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Amy Hunt

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip's enduring love story in 32 pictures

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wave from the top of an open Range Rover on the monarch's 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had one of the most famous and enduring marriages of all time. First meeting at a young age, the royal couple were together for over 70 years - the longest royal marriage in history. 

The monarch and her husband were by one another’s side from the very beginning, and pretty much until the end. When the Queen was crowned in 1952, Prince Philip was right by her side – and when Queen Elizabeth passed in September 2022, it was just over a year after the death of her beloved husband Philip, in April 2021. 

In their 70+ years together, the royal couple experienced enormous milestones; from welcoming children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, to royal tours and duties, difficult family news, and of course, multiple impressive anniversaries. We take a look back at Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s relationship in pictures, taken across her 70-year reign.

32 pictures of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip's relationship

Before they met

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip began their relationship at a young age – in fact, when they first met in 1934 at a wedding of Philip’s uncle to Elizabeth’s cousin, the future Queen was just eight years old! 

The pair reconnected in 1939, when Elizabeth visited Dartmouth College, where Philip was a naval cadet, and the pair stayed in touch from this point on, before becoming a couple officially in 1943, when he visited the British royal family at Windsor Castle.

Philip and the future Queen were said to be smitten from this point onwards but didn’t get engaged until a few years later, in 1947.

Their engagement announcement

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten announced their engagement on 9 July 1947, 14 years after the pair first met. 

Though the public weren’t given too many details about the couple’s engagement, it's thought that the special moment took place in Balmoral, at the end of a month-long holiday in the much-loved royal holiday spot. 

Prince Philip asked for Elizabeth’s father’s permission to marry his daughter (an absolute must, given that she was next in line to the throne), before proposing with a ring created by the London jeweller Philip Antrobus. Philip opted to honour Elizabeth's mother with the engagement ring, creating it with diamonds from one of her favourite tiaras.

Their first child

(Image credit: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The royal couple welcomed their first child, the then-Prince Charles, on 14th November 1948, just a year after their wedding.

This was the beginning of Philip and Elizabeth's new family and was significant in that Charles's birth also provided an heir to the British throne. As was the custom at the time, Prince Philip was not there to witness the birth of his first child, as the process was considered something that only women should be a part of. 

Charles was born at Buckingham Palace and was christened in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace on 15th December that year, by the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Prince Philip's retirement

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Duke announced his retirement from royal duties in May 2017, before fully stepping down on 2nd August 2017 after a summer of engagements – something which was likely a huge moment for both Philip and his wife.

The Duke of Edinburgh was 96 at the time of his retirement, and as per an official statement from Buckingham Palace, had the full support of his wife in making this big move. In May of that year, the Palace said, "In taking this decision, the duke has the full support of the Queen. Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying the Queen.

"Thereafter, the duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time."

Philip's final engagement was attending The Captain General's Parade, which marked the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge at Buckingham Palace.

The birth of Prince Andrew – 10 years after welcoming Charles

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ten years after the birth of their second child Princess Anne, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth welcomed their third child, Prince Andrew, on 19th February 1960. 

As was the case with his older brother Charles, Andrew was born at home at Buckingham Palace, and Queen Elizabeth gave birth without her husband Philip by her side.

As had been the protocol with their first two children, Prince Philip and Elizabeth had their third child again christened in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. At the time of Prince Andrew’s birth, royal rules stated that men were able to overtake women in the line of succession. So when he was born, Andrew became second in line to the throne immediately following Charles, dropping Anne to the position of third in line.

Their 70th Platinum wedding anniversary in 2017

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated the incredible achievement of their Platinum wedding anniversary in November 2017.

It was a milestone that no other royal couple have ever achieved, and to mark it, the couple chose to hold a private dinner party for their nearest and dearest at Windsor Castle, instead of indulging in the lavish celebrations their held for their previous wedding anniversaries.

To mark the moment publicly, they also shared official portraits taken of the two of them at Windsor Castle on their Instagram, too.

