Prince Philip’s passing will be an unimaginable loss for the queen, who has spoken on numerous occasions of her husband’s unwavering love and support, which has seen her through many torrid times.
His cheeky sense of humour also matched hers, and many have said that was one of the secrets to their lasting marriage – the longest of any British royal.
“Their relationship has withstood the test of time primarily because they loved one another very much,” royal expert and historian Christopher Warwick, told Vanity Fair in May 2020.
We take a look at their royal love story.
1934: First meeting
Elizabeth was just eight when she met Philip at the wedding of Princess Marina and Prince George.
July 1939: When sparks flew
Five years later, the pair reconnected at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth when Elizabeth’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, asked an 18-year-old Philip, then a young naval recruit, to escort their children, Elizabeth (13) and Margaret (11), around. The pair hit it off and soon after began exchanging letters, which lasted right through the Second World War where they both served.
1947: The engagement
Philip popped the question in 1946 but it was made public on 9 July the following year.
November 1947: The wedding
They royal couple tied the knot at Westminster Abbey in front of about 2 000 guests in a restrained ceremony in keeping with Britain’s post-war austerity. They spent part of their honeymoon at the Scottish royal estate of Balmoral.
November 1948: Birth of Charles
On 14 November they welcomed their first child – Prince Charles Philip Arthur George.
August 1950: Birth of Anne
The couple welcomed their second child and only daughter, Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, on 15 August.
June 1953: Elizabeth’s coronation
On 2 June, with more than 8 000 guests present at Westminster Abbey and 20 million people tuning in around the world, Elizabeth was crowned the queen of England.
During the coronation, Philip knelt and told her, “I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship.”
February 1960: Birth of Andrew & a new name
Just days before the birth of third child, Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward on 19 February, Elizabeth told the Privy Council that her descendants would carry the name Mountbatten-Windsor, a combination of her surname and Philip’s.
March 1964: Birth of Edward
They welcomed their fourth and last child, Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, on 10 March.
November 1972: Silver wedding anniversary
As they celebrated 25 years of marriage, they received an outpouring of love from around the world. This included around 15 000 letters and 2 500 telegrams, including congratulations from the kings of Tonga and Thailand and the emperors of Japan and Ethiopia.
November 1977: First grandchild
Princess Anne gave the royal couple their first grandchild when she gave birth to Peter Mark Andrew Phillips on 15 November.
November 1992: Elizabeth’s “annus horribilis”
Philip once again proved to be a rock as the queen endured one of her worst years. “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure,” Elizabeth said in a speech commemorating her 40th year as queen. “In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.”
That year saw three of their children – Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew separating from their partners, and a fire almost destroying Windsor Castle.
1997: Golden wedding anniversary
Elizabeth and Philip marked their 50th wedding anniversary with a celebratory lunch at Banqueting House in London.
Of her husband, the queen said, “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years,” she said.
“And I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”
2002: Elizabeth celebrates 50 years on the British throne
In her Golden Jubilee speech at the Guildhall in June 2002, the queen praised her husband as the source of her strength. “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 50 years, as he has to so many charities and organisations with which he has been involved.”
The couple celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary in November that year.
April 2009: Another milestone
Philip became the longest serving spouse of a British monarch when he surpassed the record of Queen Charlotte, wife to King George III of 57 years and 70 days.
2010: First great-grandchild
Elizabeth and Philip became great-grandparents for the first time in December 2010 with the birth of Savannah, daughter to their eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, and his wife, Autumn.
2011: Celebrating his 90th birthday
As a gift for this milestone on 10 June, Elizabeth bestowed on her husband the title of Lord High Admiral of the Navy. The position is a ceremonial one. It was widely viewed as her way of acknowledging the sacrifice Philip made when he gave up a promising career in the Navy when she ascended the throne.
The milestone was also celebrated with a private service in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
2012: Diamond Jubilee
The queen’s 60th year as British monarch was celebrated across Great Britain. But amid the celebrations, Philip had to be admitted to hospital on 4 June with a bladder infection. As a result, the queen attended only part of the evening’s concert in her honour. He was discharged on 9 June.
2017: Philip steps back
In May, Buckingham Palace announced Philip would be retiring from royal duties in August. At the time of his retirement, Philip had attended 22 219 royal appointments and made 5 496 speeches in his 65 years as a public figure.
November 2017: First royal couple to celebrate a platinum anniversary
After retiring, Philip settled on the royals’ Sandringham Estate. To celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary, the couple hosted an intimate dinner. The palace issued official pictures taken beforehand.
2019: Philip stops driving after crash
In January the then 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh made headlines when he crashed his Range Rover into another car near Sandringham. Two women were injured in the crash. A nine-month-old baby that had been in the car with the women was unharmed. Philip publicly apologised for his part in the crash and three weeks later relinquished his driver’s licence.
May 2019: Last public appearances
On 8 May Harry and Meghan introduced their newborn son, Archie, to his great-grandparents. In the pic shared on Instagram later that day, Philip smiles dotingly at his eighth great-grandchild.
Ten days later, Philip was seen for the last time at a royal event when he attended the wedding of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent’s daughter, Lady Gabriella, in St George’s Chapel. Philip spent four days in the King Edward Hospital in December for a pre-existing condition.
2020: Into lockdown
With the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, Philip left Sandringham and joined the queen in Windsor Castle to isolate together. A picture of the couple was issued in June to celebrate the duke’s 99th birthday. In July, Philip was also included in the official picture of Princess Beatrice’s intimate wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. Philip and Elizabeth were among only 20 guests to attend the event.
In November, another picture of the couple was released to celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary. In the picture, they’re looking at a card made by Prince William’s children, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte.
He spent Christmas quietly at home in Windsor – in contrast to the large family gatherings the royals usually host at Sandringham.
Three days after Philip was once again admitted to hospital, his granddaughter Princess Eugenie announced she was naming her 11-day-old son after his great-grandfather. The child’s name is August Philip Hawke Brooksbank and is Philip and Elizabeth’s ninth great-grandchild.
SOURCES: BBC, THE GUARDIAN, ROYAL.CO.UK, ITV, BRIDES.COM