They were an unlikely couple from the start. She was the oldest daughter of the King of England, heiress to the throne, sheltered and shy. He was a displaced prince of Greece who had lived all over the world, confident and brash. And yet. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip weathered storm after storm together in their 73 years of marriage. Four children, eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren. A lifetime together. The Duke of Edinburgh might have been a man of few words, but when it came to his wife, he was a true romantic.
Then-Princess Elizabeth was just 13 years old when she first met her 18-year-old distant cousin Prince Philip (Queen Victoria was their shared great-grandmother) in 1934, but she knew he was the one for her right away. “She was truly in love from the beginning,” wrote Queen Elizabeth’s close friend Margaret Rhodes in her book The Final Curtsey: A Royal Memoir by the Queen’s Cousin, per The Independent. The pair got to know each other through letters over the years and married in 1947, just five short years before King George VI would die and their lives changed forever.
She became Queen Elizabeth, he ended his naval career to become Queen Consort. A role he took very seriously, as Queen Elizabeth so beautifully put it in a speech on their golden wedding anniversary, “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.”
Here is what her “strength and stay” had to say about his life with his Queen.