Welcoming their last child

(Image credit: George Freston/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Elizabeth and Philip completed their family on 10th March 1964, 12 years after the birth of Prince Charles.

Prince Edward was born at Buckingham Palace, and for the first time in the Queen and Prince Philip’s relationship, the Duke was present in the room at the birth of his youngest son.  

At the time, it was reported that Queen Elizabeth had been reading women's magazines talking about the new ‘trend’ of having fathers present at births, and became particularly interested in what was a relatively new idea, at the time. It's said that because of this, she asked Prince Philip to be by her side as she gave birth to their final child.

Unlike his older siblings, Edward was baptised in the private chapel at Windsor Castle.

Their silver wedding anniversary

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

After welcoming their children and diving into their royal duties, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh took a moment to mark 25 years of marriage, with their silver wedding anniversary celebrations. 

They enjoyed a Service of Thanksgiving on November 19th 1972 at Westminster Abbey, before heading to lunch at London's Guildhall alongside their extended family and members of other foreign royal families. According to reports, Queen Elizabeth spoke highly of her experience of marriage at the luncheon. During her speech, she is reported to have said,  "If I am asked what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage, I can answer with equal simplicity and conviction – I am for it."

Welcoming their first grandchild

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

On 15th November 1977, the Queen and Prince Philip welcomed their very first grandchild, Peter Phillips, who is Princess Anne’s oldest and only son.

As had become tradition, Peter was christened in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. Interestingly, his parents Mark Phillips and Princess Anne refused the offer of a peerage (a title) from Queen Elizabeth, meaning Peter was the first grandchild of a monarch in 500 years to be born without a royal title. 

For five years, Peter was Philip and the Queen’s only grandchild, before the birth of Prince William in 1982. 

Their ‘annus horribilis’

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II spoke for both herself and her husband on the 40th anniversary of her ascension to the throne, when she gave a speech discussing how 1992 had her ‘annus horribilis’ (a horrible year).

It was a year in which three of their children announced their intention to divorce – Princess Anne from Mark Philips, Prince Andrew from Sarah Ferguson, and later in the year, Prince Charles from Princess Diana – and, a year in which plenty of tabloid scandals hit the royal family. Also, just days before the 40th anniversary celebrations, a huge fire took hold at Windsor Castle, the Queen and Philip’s primary residence.

During her anniversary speech, the monarch said, "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'Annus Horribilis'. I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so. 

"[The] generosity and whole-hearted kindness of the Corporation of the City to Prince Philip and me would be welcome at any time, but at this particular moment, in the aftermath of Friday's tragic fire at Windsor, it is especially so."

The birth of their only daughter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Two years after the birth of Charles, Princess Anne – Philip and Elizabeth’s second child – was born. 

Queen Elizabeth gave birth to Anne on 15th August 1990 at Clarence House, and as was the custom at the time, Prince Philip was not present in the room at the time of the birth, as he hadn't been for Charles.

Just a few months later, on 21st October, Princess Anne was christened in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace, by the Archbishop of York. At the time of her birth, Anne was second in line to the throne, behind her older brother.

The Queen honours Philip during her Golden Jubilee

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Elizabeth took a moment to honour her husband Prince Philip during her Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, held to mark her 50th anniversary of being Queen. 

After she and Philip took part in another mammoth tour of the UK and the Commonwealth to mark the special anniversary, a Service of Thanksgiving was held. And during the lunch held afterwards at the Guildhall, the Queen made a sweet dedication to her husband in her speech.

In the romantic royal moment, she said, "I take this opportunity to mention the strength I draw from my own family. The Duke of Edinburgh has made an invaluable contribution to my life over these past fifty years, as he has to so many charities and organisations with which he has been involved."

The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen and Prince Philip were by one another’s side during her 90th birthday celebrations in 2016, which saw a series of events take place in London, attended by various other members of the royal family.

Perhaps one of the most famous images of the celebrations was when we saw Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth riding in an open-top Range Rover down the Mall, waving to crowds of people gathered to celebrate. 

