The Queen and Prince Phillip's romance: A timeline of their 73-year marriage

31 January 2022, 17:12 | Updated: 31 January 2022, 17:14

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Picture: Getty

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, had a famously long and loyal marriage for several decades.

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For over 70 years, the Queen and Prince Philip stayed by each other's side, at countless events, services, weddings, funerals and beyond.

While three of their four children experienced divorces, their marriage stayed strong through thick and thin.

“He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years,” the Queen said in a speech on her golden wedding anniversary in 1997.

“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.”

Here is the story behind Elizabeth and Philip's extraordinary romance.

  1. When and where did the Queen and Prince Philip meet?

    The couple in 1947
    The couple in 1947. Picture: Getty

    Elizabeth and Philip were second cousins once removed (by descent from Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse-Kassel) and third cousins (by descent from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert).

    Then-Princess Elizabeth, she first met Prince Philip in 1934, at the wedding of Philip's cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent, paternal uncle of Elizabeth. They next met again in 1937.

    After meeting once more at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth - though only 13 years old at the time with Philip aged 18 — said that she fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters.

  2. When did they announce their engagement?

    Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten
    Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten. Picture: Getty

    The couple were secretly engaged in 1946, when Philip asked King George VI for his daughter's hand in marriage.

    The King accepted his request, providing any formal engagement was delayed until Elizabeth's 21st birthday the following April.

    Their engagement was then officially announced on July 9, 1947.

    Philip proposed to Elizabeth with a 3-carat round diamond ring consisting of "a centre stone flanked by 10 smaller pave diamonds."

    The diamonds were taken from a tiara that owned by Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.

  3. When and where was their wedding held?

    The Future Queen Marries
    The Future Queen Marries. Picture: Getty

    Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten married at on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey.

    Elizabeth had eight bridesmaids: The Princess Margaret (her younger sister), Princess Alexandra of Kent (her first cousin), Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott (daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch), Lady Mary Cambridge (her second cousin), Lady Elizabeth Lambart (daughter of the Earl of Cavan), Lady Pamela Mountbatten (Philip's first cousin), Margaret Elphinstone (her first cousin), and Diana Bowes-Lyon (her first cousin).

    Philip's best man was the Marquess of Milford Haven, his maternal first cousin.

    The ceremony was recorded and broadcast to 200 million people around the world.

  4. How many children did they have?

    Royal Family At Buckingham Palace in 1972
    Royal Family At Buckingham Palace in 1972. Picture: Getty

    On November 14, 1948, just before Elizabeth and Philip's first wedding anniversary, they welcomed their first child: Charles Philip Arthur George.

    The couple welcomed Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, their second child and only daughter, on August 15, 1950.

    The Royal Family in 2007
    The Royal Family in 2007. Picture: Getty

    Third child Andrew Albert Christian Edward was born on February 19, 1960. It was at this time that Elizabeth confirmed that her descendants would carry the name Mountbatten-Windsor.

    The couple welcomed their fourth and final child, Edward Antony Richard Louis, on March 10, 1964.

  5. When did Elizabeth become the Queen?

    Queen Elizabeth II And The Duke Of Edinburgh On Their Coronation Day
    Queen Elizabeth II And The Duke Of Edinburgh On Their Coronation Day. Picture: Getty

    Elizabeth and Philip were touring Kenya when it was announced that King George VI had died in his sleep in February 1952.

    This meant that his daughter Elizabeth became the Queen, and she returned to London.

    Elizabeth and Philip, along with their young children, moved out of Clarence House and into Buckingham Palace.

    On June 2, 1953, Elizabeth was coronated as Queen. During the coronation, Philip knelt and told her, “I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship.”

  6. When did Prince Philip pass away?

    The Patron's Lunch To Celebrate The Queen's 90th Birthday
    The Patron's Lunch To Celebrate The Queen's 90th Birthday. Picture: Getty

    After an incredible 22,220 solo public engagements, 637 solo overseas trips, and 5,493 speeches, Philip retired from royal duty.

    He made his last official engagement on August 2, 2017.

    In November that year, to celebrate Elizabeth and Philip’s 70th wedding anniversary, the royal palace unveiled new portraits of the couple.

    Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Duke of Edinburgh "passed away peacefully" at Windsor Castle shortly on April 9, 2021.

    “I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate," the Queen said soon after.

    "While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world.

    “My family and I would like to thank you for all the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life.”