What The Queen's Relationship Was Like With Prince Philip Before His Death

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II, died on Friday, April 9, 2021. The Palace said in a public statement that he died peacefully. The prince was 99 years old.

Responding to the Prince's death, Prime Minister Boris Johnson remembered him for his valor in the war and commended him for his "ethic of service." Wishes flowed to the Queen and the royal family, which has been rocked by several scandals and allegations in the years leading up to Philip's death.

Philip's death also marked the end of an era for a royal relationship: his 74-year marriage with Elizabeth. With that concluded many great memories and times that had seen the royal couple stick together, leaving royal fans to wonder how the relationship was between Elizabeth and Philip. Speculations aside, a relationship such as that has had several moments of joy, coyness, perseverance, and mutual affirmations.

The Queen and Prince Philip first met as children

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II go a long way back. The Independent reports that they first met in 1934 as children at Prince Philip's cousin, Princess Marina's wedding to the Duke of Kent, Prince George. Philip, who was then the Prince of Denmark and Greece, was 13 years old at the time of their first meeting. while Elizabeth was eight. 

Five years later, they crossed paths again at the Dartmouth Royal Naval College in 1939. The queen's governess, Marion Crawford, recalls in her memoir Little Princesses that the "viking" looks of the young prince attracted the princess. She also wrote that a young Elizabeth would fluster pink when she saw the Prince.

After their initial meeting, the two began exchanging letters, even after Philip served in the royal fleet during the second world war. Philip then asked for the Queen's hand from her father, King George VI, upon his return from royal service, and the couple announced their engagement on July 9, 1947.

This wasn't your parents' royal wedding

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II were married at Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947. The day was widely anticipated, but the wedding wasn't as seamless as what present-day royal weddings are or are expected to be.

There were a couple of hurdles — one when Elizather's tiara snapped on the morning of the wedding. Philip was in a hurry too — according to The Telegraph, he was stopped for speeding through central London on the day of the rehearsal dinner on wedding's eve. The prince apologized to the office and told him that he had to hurry as he had an "appointment with the Archbishop of Canterbury." 

The royal union was well celebrated across the country, as postwar Britain had suffered enough trauma to not let the joy of a royal wedding seep into their hearts. The then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill called (via The Telegraph) the marriage a "flash of color on the hard road we have to travel."

Prince Philip was first to swear allegiance to the Queen

Elizabeth II ascended the throne on June 2, 1953, following King George VI's death. Prince Philip broke the news of the King's death to the then-25-year-old princess, and later during her coronation swore himself as her "liege man of life and limb," per The New York Times.

The allegiance had to be more than decoration. The couple faced several challenges throughout their marriage that they needed to brave together, including their kids' marriages going astray. Much later in their lives, they had to deal with Prince Harry's separation from the crown, among other royal scandals. At their midlife, they had to deal with the crisis surrounding the death of a young Prince Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles' involvement (and later marriage) with their son Charles, the Prince of Wales. 

The relationship between the two stood steadfast even through the turmoils. The royal couple celebrated several jubilees together, marking the various milestones of their relationship. In her March 2012 address to the House of Parliament, the Queen said (via Town & Country) that her husband had been her "constant strength and guide."

The secret to the 'happy marriage' between Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II

A marriage such as this had to have a secret ingredient that keeps it together through troubled times and lets it accumulate more value, respect, trust, and love over time. It turns out that the secret of their healthy relationship wasn't something complicated.

To mark their 50th wedding anniversary in November 1997, Prince Philip said that the main lesson they had learned was that "tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage," per Reuters. "You can take it from me that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance," he said during his toast to the Queen.

The Queen had something similar to say about the prince, who wouldn't be shy to express his affection and regard to his Queen. During her Golden Jubilee speech in June 2002, she remarked (via Town & Country) that Philip had "made an invaluable contribution" to her life over the past fifty years, including the numerous charities and organizations in which he has been involved.