The Duke of Edinburgh was also right by the Queen’s side during an appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony, where the entire family watched the traditional RAF fly-past.

The moment Elizabeth became Queen

(Image credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A couple of years into their marriage, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth experienced one of the most significant days of their lives (and relationship) – the day when Elizabeth herself became Queen, a role she would go on to inhabit for the next 70 years. 

Elizabeth's father King George VI died on the morning of 6th February 1952 at Sandringham, the family’s estate in Norfolk, while Elizabeth and Philip were on an official royal tour of South Africa.

Due to the time difference and the remote nature of the couple’s hotel, it took a couple of hours for the news of her father’s passing to reach Elizabeth, and – as many will have seen on Netflix’s The Crown – the then-Princess was actually one of the last to know. But it’s said that she was finally informed of the death by Prince Philip himself.

After the news, the royal couple quickly returned home, and on 7th February, Elizabeth made her Declaration of Sovereignty at St James’s Palace, marking the first moment that they were no longer Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip; but instead, Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, the husband of the new monarch.

Their shared love of horses

(Image credit: Monty Fresco/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

One of the most important parts of the Queen and the Duke’s relationship was their shared love of horses. 

While the late monarch was known to be incredibly passionate about all things equestrian, often attending the races and riding her horses (even into her 80s and 90s), Prince Philip also had a keen interest in horses, and particularly loved carriage riding. Philip also loved to play polo as a younger man.

And of course, the couple both loved to attend horse racing events together, especially Royal Ascot, where they often had many of their own horses riding.

The Silver jubilee tour in 1977

(Image credit: Graham Wiltshire/Getty Images)

In 1977, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Silver Jubilee, marking 25 years since her accession. 

And as part of the celebrations, she and Philip undertook an enormous tour of the UK, visiting 36 counties across the country in total in a three-month period. It was an historic tour for many reasons, but mostly because the couple visited more areas in a single tour than any previous monarch had done before! 

The death of Princess Diana

(Image credit: Robert Patterson/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

During their marriage, the royal couple went through their fair share of turbulent moments, and one such time was the heartbreaking death of Princess Diana in September 1997. 

The royal couple took charge in supporting both Prince William and Prince Harry through the tragic loss, and both appeared outside Balmoral Castle and Buckingham Palace to view tributes to the late Princess. They also took the time to meet mourning members of the public, too.

The Queen paid tribute to Diana in a televised address, too, sharing how she and Philip had been supporting William and Harry. She said, "I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being.

“I admired and respected her – for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys. This week at Balmoral, we have all been trying to help William and Harry come to terms with the devastating loss that they and the rest of us have suffered."

Their enormous Commonwealth tour as Queen and Prince Consort

(Image credit: NCJ Archive/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

A year after the death of her father, Prince Philip and the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth took part in the biggest royal tour of their lives.

In 1953-1954, the couple took part in an incredible, six-month tour of the Commonwealth Nations as a way to formally introduce herself to the nations of which Elizabeth was Queen. They visited the likes of Bermuda, Jamaica, Fiji and Tonga, Sri Lanka and Uganda, and even became the first royals to visit New Zealand and Australia. It's reported that they visited an incredible 57 towns and cities in Australia during their 58 days there.

Charles’ remarriage

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage, and later, his remarriage to the then-Camilla Parker Bowles, was tricky for both Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth from a religious standpoint.

Both Philip and Elizabeth were key representatives of the Church, given the Queen’s role as head of the Church of England, which presented a conflict, as the Church (at the time), was not especially supportive of re-marriage after divorce.

As such, neither Philip nor the Queen attended Charles and Camilla’s civil ceremony wedding at the Windsor Guildhall, given how it might have complicated Queen Elizabeth’s role as the head of the Church of England. They did both however host a religious service at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle afterwards, and a reception later in the evening, to celebrate their eldest son's big day.

The death of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Prince Philip likely acted as a great support to the Queen when, in 2002, the monarch lost both her beloved mother and her sister in quick succession. 

Princess Margaret, the Queen’s only sibling, died after suffering a stroke and a series of other cardiac issues on 9th February – while Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother died just a few months later, on 30th March, as a result of a chest cold. She was 101 at the time of her death.

Both of these key losses left the Queen devastated, and meant the Queen had just one person from the early years of her life left to support her; Prince Philip.

Their wedding day

(Image credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

One of the most special moments in the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s relationship was their wedding day, which took place at Westminster Abbey, London, on 20th November 1947, just a couple of months after they got engaged.

While an important personal milestone, it was also a significant moment in the history of the royal family and the United Kingdom, as the then-Princess Elizabeth was – at this point – the direct heir to the throne. 

As such, 2,000 guests from far and wide were invited to the ceremony, with many significant world figures in attendance, including the King of Iraq, Princess Elizabeth of Luxembourg, and of course, Elizabeth’s parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Sadly, Prince Philip’s three sisters were not allowed to attend the wedding, due to the family’s connections to Germany – as the wedding took place so soon after World War 2. 

The royal nuptials were also broadcast to the world, with around 200 million people tuning in worldwide. Afterwards, the newlyweds headed off for a short honeymoon at Broadlands, a country house in Hampshire owned by Prince Philip's uncle.

A special visit to Malta

(Image credit: John Stillwell - Pool/Getty Images)

The Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth made their final visit to Malta in 2015, and it was a significant trip for lots of different reasons. 

The royal couple spent much of their early married life in Malta between 1949 and 1951, as Prince Philip was stationed there in his role as a naval officer. Reportedly, their time in Malta was said to be one of the most 'normal' times of their entire lives. The couple – Philip especially – would go on to visit Malta on official visits numerous times over the following years.

And that’s not all - their 2015 trip to Malta was the Queen and Philip's final official overseas trip as a royal, making it all the more special.

During an earlier trip in 2005, Queen Elizabeth spoke of their joint fondness for Malta in an official speech. She said, "I know I speak for Prince Philip as well as myself in saying how pleased we are to be back in Malta. We both retain a deep affection for your country and the outgoing, generous Maltese people who have always offered us the hand of friendship."

The Queen’s coronation

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Queen Elizabeth's coronation on 2nd June 1953 was of course a big moment for Elizabeth and the United Kingdom, but it was also an important ceremonial moment for the couple too, changing the course of their lives forever.

The ceremony took place at Westminster Abbey, where Elizabeth and Philip had married just six years prior. Her Majesty the Queen was anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, where she swore to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, "Throughout all my life and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust."

Though Philip wasn’t officially anointed during the ceremony, he was the very first person to kneel in front of the new Queen, to officially ‘pay homage’ to his wife, the new monarch. 

Their 60th wedding anniversary in 2007

(Image credit: Pool/Anwar Hussein Collection/WireImage)

The Queen and Prince Philip’s diamond wedding anniversary in 2007 was a big one, and they hosted multiple celebrations to mark 60 years of marriage.

Two days before the event itself, the then-Prince Charles hosted a dinner at Clarence House for the immediate royal family only. 

The next day, a Service of Thanksgiving was held at Westminster Abbey with the wider public in attendance, including foreign dignitaries and royals, and members of the British government. To mark the actual day, the Queen and Philip released official pictures taken of themselves at Broadlands, the Hampshire family estate where they had their honeymoon. But the couple actually spent the day on an official visit to Malta, where they lived together in the early days of their marriage.

Their grandson Prince William’s wedding

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Prince William married Catherine Middleton on 29th April 2011, and it was a big moment for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, as the first wedding of one of their grandchildren directly in line to the throne.

It was a huge royal occasion too, with over 1,900 guests in attendance at the service at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen and Prince Philip were involved in the day’s proceedings in a significant way, sitting in the front row of the Abbey next to the then-Prince Charles. They also hosted the official lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace, which was made up of guests from Kate and William’s official lives as royals, and private guests, such as family and friends.

The birth of their first great-grandchild – and their last

(Image credit: James Devaney/WireImage)

It was a big day for everyone in the royal family when Savannah Phillips was born in December 2010, as the first great-grandchild for the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen. Savannah is the eldest daughter of Peter Philips and his ex-wife Autumn Kelly.

