Queen Elizabeth And Prince Philip: Their Adorable, Quirky Relationship Living In Britain's Highest Class
In America, our most adored and adulated couples don't tend to stand the test of time. From Liz and Dick to "Brangelina," the watchful eye of the public has proven too much for famous couples to handle time and time again. Across the pond, however, lives a couple whose relationship has withstood unrelenting inspection, the disapproval of some of the most powerful people in the world, and the early ascension of a queen. Obviously, that couple is Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, whose love has endured for more than 70 years. Over such a long period of time, every marriage becomes a rollercoaster, but it's particularly twisty and turny in the royal family.
Not Ideal Circumstances
The tale of how the future Queen and Prince got together could have come straight from a Hollywood movie. Of course, both Elizabeth and Philip being royals, their paths crossed a few times, but not exactly under the best of circumstances. When they first met, Philip's life was in complete shambles. His father had left the family to live with his mistress in Monte Carlo, his mother was staying in a psychiatric hospital, and he was due to get shipped off to whichever boarding school his relatives deemed best. Thankfully, those difficult beginnings didn't soil their first meeting and end young love before it started.
Love at First Sight ... for the Queen
At the time of their first meeting, Queen Elizabeth was only eight years old, and Phillip was 13---certainly a bit early for love. However, when Elizabeth visited the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth five years later in 1939, the hands of fate played their part perfectly. The two cadets slated to act as Elizabeth's guides came down with the mumps, so Philip stepped up in their stead. They had a wonderful time together as Philip, by then a strapping lad of 18, showed Elizabeth around, especially amusing her by jumping over tennis nets. Hopelessly smitten, the young future queen began writing Philip letters and keeping a framed photo of him at her bedside. Philip didn't quite return the sentiment yet---after all, five years is a large gap at that age---but he did find their correspondence to be an "amusing diversion."
When a woman like Queen Elizabeth decides she wants something, she tends to get it. By the time Philip visited Windsor Castle for Christmas in 1943, after years of exchanging letters, he was helpless against the future queen's charms. (A performance of Aladdin starring the Queen was said to have particularly impressed him.) Elizabeth continued to keep his picture on her mantle, but by then, the future Prince had also taken to carrying a photo of Elizabeth with him during the war.
King George IV Disapproves
The final obstacle to their love came at the hands of Elizabeth's father, which was a somewhat bigger deal than it would usually be, as he was literally the King of England. While Philip was of royal blood, he didn't have much money, and he was known to have a "rough personality." Nevertheless, the Queen gets what the Queen wants, even if she wasn’t atop the throne yet. After some doubtlessly tense negotiation, King George presented his terms: He would consent to their marriage if they kept their engagement secret for a year due to Elizabeth's young age. Additionally, he insisted that Philip renounce his titles and bar his sisters from the wedding. (They were married to Germans, and the war was still too fresh.) Philip also quit smoking cigarettes, mostly gave up his surname, and sacrificed his privacy for the rest of his life. As they say, anything for a queen.
Philip Adores Elizabeth's Sense of Humor
Given the reputation of the British (and especially the royal family) for being straight-laced and proper, it's even more hilarious than Prince Philip's favorite story about the Queen involves a crude faux pas and the wife of former French president General de Gaulle. Reportedly, when the Queen asked Madame de Gaulle what she was looking forward to once they were out of office, the Madame replied, in a thick French accent, "A penis." The words hung awkwardly in the dining hall of Buckingham Palace for a few very long seconds before the Queen decided to break the tension by playing dumb. "Ah, happiness," the Queen replied with a "broad grin."
Through The Years
Over seven decades of marriage, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's relationship has had its ups and downs, but it appears as light and carefree as a marriage to the Queen of England could be. Whether the Prince is dressing up as a palace guard just to give his old lady a laugh or the Queen is convincing him to jet off at the last minute to crash a commoner's wedding, the pair is known to get up to mischief more expected of a couple half their age. Such whimsy has held the couple together so long that they've earned the distinction of meeting more Popes than anyone in the world (always with Philip slightly behind her, per custom).
Even when the couple fights, the acrimony doesn't last long. In 1954, an Australian camera crew waiting to film the Queen found that out firsthand when they unknowingly interrupted a royal argument, witnessing Philip charge out a room only to be "dragged" back into the chalet for another piece of Elizabeth's mind. A few moments later, the Queen reappeared, back to her royal self. "I'm sorry for that little interlude, but as you know, it happens in every marriage," she reportedly explained. "Now, what would you like me to do?'"
Like it? Share with your friends!