Family & Relationships: A Look Back at Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s Relationship, in the Wake of Her Passing

Princess Diana’s Rare Moments in a Little Black Dress

  Princess Diana’s Rare Moments in a Little Black Dress The People’s Princess rarely wore black—but when she did, it was distinctly fabulous.

Just over a year after her husband passed away, Queen Elizabeth II has died at 96 years old. Buckingham Palace released an official statement on September 8, saying that the queen “died peacefully at Balmoral.” Her children, King Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward, and her grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry, rushed to Scotland to be with her.

In April 2021, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away, over 70 years after the couple married. While Queen Elizabeth was the longest-reigning monarch in British history, Philip was the longest-serving royal consort.

Queen Elizabeth Throws a Special Dance Every Summer at Balmoral

  Queen Elizabeth Throws a Special Dance Every Summer at Balmoral Here's the scoop on the annual Ghillies Ball.While at Balmoral, the Queen carries on a tradition started by her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria: the Ghillies Ball. Here's everything you need to know about the annual dance.

The queen and Philip had the longest royal marriage in history, and on their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, she offered a glimpse into their relationship: “He has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years,” she said. “I owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim.”

Here, we look back at their royal romance.

1934: Elizabeth and Philip first meet at a wedding.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was 8 years old when she first met Philip Mountbatten at the wedding of his cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, to Elizabeth's uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent. At the time, Princess Elizabeth wasn't expected to become queen: Her father's older brother Edward was first in the line of succession, and it was assumed he'd have children whose birth would move her further from the throne. (Edward abdicated in 1936 to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson.)

How Tom Brady's robust trademark and brand strategy that spans cookbooks to skincare is setting him up for life after the NFL

  How Tom Brady's robust trademark and brand strategy that spans cookbooks to skincare is setting him up for life after the NFL Tom Brady's lawyers have applied for a slew of trademarks that show the athlete's business interests, from wellness, to food, to NFTs, and more.

And yes, the people who'd become Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are related—they're distant cousins, and both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.

Princess Elizabeth in 1934. © Universal History Archive - Getty Images Princess Elizabeth in 1934.

In the context of Europe's royal families, this actually isn't so strange, given how much intermarriage there used to be among royal lines to maintain political alliances. In fact, nearly all of Europe's royal families are related through sharing a common ancestor.

1939: The two meet again, and soon strike up a friendship.

Elizabeth and Philip's fateful re-meeting occurred at the Royal Naval College in 1939, where the latter was a cadet. Visiting with her parents and sister, Princess Margaret, 13-year-old Elizabeth was reportedly smitten with 18-year-old Philip and impressed by how easily he could jump over tennis nets.

“Well, we'd met at Dartmouth, and as far as I was concerned it was a very amusing experience, going on board the yacht and meeting them, and that sort of thing, and that was that,” Philip told royal biographer Basil Boothroyd. However, the two began exchanging correspondence for years afterward.

Royal Family Is Rushing to Queen Elizabeth's Side as Doctors Are 'Concerned' for Her Health

  Royal Family Is Rushing to Queen Elizabeth's Side as Doctors Are 'Concerned' for Her Health Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall have headed to Balmoral CastleMembers of the royal family are heading to Balmoral Castle in Scotland amid doctors' "concerns" for Queen Elizabeth's health.

1946: Philip asks King George VI for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage.

By the summer of 1946, the two had fallen in love and wanted to get engaged. “To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one's personal and even the world's troubles seem small and petty,” Philip wrote in a letter to Elizabeth later that year, according to biographer Ingrid Seward.

Biographer Sally Bedell Smith writes that the king liked Philip, having previously told his mother that Philip was “intelligent, has a good sense of humor and thinks about things in the right way.” But Elizabeth was still young, and the Greece-born prince lacked the royal titles that critics considered vital to marry the future queen. King George assented, but he had a request of his own: He asked Philip to delay formal announcement of their engagement for a year so that Elizabeth would be 21.

1947: Elizabeth and Philip announce their engagement.

The world officially learned of their engagement on July 9, 1947. Elizabeth and Philip beam at each other in the official portraits from the event; as a reporter for The Guardian wrote then, “It is clearly a marriage of choice, not of arrangement[...] There have been many royal engagements in the past, but it would be hard to find a precise parallel for that of an Heiress Presumptive and still more for her choice as partner of one who is, technically at least, a British commoner.”

Queen Elizabeth II under medical care amid health fears

  Queen Elizabeth II under medical care amid health fears LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II has been placed under medical supervision because doctors are “concerned for Her Majesty’s health," Buckingham Palace said Thursday, as members of the royal family rushed to Scotland to the side of the 96-year-old monarch. The announcement by the palace came a day after the queen canceled a virtual meeting of her Privy Council when doctors advised her to rest following a full day of events on Tuesday, when she formally asked Liz Truss to become Britain's prime minister.

Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip at Buckingham Palace on the day of their engagement announcement. © Fox Photos - Getty Images Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip at Buckingham Palace on the day of their engagement announcement.

1947: Elizabeth and Philip get married.