The Queen and Prince Philip would go on to welcome another 12 great-grandchildren during their marriage, including Catherine and Prince William’s children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, the Queen’s direct heirs to the throne. 

Their youngest and final (thus far) great-grandchild is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, nicknamed Lili, and named in the Queen’s honour. Lili was born in June 2021, just over a year before the Queen’s passing, and a few months after Philip’s death. 

Prince Philip's death in April 2021

(Image credit: Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images)

At the age of 99, Prince Philip passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle, leaving behind his wife of over 70 years for the very first time. 

After his death, Philip and Elizabeth's son Prince Andrew described the entire family as feeling a “great sense of loss”, before admitting that his mother “is feeling it probably more than anybody else.”

He explained, “The Queen as you would expect is an incredibly stoic person. And she described his passing as a miracle. And she’s contemplating. She described it as having left a huge void in her life.”

Attending the State Opening of Parliament together

(Image credit: Ray Collins - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Countless times across their many decades together, Prince Philip accompanied the Queen on important royal business. And one of the most significant was when they attended the annual State Opening of Parliament together.

Though the Queen often attended alone as monarch, Philip was by her side many times throughout the years.

Typically, the Queen would sit on her Sovereign's throne to deliver her speech marking the beginning of a new Parliamentary year, and Prince Philip would sit beside her on the Consort’s throne, as an official support. Heartbreakingly, the Consort’s throne was removed from the proceedings for the very first time in May 2021, given the Duke's passing the month before.

The Queen attending Philip's funeral alone

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Prince Philip’s death was a little different to normal royal funerals, as it had to take place under the rules of social distancing, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic at that time.

So, on the 17th April 2021, Philip’s funeral took place with only 30 guests allowed into St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle – though there was a larger ceremonial party on the lawn outside.

Perhaps one of the most iconic and heartbreaking images ever taken of the Queen is of her sitting at the head of the chapel alone, per social distancing rules. It’s reported that Queen Elizabeth rejected the government’s offer to relax the rules for her husband’s funeral.

A year later however, the royal family were allowed to hold a larger service of thanksgiving for Prince Philip and his life at Westminster Abbey, which had a guest list of 1,800 people and paid homage to all the different parts of Philip’s life, including his work with the Duke of Edinburgh award.

Their many Balmoral holidays together

(Image credit: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Perhaps one of the most important places for Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth throughout their marriage was Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the royal estate which is spread out across 50,000 acres.

Not only did the Queen and Philip get engaged there, but they also spent summers there every year with various members of their extended family. Between July and October each year, the couple sought respite in the rural confines of the Balmoral estate, as it was a place that offered them both privacy, and a way to slow down after a busy year of royal duties back in London, and across the country. At Balmoral, they were able to indulge in many of their favourite pastimes, such as hunting, fishing, and walking.

After the loss of Prince Philip, the Queen spent much of her time at Balmoral, and eventually passed away there on 8th September 2022. 

Queen Elizabeth and Philip's burial together

(Image credit: Emilio Morenatti - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen and Prince Philip spent their entire lives side-by-side, so it was only fitting that the pair be laid to rest together too.

After Prince Philip died in 2021, he was interred in the Royal Vault at Windsor Castle. Following the Queen’s death in September 2022, the pair were reunited and laid to rest together in King George VI's Memorial Chapel in Windsor Castle, alongside the Queen’s mother, father and sister.

The private burial of both the Queen and her husband took place after the public funeral of the Queen on 19th September 2022 and was attended by just a few close family members.

The Queen's tribute to Philip at Christmas

(Image credit: Victoria Jones - Pool/Getty Images)

In December 2021, Queen Elizabeth issued her annual Christmas message for the nation, and within it, made a point to pay tribute to her late husband, as she experienced her first festive season without him in decades.

"In the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world," she shared. "His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation were all irrepressible. That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.

"But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings; and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas."

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