, 1947, in a royal wedding held at Westminster Abbey.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s Marriage Life
Philip gave up his Greek and Danish titles and changed his name to Lt. Philip Mountbatten, an anglicized version of his mother’s family name. He received the titles of Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich from his new father-in-law, the monarch.
After their wedding, Philip and Elizabeth led fairly ordinary lives for a while. The couple later gave birth to their two oldest children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, while Philip continued to serve in the Royal Navy.
Philip and Elizabeth’s lives changed significantly when Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, passed away in 1952 while she was touring Kenya. At the age of 25, she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II, and Philip left his job in the Royal Navy to help his wife.
Elizabeth’s sudden ascension to power naturally meant a role for Philip — the royal consort. Only two men had ever served in this position before Philip.
Suddenly, the days of walking side by side with his wife were over. In his new position, Philip trailed his wife by a short distance.
The Queen did not name her husband the “prince consort.” as was customary in the past. But in 1957, she crowned him, the Duke of Edinburgh, a prince of the United Kingdom.
Prince Philip’s Role
After his wife’s ascension, Philip, who had four children with the Queen, reportedly became upset upon learning that his children would never take his last name.
In remedy, Queen Elizabeth instructed that all of their male line descendants who are not addressed as their royal highness or given the title of prince or princess must use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
Philip was involved in his children’s upbringing even if they didn’t share his last name. He was also fiercely protective of his family and the family company he married into.
Philip accompanied Elizabeth on all 251 of her official overseas trips before he died a year.
The Queen appointed Philip a Lord High Admiral of the Navy in 2011 to celebrate his 90th birthday.
Elizabeth made Philip a knight grand cross of the Royal Victorian Order for his services to the monarch on their 70th wedding anniversary in November 2017.
On November 20, 2020, the couple celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary together.
Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis are three of Queen Elizabeth II and Philip’s great-grandchildren. They produced a card for them in honor of the occasion, according to a picture shared by Buckingham Palace.
Queen Elizabeth II and Philip have left behind three sons: Princes Charles, Andrew, and Edward, one daughter: Princess Anne, eight grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren.