When the Duke of Edinburgh passed away on April 9, it brought his love story with Queen Elizabeth II to a peaceful end.
His death at Windsor Castle at the age of 99, just weeks shy of his milestone 100th birthday, has plunged Buckingham Palace into mourning – and no one is more devastated than his wife of 73 years, the Queen.
Palace insiders tell Woman’s Day Her Majesty – while as stoic as ever – is in a “wistful mood” as she reflects on a long, rich life with the man she fell for when she was just 13 years old.
It would be a few years before their friendship turned into romance in a fairytale that scandalised some and captivated many.
A NAVY MAN
During a 1939 tour of the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, when Philip Mountbatten escorted Princess Elizabeth, alongside her sister Princess Margaret and father King George VI, the teen poised to be queen fell in love with her 18-year-old future husband.
Soon after, the dapper sailor and Princess Elizabeth, who were third cousins through their mutual great-grandmother Queen Victoria, began exchanging letters.
Elizabeth’s governess Marion Crawford famously recalled her young charge would “take more trouble with her appearance and play the tune People Will Say We’re In Love from the musical Oklahoma!” before the dashing blond navy man’s visits to Buckingham Palace, and that he would “roar into the forecourt” in his MG sports car, “hatless” and “always in a hurry to see Lilibet”.
It’s reported that in 1946 she invited him to Balmoral Castle for a three-week summer hunting holiday, which is where he proposed.
At first, King George wasn’t pleased, and some say he privately described Philip as “rough, ill-mannered, uneducated, and would probably not be faithful”.
But he eventually and begrudgingly gave the young couple permission to marry once she had turned 21.
Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten married on November 20, 1947, in a grand ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey that was a welcome occasion of great happiness after the war years.
It would lead to a life of service – when Prince Philip died he was the world’s longest-serving consort.
BLESSED WITH FAMILY
The union brought them four children – Prince Charles a year after the wedding in 1948, Princess Anne in 1950, Prince Andrew in 1960, and Prince Edward in 1964.
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