71 years ago, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s vowed everlasting commitment to each other. I’m sure many would agree, theirs is one of the greatest love stories in history. While they both come from a different background (According to Time, Elizabeth grew up as a royal, and Philip was “reared as a commoner, has washed dishes, fired boilers, even played on a skittles team organized by the owner of a local pub.”), they were joined by their love for each other. “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments. But he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I and his whole family, in this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know,” Her Majesty has previously said of her husband.
It seems that love never left them. During their honeymoon, the newlyweds both wrote to their family to express how they felt for each other: “We behave as though we had belonged to each other for years! Philip is an angel—he is so kind and thoughtful,” Elizabeth told her parents. While Philip wrote to his aunt: “Cherish Lilibet? I wonder if that word is enough to express what is in me. She’s the only ‘thing’ in this world which is absolutely real to me and my ambition is to weld the two of us into a new combined existence that will not only be able to withstand the shocks directed at us but will also have a positive existence for the good.”
Now if that ain’t love, then I don’t know what is. 71 years of marriage—that’s no easy feat. Of course, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. The two had to overcome multiple challenges throughout the years they were together (If you watch The Crown, you know what I’m talking about.) Still, their marriage endured longer than most people can say. And to celebrate, we’ve rounded up little-known facts about the couple that’ll surely make you believe in love.
You know in movies or book, when the two lead stars meet, and you just know it’s the start of something special? In the case of the royal highnesses, their meet-cute happened in 1934 at the wedding of Elizabeth’s uncle Prince George, Duke of Kent, to Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. The queen was only eight at the time, while Prince Philip was 13. But it was five years later, when they had another chance encounter at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth that the two reportedly fell in love and began writing each other letters while Philip was away in the military. Since Philip joined the Navy at the outbreak of war, Elizabeth only saw him very occasionally when he was on leave—“I suppose about twice in three years,” she revealed in one of the letters.
Prince Philip’s sacrifices
In order to marry Elizabeth, we all know Philip had to give up his own royal title. But that wasn’t all the sacrifice he had to make. According to E!Online, Elizabeth’s parents, King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth, were opposed to his German family members. So much so, that they were not allowed to come to the wedding—even his three sisters who had married German men. Reports also say that the king and queen were initially reluctant to approve the marriage because their daughter was “too young,” in addition to concerns over Philip’s being a member of the royal household. But as we all know, they need not fear that, because Philip dropped his Greek and Danish royal titles, taking the surname Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents and eventually agreeing to become a naturalized British citizen.
Moreover, on Elizabeth’s coronation following her father’s death, Prince Philip was the first to swear allegiance to the new queen, even if it meant the end of his Royal Navy career. It was then that he uttered these famous words: “I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks. So help me God.”
Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding day took place at Westminster Abbey in 1947. It might be the portrait of elegance, but it wasn’t as extravagant as you’d expect a royal wedding to be. For one, their nuptials took place when Great Britain was still recovering from World War II, so Elizabeth had to use ration coupons to pay for her wedding dress materials. The List shared that “the government allowed Elizabeth extra coupons (200 to be exact) for the dress.” Still, the wedding dress—which features a 13-foot-long train and crystal embroidery—turned out beautifully.
As for the wedding day itself, things didn’t exactly go smoothly. According to History Extra, “Elizabeth’s tiara snapped on the morning of the wedding, and Philip was stopped for speeding through central London on the day of the rehearsal dinner.” He reportedly said at the time: “I’m sorry officer, but I’ve got an appointment with the Archbishop of Canterbury.” And, let’s add this to Philip’s list of sacrifices for the woman he loves: knowing how much his bride hated smoking, he quit cold turkey—no patches or anything—on the morning of his wedding. Now that’s what you call commitment.
In public, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip avoid public displays of affection; they won’t even hold hands. But don’t be fooled. The two are all loved up. According to Now To Love, “Cabbage,” “Darling,” and “Lilibet” are just a few of the pet names Prince Philip has for the queen. And, The Queen filmmaker Peter Morgan says he has it “on good authority” that “Cabbage” is the preferred nickname Philip uses.”I inquired in royal circles and was told on very good authority that that is what the Duke sometimes calls the Queen,” he said. The term apparently derives from the French saying “mon petit chou,” which means “my darling” and translates to “my little cabbage” in English. Okay, that is seriously the sweetest thing.
Ingrid Seward, author of My Husband and I: The Inside Story Of 70 Years Of Royal Marriage revealed this precious trivia about their family: Prince Philip loves to cook for his family. Yup, apparently, while the Queen is away for royal duties, the Prince takes it upon himself to take up kitchen duties and cook dinner for their children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. And when the Queen is at home, he then cooks her breakfast. Apparently, he’s famous for his omelettes, scrambled eggs, and smoked haddock. Can you imagine the Prince wearing an apron? Adorable!
Art by Marian Hukom
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