The royal wedding took place at Westminster Abbey (where Prince William and Kate Middleton would one day marry) on November 20, 1947. There were 2,000 guests in attendance, and it was broadcast on the radio around the world.

The momentous occasion was not without a minor controversy over Elizabeth's inclusion of “to obey” in her wedding vows, as some thought a future queen shouldn't obey anybody at all. After the wedding they moved to Clarence House near Buckingham Palace, and kept adjoining separate bedrooms per upper-class custom of the time.

1949-1951: Elizabeth and Philip have two children and live abroad.

Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Charles on November 14, 1948, and Princess Anne on August 15, 1950. The first few years of Elizabeth and Philip's marriage were pretty low-key, as they spent much of that time in a royal residence in Malta where Philip was stationed in the navy. Biographer Ben Pimlott called this period the “most ‘normal’ of her entire life.”

gettyimages-3421417 © Fox Photos - Getty Images gettyimages-3421417

Adorably, the couple returned to Malta in honor of their early life as newlyweds for their 60th wedding anniversary in 2007.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Traveling to Scotland to Be with Queen Elizabeth

  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Traveling to Scotland to Be with Queen Elizabeth The Duke and Duchess of Sussex traveled from their California home to Europe earlier this week for a series of charitable eventsPrince Harry and Meghan Markle are traveling to Scotland amid doctors' "concerns" for Queen Elizabeth's health.

1953: Elizabeth is coronated Queen of England.

In 1952, Elizabeth's father, King George VI, died and she became queen sooner than she and Philip had anticipated—at 25 years old. Thrust into the international spotlight and immediately saddled with duties, Elizabeth's new role challenged the dynamic of their marriage (The Crown fans saw this dramatized during season 1). Philip, not yet accepted in certain circles within the court, allegedly called himself the “refugee husband,” and even tangled with Prime Minister Winston Churchill over whether Charles and Anne could take his surname, Mountbatten.

"I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his children,” Bedell Smith claims Philip told his friends at the time. “I’m nothing but a bloody amoeba.”

A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily)

Eventually, Philip grew into his role as consort, managing the royal estates and keeping his wife's spirits up during her grueling royal tours.

1960-1964: They become a family of six.

Ten years after Princess Anne was born, Elizabeth and Philip welcomed their son Andrew Albert Christian Edward, Duke of York on February 19, 1960. Four years later their youngest, Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, was born on March, 10. They were officially a family of six. Philip made history during their fourth child's birth by being the first royal husband to be present during the delivery of their child.

gettyimages-599424047 © Fox Photos - Getty Images gettyimages-599424047

“The Duke of Edinburgh was actually holding his wife's hand as their youngest was born,” Ingrid Seward wrote in My Husband and I: The Inside Story Of 70 Years Of Royal Marriage, according to The Independent. “The Queen, by then aged 37, had asked him to be there; she'd been keenly reading women's magazines that stressed the importance of involving fathers in childbirth and had become fascinated by the idea.”

Queen Elizabeth struggles with health issues. Who is next in line to take the throne?

  Queen Elizabeth struggles with health issues. Who is next in line to take the throne? The 96-year-old monarch has had to reduce her commitments this year as she struggled with mobility. Is Queen Elizabeth sick? Who is next in line after Queen Elizabeth? Has Queen Elizabeth been sick?The news came after the monarch canceled her Privy Council meeting on Wednesday and was told by doctors to rest instead.

2017: Prince Philip retires from royal life.

gettyimages-1141908427 © WPA Pool - Getty Images gettyimages-1141908427

In 2017 after 65 years in the public eye as Elizabeth's consort—not to mention 22,219 solo engagements and 5,496 speeches, according to The New York Times—Philip officially retired from royal life at the age of 96. His many years of service were incredibly appreciated by the queen, who publicly reflected on her husband's work during her 2012 Diamond Jubilee speech.

“Prince Philip is, I believe, well-known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide,” she said. “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and 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.”

2021: Prince Philip passes away at age 99.

After more than seven decades together, the queen announced on April 9, 2021, that Prince Philip had passed away.

“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,” a royal communications statement read. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”

Philip had been staying at the royal residence since mid-March, when he returned from a one-month hospital stay in which he received treatment for an infection and a preexisting heart condition.

Devoted companions for more nearly 74 years, the queen and Philip had the longest royal marriage in history.

2022: Queen Elizabeth passes away at age 96.

After serving as queen for 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022. The Palace gave an official statement about her death, noting that it was peaceful. All four of her children, Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward, were at Balmoral with their mother. Additional members of the royal family, including Charles's wife, Camilla, the Queen Consort, and Edward’s wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry, were also in Scotland at the time.

For the majority of the world, Queen Elizabeth was the only ruler they've ever known. She reigned through 15 prime ministers and 14 U.S. presidents, and is survived by four children, eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren—the future of the British royal family.

Liz Truss, who just met the Queen to become Prime Minister, says her thoughts are with Her Majesty amid health concerns .
"My thoughts — and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom — are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time," Truss said.In a statement shared on Twitter shortly after 12:30 p.m. local time, Truss said the "whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime.

See also